An article in the New York Times recently detailed a problem that is growing in foreclosure ferocity for some baby boomers and senior citizens: widows who find their homes in foreclosure because only the deceased husbands' name was on the mortgage.
This is a dilemma that a Certified Senior Housing Professional® may face as he or she helps a senior client navigate a distressing mortgage riptide.
The problem is a typical Catch-22; the widow cannot receive help in lowering payments or otherwise modifying the mortgage until her name is added to the note. But many lenders refuse to make those modifications unless payments are current.
While there is no specific data on how many widows have been affected by foreclosure, statistics put together by AARP estimate that foreclosure among homeowners over 50 increased by 23% between 2007 and 2011, making that demographic the hardest-hit in the crisis.
Some lenders – like JP Morgan Chase - have adjusted their policies to help widows deal with the problem, but others maintain that they must adhere to a blanket policy as it concerns all in foreclosure.
Housing advocates are in the process of petitioning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to develop policies that lenders must put in place when dealing with surviving relatives. A Certified Senior Housing Professional® attempting to help a client with this problem may wish to contact that agency to see if they may be of assistance.
Legal Aid is another help option for a widow in foreclosure crisis: those agencies are well-familiar with the problem, having seen a dramatic increase in the number of requests for assistance from widows in foreclosure.
Local housing advocacy groups may also be able to offer assistance or suggestions to a widow or real estate professional.
But until the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau firms up the guidelines, seniors or those helping with the problem must work primarily with lenders, many of whom still possess widely-varying policies.
Read the entire New York Times article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/business/widows-pushed-into-foreclosure-by-mortgage-fine-print.html?_r=0
Photo courtesy of Jeffery Turner http://www.flickr.com/photos/respres/2539334956/
Nikki Buckelew is the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute, a coaching and training company specializing in senior real estate and housing and administrator for the Certified Senior Housing Professional® (CSHP) designation. Buckelew is also the Co-Founder and President of NikkiandChris.com Coaching and Training, a coaching and training company specializing in real estate, leadership, and life coaching for Realtors, brokers, and leaders with SoulFire.
|Nikki Buckelew is the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute and administrator for the Certified Senior Housing Professional® (CSHP) designation. A veteran REALTOR® of over two decades, she holds a bachelor’s degree in gerontology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. As a professional speaker, coach, and trainer, Nikki is committed to empowering, equipping, and educating real estate sales and senior housing professionals seeking to better serve the mature market segment.