Industry pros get foreclosures update
Responding to the confusion experienced by homeowners — as well as real estate agents and lenders — in dealing with the current housing crisis, State Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral, hosted a foreclosure prevention assistance seminar Friday in Cape Coral.
Although the seminar was open to the public, the audience of about 40 people consisted mainly of housing professionals — real estate agents, lenders, and mortgage brokers.
Aubuchon said the program was a chance to get information about federal, state, and local programs to real estate and housing professionals so they can help homeowners in danger of foreclosure.
“I feel like I’m at the center of a market that’s more like a hurricane. This is a chance for everyone to take a rational approach in the eye, the calm of the hurricane,” Aubuchon said.
Representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, the Lee County Department of Community Development, and the Cape Coral Department of Community Development made presentations about the various programs available to homeowners and the steps they might be able to take to avoid foreclosure.
The main advice housing experts had for homeowners was to take advantage of homeownership counseling programs, deal directly with a lender to negotiate the terms of a mortgage, and beware of foreclosure scam artists that prey on people in danger of losing their homes.
“There is no magic bullet. There’s a lot of tools in the toolbox, and it’s up to (homeowners) to use them,” said Armando Fana of HUD’s Miami field office.
The dramatic fall of the housing market after years of rising home values has left some real estate agencies struggling to adjust to the new market conditions, Freddie Mac representative Robin Migala said.
“From the early ’90s to about 2003, the housing market was fine,” Migala said.
That means many real estate firms have agents with no experience in “short” sales, or sales of homes worth less than the value of the mortgage, which are fast becoming a staple of the current housing market.
Fana directed those facing foreclosure to call 1-877-HUD-1515 for local homeownership counseling.