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Help for Homeowners

IMPORTANT: If you are facing foreclosure or are having difficulty making your house payments, you should contact a certified housing counselor before you spend any money or follow any advice from someone offering to help you save your home. This counseling assistance is available free of charge through a local housing counseling agency registered with the Minnesota Home Ownership Center. Finding a certified housing counselor is easy: go to www.hocmn.org and click the link for “Foreclosure Prevention.” Then look for the link “Find a Foreclosure Counselor.” Enter your zip code to find a housing counselor near you.


Why Should I Work with a Home Ownership Counselor?

house with lifering

Whether you are behind on your mortgage payments, afraid that you may fall behind soon, or are applying or thinking of applying for a mortgage loan modification,the Home Ownership Center (HOC) has a statewide network of housing counselors who can offer information and advice on how to preserve your home and avoid foreclosure. The housing counselors work for non-profit agencies that specialize in foreclosure counseling and there is no charge for their advice or assistance. These counselors offer free, nonbiased confidential services. They will:

  • Review your entire financial situation;
  • Help you work with your lender to find an affordable solution;
  • Connect you to other sources of assistance in the meantime;
  • Provide you with support and encouragement during a stressful time.

To find out more about the availability of housing counseling assistance to you, go to the Minnesota Home Ownership assistance page: www.hocmn.org.


Common Misconceptions About Foreclosure

  1. Once a foreclosure is started, it cannot be stopped.
  2. False: A foreclosure can be stopped voluntarily by the lender at any time before the foreclosure sale. It can also be stopped by filing a notice of postponement of sale, by applying for a loan modification, and by filing a bankruptcy. Contact a housing counselor for more information.

  3. The homeowner must vacate the house after the foreclosure sale.
  4. False: Minnesota law provides the homeowner with a six month redemption period following the sale, during which the homeowner may continue to occupy the property without having to pay the mortgage, property taxes, or house insurance. The homeowner may also sell the home during the six month term, either by paying the amount bid at the foreclosure sale or by negotiating a lesser amount with the lender.

  5. The mortgage lender cannot foreclose if the owner offers a partial payment.
  6. False: Until the foreclosure sale, the lender can require payment of all mortgage arrears, including statutory foreclosure costs, in full. The lender does not have to accept an offer of partial payment.

  7. The mortgage lender cannot foreclose if the homeowner is unemployed or has no other housing available.
  8. False: The homeowner’s employment status or housing alternatives are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is if a homeowner has a loan modification application pending, has offered payment of all mortgage arrears and foreclosure costs in full, has filed a notice of postponement of foreclosure sale, or has filed a bankruptcy case.

  9. A homeowner cannot sell or refinance the home during foreclosure.
  10. False: A homeowner can sell or refinance the home at any time before the expiration of the redemption term, by offering to pay the mortgage loan balance, or the redemption amount bid at the sale, or by negotiating a short sale.

  11. Deeding the home to another person, i.e., an investor, stops the foreclosure.
  12. False: Deeding the home to another person, i.e., an investor, does not stop the foreclosure process. It simply transfers the right to cure a mortgage default, or to redeem, to someone else.

  13. Foreclosure eliminates all mortgage debt, including second mortgage loans.
  14. False: Foreclosure under Minnesota law only eliminates the debt owed the foreclosing mortgage lender. The homeowner still owes the second and third mortgage loans.

Important Information

The New Regulation O

This new rule prohibits providers of foreclosure rescue and loan modification services from collecting fees until homeowners have a written offer from their mortgage lender or servicer and have accepted the offer.

 Read More

Housing Relief Scams

Don’t fall for these scams running in our area.

Read More

How to Avoid Foreclosure Scams

The Language Of Scammers:
Scammers will use phrases like “Foreclosure rescue,” “Foreclosure defense,” “Forensic audit,” or will tout themselves as “Home preservation specialists” or something similar. These are terms used by con artists who prey on vulnerable homeowners who are in desperate need of help and desperate to avoid foreclosure. Many so-called foreclosure rescue or foreclosure assistance firms claim they can help you save your home--for a fee, of course. Some are brazen enough to offer a money-back guarantee. Unfortunately, all too often the homeowner pays, then loses the money--and the home.

Spotting a Foreclosure Scam: Save yourself money and heartache by avoiding any foreclosure assistance provider that:

  • guarantees to stop the foreclosure, no matter the circumstances;
  • advises you not to contact the lender or a housing counselor;
  • demands payment of a consulting fee before providing the service;
  • accepts payment only by cashier’s check or wire transfer;
  • encourages you to lease the home to stop a foreclosure;
  • advises you to stop making the mortgage payment;
  • advises you to transfer ownership to the foreclosure advisor;
  • offers to buy the home and then sell it back to you;
  • won’t put the representation agreement in writing.

Minnesota Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Association |  424 W Superior St | Duluth, MN 55802