Foreclosure prevention in Pennsylvania

Recent reports indicate that the number of home foreclosures in Pennsylvania is decreasing. According to RealtyTrac, foreclosures in November 2012 decreased by 67 percent from a year ago. In fact, foreclosure rates are down in 28 states compared to 2011. Nationwide, there were 77,494 foreclosures in November 2012, which is a 13 percent decrease from October 2012 and a 28 percent decrease from November 2011.

In spite of these statistics, some experts aren't overly optimistic about the decrease in foreclosures. The vice president at RealtyTrac believes that the nation is past the worst of the foreclosure problem, but he explains that the decrease in foreclosures may be because lenders are still adapting to new foreclosure rules coming from state laws, court rulings and the National Mortgage Settlement.

RealtyTrac predicts that another wave of foreclosures may still come, and might take the form of either lender-owned real estate sales or short sales. Similarly, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke estimates there will be another one million foreclosures in 2013.

Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program

Distressed homeowners in Pennsylvania should consider several options that can help defend against foreclosure. One option is to secure a loan through Pennsylvania's Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, or HEMAP. HEMAP is a loan program designed to help Pennsylvania residents who risk losing their homes to foreclosure because they are unable to make mortgage payments through no fault of their own.

HEMAP works by loaning enough money to approved people to bring their delinquent mortgage current. HEMAP secures its loan with a mortgage on the property that is being threatened by foreclosure. Borrowers will therefore have two mortgages on the same property.

HEMAP has two types of assistance: continuing mortgage assistance loans and non-continuing mortgage assistance loans. Both of these are loans, not grants, which means that borrowers must repay them.

HEMAP non-continuing mortgage assistance

A non-continuing mortgage assistance loan brings the homeowner's mortgage current to a particular date. Then the homeowner makes a monthly mortgage payment to their lender and also a monthly payment to HEMAP.

HEMAP continuing mortgage assistance

With a continuing mortgage assistance loan, the mortgage is again brought current to a particular date but also offers continuing assistance for future mortgage payments. The homeowner sends a designated monthly payment to HEMAP. Then HEMAP sends both the homeowner's payment and HEMAP's subsidized funds to the homeowner's lender to make up the full monthly mortgage payment. This is different from a non-continuing mortgage assistance loan because the homeowner does not directly make a monthly payment to his or her own lender.

Foreclosure defense

There are many ways that homeowners in Pennsylvania can defend against a home foreclosure without having to declare bankruptcy. Foreclosure defense may be possible even at the last minute, but there is no doubt that the earlier it is in the process, the more options there are to choose from. Distressed homeowners in Pennsylvania can explore their options with a foreclosure defense attorney.