Freddie Mac is now offering distressed homeowners a complete guide to foreclosure and how to avoid it, from assessing your situation to what to do when your home has been foreclosed on, as part of a new website launched this week as a one-stop resource for homeowners.
The "MyHome by Freddie Mac" site offers homeowners a number of options under the "Foreclosure and Alternatives" tab that tell a borrower who to contact for help as well as non-foreclosure solutions that include both home retention and home forfeiture options.
Freddie Mac first discusses the importance of taking stock of your financial situation and determining what a borrower can and cannot pay for as far as home-related expenses, such as major and minor repairs. If a borrower cannot pay for these things, or is incurring another major expense that will keep them from paying the mortgage, Freddie Mac recommends reaching out to the lender as soon as possible.
"Your lender wants to help you with your mortgage," Freddie Mac said on the site. "They do not want your home or the expenses that come with foreclosure."
Borrowers are warned to watch for the warning signs of foreclosure and to seek help if they look familiar. If a borrower is in need of help avoiding foreclosure, Freddie Mac lists several options to contact for help: the lender, housing counselors, Freddie Mac borrower help centers, and house finance agencies.
Home retention solutions that can be worked out for eligible borrowers are forbearance, reinstatements, repayment plans, and modifications, including the government's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Non-foreclosure solutions in which the home is forfeited include short sales or deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure. The site provides several resources for the borrower to understand all of these options and how to prepare your financial information to meet with your lender.
When foreclosure cannot be avoided, Freddie Mac gives the borrower a list of what to expect after foreclosure that includes how it affects the borrower's credit, how to rebuild credit, finding a home after foreclosure, and re-entering the housing market (recent research from TransUnion indicated that about 1.5 million "boomerang buyers" negatively affected by the housing crisis will re-enter the housing market in the next three years).
The site includes other options for homes lost to foreclosure. Freddie Mac encourages borrowers to find out who acquired the home after the foreclosure to increase options available; for example, if Freddie Mac acquired the home, options may include renting the home while it's being marketed for sale, receiving "cash for keys," or purchasing the home back.