You are not alone. In today's pending economic crisis this is the feeling of many Americans. Many came into what they felt was the acquisition of the “American Dream" which meant home ownership, a car, and a white picket fence (or whatever your preference). Inflated appraisals on homes, sub-prime loans and variable loans that inflated faster than the homeowner could have foreseen caused thousands of foreclosures.
According to the Washington Post, between July and September of this year, 2,700 homes went into foreclosure a day. That is up over 1000 homes a day from a year ago. More than 4 million homeowners with a mortgage were at least one month behind on their payments at the end of June. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, a record 500,000 homeowners had entered the foreclosure process.
This is a crisis. People feel like they have fallen and can't get up. This has especially impacted homeowners and investors in what was considered “hot markets" like Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona. According to an active realtor in South Carolina, appraisals in these hot markets were inflated up to 20% a year. She said what has helped the market in South Carolina stay pretty steady is the real estate market kept at a 5 percent increase a year despite the excitement in other states.
The bottom line is high appraisals caused people to carry a strong spirit that a home was an investment, future money in the bank, rather than a place to live and call home. Most people do not stay in their home for 30 years and many thought they would sell and make a profit before the variable rate would even change. Many Americans were caught off guard. Now they are experiencing a loss due to the drop in value. They have fallen and feel they can't get up.
As America continues to be a transitional country due to career changes, family needs and sudden tragedy, they find themselves having to sell their home sooner than expected and the market is not in their favor. A plummeting economy has brought the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent and people can no longer keep their financial commitments. They too have fallen and feel they cannot get up.
Is there a happy ending to this story? Yes! Communication is key in any relationship. . . personal or in business. Communicate with your lender before it is too late. Discuss options like deferred payment plans, maybe lowering your interest rates. Your lender wants you to succeed. If you have fallen, let them help you discover ways to help you get up.
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