Monday, February 22, 2021

Extended Foreclosure Moratorium Will Help Homeowners

While one of President Biden’s first executive orders was to extend the foreclosure moratorium until the end of March, it is important for homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure to know that the moratorium has been further extended. According to a recent CNBC report, government mortgage forbearance programs have been extended for at least “an additional six months” along with foreclosure relief programs. According to the report, the extension will cover approximately 70% of mortgages for single-family homes across the country. If you have lost your job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and you are concerned about the possibility of foreclosure, it is critical to learn about your current options under the federal programs and to seek long-term advice from an Oak Park foreclosure defense attorney about options to help you stay in your home.

Details of the Extended Foreclosure Relief Measures

Recognizing that homeowners throughout the U.S. are struggling to pay their bills, including their mortgages, as a result of the pandemic-related economic downturn, President Biden extended foreclosure relief measures to help homeowners who cannot pay their mortgages and may be at risk of foreclosure. According to the report, President Biden directed federal housing regulators—including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture—to do the following:
  • Extend the existing foreclosure ban (also known as a foreclosure moratorium) through June 2021;
  • Allow homeowners to enroll in available mortgage payment forbearance programs through June 2021; and
  • Extend existing mortgage forbearance programs for homeowners for six more months for those homeowners who entered into a mortgage forbearance program prior to June 30, 2020, but those homeowners will need to “request the additional extension every three months,” according to the report.
Matthew Ammon, the acting HUD secretary, explained how these steps “will provide both immediate relief to those in desperate need of assistance and help more homeowners keep their homes and resume their payments when the pandemic subsides.”

Who Owns Your Mortgage?

It is important to know that the relief options are only applicable to federally owned and federally backed mortgages. As such, if you want to take advantage of any of the relief options, you will need to know who owns your mortgage. Given that mortgages are often sold and resold with some regularity, it can be difficult to know if you are eligible for any of the programs mentioned above. How can you find out who owns your mortgage?

You can use a loan lookup tool offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to determine if either owns your loan, and you can also contact your mortgage servicer to inquire. As of February 2021, approximately 2.7 million homeowners are currently taking advantage of a mortgage forbearance plan, whether it is through the federal government or through a specific mortgage servicer or lender.

Seek Advice From an Oak Park Foreclosure Defense Attorney

If you need help with your options to avoid foreclosure, one of our experienced Oak Park foreclosure defense attorneys can speak with you today. From available foreclosure moratorium options to the possibility of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, our firm can discuss options for stopping foreclosure and remaining in your home. Contact the Emerson Law Firm to learn more.

See Related Blog Posts:

Foreclosure Ban Extended

Cook County Anticipates Wave of Foreclosures and Evictions

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Foreclosure Ban Extended

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in substantial hardships for many families in Oak Park and throughout the country, including difficulties paying rent or paying the mortgage. Early on in the pandemic, many homeowners who were at risk of losing their homes were able to avoid foreclosure through a foreclosure ban. While mortgages that are not federally backed have required homeowners to attempt to work out mortgage modifications or other arrangements with lenders to prevent foreclosure, President Biden recently signed an executive order that will extend a ban on foreclosures and evictions at least through the end of March.

What does the extension on the foreclosure ban mean for you? If you are not covered by the extended foreclosure ban or need assistance with foreclosure avoidance after March, what can you do?

Getting More Information About President Biden’s Foreclosure Actions

The most recent stimulus bill extended protections through the end of January, according to a recent article in CNN Business, and President Biden’s executive order will extend those protections for federally backed mortgages until March 31. In addition, according to the article, President Biden asked the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to “accept applications for forbearance for federally guaranteed mortgages until that time as well.”

For anyone with a federally backed or federally guaranteed mortgage, the recent actions taken by the president could provide more temporary relief. Yet as the article points out, some “administration officials say the bans on evictions and foreclosures are not enough.” Moreover, as we pointed out, homeowners who do not have federally backed or federally guaranteed mortgages are not covered. Approximately 70% of all U.S. mortgages are federally backed, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. Illinois protections have also been able to help homeowners with private mortgages. That article reports that about 1.28 million Illinois households say that they are unable to pay their mortgages, which is approximately one-third of all Illinois residents who have mortgages.

What You Should Do if You Cannot Pay Your Mortgage

If your mortgage is not covered by an existing foreclosure ban and you could be at risk of foreclosure due to the inability to make mortgage payments, you should find out about options by speaking with an Oak Park foreclosure defense attorney. You may be able to prevent foreclosure with actions such as:
  • Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy;
  • Seeking a mortgage loan modification;
  • Requesting a forbearance from the lender; or
  • Refinance your mortgage if you are not already significantly behind on payments.
Contact an Oak Park Foreclosure Defense Lawyer

Being unable to make your mortgage payments can be incredibly stressful, especially when you are concerned that you may be at risk of foreclosure. There are many different options that may be available to you to avoid foreclosure, even if your mortgage is not one of the federally backed mortgages included in the recent extension of the foreclosure ban. Do you have questions about avoiding foreclosure in Illinois? One of the experienced Oak Park foreclosure defense attorneys at our firm can help you. Contact the Emerson Law Firm to learn more about the services we provide to homeowners and other consumers in and around Oak Park.

