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    How Families Can Retain Their Homes through SC Mortgage Help

    Failing to pay your mortgage bills promptly can lead to the foreclosure of your home. There is help for people who need South Carolina Mortgage Help.  Your mortgage lender uses foreclosure as a legal means to repossess your precious home. In case this happens, people are forced to move from their homes. Often, if the value of your piece of property does not amount to what you owe the mortgage lender; further steps are employed to help recover the missing amount. When this takes place, on top of owing the mortgage lender additional amount in loans, you risk losing the home of your family and seriously harm your credit rating. The following are tips for SC mortgage help for families to retain their homes.

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    South Carolina has a comprehensive network of agencies and organizations created to help borrowers avoid foreclosure and save their homes. The key is to know what these agencies are, where to find them and how to make the most of the programs they offer. It isn’t rocket science, but it does take time and energy. There is nothing that can substitute personal involvement when trying to save your mortgage, or finding one for that matter. Don’t let others do your homework for you. We can, however, give you a head start and point you in the right direction.

    First, our typical, but nevertheless valuable advice: find an approved housing counselor. They are professionals, they are experts. Did I say they were free? They can help you find the mortgage aid program you need and help you fill the requirements. Find an approved housing counselor near you at the Housing and Urban Development Department’s official website. Use these professionals to find all the information you need to make an educated decision. They will ask about your income, your budget, and other personal questions. This will help you sort out your financial life and make the hard decisions that can save your home. They will then spell out the mortgage aid programs you can apply for, and even help your negotiate with your lender to either modify your mortgage, or buy a new one.

    Two agencies to look out for in South Caroline are the South Carolina State Housing & Development Authority and the United States Department of Agriculture. They both provide mortgage aid and housing programs.

    The South Carolina State House Finance & Development Authority provides is a non-profit agency that focuses on homebuyers and homeowners. It provides a wide variety of services for homeowners: from help buying a mortgage, to servicing it, avoiding foreclosure to refinancing a new mortgage. They provide some of the lowest rates in the South Carolina market, and stay with you all the way once you sign the mortgage.

    If you have a mortgage with them and are struggling to make payments, fill in a request for loan review form and apply for work out options that can save your mortgage. If your mortgage is with another lender contact the South Carolina Foreclosure Task Force at:

    4925 Lacross Road, Suite 215
    North Charleston, SC 29406
    Toll Free: 800-232-6489 ext. 7862
    Locally: 843-735-7862
    Fax: 843-744-2886
    Email: info@fsisc.org

    Here is a map to help you find it.

    Provide the agency with accurate information. Be honest with yourself and them. Ignoring a difficult situation will not help, on the contrary it dooms you to a quick foreclosure.

    Read our next article for more help on avoiding foreclosure in South Carolina, and finding the mortgage you need to buy your next home.

    Fifty million Americans live in rural areas around the United States, around 19% of the total population. Rural areas often suffer from lower incomes, lower standards of health care, and less chances of finding a decent home and the mortgage that generally goes with it. In South Carolina the percentage of residents living in rural areas is higher than average: around 24.5% of the total population.

    If you are living in a rural area, that is a location attached to a town with a population of around 10,000, you can qualify for help from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The United States Department of Agriculture is a large organization that provides programs in areas ranging from agricultural marketing to risk management, as well as rural housing.

    The main program offered to people looking for housing under the USDA is Guaranteed Rural Housing loan program. However, there are many more programs you should look into if you own a home, or are planning to. For example, check out the Water & Waste Disposal Loans, Rural Broadband Loans & Grants, or Distance Learning & Telemedicine Loans & Grants.

    The USDA has loaned over $600 million as part of the Guaranteed Rural Housing program since it began in 1991. The USDA offers loans to borrowers without cash reserves, do not require down payments and offer 30-year fixed rate mortgages. To qualify it is crucial you home is within a designated rural area. Check if your property is eligible here. Your household income must also be within program limits. The income limit depends on the number of people in your household, how many are under age, disabled, or if you are over 62 years of age. Find out what the income limits are in your case here.

    Loans under this program are provided by private lenders; the USDA works as an insurer to lenders to guarantee preferential rates and terms. The rates offered under the GRH are amazing: 2% for homebuyer’s loans and 0.5% for refinances! Under the USDA you can borrow up to 102% of the market value of your property. These loans DO NOT require mortgage insurance premiums. You can use them to buy an existing house, or build a new one. However, some restrictions do apply: it cannot be manufactured housing (i.e. trailers, prefabricated houses), and cannot have an in-ground pool. This is for low-income borrowers.

    Find out more information about the USDA in South Carolina here.

    South Carolina currently ranks 20th in total number of foreclosures, and 15th in the rate of foreclosures. The rate of foreclosures compares the number of housing units in the state by the number of foreclosures. In South Carolina one in every 506 houses was in some stage of the foreclosure process in May 2010. Charleston and Dorchester counties lead South Carolina’s league of total foreclosures and rate of foreclosure respectively. Dorchester is especially worrying; one in every 190 house has received a foreclosure filing.

    This series of articles on South Carolina will provide help on how to avoid foreclosure and delinquency. An important step in foreclosure avoidance is to understand the foreclosure laws of your state. Each State has different foreclosure laws and procedures. Understanding South Carolina’s specific foreclosure laws can help you decide what steps to take, and use the system to your advantage.

    South Carolina has a judicial foreclosure process. This means all foreclosures must be heard in court and decided upon by a Judge. The lender must file a complaint or lawsuit against the borrower to get a decree of sale from the court where the property is located. A decree of sale allows the lender to repossess the property and sell it in auction.

    Once a foreclosure complaint is filed the court will study the case. If the court confirms the borrower is in default he or she is given a period of time to cover the late payments plus any reasonable fees incurred in the foreclosure process. Once the set period of time ends and the borrower is still in default the court will approve a foreclosure sale.

    The procedure for a foreclosure sale is very specific. First the lender must post a notice of sale at the courthouse door and two other places for a minimum of three weeks before the sale. The notice must also be printed in a general circulation newspaper where the house is located for the same period of time. Second, the sale will be carried out at the local courthouse where the house is located. Foreclosure sales must be conducted on the first Monday of the month, and postponed to the next Tuesday if Monday falls on a holiday. The auction sale must be scheduled between eleven in the morning to five in the afternoon; although the Sheriff can close the bidding before if necessary. This does not mean the auction has closed. In South Carolina the auction remains open for thirty days after the foreclosure’s public sale. After this period the highest bidder is granted ownership on the property if the court has no objection on the price of the sale.

    Unfortunately the problems don’t always stop here for borrowers. South Carolina allows for deficiency judgments against borrowers whose mortgage balances are higher than the price obtained at a foreclosure auction. A deficiency judgment holds borrowers liable for the difference between the mortgage balance and the property’s sale price. However, state laws allow a borrower to ask the court for a market appraisal (i.e. value) of the foreclosure. The court will then consider the appraisal price, not the sale price the amount from which to calculate a deficiency judgment.

    What can borrowers in South Carolina do to avoid getting to this stage? The following post in this series will look at steps South Carolina borrowers can take to protect their home from foreclosure.