Over the last 5 years, the mortgage crisis has made senior citizens especially vulnerable to foreclosures. From 2007 to 2011, nearly 1.6 million older Americans lost their homes as a result of the mortgage crisis. Millions more seniors are underwater (meaning they owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth) and are likely to face foreclosure even as the housing market stabilizes, according to the AARP. According to its report released in July 2012, AARP stated that “millions of older Americans are carrying more mortgage debt than ever before, and more than 3 million are at risk of losing their homes.” In fact, 2.5 million loans of people over 50 years old were underwater, which would result in older homeowners having some of the highest and most serious delinquency rates.
Some of the factors that are contributing to this trend are retirement, loss of job and death of a spouse, all of which decrease a senior’s income, making foreclosure a realistic probability. While some of the factors at work can be planned by the homeowner, most are not planned, and when coupled with the distressed housing market, often leads to the inevitable foreclosure notices.
It is widely believed that Federal and State government programs, which were designed to stem the progression of the foreclosure crisis, have not been adequate. Many seniors are not aware that there are government programs that can offer help, even for the homeowner who is in danger of falling behind on their mortgage payments. One of these programs is Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), launched by President Obama to help stabilize the U.S. Housing Market. There are specific guidelines in order to qualify for HARP, one of which is that the homeowner must be current on their payments. Everyone involved in these programs agrees that it can be frustrating and time consuming, but keeping your financial records currnet and readily available is the only way to get through the process.
Contact Shaffer & Gaier
To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Or call our office location in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970.