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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Kalamazoo/Battle Creek - #44 in Foreclosures

This article reports the top 100 foreclosure rates in metropolitan areas. You'll notice many Michigan cities/metro areas in the report, most in the top 50. It's really just a sign of the times, as the article states:

"Most of the cities with the highest foreclosure rates have above-average unemployment rates and below-average home price appreciation. Unemployment is a major reason why homeowners stop making mortgage payments, and slow home price appreciation can make it harder for homeowners in default to refinance or sell to stop foreclosure."

This pretty much sums up the situation for many of the families we help on a daily basis (and certainly describes the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek economy). It's nothing to be embarrassed about because it's simply out of your control.

What is in your control is what you do about it - which is why our team is here for you - to take control!


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Don't Wait

I was recently contacted by a gentleman who is a week away from having his house auctioned. a the foreclosure sale. He has run out of options and now wants my team to step in and buy his house. As you can imagine, he has extremely anxious for our help after living for weeks with an impending foreclosure and seeing his options one, by one disappear.

We will do everything we can for him, but at this late date, the odds are against us. You see, it takes time to contact the bank, fax them the necessary paperwork and confirm they received it, talk to a live person at the bank about the situation, take pictures, have a contractor give us estimated repair costs and the hundreds of other things that have to happen.

Plus, this homeowner isn’t the only person in trouble that the bank has to deal with. The bank may not be able to give his situation the attention it needs in the short time available. The average person at the bank dealing with foreclosures has 100’s of files on their desk, so it is hard to get their attention on any particular one.

Make no mistake, my team has been doing this long enough to have key relationships established and to know a few tricks to try to defuse this time bomb. Wish us luck as we do everything we can to get this homeowner back to better times.

Don’t wait – call us now. The more time we have to do what we need to do to help you, the more effective we will be and the more options you will have.

Joel (aka Stop Foreclosure Man)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sheriff Sale

We continue to add people to our team - there's just so many people to help!

Last week, Kelly started attending the Kalamazoo County Sheriff Sale of foreclosed homes. She was amazed at the number of homes auctioned that day. She was also amazed that the Court Official just read out loud, in the middle of the lobby of the Kalamazoo County Courthouse the homeowner’s name, address, foreclosing bank, and amount owed. Of course, this is what the court official is required to do to give other people a chance to come in and make additional bids on the home.

The day Kelly was there at the auction, no one stepped in at the last minute to buy any of the homes (as is the case 99% of the time, it goes back to the foreclosing lender) Sad, because if these people had contacted us with enough time, we could have had a chance to save them this public humiliation process.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Plan "B"

When we sit down with people who realize they can't afford their house any longer (due to one of these reasons), we offer to try to purchase their house prior to the foreclosure. We are able to do this when no one else can because we discount the amount they owe to their lender. This we call "Plan A".

Plan "A" results in the best of all worlds in that the foreclosure is stopped and they are given a chance to start over with just late payments on their credit.

Sometimes there's not enough time to get their lender to act before the foreclosure, or the lender simply won't accept our offer. In that case we move to Plan "B".

Plan "B" unfortunately includes the lender going through with the foreclosure. Obviously, this is not the best thing to happen, but there can still be something done to help improve the homeowner's situation. The house can still be sold following the foreclosure, and there's usually plenty of extra time to do this (called a redemption period). Here's how we can help.

When the house is sold during this time, a "foreclosure - cured" or "foreclosure - redeemed" is placed on the credit report. It's not the best situation, but it's definitely better than a full blown foreclosure.

We help by getting the lender to discount the debt (just like in Plan "A"), the big difference is that we line up someone to sell it to first, then we ask for the debt discount. This allows us to ask for a much smaller discount and therefore have a much better chance of acceptance.

So, to summarize:

  1. Plan A and Plan B are the same in that we'd buy it from with the bank allowing a discount of the debt.
  2. Plan A requires a bigger discount because we'd buy it without having someone lined up wanting us to buy it from us.
  3. Plan B requires us to find someone to buy it from us first.

My wish is to always make Plan "A" work, but sometimes that's just not going to happen. In those cases, I think it's awesome that our team came up with Plan "B" instead of allowing a full foreclosure to remain on the credit report for 7-10 years.


Monday, May 08, 2006

"My Bathroom Blew Up"

One of the 1st things I ask homeowners facing foreclosure when they call me is “tell me a little bit about the house.”

Yesterday, I had a guy tell me his bathroom “blew up” and he was turning one of the 3 bedrooms into the new bathroom, but “parts” of the old one were still there. Of course he was behind on his payments (hours cut at work because of the bad economy) and the house was worth a lot less than what he owed.

When I went to the house, the house needed a lot of work - not just the blown up bathroom. But, regardless of the condition, I always have a chance of stopping the foreclosure, rescue him from this disaster and save his credit so he could start over. The house required way to much work for my team, so we sold it to someone who’s put a few months work into it and stands to make a nice profit. Everybody won - buy especially the homeowner.

Wednesday morning of this week, I'm heading with my team to central Kentucky for a big "mater mind" session with other foreclosure specialists. There's just so much "in the details" in this business we have to stay up to date by spending time with others around the country - about every 2 or 3 months seems to be the trend lately.

So, because of the travel, this may be my last post for over a week. I'll be sure to update you upon our return. Joel

Friday, May 05, 2006

Everything was going along fine, until….

When I start working with people to help stop their foreclosure, one of the first thing I ask them to do is write a hardship letter. This letter always starts out “Everything was going fine, until….” And goes on to describe what bad things happened to put them behind on their house payments. Even though your situation is complex, difficult and overwhelming, it is not unusual in today’s economy. Look at how some recent hardship letters started and you will see that bad things happen to good people, just like you.

Everything was going along fine, until I was laid off and my consumer energy bills doubled. My Insurance company wanted me to pay $XX or they would cancel my insurance on my cars.

Everything was going along fine until I was taken to emergency several times and then had to have surgery and was hospitalized for 18 days.

Everything was going along fine until I lost my job which I was making $xx an hour. I’ve been going from job to job making anywhere from $xx-xx an hour (half as much as before). I have drained my entire retirement fund, borrowed money from friends and family just to make ends meet.

Remember also, that you are not alone because I am here to help. Let me and my team get you back to better times.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Don't Try Anything "Extreme"

Facing Foreclosure? Don’t feel bad, even commercial properties face foreclosure and for them, making a comeback is a tremendous task. Take the example of Sugar Loaf resort in Cedar Michigan (see story).

After going into foreclosure for at least the third time since it opened in 1962, the new owner is going to try focusing on snowboarding and other extreme sports to bring revenues back to the resort and get it back on its feet.

You don’t have to create a “destination resort for snowboarders” or do anything else "extreme" to recover from your foreclosure. In fact, you can avoid foreclosure all together. Just call Stop Foreclosure Man and get help now!”