Options for homeowners facing foreclosure
For those who haven't lost their home yet, foreclosure isn't the only option, said Gwenn Bockelmann, a Westminster real estate agent who is considered a Certified Distressed Property Expert. Bockelmann received her certification about six months ago, but has specialized in short sales for more than three years, she said.
Short sales typically occur when homeowners owe more than what their house will sell for, she said.
"It's one of those solutions that has been around for many, many years, but it seems in the last five years, it's been the one solution for many, many, many people," Bockelmann said.
While the housing market is seeing marginal improvements, Carroll County saw 38 new foreclosures in October. The highest number of foreclosures in the last month were in Taneytown, according to RealtyTrac. Approximately one in 695 homes file for foreclosure in Taneytown, according to RealtyTrac.
For those who are facing foreclosure, Bockelmann said the lender can still hold the homeowner accountable for a deficiency judgment, which is when the house sells for less than what the homeowner owes.
In short sales, that amount can be negotiated or even disappear, Bockelmann said. A short sale will also help with the amount of time homeowners can purchase another home and will do less harm to a homeowner's credit score than a foreclosure, she said.
As of Friday, around 15 percent of homes on the market in Carroll County were considered potential short sales, foreclosures or bank owned properties, according to data from Metropolitan Regional Information Systems.
Bockelmann and a housing counselor from Consumer Credit Counseling Services, Matt Gregory, said to be aware of scams in the housing market right now.
It is illegal in the state to charge for a modification, Gregory said.
"No one can grant a modification except for the mortgage company. The paperwork is all the same [regardless of who files it]," Gregory said.