Saving Michigan Foreclosures with New Fannie Mae Program

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 21st, 2009

As the number of foreclosures rise around the nation, some lenders have held their Michigan foreclosures in private stock, hoping to sell them gradually in a stabilizing real estate market. That hope has slowly dwindled, however, even with the five-month extension on home buying tax credits  signed by the President November 6th of this year.

Government-owned Fannie Mae may have come up with a solution.

Some homeowners facing a Michigan foreclosure have more options than foreclosure, loan modification or a short sale. Some qualify for a deed-in-lieu (DIL), where they sign away all their equity back to the lender and walk away “debt free” (except, possibly, for taxes). Unfortunately, a DIL leaves the homeowner without a home to live in, and the lender with a house to sell in an uncertain market.

Deed for Lease Program
Under Fannie Mae’s new Deed for Lease Program (D4L), those who go through the DIL process may be eligible to rent their home back from Fannie Mae at current market rental rates. This may not sound like a great deal, but many families have ended up on the street because of foreclosure. Those who qualify for the D4L Program will be able to remain in their homes for at least 12 months. To learn more, read the entire D4L Program eligibility list.  Here are a few of the qualifications:

  • No prohibitive Homeowner’s Association rental limitations
  • The cost of any required repairs is an acceptable amount, based on the value of the property
  • The income the lender receives from the current rental market should be expected to cover any maintenance/management costs
  • The current rental rates must be less than 31% of your gross income
  • The home must be a primary residence

Whether the D4L Program will help or hinder the number of Michigan foreclosures is still up in the air, but it does give homeowners other options – something they’ve been sorely lacking.
If you’re facing foreclosure and qualify for short sale, I’d love to help. Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof sells North Woodward Homes in Oakland County Michigan

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


6 Tips to Protect Michigan Foreclosures from Loan Modification Scams

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 22nd, 2009

Many facing the possibility of being added to the number of Michigan foreclosures are frightened, often frustrated and feel helpless. It’s understandable; nobody wants to lose their home. However, those feelings often lead to being victimized by loan modification con artists who promise freedom from foreclosure for a little bit of money and leave victims in their wake.

Here are a few tips to protect yourself from scams that could take you one step closer to becoming one of the Michigan foreclosures:

1. Never believe a guarantee. No one, company or individual, can guarantee loan modification or that your lender won’t foreclose. If the loan modification company starts spouting guarantees, walk away.

2. Never sign over power of attorney. Sometimes, con artists will tell you that if you sign over your house to them, their good credit can help save your home. This is never a legitimate proposal and no legitimate company will ask you to do this.

3. Never spend thousands of dollars. Fees higher than $6,000 should be dismissed. Often, scam companies will charge absurdly high upfront fees to help. While some counselors will charge you a fee, those costs are added up after the loan closes, NOT before they even do anything. As well, any company charging over $4,000 needs to have a proven high quality of service and level of success.

4. Always talk to your lender first. Many loan modification scam artists will tell you to stop communicating with your lender. Communication is key, however, since your lender owns the note and will, ultimately, approve or deny the modification. Talk to your lender to find out how to refinance or restructure your payment.

5. Always check with the Better Business Bureau before hiring a “rescue” company. You can check with the Attorney General or Real Estate Commission as well.

6. Always look for free services first. Many foreclosure specialists can help, and will do so free of charge if you can’t afford them. As well, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has approved housing counseling that will provide foreclosure prevention services, also free of charge.

When you’re already faced with the possibility of being one of the Michigan foreclosures, you need help – not someone who will push you further across the line. Be careful when looking for loan modification help.

If your loan modification has been denied and you need to do a short sale instead, I can help. Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at today for more information.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Helping Families Save Their Homes from Southeast Michigan Foreclosures

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 19th, 2009

By now, everyone knows that, just like the Dot Com bubble, the real estate market grew its own bubble to a degree that it finally popped.  Not only foreclosures across the nation, but Southeast Michigan Foreclosures went up, sales went down and everyone, from the government to lenders to John Q public, started looking around for someone they could point a finger at and blame.

The hard truth is that placing blame doesn’t do anyone any good, especially those trying to save their home from being a Southeast Michigan foreclosure statistic.  The truth is that it’s time to do what Americans have been doing since the country was founded – picking ourselves up off the ground, dusting off and working with what we still have. Thanks to new acts such as the “Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009,” it’s even more possible to do that.

