Foreclosure mediation is a program that has been created to help homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments and facing foreclosure. These programs are run by individual states. When a homeowner is in trouble financially and they are not able to come to an agreement with the bank, they have the option to file a Foreclosure Mediation and Financial Worksheet with their state’s Office of Foreclosure. When the Office of Foreclosure receives the worksheet, they will forward it to the county courthouse that the home is located in. They will also send a copy to the bank’s legal representation.
Once the courthouse receives the worksheet, they will assign a mediator to the case. The mediator will set a date at which both the homeowner and the bank representative must appear. During the mediation, the mediator will not pass judgment on either party. Instead, they will compassionately listen to both sides’ viewpoints, and do their best to guide the two parties to a fair and practical solution. Mediators cannot give either party legal or financial advice, they can only make recommendations.
The reason that the bank is willing to listen to the mediator and try and reach an acceptable agreement with the homeowner is simple. The bank does not want to be in the business of owning houses. If the bank forecloses, it is a big headache for them. They have to pay the taxes, take care of the upkeep, and try and find a buyer. They want to avoid the hassle if at all possible. Therefore, they will usually be willing to listen to any fair compromise that will keep the mortgage alive and in the homeowner’s hands.
Foreclosure mediators undergo special training in order to do their job. This training enables them to suggest several possible paths for the bank and homeowner to take during the mediation session. One of the outcomes can be an extension of the mortgage. Another option that can be chosen is restructuring of the mortgage. The bank will change the terms of the mortgage in order to allow the homeowner a realistic path to repayment. Another option that can be presented is time to refinance. The bank will give the homeowner a specified amount of time to approach other lenders and find a refinancing deal. During this time, the bank agrees not to foreclose on the house. The mediator will try any and all of these options in order to reach a satisfactory agreement for both parties.
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