Michigan's Foreclosure Rate Fifth Highest In Nation

By: John Tramontana Email
By: John Tramontana Email

It's been a struggle for Dora Ray to keep her home after her monthly payment and interest rates nearly doubled over the last few months.

"It went from 10.88 to 16.88% so I've already taken a second job," she said. "Every six months, you know, it's been increasing. Every six months."

Dora thought she signed up for a fixed rate, but her loan is adjustable...meaning it can change form month to month. Her rate started low but quickly skyrocketed.

"I didn't read the fine print. They just push the pages at you and you just sign, sign, sign."

It's the same story for Kenneth Evans. His payments jumped from about $1,000 to nearly $1,800.

"My mortgage is exceeding the money I have coming in," he said. "It's taking every penny that I got."

It can be a big problem if you're not familiar with your loan agreement or if you're a victim of predatory lending.

"The consumer needs to protect themselves," said Dennis Koons of the Michigan Bankers Association. He has a few words of advice.

"Deal with a reputable lender, understand your loan document, ask questions."

Questions like will my rate change? And when? Or how much goes toward my principle? Simple questions that could help you avoid being left homeless.

People fall for simplistic solutions and promises of low monthly payments and don't look beyond that.

If fact, 1% of Michigan homes are at foreclosure, the fifth highest rate in the nation. The main reason? A poor economy as thousands are out of work. But if you do get into trouble there are still options like refinancing at a fixed rate. Tami Farnum is a home ownership counselor.

"They should recognize it right away. If they know that they're not going to make a payment the first month, they should call."

A call some say could save you your home.

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