Loan mediation help for homeowners

Gerald Carter, a remediation specialist with the Parodneck Foundation, was the guest speaker at Assemblyman William Scarborough’s 29th AD Task Force Meeting.

Parodneck Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that has been helping low and moderate income residents with resources and support to manage their own housing and improve their neighborhoods.

Carter is at Scarborough’s office every Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to help homeowners with loan mediation.

He warned of the many foreclosure scams that are prevalent. “Many of the same brokers and lawyers that preyed on vulnerable homeowners with predatory loans are now advertising loan modifications. They charge upfront fees, thousands of dollars, to fill out paperwork, even if you don’t qualify, leaving countless homeowners out thousands of dollars in these fees and losing their homes,” he said.

Ten years ago, Southeast Queens had the most paid off homes in NYC. Banks would not give loans to many of these homeowners because they did not earn enough. Brokers found them loans which required no pay stubs or proof of income for which these homeowners paid extra points and fees. As the economy collapsed, many homeowners found themselves with reduced incomes, or jobless and unable to make the payments.

Carter advised homeowners not to use a broker but to go to a non-profit agency or directly to the bank themselves before you shell out thousands of dollars. Beware of giving personal information over the phone.

People took out crumby mortgages, such as interest only mortgages. Monthly payments were lower but you never paid off your home because you were paying only interest, with nothing going towards the principal. If you paid less than the interest and principal, the amount you didn’t pay gets added to your mortgage amount, increasing the amount of your mortgage.

Under Obama’s mortgage plan, if you have a mortgage loan backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and have been paying on time, but your house value has dropped, homeowners will be able to refinance even if their home is worth less than what they owe and be able to lower their payments.

Carter mentioned a repair program for seniors. Seniors who need to make repairs on their homes can participate in a deferred program. Whatever the amount of the loan does not have to be repaid for 30 years and basically, your heirs worry about it. When the house is sold, the deferred loan is paid.

The 29th AD Task Force Meets on the last Saturday of every month (except for July and August) at the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center at 172-17 Linden Blvd. (Near Merrick Blvd.) from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The meeting is open to the community.

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