If you are facing mortgage issues or possible foreclosure, you need to take these steps:
- Get a Housing Counselor. The Attorney General’s Office cannot represent individuals, but we do assist you by helping to fund homeowner relief projects that include housing counselors. Specifically, we contribute to the Washington State Bar Association and the Northwest Justice Project’s Home Foreclosure Legal Aid Project. A housing counselor in this program can assist you even if you are not currently facing foreclosure and the services they provide are free of charge. An appointment with a housing counselor can be scheduled by calling 1-877-894-HOME (4663).
- Be Prepared to Gather Documents. For a bank to be able to review your situation, you will need to supply your counselor with many documents regarding your income and expenses. You may also need bank statements, tax returns and pay stubs, along with other supporting documents. Start gathering these documents and have them handy. It is not uncommon to have to submit updated documents throughout the process — this is normal, and timely documents are a requirement of many of the programs.
- Contact Your Lender. Call your servicer. A servicer is the company that sends you your monthly statements. Let them know you are having problems making your payments and that you are seeking the assistance of a housing counselor.
- Do Not Ignore Documents or Mail You Receive. Your servicer is required to send you timely notifications of the process and these contain important information regarding your rights. We know that when you are having trouble making payments it can be overwhelming, but do not ignore the information you are being sent from your servicer. Ignoring it will not make it go away and you could miss important deadlines.
- Beware of Scams. Foreclosures are a public process. Therefore, scammers can simply look through public records to find homeowners that are facing difficulty. They will send you official looking solicitations, often claiming to be a government agency, that promise to assist you in ‘stopping your foreclosure’ or guaranteeing to get your loan modified for a fee. These are most likely scams. You should never pay for mortgage relief. Remember, a housing counselor will assist you for free.