See Related Blog Posts:
Cook County Anticipates Wave of Foreclosures and Evictions
What Can I Do to Avoid Foreclosure During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Cook County Anticipates Wave of Foreclosures and Evictions

The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc across the U.S. and the world as a menace to public health, but it is important to remember that the pandemic is also devastating businesses and consumer finances. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, and many of them have not been able to obtain employment given virus surges, business closures, and health risks. Moreover, many of the people who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 have also faced substantial medical bills from coronavirus hospitalizations. As such, foreclosure risks are very real. According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, Cook County is anticipating a wave of foreclosures and evictions, and is putting a plan in place to help ensure that Chicago residents still have a place to live when the pandemic eases.

While county-wide programs may be able to help certain homeowners in Chicagoland, it is critical to seek advice from an experienced Oak Park foreclosure defense attorney if you are facing foreclosure. We may be able to help you stop the foreclosure and to help you get back on track with your mortgage payments.

What Cook County Proposes

Cook County is launching a program designed to help suburban Cook County residents avoid evictions from their homes, according to the Chicago Tribune article. Consumers advocates recognize that another foreclosure “wave,” potentially similar to what happened in 2008, could be coming. The county’s Early Response Program is designed to provide information and potential relief to debtors in Cook County.

But will any kind of program to temporarily negotiate with landlords or banks be effective in the long run?

Mortgage Delinquencies Rising in the Chicago Area

Chicago and the surrounding suburbs have not yet seen a marked increase in foreclosures, but rising mortgage delinquencies suggest that a foreclosure wave is looming, according to an article in Chicago Agent. Indeed, as that article explains, a new CoreLogic report suggests that temporary “forbearance measures are keeping foreclosures down despite increasing numbers of homeowners falling behind on their mortgages in Chicago and in other cities.” More specifically, that report showed that, “in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin . . . metropolitan area, 7.5% of mortgages were at least 30 days past due in August and 5% were in serious delinquency.” The report defined a serious delinquency as being late by 60 to 89 days on a mortgage.

Although the recent foreclosure rate in Chicago is down to only 0.5%, that number does not take into account the possibility of foreclosure on the 7.5% of homes that are in delinquency and ultimately could end up in foreclosure. The report underscored how the low rate of foreclosure is not likely to last as forbearance options come to an end and mortgage delinquency rates rise. The Chicago area currently has one of the highest mortgage delinquency rates in the country in terms of metropolitan areas, behind only the metropolitan areas of New York, Miami, Las Vegas, and Houston. What is particularly concerning is the high rate of mortgages that are currently in serious delinquency. Without quick action, many of those homes likely will end up in foreclosure.

Contact an Oak Park Foreclosure Defense Attorney

Ultimately, if you need help with foreclosure defense, you should speak with a consumer protection advocate who has experience with foreclosure defense strategies. One of our Oak Park foreclosure defense attorneys can help. Contact the Emerson Law Firm today.

See Related Blog Posts:

What Can I Do to Avoid Foreclosure During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Coming Foreclosure “Wave” Will Be Different From 2008

Saturday, October 24, 2020

What can I do to Avoid Foreclosure During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

If you are struggling to make your mortgage payments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you should know that you are not alone. While recognizing that many other Americans like you are struggling does not always bring much comfort, it does mean that there may be more options that you can consider in order to avoid foreclosure. There are some options for homeowners with federally backed mortgages, and there may be additional options for homeowners who do not have government-backed mortgages. Even if you have no options through your lender or mortgage servicer, other possibilities might be able to help you to stay in your home during this incredibly difficult time.

If you are at risk of losing your home, you should seek advice from an Oak Park foreclosure defense attorney as soon as possible. The quicker we can begin working on your case, the better your chances may be to avoid foreclosure. In the meantime, the following are just some of the options you might have when it comes to avoiding foreclosure.

You Have Forbearance Rights With a Federally Backed or GSE-Backed Mortgage

As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides mortgage forbearance for federally backed and Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) backed mortgages. The federal law has to separate protections for homeowners with these types of mortgages:

  • Lenders are prevented from foreclosing on your home until at least December 31, 2020, and it is possible that those protections will extend into 2021; and
  • Homeowners can request and obtain an additional forbearance of up to 180 days if they have experienced a financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to be eligible for an additional 180 days forbearance, you will need to contact your loan servicer in order to request the additional forbearance. You will not face any additional fees, penalties, or interest beyond what is already scheduled. You also can request this additional forbearance without having to submit any additional paperwork beyond your claim.

