Alternatives to foreclosure will be offered during free online seminars Thursday evenings this month and next. Homeowners can connect to the Internet-based counseling by using a computer and a telephone.
ByDesign Financial Solutions, which also is known as the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central Valley, will offer the help. It is a nonprofit organization whose services are authorized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"There are more loan products out there to help homeowners now, but there also are many more scams out there," warned Martha Lucey, By- Design's president. "There are preda- tory lenders out there offering 'rescue loans' that get homeowners into worse loans than they already had."
Lucey said distressed homeowners too often are talked into refinancing into loans that lengthen repayment periods to 50 years, require balloon payments and impose prepayment penalties.
ByDesigns' Thursday "webinars" will help homeowners better understand the options available to avoid losing their homes. They will includes discussions about selling, refinancing and how to avoid predatory lending.
"We see a lot of predatory lending in minority communities," said Lucey, noting that usually it is lenders who speak the same language as the homeowners who are encouraging the bad deals.
During the two-hour sessions, participants will be taught:
The online sessions will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today and on May 29, June 3, June 10 and June 25.
Preregistration and high-speed Internet access are required for the webinar. To register, call 800-750-2227 or visit www.bydesignsolutions.org.
ByDesign also will offer free advice during a Modesto foreclosure prevention workshop 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 28 in Harvest Hall at the Stanislaus County Agriculture Center, 3800 Cornucopia Way. No appointment is required for those counseling sessions.
Arrangements with ByDesign can be made for confidential, one-on-one loan default and foreclosure counseling. That counseling can be done by phone or in person in English, Spanish or Hmong.
During those private sessions, counselors review homeowners' income and expenses and develop realistic family budgets. The counseling will cover foreclosure timelines, the appropriate steps to take to avoid foreclosure and options for bringing mortgage payments current.
To schedule private counseling, call 800-750-2227 or visit www.bydesignsolutions.org.