Local News

Resources Sought for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

Posted December 20, 2007 3:48 p.m. EST
Updated December 20, 2007 6:22 p.m. EST

— Foreclosures have skyrocketed across North Carolina as part of the nationwide mortgage credit crunch.

Statewide, 45,000 homeowners went into foreclosure this year, up 143 percent from a year ago. In Wake County, more than 4,000 people lost their homes, a 15 percent jump from 2006.

More resources are needed to help area homeowners in danger of foreclosure, state and local officials said.

"It's easy to knock on someone's door and find a foreclosure. It's easy," said John Comer, a member of citizen advocacy group ACORN.

The group is pushing for more regulation of abusive mortgage practices. The North Carolina Commissioner of Banks already investigates such practices.

"One of the typical problems in the sub-prime market is the rates automatically adjust after two years and payments can go up 20 to 30 percent," said Mark Pearce, deputy commissioner of banks.

Raleigh resident Paula Harrison said she looked foreclosure in the face and saved her home.

"We were very close, actually eight hours from foreclosure," Harrison said.

Her loan fell into the sub-prime category, with an adjustable rate that created monthly payments she couldn't meet. With the help of the National Training and Information Center, a national nonprofit, she brokered a deal to turn her situation around.

"Once I talked to the lender and they saw the magnitude of abuse on my loan, the lender was able to modify my loan," she said.

Harrison said she believes foreclosure is a community problem, not an individual one. So, she is working to get more local resources to help people the way she helped herself.

"When you have hope, you can save a family, and you can save a community," she said.

The state Banking Commission recommends that people call 888-995-HOPE if they face the possibility of foreclosure.