If you’ve been dealing with the possibility of becoming one of the Southeast Michigan foreclosures, you may have missed the news, so here are a few uplifting highlights that can make all the difference:

1)  If you rent your home and it is being foreclosed upon, you have to receive a 90-day eviction notice. You can’t just be preemptively kicked off the property. As well, if you have a lease you have to be allowed to live on the property until the lease is up unless:

     a) the new owner wants to move in and make it his or her residence or
     b) state law says the lease can be terminated on notice.

Although three months doesn’t seem like a lot of time, that’s three months you wouldn’t have had in most states before the Act was passed.

2)  Lenders and homeowners are now receiving incentives for successful loan modifications and refinancing under the Making Homes Affordable Program. According to the White House government website,  “Servicers covering more than 75 percent of loans in the country have now begun modifications and refinancing under the Administration’s MHA Program.”

3)  One of the biggest challenges to homeowners is finding out who owns the mortgages on their homes.  This can make it incredibly difficult to discuss refinancing or modification with the mortgage owner. Thanks to the Act, you have to be informed whenever your loan is sold or transferred to another party. Now, you always know who has control of your mortgage and who you need to talk to.

Dealing in the current real estate market can be hard. If you’re already struggling financially, it can be even harder. Try to keep abreast of the current laws that can help prevent homeowners and families from becoming one of the Southeast Michigan foreclosures and stay in their homes!

If you can’t qualify for loan modification or refinancing, and are considering a short sale, I can help. Call me now at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


One of the Possible Michigan Foreclosures in Oakland County? All is Not Lost!

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 20th, 2009

Thanks to President Obama’s ambitious plan to improve the housing market, being on the list of Michigan foreclosures in Oakland County doesn’t necessarily mean that foreclosure is inevitable.  You have options, and the President’s loan modification program makes keeping your home even more possible. 

Overview of the Plan
The President’s plan to reduce Michigan foreclosures is based on the thought that struggling homeowners wouldn’t sell their houses if they could only make the monthly payments.  Due to this belief, participating lenders are required to reduce monthly payments for homeowners who qualify until they’re no more than 38% of the homeowner’s monthly gross income.  After that, the government lends a helping hand.  Between the lender and the government, the mortgage payments would be dropped to no more than 31% through various means (extension of the loan, reduced interest rate, etc).

Even with the 31% threshold, many are afraid that’s not enough incentive for homeowners to keep up payments on a depreciating home.  They speculate that homeowners may default on the loan anyway.  To cover this possibility, the administration is offering cash incentives to lenders and struggling homeowners.

Each lender that participates will receive $1,000 per loan modification.  Those lenders will also get an annual $1,000 for up to three years as long as the homeowner keeps their payments up.  For homeowners facing Michigan foreclosures in Oakland County, the good news is that borrowers can get their principal lowered by $1,000 per year for up to five years.  Again, however, it depends on whether they keep their payments up.

You May Qualify
This is fantastic news for many.  If you’re facing foreclosure due to financial hardship, you may qualify for loan modification under the administration’s plan.  If you live in the home, the principal balance still owed is less than $729,750 and you received the loan before January 1, 2009, you’re eligible.  Be aware, however, that you have to prove that you live there, that it’s your primary residence and that you’re having a financial hardship.

If you’re behind on your mortgage or facing foreclosure, I can help you figure out your options.  Time is of the essence, so give me a call now at 248-514-2640.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Michigan Foreclosures vs. Short Sales: The Consequential Facts

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 13th, 2009

Michigan foreclosures in Oakland County are a sad fact of life.  The truth of the matter is that, for many, even loan modification isn’t an option.  When faced with foreclosure or short sale, how do you decide which is best?  While short sales have been pushed by many as a viable option, it’s hard to know what’s best for you.  Here are some facts about the consequences of both:

Your Credit
While both Michigan foreclosures and short sales will affect your credit score, the differences are wide.  A foreclosure can affect your score for as long as three years or more, and lower it as much as 300 points.  The foreclosure can remain on your public history for over ten years.

However, only late payments show on your credit with a short sale.  Your score can drop as little as 50 points and be affected for as short as one year.  In addition, it isn’t reported on your history; it will show that the mortgage was settled and paid in full.

Your Job
On its own, a short sale generally doesn’t affect your employment.  However, a foreclosure is a different story.  Some employers regularly check their employees’ credit records.  As well, many require credit checks for new hires.  A foreclosure on your record can jeopardize your current position or future opportunities, as well as cause the revocation of a security clearance.

In the event of a foreclosure, many banks have the right to try and get a deficiency judgment, stating that you have failed to pay the entire amount of the mortgage.  With short sales, however, lenders will normally agree to give up the right to that judgment and put it in writing.

Lastly, keep in mind that Michigan foreclosures generally close below the price they would get from a short sale, so the remaining balance might be significantly higher with a foreclosure.

If you want to stay out of foreclosure through short sales, I can help.  Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Checklist for Moving When Facing Michigan Foreclosures

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 9th, 2009

If you’re one of the many people dealing with Michigan foreclosures, you will probably be moving to a smaller, more affordable place.  When it’s time to move you don’t want to leave the important things behind, but you may not have room for everything, either.  Here’s a checklist to help you get the important stuff taken care of within the last month:

  1. Change of address – With the rate Michigan foreclosures happen, you want to make sure your change of address is one of the first things you do.
  2. Find a moving and packing company.  
  3. Clean out your safe deposit box and transfer it to the new area.
  4. Get your family’s medical records, school records and other important papers.
  5. Change your insurance policies for your home.
  6. Get a fire resistant safe and put all records, cards, birth certificates, etc.  Make sure you have it with you during the actual move.
  7. Pack less used items.
  8. Arrange to have the utilities disconnected/changed over.
  9. Plan your remaining meals so you can pack the nonperishable items you don’t need.
  10. Make a list of everything you’re personally taking with you.
  11. Walk through and decide what you really need to take.  Hold a garage sale or call a charity to get rid of the rest.
  12. Let your friends and family members know where you’re going and how they can reach you.
  13. Confirm arrangements with the moving and storage companies.
  14. Check the yard and sheds for left over items.
  15. Take apart any furniture or other items for packing.
  16. Start a “survival box”, which includes anything you might need for overnight or for a few days.
  17. Defrost the refrigerator and freezer.
  18. Close bank accounts if needed.
  19. Do a last walk through before leaving to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.  Be sure to look through the attic, basement, closets, etc. 
  20. Drop off your keys with the bank or new owner.

Being one of the Michigan foreclosures isn’t fun; it’s stressful and you’re more likely to forget things in this type of situation.  Make lists to keep track of what you’re doing and then use them!

When you’re ready to buy your next home, let me help you find one that fits your lifestyle, budget and needs.  Call me today at 248-514-2640 or drop me an email me at for more information.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Helpful Hints to Avoid Michigan Foreclosures

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 6th, 2009

Foreclosure is a dreaded word at any time, but the present economy makes it a common dread, one that many homeowners share that normally would never enter their minds. There are new government aid programs as well as tried and true methods for combating Michigan foreclosures and every homeowner should know them.

Nip It in the Bud

Procrastination is never a good thing but when it comes to foreclosures it is a death sentence. Most homeowners know when they are on shaky ground and starting to have problems paying their mortgage.

Because it is usually the biggest monthly expense, mortgages are often the first thing to suffer when things get tight. Waiting to talk to your mortgage company about problems until you actually begin missing payments doesn’t leave much time to correct the situation, and believe it or not, most mortgage companies would prefer to work things out than have a “dead” non-performing asset on their books.

Call your mortgage company and talk to them about solutions to your problems. When you call, be prepared to explain the situation that is causing your difficulties to prove that there really is a hardship. Most lenders will send you a pre-foreclosure package that guides you and shows you what you need to do to prove you are under financial strain.

HOPE for Homeowners 

HOPE is the HUD program that helps homeowners avoid imminent Michigan foreclosures. The government program refinances at a lower rate to help people stay in their homes when all other avenues of solution have failed.

Don’t Give Up Without Exhausting All Means

Your home is important and worth the effort it takes to keep it. With the help of the stimulus plan, banks are able to do more than they used to be able (or willing) to do to provide solutions to homeowners to avoid Michigan foreclosures.

If you would like more information on what to do in the event of possible foreclosure, please give me a call at 248-514-2640 or email me at today.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


6 Steps to Prevent Michigan Foreclosures

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 11th, 2009

The thought of losing your home due to a Michigan foreclosure can be a devastating experience. If you’ve been late on payments or missed them altogether, foreclosure could be in your future. However, it doesn’t have to be. There are varieties of steps you can take to prevent Michigan foreclosures.

1. Contact your lender
In order to sort out the situation, you need to involve your lender as soon as possible so you can figure out the next plan of action and keep your home.

2. Set up a repayment plan
Usually, repaying your missed payments is the start of fixing the problem; that’s why contacting the lender is so important. Depending on what you work out, your repayment costs may only be a little bit more than the cost of your current mortgage.

