• Homeowners Over 50 Being Hit Hard by Foreclosure

    Reuters reported on August 21, 2012, that a report from the AARP Public Policy Institute shows roughly 3.5 million homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth. One troubling aspect to the report was the finding of the much higher rate of growth in foreclosures for homeowners over the age of 50 between 2007 and 2011. The Associated Press video above from July 2012 noted many of the challenges facing older homeowners.

    According to Reuters, 2.92 percent of mortgage loans to these households had been foreclosed at the end of last year. AARP said this was an astonishing 873 percent increase from 2007. “The study adds to the growing mountain of evidence that the economy has shredded retirement possibilities, especially for low and middle-class households,” Reuters said. “Lower home values are especially devastating for these demographic groups.”

    Reuters noted that another report by the online marketplace for foreclosed properties, RealtyTrac, found that the number of foreclosures rose in 59 percent of the nation’s top metro markets. Illinois accounted for two of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates.

    If you are facing the threat of foreclosure, you should know that filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you delay the process and may be able to help you keep your home. It can also provide you and your family with the fresh start you need to get your finances in order and stop struggling with incessant calls from creditors. Complete the form on this page to let our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers review your case or contact our firm today at (866) 930-7482 to set up a consultation.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • Foreclosure Holds Housing Market Hostage

    After five consecutive months of increases, home prices in Chicago and across the nation fell in September from August, according to a Medill Reports story published on November 29, 2011. The S&P/Case-Shiller Index showed home prices in 20 major metropolitan areas up 0.1 percent from the quarter before, although Medill noted that home prices were down 3.9 percent from a year ago. A backlog of foreclosed properties and sustained high unemployment rates are partly to blame for home prices that Medill said are now “comparable to where they were almost nine years ago in the first quarter of 2003.”

    “We’re bouncing along the bottom,” Gerd-Ulf Krueger, economist and founder of HousingEcon.com Inc., told Medill. “Consumers don’t see a reason to expect price increases.”

    While Medill noted that “repercussions from the housing collapse include more people choosing to rent than buy,” the number of homeowners needing foreclosure help is also having an effect on the housing market. RealtyTrac reported that new foreclosures were up 7.36 percent in October to 230,678, but the number of foreclosed homes sold fell 25 percent to 75,243.

    “The whole system is a self-contradictory mess,” Krueger told Medill. “The government and [lending] organizations are still fighting the war that they should have fought five years ago, which is to make it tougher to get financing.”

    With the housing market not expected to stabilize until after 2012 and lenders making it difficult to take advantage of record-low interest rates, there will be many more homeowners considering Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the coming year. What more do you think can be done to help home prices in 2012?

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Do Not Get Tricked Into Paying For Mortgage Help

    Despite the fact that they had only owned their condo for two months, Joyce Thompson and her husband, Paul English, received what the Chicago Tribune described  as an “official-looking letter with the words ‘foreclosure sale pending’ on the envelope” with the letter including the address of their condo and an auction date. The Tribune reported on November 15, 2011, that while the letter from a company called Expert Legal Helpers warned “your home will be sold and you will be evicted from your property,” it also stated “we will have authorization to postpone the sale of your property once we are contacted.”

    When Thompson called the company, she told the Tribune that it “sounded like a boiler room – lots of people talking in the background.” She listened to a salesman’s pitch for a few minutes before hanging up, telling the Tribune she suspected it was a scam.

    Deceptive letters such as the one Thompson and English received are becoming commonplace as more and more con artists seek to take advantage of the millions of Americans needing foreclosure help . The Tribune noted that market researcher RealtyTrac found foreclosure filings rose in the third quarter, with 1 in every 213 properties nationwide facing default notice, auction or bank repossession.

    The Tribune also noted that the Federal Trade Commission enacted a rule that forbids companies from charging up-front fees for mortgage assistance, called the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule. Homeowners facing legitimate foreclosure need to know that our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer can not only provide a free initial consultation, but also help you keep your home through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • With Inventory Down, Will Housing Market Ever Look Up?

    The number of sales of existing homes and condos climbed in Chicago’s nine-county area for September while prices fell, but the supply of available homes slipped for the second consecutive month, the Chicago Tribune reported on October 21, 2011. Local multiple listing service provider Midwest Real Estate Data LLC said that inventory in the Chicago area dropped almost 50 percent from a year ago, to 8.9 months, meaning it would take almost 9 months to sell the number of properties that were on the market in September. “Even though we say there’s less inventory, there’s still a lot of inventory, and we don’t know when that other shoe will drop with an influx of foreclosures,” Loretta Alonzo, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors, told the Tribune.

    The dip in inventory was the lowest it has been in the past 24 months except for April 2010, but the Tribune noted that the expectation is that it might be temporary. While the number of homes entering foreclosure was slowed by state and federal investigations of lenders’ foreclosure processes, a report by data aggregator RealtyTrac indicated that the number of homes that entered the foreclosure process nationally rose 14 percent in the third quarter. Furthermore, the Tribune said many of those homes will become bank-owned foreclosures and relisted for sale.

    Has the housing market downturn left you and your family scrambling for foreclosure help ? Now could be the time for you to consider filing a bankruptcy means test to determine a better way to manage your debt. Whether you were suddenly hit with a mountain of medical bills or have been unable to find employment after being laid off, our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can assist you in understanding all of your legal options. Contact our firm today to set up a consultation that will allow you to see how a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy could provide you with the fresh start you have been seeking.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys