Friday, December 12, 2008

Taking An Interest In Foreclosure

While just about everywhere in the United States the real estate market has come back robust and healthy and most people can count on their house selling after a short period on the market, there are some states whose residents are facing foreclosure in record numbers.

Benefits for these service industry jobs are not nearly as good as those in the prior industrial industry, and in some cases they dont exist at all. Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Florida are reeling from recent economic havoc created by their areas industrial demise and the subsequent concentration on the service industry with its less plentiful and poorer-paying jobs.

The mid-Atlantic states have been suffering from this loss of manufacturing jobs and firms for decades now and foreclosure and devaluation of homes has become commonplace.

Foreclosure might have been staved off in many of these situations, however, had the homeowners not been the victims of some less than reputable lending plans and firms, with ill advised financing options such as interest only loans that left these borrowers with little home equity when they needed to refinance or secure a second loan to save their home from foreclosure.

The interest only loans left them with little or no equity which meant no collateral for the loan. Their homes fell into foreclosure as a result.

An interest only mortgage loan is one in which the monthly payment is exactly the amount of the interest accrued so far on the loan and doesnt touch the principal.

This interest only feature only lasts for about the first five to ten years of that loan, and while borrowers have the right to overpay at any point their overpayment only goes to future interest payments - again, not the principal.

What this means is that for the years of the interest only option the borrower isnt paying off her or his loan. A 100,000 mortgage in 2000, with an interest only option for 10 years, will still have a balance of 100,000 in the year 2010.

Were the borrower to run into difficult making these payments and find the threat of foreclosure hanging over their head, they could be in serious risk of foreclosure. Lets assume, for example, that the houses market value in 2010 was 120,000.

Since literally none of the borrowed 100,000 had been paid off the equity in the home would be at a mere 20,000. If, however, the mortgage payment made each month to the borrower included 200 towards the principal at the end of that 10 year period the borrower would have another 24,000.

Actually the equity would be much greater because as the principal was paid down the interest on the balance would decrease and the same payment would pay more of the principal and less of the interest. This additional equity might save a home from foreclosure if the borrower were to get sick, lose a spouse, lose a job or otherwise get into financial trouble that made payments late or missed.

The general rule of thumb is that interest only loans should not be considered unless you know for a fact that your earning power five to ten months down the road will greatly increase and your outstanding bills will decrease.

You wont be risking foreclosure. Then the risk of paying a little bit now and a lot later isnt as great.


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