Since the start of the housing downturn, the number of Web sites and foreclosure-prevention companies claiming to offer help to struggling borrowers has greatly increased. While some of the businesses are legitimate, others are fraudulent and offer services that consumers may be eligible to receive free of charge.
- This month, Fannie Mae – the government-sponsored entity that helps set lending standards for most mortgages—started a Web site, KnowYourOptions.com. The site contains elements distinguishing it from those aiming to prevent foreclosure. All of the information on the site is available in Spanish or English.
- KnowYourOptions.com provides video explanations of what users might accomplish in each of the tabbed section of the site. In the “Take Action” section, for example,” struggling homeowners are advised that the first step to take in seeking help with their mortgage is to contact their mortgage company.
- Other features of the site include contact information for mortgage companies and loan counselors, calculators to determine if the borrower is eligible for assistance, and information on commencing short sales or deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure.
- Another helpful Web site for consumers is Hope LoanPort, which allows struggling homeowners and housing counselors to submit financial documents to mortgage companies and track the status of their efforts to avoid foreclosure. Hope LoanPort was created by Hope Now, a consortium of 12 mortgage companies and 250 counseling agencies.
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