TN Housing Agency offering help to those facing foreclosure - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TN Housing Agency offering help to those facing foreclosure

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- A new program set up through the Tennessee Housing Development Agency gives money from the hardest hit funds to Tennesseans who are unable to make their mortgage payments.

Homeowners in three counties in the Channel 3 viewing area can qualify for $25,000 over the course of 18 months.

Those in other counties can apply for $20,000 over a year's time.

The State qualified because it has a high unemployment rate.

Friday night, Channel 3 talks with a mortgage expert who explains the best way to fight what's been dubbed the housing crisis.

"We had a period of time there where things got pretty nutty," says Bruce Dodd.

That nuttiness has lead to nearly 11-million foreclosures across the country. 

Bruce Dodd is a 25-year veteran in the mortgage industry.

"While we've not been besieged with it as bad in our area as maybe Nevada or Florida, it's still clearly out there," Dodd says.

For buyers, that means steals on bank-owned properties.  But the economic dive has left many families wrecked financially and uncertain about the very roof over their heads.

Should you find yourself facing foreclosure, Dodd says it's something one must address.

"It's not a problem that will go away by pretending it doesn't exist," he says. "It won't get any better."

Dodd says inaction is not an option.  Swallow your pride and call your lender. They'd much rather work with you than take your house and they have a number of strategies to help.

"There are loan modifications where they can modify your mortgage, while that's a difficult process," he says. "If you're a payment down, forbearance is often an option. They essentially forgive a payment and put it at the end of the mortgage."

There's also what's called the "short-sell."

"They know they're gonna lose if they foreclose, so it's a strong possibility that they'd be willing to take less than what you owe for you to sell the property," Dodd says. "That way you're not totally destroying yourself."

If you're on the other end and you're looking to take advantage of this buyers' market, Dodd says regulation has gotten loans back on solid footing, but you should still set a budget and hold to it.
"Just because that lender says you can afford it doesn't necessarily mean that it's right for you and your lifestyle," says Dodd.

There are six main qualifications homeowners must meet in order to receive financial help from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

You can view those qualifications by clicking here.

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