If you’re looking for information online about how to stop a foreclosure or on state-specific foreclosure procedures, you should be very wary. You can easily find lots of general information on preventing foreclosure, but this information is often associated with some form of for-profit venture. Also, while information on state-specific foreclosure procedures is readily available, and accurate on some websites, the Internet is rife with misinformation.
You need to beware and become savvy about judging the credibility of online resources. Homeowners using online resources to help stop a foreclosure will benefit from reviewing the following information on locating dependable sources of foreclosure information online, and ideally, how these resources can put them in touch with trustworthy professionals that can actively assist them.
Use Official Federal and State Government Websites
Federal and state websites that end in “.gov” and provide foreclosure information are good sources to use. These sites usually offer reliable, up-to-date information about foreclosure processes and prevention programs. For example, while most programs under the federal government’s Making Home Affordable initiative have ended, the Making Home Affordable website still provides useful information on:
- interacting with your mortgage servicer and HUD-approved housing counselor
- mortgage assistance options, like reinstatement, forbearance, and loan modifications
- how to prepare what you'll need to apply for mortgage assistance, and
- tips to avoid foreclosure.
Also, the federal government, through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website, provides information on foreclosures, foreclosure prevention tactics, and links to state-specific information. To find information for your state, run a search for, for example, “Avoid Foreclosure: New Mexico.” The provided state-specific links tend to give detailed information about foreclosure procedures in that particular state, as well as information about state-specific programs to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and links to court forms, FAQs, and other legal resources.
You can also search for foreclosure help in your state by doing a Google search. When picking which websites to review, it’s best to stick to government or other official sites. These websites usually end in “.gov” but could have a “.org” suffix or might be through the state attorney general’s office and look something like “www.ag.state.mn.us”.
Other Credible Sources of Foreclosure Help Online
Aside from government websites, which should be the first place you look for foreclosure information, you can also consult credible legal marketing websites. Sites like Lawyers.com, Nolo, AllLaw, and other consumer legal resources online, provide both information about foreclosure, as well as resources for getting in touch with a lawyer in your area.
Homeowners should note an important distinction here. Websites offering foreclosure rescue programs or other foreclosure prevention methods for a cost are not reputable, and the Federal Trade Commission website has several dedicated articles online citing common foreclosure fraud methods. In almost all instances, only an attorney-referral service that charges nothing is a dependable place to locate third-party foreclosure legal counsel that can solve foreclosure issues.
Ultimately, you won’t be able to stop a foreclosure just through online research or other actions you take on the Internet. While doing research online (using reliable sources, of course) can be a good way to educate yourself about foreclosure procedures and learn about different ways to avoid foreclosure, you’ll also need assistance from people and entities working offline. In most cases, avoiding a foreclosure involves talking to the servicer, consulting with a lawyer, and working with a HUD-approved housing counselor.