If you're threatened with foreclosure

Wednesday, September 29, 2010; A16

Holding on to home

What people should keep in mind if they are at risk of losing their home to foreclosure:

l Open all mail from your lender. These letters often contain important deadlines - and your lender may still be willing to try a loan modification.

l Gather all your original loan documents in a file. Release only copies of them when necessary, never the originals.

l Check for errors in all foreclosure-related documents coming from your lender. Is the loan number correct? Are there other errors?

l Take advantage of free counseling. The federal government's foreclosure hotline is 888-995-4673. Or find a counselor through the Department of Housing and Urban Development Web site, portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/topics/avoiding_foreclosure.

l Be wary of foreclosure-avoidance scams. Refuse to pay upfront for assistance, and never sign over the deed to your home to anyone without consulting your own lawyer.

l Save your cash. With credit scores damaged by a foreclosure, you may need extra money to make the security deposit on a rental.

- Elizabeth Razzi

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