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  • If you are a resident in Georgia and are struggling to meet your mortgage payments you are at risk of losing your home. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs provides valuable advice on how to avoid foreclosure and find free help from professional housing counselors.

    Every state has different laws on foreclosure process, so it is important to know your state laws. Local housing counselors can provide you with this and other important information. Georgia, for instance, is a nonjudicial state in foreclosure matters. This means that a lender does not have to go to court to start a foreclosure. Nevertheless the borrower must be at least 90 days (three months) behind on his payments. Also, the lender or a representative must advertise the date of the foreclosure for 30 days in a legal publication of your county.

    How can housing counselors help?

    Knowing what to do is not easy when you are worried you might lose your home. A certified counselor can help you ask for help in the right way to the right people. Counselors have lists of contacts for key people in the main lending companies. These are decision makers that have the authority to negotiate the terms of a mortgage workout. A counseling agency can also help you to write a financial hardship letter asking for a mortgage workout. Just writing this letter and filling legal forms can be a nightmare for some people. Free counseling agencies can help you with this at no cost to you.

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    Counseling agencies can also help you find out what alternatives you have in your specific circumstances. For instance, if you just lost your job you might be tempted to ignore your mortgage payments until you find a job. However, a housing counseling agency can help you ask your lender to reduce or stop payments until you have a job again. These choices might not be available if you wait too long without either contacting a housing counselor or your lender. Just remember that a housing counselor is paid to have your best interest at heart, and a bank does not.

    Can counseling agencies give me funds to help me meet my late payments?

    Although the government funding that pays for counseling agencies does not allow them to use these funds to provide direct financial aid, but they can put you in touch with others that can. Talk to your local housing counseling agency and ask what programs (government and private) are available to help you bring a mortgage current or pay for other expenses.

    Even if you feel there is no chance of you keeping your home and foreclosure is unavoidable, you should still contact a housing counselor. They can explain to you how the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan can help you find alternatives to foreclosure.

    Click here for a list of counseling agencies approved by the Georgia Department of Community of affairs or call 1-888-995-4673 to find your closest HUD approved agency.

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