Talk to Your Lender or Servicer About a Forbearance

Many banks granted forbearances for homeowners whose mortgages were not federally or GSE-backed at the start of the pandemic. Although many of those forbearances have expired, it is always possible that your lender or servicer will work with you on payments if you are experiencing a financial hardship and could even grant an additional forbearance.

Learn About Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Options

If you do not have any forbearance options and you are already at risk of foreclosure, one option that could benefit you is Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you are eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the automatic stay can prevent the foreclosure process from going any further and can allow you to reorganize your debts and get caught up on your mortgage. A bankruptcy lawyer can tell you more about how this works.

Seek Advice from an Oak Park Foreclosure Defense Attorney

If you have questions about avoiding foreclosure, one of our experienced Oak Park foreclosure defense attorneys can assist you. Contact the Emerson Law Firm for more information.

See Related Blog Posts:
Coming Foreclosure “Wave” Will be Different From 2008
Foreclosure Surge: Question is Not When, But How Much?

Monday, September 7, 2020

Coming Foreclosure “Wave” Will be Different From 2008

If you own your home and have been struggling to make payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you might have received some relief through the CARES Act or through other forbearance options for mortgages held by private lenders. Yet forbearance options are running out for many homeowners, and many more remain without work and the ability to make mortgage payments. As such, many homeowners could be at risk of foreclosure.

Based on the high rate of unemployment as a result of coronavirus shutdowns and the inability for many of those out-of-work homeowners to find meaningful employment, economic experts have predicted that we are likely to see a rise in foreclosure rates akin to that during the housing crisis and real estate burst that began in late 2007 and went into full force by 2008. By 2010, the foreclosure crisis largely had reached its peak—should we expect something similar a decade later?

Housing Analysts Say We Should Not Expect a Repeat of the Foreclosure Crisis

According to a recent article in, “industry professionals predict conditions won’t be nearly as bad as they were in 2008-2010” for a handful of specific reasons. We want to discuss some of those reasons with you. At the same time, we want to emphasize that foreclosure risks are real, and to underscore that you may have options to avoid foreclosure.

From loan modifications to Chapter 13 bankruptcy, an experienced foreclosure defense attorney in Oak Park can discuss the ways in which you may be able to prevent a foreclosure. However, it is important to seek help on the sooner side. If you wait too long, it may be more difficult or even impossible for you to keep your home.

Expectations for Forecloses and Losses Look “Mild” Compared to 2008-2010

Believe it or not, housing analysts say that the losses the federal government is expecting as a result of the coronavirus pandemic appear “mild compared to those in the Great Recession.” Specifically, the federal government is anticipating that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will experience “several billion dollars in loan losses.” Yet to put those numbers in perspective, those numbers are not “anywhere near the catastrophe” that occurred during the Great Recession.

One of the major reasons is that, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, there was not the same “frenzy of foolish lending, reckless borrowing, and rampant speculation [that] set the housing market up for a wrenching crash” more than a decade ago. Indeed, just before the pandemic led to the economic downturn, “credit standards remained tight, and the housing market was healthy.”

In addition, homeowners now have larger reserves of home equity, and the government “reacted relatively quickly and aggressively to the COVID recession,” according to the article.

Seek Advice From an Oak Park Foreclosure Defense Attorney

Are you struggling to make mortgage payments? Are you out of work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic? Do you have concerns about foreclosure and losing your home? You may have options to avoid foreclosure by discussing your options with one of the dedicated Oak Park foreclosure defense attorneys at our firm. Contact the Emerson Law Firm to learn more about how we can help you to keep your home when foreclosure is looming.

See Related Blog Posts:
Foreclosure Surge: Question is Not When, But How Much?
Long-Term Effects of Foreclosure

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Foreclosure Surge: Question is Not When, But How Much?

The sharp economic declines brought about by the coronavirus pandemic do not show signs of improving significantly in the coming months. According to an article in Politico, the initial closures resulting from the spread of COVID-19 led to the “deepest recession in decades,” and recovery has slowed due to the recent spikes in coronavirus cases across the country. Indeed, as Fed Chair Jerome Powell explained, “the pace of the recovery looks like it has slowed,” and “the current economic downturn is the most severe in our lifetimes.” As the economy struggles to rebound—and indicators suggest that a full and quick rebound is unlikely—homeowners will struggle to make mortgage payments and will face foreclosure.

According to a recent report from DSNews, the question has become just how much of a foreclosure surge we are likely to see as opposed whether one will occur. In other words, more foreclosures are likely to happen, but the question is: how many?

