Where to Find Help If You’re a Louisiana Homeowner Facing Foreclosure
Few people expect foreclosure — or plan for it. Americans are typically proud of owning their own home, and the prospect of losing it through foreclosure may evoke feelings of fear and shame. The stress of unmanageable debt can contribute to job loss, put a strain on family relationships, and even destroy marriages.
“Postponing dealing with the mortgage delinquency is one of the main impediments to solving the problem,” observes Gail Cunningham of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in CNN Politics. So if you’re facing an unexpected threat to your financial and emotional well-being—don’t wait for the stress to take its toll. Get help as soon as possible.
HUD-Approved Housing Counseling in the New Orleans Area
Free counseling on how to prevent a New Orleans foreclosure is available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Agencies participating in the HUD program are not allowed to charge for counseling about foreclosure prevention or homelessness, although they may charge for other services. To find an agency participating in the program, call (800) 569-4287 or visit HUD’s website and check out its list of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in Louisiana. HUD recommends the following counseling agencies in the New Orleans area:
- Desire Community Housing Corporation, 3831 Hamburg St., New Orleans. (504) 905-1425.
- Family Resources of New Orleans, 817 N. Claiborne Ave., New Orleans. (504) 822-8520, familyresourcesofno.org.
- Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, 404 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway, New Orleans. (504) 596-2100, gnofairhousing.org.
- Money Management International – New Orleans, 1215 Prytania St., Suite 336, New Orleans. (866) 232-9080, moneymanagement.org. Spanish available.
If you’re a veteran, the Houston Regional Benefit Office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will work with you to help you avoid foreclosure. The services available through the Houston office include refinancing of an existing VA loan to reduce your interest rate and thus the size of your mortgage payments.
When Should You Call a Lawyer?
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services recommends that you contact a lawyer if you are more than three months behind on your mortgage payments; you receive a letter from an attorney about your mortgage; you receive a Notice of Seizure or a copy of a lawsuit filed against you about your mortgage; you discover that your property is set for a sheriff’s sale; or, in the case of a loan less than three years old, you think you may have been scammed into getting the loan by your mortgage broker or mortgage company.
SLLS has created an online application for free legal help from agencies like SLLS, Acadiana Legal Service Corporation, and Legal Services of North Louisiana, Inc.
Beware of Foreclosure-Rescue Scams
The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Trade Commission warn about foreclosure rescue scams perpetrated by people who falsely promise to deal with the lender on your behalf.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry urges homeowners to avoid any business which claims that it can guarantee to stop the foreclosure process no matter the circumstances; instructs you not to contact your lender, lawyer, or credit or housing counselor; requires you to pay a fee before providing any services; encourages you to lease your home so that you can buy it back over time; tells you to make your mortgage payments directly to itself rather than to your lender; tells you to transfer your property deed or title to itself; offers to fill out paperwork for you; and/or pressures you to sign paperwork you don’t understand.
If you believe you have been the victim of a foreclosure-rescue scam, contact the Louisiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section at (800) 351-4889 and the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftc.gov.
Cutting Your Losses
If you’ve decided it’s best to sell your house instead of try to hold onto it, Big Easy Buyers offers solutions for New Orleans homeowners at risk of foreclosure who want to sell their houses fast and move on with their lives. Contact Big Easy Buyers at (504) 513-7878 or by filling out our quick contact form to set up an appointment at your property — and get a cash offer on the spot.