3. Try to get forbearance
Depending on your specific situation, you may be able to put your loan in forbearance. This means, you could be allowed to make smaller payments or you could be free from payments altogether for about a year.

4. Modify your loan
This is also known as a loan modification. The plan involves reducing your interest rate, resulting in cheaper payments. This can help you get back on track and avoid Michigan foreclosures.

5. Refinance
Refinancing your loan could also result in a lower interest rate, therefore, helping you keep your home. For example, if you have an adjustable rate mortgage that keeps going up each year, refinancing to a fixed-rate loan would be tremendously helpful.

6. Sell your home
Although this option is not ideal, it is better than foreclosure. When you sell your home, you have the chance to keep your credit score intact.

There are never any perfect choices when facing foreclosure. But before you think all is lost, examine your options.

If you need to sell your home as quickly as possible, I can help.  My 30-Day Marketing Plan will help get your home sold. I have a proven track record of selling 85% of the homes listed with me.  Call me at 248-514-2640 today to get started!

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Can You Stop Michigan Foreclosures?

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 19th, 2009

If you’re looking at hard times, and have fallen behind on your real estate mortgage payments, you may already think it’s too late to save your home from becoming one of the Michigan  foreclosures.  But rest assured, you can take steps to keep your home and stop the process. 

  1. One of the most important things to do is keep the lines of communication open with your lender.  Most lenders would much rather avoid foreclosing on your Southeast Michigan real estate.  If you call your lender as soon as you miss a payment, you may be able to qualify for a forbearance, which could cancel the payment that you are unable to make.  You are unlikely to receive forbearance more than once, so make sure that you will be able to start making payments at the time the forbearance runs out.
  2. Of course, the simplest way to avoid becoming one of the Michigan foreclosure is to pay the total amount owed, including all the attorney’s fees.  But, you probably wouldn’t be worried about foreclosure if you were able to do that.
  3. If you are not able to make payments to get caught up, you still have one final option to keep your home.  In some cases, filing bankruptcy can stop the Michigan foreclosure process.  If your condo doesn’t have a lot of equity built up that could be used to pay off your debts, the courts may allow you to keep your home.  The past due and current mortgage payments are included in a payment plan designed to get you out of debt in three to five years.  The decision to file for bankruptcy protection should not be made without consulting with a lawyer.

If the foreclosure process can’t be stopped, you still have the opportunity to keep your home.  You have until the actual day of the Trustee’s Sale of your real estate to pay up what you’re behind, or make arrangements to be caught up on your loan. 

After the sale, you enter a redemption period, during which you can get your home back if you’re able to satisfy the terms of your lender.  You will likely have at least 180 days before the redemption period expires.

Do you have other real estate related questions?  As a licensed real estate broker and lawyer I’m uniquely qualified to answer your questions.  I can help you buy or sell Oakland County real estate in Southeast Michigan.  Call me today at 248-514-2640 or email me at right now!

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


What Is The Michigan Foreclosure Process For Your Real Estate?

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 15th, 2009

With all the talk of Michigan foreclosures in the news, it’s easy to get worried about the future of your home.  The good news is that you have plenty of warning from your lender before they foreclose on the property. 

Foreclosure is when the lender takes legal action to repossess your home if you default on the loan.  When you miss the first payment, your lender will call you to make arrangements to get your loan current.  It’s very important to talk to your lender at this point.  If you’re having trouble making the payment due to a temporary problem, your lender may offer you forbearance on your loan for a month or two.

If you miss a second payment, the lender will begin to call you more often demanding that you catch up on the loan payments.  You may begin receiving letters from the lender telling you to become current or they will take appropriate legal action. 

If you continue to fall behind on your mortgage, and aren’t able to make a third payment, you’ll receive a different kind of letter from your lender.  You will receive a Notice of Acceleration from the lender telling you to become current on your payments by a certain date, or the entire amount of the loan will become due and payable.  If you are unable to pay up, the lender will begin the Michigan foreclosure process on your property.

Remember, a lender would rather work out a deal with you and avoid the whole foreclosure process altogether.  Keep in contact with your lender, and you may still be able to make a payment arrangement with them and keep your home out of foreclosure.

It can take from two to three months before the foreclosure is final and your home is sold to the highest bidder.  You can pay the total amount owed up until the day of the sale and keep your home. 

Want more real estate advice and home maintenance tips?  Subscribe to my blog now.  You’ll automatically receive free real estate advice and tips in your email inbox a couple of times a week. 

If you’re interested in purchasing one of the Michigan foreclosures and want to know when you can purchase a foreclosed home, call me at 248-514-2640 or email now!

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


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