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Avoiding foreclosure

September 16, 2007

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers the following tips for avoiding foreclosure.

· Don't ignore the problem.

· Contact your lender as soon as you realize there's a problem. Lenders offer programs to help struggling borrowers.

· Open and respond to all mail from your lender.

· Know your mortgage rights. Read your loan documents and learn foreclosure laws.

· Understand foreclosure prevention options.

· Contact a HUD-approved housing counselor (check www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm).

· Prioritize your spending. Health care should be the first priority, followed by keeping the house.

· Consider selling other assets to raise money.

· Avoid foreclosure-prevention companies.

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· Don't lose your house to foreclosure-recovery scams.




Additional advice



· The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development says its Lifeline Refinance Mortgage program can help people who are struggling because of an adjustable-rate or other unfavorable mortgage. Go to www.dhcd.state.md.us/Lifeline.

· Hagerstown attorney Alex Bognar said a bankruptcy filing will put a foreclosure on hold and can help a borrower come up with a financial plan.

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