Struggling local homeowners get second chance
February 27, 2008
Tahoe-area homeowners at risk of foreclosure may benefit from a new federal repayment plan, which would temporarily suspend the foreclosure process for 30 days.Project Lifeline, which is being offered by local lenders, would allow homeowners who are delinquent by 90 days or more on mortgage payments the opportunity to freeze foreclosure while lenders work out more affordable loan terms.Im pleased that the government is getting involved now and recognizing the need to step in and help these homeowners, said Karen Degney, a broker with Assist-2-Sell All Service Realty in Truckee, Kings Beach and Incline Village. These arent just buildings, theyre families, theyre people and its their lives.Degney said given extra time, homeowners could refinance loans at a lower interest rate, or choose to sell the property without simply walking away. The program will make it possible for some people to stay in their homes, and thats really important, she said. Six of the nations largest mortgage lenders, including Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Countrywide Financial Corp., JP Morgan Chase and Co., Washington Mutual Inc. and Wells Fargo andamp; Co., have already begun contacting homeowners to initiate the repayment plan. While the 30-day reprieve period may not seem sufficient enough to tackle the nations housing slump, Degney said the program is a step in the right direction for the government. Any concessions these lenders will make can save a family from having to walk away from their home and suffer long-term credit problems, Degney said. Im hoping it will be expanded to longer time periods.