Lenders Bending Some to Help Foreclosed Homeowners

By Willard Shepard
|  Monday, Apr 18, 2011  |  Updated 8:24 PM EDT
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When her family's home was foreclosed on, Annette Hixon she asked for help -- and got it.

When her family's home was foreclosed on, Annette Hixon she asked for help -- and got it.

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Annette Hixon and her husband, Ellison, are great grandparents. Their home, where they have welcomed three generations of Hixons, was foreclosed on -- sold on the auction block.

The Hixons faced the trouble sadly common across South Florida. Ellison's heart attack forced him to close his business, and the family couldn't keep up on Hixon's retirement from the post office.

"The day we went to the courthouse and they gave the home away, I thought my heart was going to burst," Hixon recalled. She called the bank and investor who bought Hixon's home. But the Hixons' faith and persistance paid off.

Just days before the police had the order to evict them, Hixon called Jason Walowitz and the non-profit group

United Financial Counselors

.

"What we did was negotiate for them way down from what was previously owed," Walowitz said. The amount the Hixon's owed dropped from $216,000, inflated because they refinanced, down to $59,000, the current value. Their monthly payments went from $1,200 to $495 each month.

Home sweet home still theirs.

"What this is is an opening for banks to be able to reduce the prinicple on the homes to what they are worth today or come down to reality," real estate legal expert Manny Singh said. Walowitz said that if you're current on your loan, you can get help, too.

But perhaps Hixon offers the simplest advice: "When a mortgage company says they are going to foreclose, call somebody."

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