Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Foreclosures

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Take a look up and down your street and you may be able to see your neighbors American Dream of home ownership slipping away. Maybe your dream is slipping away, too.

On one street in Frayser, two houses sit empty because the owners couldn't keep up with the mortgage. But financial experts said you can save your biggest investment.

"I would say it's never too late, until you get the certified letter from the attorney's office stating that there is going to be a sale," Jack Hogan with Consumer Credit Counseling Services said.

Hogan said most people who are trying to save their homes have missed one to two payments. Hogan said even then, there is hope.
"You still have the ability to work out some type of arrangement with your mortgage company," Hogan said.

"They don't know what's going on with you. The only way to know what's going on with you, is for you to tell them what's going on with you is to stay in touch with them," Hogan said.

The Memphis Daily News tracks foreclosure in Shelby County every day.

So far this week, 130 homes are in foreclosure. More than 10,000 for the year.

The numbers are shocking, but RealtyTrac of California lists Tennessee as having the 15th highest foreclosure rate in the nation. But to keep your home out of foreclosure, Hogan said you need to do a little math.

"First and foremost, I would take a look at my budget and find out what's causing me not to be able to make that mortgage," Hogan said.

"If the credit cards are the reason you can't make that mortgage.  I would contact the credit card companies and I would try to work out a hardship program. Something where you can reduce the payment," Hogan said.

And the more open you are with your lender, the greater chance you have to save your house. Hogan said the banks do not really want to own your house.

"The banks would rather keep you in your house, because they make more money when you make continual payments," Hogan said.

So even if your American dream of home ownership feels like a nightmare, there are ways to keep your home. Taking Back Your Neighborhood, by holding on to your house.

Click here to e-mail Ursula Madden.