State DOBI: Don’t Ignore Mortgage Payment Problems

By Barbara Perone

After years of unemplHouse Decorated for Christmasoyment, or underemployment, some New Jerseyans may no longer be able to continue making their mortgage payments.

If you’re one of those people, the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) has some advice for you – don’t ignore the problem.

Here is some the advice that a state DOBI pamphlet gives to Jersey homeowners in a financial bind concerning their mortgage payments:

  • meet with a licensed counselor to obtain  support and advice
  • speak directly to your lender (loan servicer) to find out how you can prevent foreclosure
  • talk to a Debt Adjuster, licensed by the state DOBI
  • talk to a Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-certified housing counselor, or
  • talk to someone from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency

A licensed counselor will be able to diagnose your particular problem and identify the options that best suit your needs and give you information about:

  • renting
  • refinancing
  • resolving credit problems
  • reverse mortgages
  • ways to avoid becoming delinquent, and
  • ways to avoid foreclosure

A reverse mortgage allows a homeowner to access the built up equity in his or her home to help pay for expenses incurred later on in life. Refinancing changes the parameters of your loan so you can lower your interest rate. Delinquency occurs when the homeowner fails to make the required loan payments, which can lead to foreclosure, a specific legal process whereby a lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan from a borrower who stops making payments to the lender. In the case of a home, foreclosure involves the forced sale of the asset (the home), which can be used as collateral for the loan to pay back the lender.

Avoid Scams

Never go online and make any commitments to anyone who does not have a license, or certification, from the state of New Jersey. Do not sign over your property deed to an organization, or individual, even if the firm, or individual, tries to convince you that you won’t lose your home. Never make mortgage payments to anyone other than your mortgage company, unless you have the company’s written approval.

Make sure the person/company has a state-issued license

Don’t sign anything with any company (or individual) until you first determine that the firm (or person) has been issued a license by the state of New Jersey. To find out if the person or company has a current license, call the DOBI’s consumer hotline at 1.800.446.7467or visit www.dobi.nj.gov.

To get additional information about mortgage problems call the state DOBI directly at 609.292.7272 or 1.800.446.7467 or visit their website www.nj.gov/cda/hmfa. The present Commissioner of the DOBI is Ken Kobylowski.

Finally, call the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency at 609.278.7400 or visit their website at www.nj.gov/cda/hmfa/ to get additional information about mortgage issues.

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