Michigan Foreclosures: Is The State Stepping In?

By: Thomas Bladecki

Many states are experiencing an extremely high rate of homes in foreclosure. This is due to the influx of past years risky lending methods now catching up with the homeowners that took chances and are now paying the price. In recent years lenders and buyers alike have been desperate to get into the housing market. Many buyers were willing to do anything to get the home of their dreams and many lenders were more than willing to do whatever it takes to get the mortgage papers signed.

Many predatory lenders have allowed consumers who were previously unable to obtain a mortgage, the opportunity to get one with little or no money down. Some of these products allowed the home buyers to purchase and pay only the interest for the first several years and then begin balloon payments at the stated time in the contract. In retrospect, if they were able to refinance before the balloon payments kicked in, they would have had an excellent strategy for getting into their home. The problem is that too many of these buyers were not, and still is not, in any position to refinance or change their financial situation in any way. They are either worse off than they were when they signed the mortgage, or have been put, or put themselves in, a situation where they are stuck.

Real estate businesses know that these types of mortgages are risky for the buyer and the bank as well. Let's face it; they are in the business to make money. Their bottom line is their bottom line. Therefore, if they make the sale and get the contract signed, they have done their job and been compensated for it. Their responsibility is over. Too many people are misinformed or just plain uninformed by their realtors what they are getting themselves into.

Michigan is a state that is not alone in this current crisis in mortgage foreclosures. In a report from the Office of the Attorney General, Michigan continues to have one of the highest rates of foreclosures in the country. They further state, as anyone can guess, that foreclosure is the nightmare no homeowner wants to face. This seems like simple logic and common sense, but if that is the case, why the continuing increase of loan defaults and foreclosures? Real estate agencies, realtors themselves, and the risky lending practices all have a hand in what we see in the market and in the financial world today.

Some states are helping the consumer with this overwhelming problem. They are holding "Avoid Foreclosure: Tools to Help Save Your Home" forums for homeowners to attend to get advice. The forum allows consumers to work with some of the largest loan and service providers not only for advice and guidance, but also make those providers, and independent loan counselors available to those who attend. Avoiding foreclosure is something that many in today's home market can relate to and most people are willing to listen and ask for the help they need, especially when they are in default on their mortgage.

Although in appearance, this makes it look like Michigan is taking a stand to stop foreclosures from happening, but that is not the case. The guidelines for homeowners in default or foreclosure to qualify for the program are such that many people will be unable to take advantage of this opportunity. Some of these restrictions are anyone that is more than thirty days late when they inquire would be modified. This includes those who have been more than sixty days late within the last twelve months. This plan, which calls to freeze rates for the homeowner, only covers those mortgages that are set up as an adjustable rate mortgage.

Ultimately, there is no real cure or solution for the growing problem with increasing numbers of foreclosures in Michigan and many other states. What we can do however is look at the past and current market and financial outlook and do our best to learn from it. We would all love to own our dream home, but in reality, that may not, and likely will not, happen for everyone. It is time to take a long look at appreciating what we can afford to have and do and be truly grateful for it. Although there are many mortgage companies and real estate companies out there that would work out a deal for anyone that was willing and able, sometimes we just have to ask ourselves, just because we can, does that mean that we should?

Foreclosures
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