Dedham MA – Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell today reminded Norfolk County homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgage or facing foreclosure that there are consumer programs available to help them out. Notices to foreclose and foreclosure deeds are on the rise due to a number of factors affecting not only Norfolk County residents but Massachusetts homeowners as a whole.
A statistical review of the past five months shows an increase in foreclosures, particularly notice to foreclose mortgage filings, the first step in the process. Over this time period, a total of 33 foreclosure deeds and 161 notices to foreclose were recorded. February saw the most notices to foreclose with 43 in one month.
“Higher home prices, mortgage interest rates above 6%, and an increased cost of living are all factors that could be contributing to the increase in the number of foreclosures and notices to foreclose we are seeing recorded at the Registry.” Register O’Donnell continued, “With that said, we realize that while Norfolk County is a destination location to both live and work, but there are still some of our neighbors facing economic hardships.”
To help those facing issues paying their mortgage, the Registry of Deeds has partnered with upstanding non-profit agencies by promoting their services when it comes to mortgage modification and foreclosure programs.
NeighborWorks Housing Solutions (NHS) offers a multitude of services with the aim of helping homeowners maintain safe, affordable, high-quality housing and grow their financial skills. NHS’ services include rental assistance, emergency financial help, shelter and homelessness prevention, first-time homebuyer education and counseling, financial coaching, foreclosure prevention, affordable residential and small business loans, and the construction and management of high-quality rental housing across Southern Massachusetts.
Since 1965, Quincy Community Action (QCAP) has been providing anti-poverty services in the Greater Quincy region. This includes basic needs such as food and nutrition, fuel assistance, affordable housing, quality early education and care, adult education and workforce development, and financial education. QCAP helps more than 100 communities, and more than 28,000 individuals benefit from QCAP services annually.
Homeowners can contact Quincy Community Action Programs at (617) 479-8181 x-376 or NeighborWorks Housing Solutions at (508) 587-0950 x-46. Another option available is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at (617) 727-8400.
“All of these agencies provide a range of assistance, from helping with the mortgage modification process to providing legal services to offering credit counseling,” stated Register O’Donnell. “If you are having difficulty paying your monthly mortgage, please consider contacting one of these non-profit agencies for help and guidance.”
For more information on these and other support options, go to the Registry’s website at www.norfolkdeeds.org, click on the Support tab, and then click on the subtab that mentions Foreclosure Assistance.
“Counselors can help homeowners understand their mortgage terms, negotiate with their lender, and develop a plan to avoid foreclosure. There are legitimate resources available to help homeowners in distress, but it is important to be cautious and do your research before trusting any company promising quick solutions,” said Register O'Donnell.
Register O’Donnell also warned homeowners against falling prey to for-profit companies that offer loan modification and credit counseling services but charge an exorbitant fee.
“Unfortunately, foreclosure rescues and mortgage modification relief are becoming a growing scam. In some cases, unscrupulous for-profit foreclosure relief and mortgage modification companies are preying on vulnerable homeowners,” noted O’Donnell. “They make unrealistic promises and charge a lot of money for doing so. If one of these companies is telling you something that is too good to be true, it probably is. Please check out any for-profit foreclosure relief and mortgage modification company before entering into a contract with them.”
To avoid falling prey to for-profit companies that offer loan modification and credit counseling services but charge an exorbitant fee, residents can check the Better Business Bureau or consumer protection websites to see if there are any complaints against the company.
Register O’Donnell concluded, “The Registry is proud of its commitment to helping those facing a mortgage delinquency or foreclosure by directing them to the appropriate agency that can hopefully put them back on the road to financial recovery. I urge people who feel that they need such services to contact the agencies referenced above.”