Friday, November 11, 2011

A HARP Overhaul – An End to the Chicagoland Housing Crisis?

Unfortunately, the number of foreclosure filings during the month of October increased 9 percent from September  in the Chicago area, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.  Although, the number of national foreclosure filings are less when compared to this time a year ago, our Oak Park foreclosure defense lawyer knows that this increase is suggesting that bank foreclosure action is on the rise again. It was during this time in 2010 when  U.S. banks delayed or ceased foreclosure proceedings against homeowners after  practices of  illegal or questionable paperwork  were revealed, also known as the robo- signing scandals.  Arguably, the current nationwide and Chicagoland housing crisis is a continuation of the housing buble and subprime mortgage calamities which began in 2006 and 2007 and a collapsing  domestic economy which has contributed to the current 9.4 percent Chicagoarea unemployment rate. But, for some local homeowners who are at risk of facing a Chicago home foreclosure , federal assistance is on its way to help them remain in their homes. 

On October 24th,  the Obama Administration announced a major overhaul to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). As many of you may recall,  in 2009, HARP was created under the current admnistration as an effort to help American homeonwners that have loans owned or guranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and are current on their existing mortgages, but are “underwater”.  Underwater is the term used to define when a homeowner’s mortgage is more than the current market value on their property.

Initially, the administration expected to help 4 -5 million struggling American homeowners who faced  residential home foreclosures. However, according to a recent’s article, approximately 1 million American homeowners have taken advantage of the program.  With the new revisions, another 1 million will be able to cash in on the elimination of specific HARP requirements, such as the 125 percent loan-to-value (LTV) condition.

The revamping of HARP maybe a step in the right directon to help stabilize our nation’s and local housing markets, and  help some Chicago area residents with saving their most valuable investment.  Regrettably, not all of the our community’s cash strapped homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes will be able to take advantage of the HARP’s refinancing elements. And as a result, in the alternative, some meet with a Chicago bankruptcy attorney and choose to file for Chapter 13  bankruptcy protection  in order to save their homes.

Filling for bankruptcy protection should be used as a last resort. If you are current on your existing mortgage which is owned or guranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac that was sold to one of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) on or before May 31, 2009, and you owe between 80 – 125% of the home value  and never refinanced under the provisions of HARP; and you have the financial means to pay your mortgage, then perhaps you should consider taking advantage of the program’s  low-interest refinancing benefits to modify your home loan.

Our Oak Park foreclosure defense attorneys at our Emerson Law Firm have many years of experience assisting Chicago area residents during their economic and financial crises. We understand that sometimes bad things happen to good people and the majority of the American people want to pay off their creditors. But, during this turbulent time of  national and global economic uncertainties  with increasing layoffs, high rates of unemployment and recent elevations in gas and food prices, many hard working individuals are unable to pay their bills. If you feeling stressed, overwhelmed, received a foreclosure notice or think that you cannot afford or are eligible to file for bankruptcy protection, contact our Emerson Law Firm today to speak with one our skilled Oak Park bankruptcy attorneys who can advise you of your legal options.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Foreclosure Defense Attorneys Understand the Problem of Robo-Signed Mortgages

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