Foreclosure “Surge” is Now Likely

The prohibition against foreclosures on federally insured homes expired on July 31, and there has been no indication that it will be extended. Accordingly, as the DSNews report underscores, the foreclosure surge now appears likely. Looking ahead to the coming year, an ATTOM Data Solutions study has “anticipate[d] worst-, middle-, and best-case outcomes for foreclosure rates.”

What does the worst-case scenario suggest? If Congress does not act quickly and provide additional relief for homeowners who have lost their jobs and are struggling to make their mortgage payments, “residential evictions due to delinquent loan payments could double or worse in the coming year.” In this worst-case-scenario, more than 500,000 homes would be in an “initial-foreclosure-notice phase” in less than a year.

Worst-Case Scenario is Not a Given

In all likelihood, the middle-case scenario might provide a better estimate of the likely number of foreclosures if the government does provide some relief. In that case, “about 225,000 properties next spring will land between initial-foreclosure-notice phase and final resale by lenders that have taken over properties.” However, the report emphasizes that, even if Congress extends the foreclosure moratorium, that action alone will not be sufficient to prevent foreclosures and could, in some scenarios, end up causing trouble in the long run. The report explains how “foreclosure moratoriums can bring short-term relief to a market in crisis,” but “they can be ineffective and even potentially harmful when used as a long-term foreclosure prevention treatment.”

While the worst-case scenario looks bad, it is certainly not a given. Some states are also more likely than others to see a doubling and tripling of foreclosure rates than others. Foreclosure rates in the Midwest, according to the mid-level scenario, would likely double. Other regions of the U.S. would see a bigger surge in foreclosures, with rates of foreclosure activity tripling, such as in the South and West, and in some Northeastern states.

Seek Advice from an Oak Park Foreclosure Defense Lawyer

If you are at risk of foreclosure, there are options to avoid foreclosure. An experienced foreclosure defense lawyer in Oak Park can speak with you today about your options for preventing foreclosure. Contact the Emerson Law Firm to learn more about how our firm can help.

See Related Blog Posts:

Long-Term Effects of Foreclosure

Foreclosure Moratorium Re-Extended

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Long-Term Effects of Foreclosure

Nobody who owns a home wants to risk losing it due to foreclosure. Indeed, if you are struggling to make your mortgage payments, you should get in touch with an Oak Park foreclosure defense attorney as soon as possible to find out about options for keeping your home. If you are still employed, you could be eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which ultimately can allow you to prevent a foreclosure from moving forward and to get back on track with mortgage payments. If you can, avoiding foreclosure is in your best interest. According to a recent study conducted by Stanford University economist Rebecca Diamond, “foreclosures can have devastating, long-term impacts.” To be sure, the long-term effects of a foreclosure can go far beyond the loss of a home.

Homeowners Who Go Through Foreclosure are Less Likely to Own Future Homes
What are some of the long-term impacts of foreclosure? According to the study, one of the most common is that homeowners who go through a foreclosure and lose their homes are less likely to own another home in the future. It is not simply out of a desire to avoid purchasing a home, but rather as a result of longer term financial difficulties. Indeed, “their living arrangements become less secure, and they default on other debts more often.”

Tenants can be Impacted
While we often think about foreclosure as involving residential homeowners who are using the property as a primary residence, landlords can also face foreclosure, and tenants can be negatively impacted. Although foreclosure does not result in a landlord losing his or her home, it can lead to tenant evictions, and tenants having difficulty finding another place to live on somewhat short notice.

On the whole, however, landlords who go through a foreclosure, and tenants who are also impacted, are both far less affected by foreclosure than homeowners who lose their primary residence. In the cases of primary residence foreclosures, those homeowners tend to have long-term financial problems after the foreclosure process is completed.

Considering Homeowners “On the Margins”
Given the economic difficulties that many people are currently facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the study emphasizes that it is also necessary to consider homeowners who are currently “on the margins.” These are the homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments and are at serious risk of foreclosure, but for whom foreclosure may not be imminent. With these types of homeowners, it is important to think through a variety of foreclosure defense options that can allow them to remain in their homes, and to avoid ending up in the long-term risk category of so many homeowners who do end up having their properties foreclosed.

Contact an Oak Park Foreclosure Defense Attorney
If you need help avoiding foreclosure, or if you have questions about how Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be able to prevent foreclosure, you should seek advice from an experienced Oak Park foreclosure defense lawyer. One of the advocates at our firm can speak with you today about your options. Contact the Emerson Law Firm to learn more about the services we provide to clients throughout the Chicago area.

See Related Blog Posts:

Foreclosure Moratorium Re-Extended

Bankruptcy and Home Foreclosure: What You Should Know