One of the most important things for homeowners facing foreclosure to remember is that they are not on their own. They do not have to take this burden on their shoulders and bear the weight solely. We as REALTORS are here to help and advise our clients.
Timing is crucial. The best thing we can do is get involved as early as possible. If your client thinks or knows that they are heading towards foreclosure, let them know that they can contact you, their REALTOR and trusted advisor. At this stage of the game, agents doing business have had to deal with some aspect of foreclosure. Through getting in at the beginning, we can help our clients in dealing with the lender and remain actively involved in the process. Usually, the lender is pretty frustrated, because they have not received any responses from the notices that they have sent out to the homeowner. When there is no conversation, the lender really has no other recourse than to continue with the foreclosure process.
People should remember that the banks and mortgage companies are not in the business of property ownership, and therefore are not interested in keeping borrowers in their homes. Their game is to lend money. That is truly their business, to make money on their money--not to own real estate. REALTORS can get involved and evaluate the different options available to the homeowner, from putting the property on the market and pricing it realistically and aggressively to getting a counselor or attorney involved in negotiating with the lender.
One of the saddest situations is when, as REALTORS, we find out to far along in the process that the homeowner is about to lose their home to foreclosure. If we get involved early, we have a better chance of being able to really help the homeowner achieve a better outcome. When we are called in too late in the process, we usually become something similar to a band-aid on a major gash, when stitches were needed.
I would advise homeowners not to wait until this point. Be sure that your clients know to include us, work with us, and be honest with us.
How are you helping your clients avoid foreclosure?