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    Wisconsin
    Foreclosure rates have reached an all-time high in the Unites States and in the state of Wisconsin. Every homeowner’s story is different, but in the end they all feel the same: frustrated, angry and possibly even helpless, in addition to many other emotions. If your financial situation has recently declined due to job loss or some other reason and you are facing foreclosure, you should be aware that there is Wisconsin mortgage help available and you don’t have to simply allow your mortgage company to reclaim the home that you have worked so hard for. Here are some options for you if you are interested in taking advantage of the various types of Wisconsin mortgage assistance programs available:
    Mediation
    If you have attempted to negotiate with your lender on your own yet have failed to reach an agreement, a Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge has approved the implementation of a special program which consists of volunteer mediators who will mediate on your behalf, provided the mortgage company agrees to participate.
    A professional mediator can assist you in negotiating a modification in your loan that will enable you to pay lower payments or assist you with regaining control over your mortgage payments in some other manner. The mediator can also persuade the lender to agree to waive any applicable fees, including loan revision fees as well as late or delinquent charges.
    Housing and Foreclosure Assistance
    With the intent of preventing foreclosure within the state of Wisconsin, several non-profit organizations have joined forces with participating government agencies to form the Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce. This group of individuals’ goal is to provide Wisconsin government mortgage help to eligible homeowners. This program can assist individuals through prevention, intervention and then stabilization.
    Direct Assistance from Mortgagers
    The state of Wisconsin has negotiated deals with some specific lenders in order to help individuals who are at risk foreclosure. Bank of America has agreed to revise the loans of some homeowners facing foreclosure, and they will also waive the usual loan modification fees. In addition, Bank of America has dedication over $40 million dollars toward assisting struggling homeowners. Furthermore, this particular lender has agreed to waive any early pay-off fees in the event that a borrower decides to refinance their home.
    JP Morgan Chase, another major home lender, has opened a new center that provides housing counseling to individuals in your situation. This new center is staffed with specially trained foreclosure prevention counselors who will meet one-on-one with borrowers and provide them with free advice as well as assistance.
    Other Sources
    There is also the option to visit your local county social services office. No matter which county you live in, there are funds set aside in order to provide relief in situations involving a financial crisis. As long as you’re able to show proof that you are at risk of foreclosure, the Department of Social Services will ask that you complete an application and interview before deciding if you qualify for assistance or not. Assistance is typically available to those in certain income brackets, but if you make more than minimum wage, it is certainly worth a shot to apply and see if you’re approved. Any assistance that you can receive with catching up on your mortgage payments brings you one step closer to the end of your financial problems. Furthermore, homeowners have even requested assistance from their place of worship, and many churches will take up a special collection if they are aware of your particular circumstances.
    Obviously there are various resources available throughout the state of Wisconsin that can provide you with the assistance necessary to keep your home in the event foreclosure is imminent. Many agencies that provide Wisconsin mortgage help will also refer you to other agencies that can assist with job training and placement as well as assistance in other ways. If you require further assistance, simply ask your housing counselor, who can hopefully refer you to the appropriate agency that can give you the help that you need.

    Owning a home has challenges many people do not consider until they have a home and mortgage of their own. Often, it is this very lack of information that causes homeowners to fall behind in their payments and lose their home to foreclosure. This article describes three programs available to Wisconsin residents which will help you find and keep a home.

    Home Buyer Education

    This free program trains potential homeowners to be home ready, that is, understand the ins and outs of home ownership in Wisconsin. This program is especially important nowadays because of the changes brought by new lending guidelines. Learn what lenders are looking at when they assess your loan application. Find out which loans provide the best terms and how to decide how much you can afford to pay for your new home. Discover what taxes, insurance and other housing expenses you will have to pay once you are a homeowner. You can also attend a free landlord counseling course which helps you understand the rights and responsibilities you will have if you rent a property or a section of your home. If you use a federal or state program to buy a two-unit home, you may be required to attend a landlord counseling session as well as a basic home buyer education course.

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    Free Counseling Program

    HUD sponsors hundreds of mortgage counseling agencies throughout the United States to help homeowners find help when they are facing foreclosure. These counselors can prove invaluable if you do not know what foreclosure avoidance programs you are eligible for and what you should do to qualify for them. You can find a list of certified counseling agencies in Wisconsin by clicking here. Note these counseling agencies will not charge you for their services nor try to sell you financial products they are invested in. Use these free counselors and avoid loan modification agents who require a payment for their services.

    Down Payment Assistance

    WHEDA, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority provides eligible Wisconsin residents who wish to buy their first home with a ten-year  loan of up to $3,000 to pay for the cost a home’s down payment. Down payments are on of the main reasons why people cannot afford a home. This program can be a great resource for households who have the necessary income to pay for a mortgage, but do not have the necessary savings to finance a down payment. The program provides a low interest and flexible eligibility requirements. The loan should only cost $34 a month for 10 years.

     Wisconsin Mortgage Aid

    The main agency responsible for promoting the financing of housing for low- and moderate- income households in Wisconsin is the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, WHEDA. In 2010 alone, WHEDA has assisted in the creation and maintenance of over 1,582 units.

    Key Goals of WHEDA.

    WHEDA liaises between lenders, borrowers, non-profit organizations, community groups and other institutions to improve the mortgage and housing opportunities available to Wisconsin residents. The funding of WHEDA does not come from tax dollars. Income is generated by selling tax-free bonds as investment tools. The profits from the sale of these bonds is then used to stimulate the creation of affordable housing in Wisconsin.

    Housing Grants

    One of the key programs offered by WHEDA focuses on providing assistance to those that need it the most. This includes runaways, homeless persons, people with an alcohol or drug dependency, victims of domestic abuse, low-income families and elderly persons, the mentally-ill, disabled and people who are HIV positive. This program has awarded over $20 million to agencies requesting funds.

    WHEDA  FANNIE MAE ADVANTAGE

    Many first-time buyers cannot afford a home due to the down payment and other initiation costs of home purchase, such as initiation and closing costs. The WHEDA FANNIE MAE Advantage program is designed to help low-income first-time buyers to buy a home with as little as $1,000 as down payment. If you are are a Wisconsin resident and are eligible for a WHEDA FANNIE MAE Advantage, the cost of buying your new home will be less than if you chose a commercial mortgage.

    Eligibility Requirements:

    The WHEDA FANNIE MAE Advantage program is only for first-time buyers with a  good credit score and enough income to pay monthly mortgage payments. Alternatively, you may qualify for this program even if you are not a first-time buyer if you plant o buy a home in a WHEDA target area. You must also have at least $1,000 to contribute towards the purchase of the house from your own savings. You must also meet the program’s income limits, (click here for table of Wisconsin income limits) and your home is worth less than your area’s purchase price limits (click for more details). To be eligible you must first complete a home buyer education course.

    If you qualify for this exciting new program you should contact a participating lender and file your application. WHEDA does not usually offer loans directly, but insures the loans provided by participating lenders. Click here for a list of lenders who are part of this program categorized by area.