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Avoid Predatory Lending
If you are facing foreclosure, be assured that you are not alone. North Carolina has several resources to help you obtain foreclosure prevention counseling, mortgage payment assistance, and protection from fraud. You don’t need to be behind on your mortgage payments to seek help. If you feel you are at risk, contact one of the state’s free resources right away. We are here to help.
Mortgage Payment Assistance
If you’ve lost your job or your income has been reduced, the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund can pay your mortgage while you seek or retrain for new employment. You also may be eligible if you are facing a temporary financial setback, such as a divorce, serious illness or death of a co-signor, and need help to pay your mortgage while you look for work.
The Fund is offered by the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, a self-supporting state agency, and funded through the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Services are provided by participating HUD-approved counseling agencies statewide at no cost to you.
If you qualify, the Fund offers zero-interest, deferred loans of up to $24,000 to pay your mortgage for up to 24 months while you seek or retrain for a new job. In the state’s high unemployment counties, the maximum is $36,000 (36 months of assistance). The loan balance is reduced every year you remain in your home after the fifth year, and is fully forgiven after the tenth.
To learn more, call the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund call center, 1-888-623-8631 or go to www.NCForeclosurePrevention.gov.
Regardless of why you are in danger of foreclosure, you can access free counseling through the State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project (SHFPP), administered by th N.C. Housing Finance Agency. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies, state and federal agencies, legal assistance organizations, mortgage servicers and community organizations are working with the Office of the Commissioner of Banks to help you protect your home.
To get help, call 1-866-234-4857. You will be referred to a HUD-approved foreclosure counselor and other services in your area.
National Mortgage Settlement
The 2012 National Mortgage Settlement was a landmark agreement between state Attorneys General and the five, leading mortgage servicers: Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. The Settlement provides $25 billion in relief to homeowners and included payments to states.
In North Carolina, 47 HUD-approved housing counseling agencies received settlement funding to strengthen their capacity to offer free help to home buyers and owners, especially those facing foreclosure. The funding awards for housing counseling are managed by the N.C. Housing Finance Agency.
At no charge to homeowners, the counseling agencies can offer guidance to borrowers who may be eligible for financial payments under the National Mortgage Settlement, help homeowners work with servicers to seek loan modifications and counsel them on their options to avoid foreclosure. Some of the agencies offer counseling for families who have already experienced foreclosure and are looking for guidance on budgeting, restoring their credit or transitioning into rental housing.
North Carolina National Mortgage Settlement Housing Counseling Agencies
If you have been contacted by a foreclosure prevention or “rescue” company offering help, keep the following tips from the N.C. Office of the Attorney General in mind.
- Beware of companies that require payment before they “help” you. It’s illegal to charge an upfront fee for foreclosure assistance in North Carolina.
- Steer clear of companies that want you to make your mortgage payment to them, or who tell you not to talk to your mortgage company or to an attorney.
- Watch out for investors who promise to pay off your mortgage if you sign over the deed to your property, but not the mortgage. The investor then rents your home back to you or to a tenant but doesn’t make mortgage payments and the bank forecloses.
- Check out companies with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and your local Better Business Bureau, get all promises in writing, fill out your own paperwork and only sign it after reading it thoroughly.
To report a scam or check out a company, call the N.C. Attorney General’s Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint at ncdoj.gov.
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