Wow.... this is starting to get out of hand here. I saw a recent CNN video of a woman that committed suicide in Mass, just hours before the auction sale.... This comes as a striking wake up call about the seriousness and tragic situation the housing industry is in. Everyone has clients or folks that they know that are in mortgage trouble. I think it would behoove all of us as professionals to learn how the loss mitigation and loan modification programs work in general, so we can help folks who are in trouble before it gets to another situation like this.....
For those who haven't seen the video, here it is... courtesy of CNN and Mail this... http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/business/2008/07/25/foreclosure.suicide.cnn
I know my first comment to folks I talk to who are in trouble mortgage wise (since I am known as the REPO man) is "have you talked to your lender yet?" I tell them to directly bypass the CSR that they get when they call the 800 number and ask to speak to either the "workout/modification" department or the loss mitigation department.
With the majority of the people I have talked to (and thru networking with other agents), I have found that most people don't know that the mortgage company will work with them. They get behind, then the calls start and they get embarrassed, scared or for whatever other reason, the avoid the calls.. then they get further behind and it escalates, until the foreclosure is eminent. A simple phone call can set the ball rolling to fix the issue. Granted the following process is not exactly streamlined, but once completed the homeowner gets to keep their house (or their credit) and the mortgage company still gets paid.
I have to say, I am a REALTOR that works primarily in selling properties for financial institutions, and that I see both sides of this whole mess. Taking time to realize that the "bank" really isn't the bad guy here, there is a financial burden that has arisen, and then communicating that to the "bank" problems can be worked out, in a lot of cases without the homeowner having to move.
REALTORS (myself included) have a responsibility to educate the public, past and present clients or anyone else who may ask. I think the situation above proves this case and point.