Foreclosure is a very scary word. It carries with it a public stigma that includes embarrassment, personal failure and the threat of a lasting negative impact that affects your credit rating and future real estate purchases. Sophisticated landlords are now checking credit scores to see if foreclosure is on your record making renting an apartment more difficult.
Foreclosures are at a 50-year high brought on by interest-only loans, no or low down payments, adjustable rate mortgages and a sagging real estate market. Greed and over-inflated prices drove lenders to bait borrowers with loans they simply could not afford to repay.
The old saying "What goes up must come down" applies to a soaring real estate market that was sometimes unrealistically over-priced. As sellers continued to get their inflated prices and much more, many homes sold with multiple offers that bid the home prices up - usually to an artificially high level. Consequently, we are having a sharp downward readjustment of prices that may last for the next few years. As an example, it is estimated that 20% of Californians will sell their homes at a loss in 2008, up from the 2.5% in 2007. Nationwide the trend is evident.
"Stated income," a loan qualifying practice in which the borrower did not need to provide the lender with proof of income, a pay stub or a tax return, was commonly used and abused by both borrower and lender alike. Many in the lending industry call these "Liar's Loans," that have impacted the lenders, borrowers, investors and the entire economy.
If you are presently in foreclosure, or headed in that direction, be assured that you are not alone. Thousands of people every day will find themselves in this situation - many times not of their own making, but due to ill-informed buying decisions and possible immoral dealings of unscrupulous mortgage brokers.
As a realtor for 14 years in California I have seen these abuses in lending upfront and personal. After the US House and Senate bailed out Bear Sterns with $30 billion it became apparent that saving Wall Street was more important then saving main street. The failure of Washington Mutual and AIG are only the tip of the iceberg and I encourage everyone who may face hard times in the coming months to read Defeat Foreclosure that can help a homeowner save their home, their credit and protect them from the foreclosure scam artists.
For more information read: Defeat Foreclosure