AUDIO: A ‘toolbox’ for those facing foreclosure
July 27, 2009
• Online program helps homeowners in the battle to save their homes
• ‘It makes a difference of qualifying or not qualifying’
With millions of homeowners owing more on their homes than they are worth -- and nearly two million homes actually foreclosed in the first half of the year -- a new industry has sprung up – mortgage modification help.
Some are legitimate, but the smell of desperation among homeowners has also attracted the crooks, with the FBI reporting 63,713 mortgage fraud cases in the 2008 fiscal year.
Now a new, privately held company based in Irvine hopes to help homeowners avoid both foreclosure and being swindled.
“What we do is offer what we call a ‘probability meter. As you enter in your financial information, it gives you a better understanding of where you currently stand in the approval process,” says Andy Firoved, chief executive officer of Homeowner Toolbox Inc. of Irvine.
The software sells for $99 and has a money back guarantee, he says.
He says that beyond helping homeowners organize their finances and papers, it offers tips on how to improve the chances of a mortgage holder approving a request for a loan modification.
He says too many distressed homeowners don’t understand that the mortgage people they’re dealing with merely plug numbers into a program and get a yea or nay.
“In many cases we’ve found that people can be off by as little as $10 and it makes a difference of qualifying or not qualifying,” he says.
(Andy Firoved talks about his company’s product and how his firm has been impacted by the crooks in the industry in today’s CVBT Audio Interview. Please left-click on the link below to listen now or right-click to download the MP3 audio file for later listening.)
Mr. Firoved says a homeowner might be able to improve their chances of approval by cutting simple expenses, such as cable TV, to increase disposable income and thus their chances with their lender.
Unlike mortgage modification programs that require thousands of dollars up front, the Toolbox program generates a packet with check lists, instructions and direct fax contact numbers that homeowners can use to submit the material to their lender and negotiate with them. Homeowner Toolbox does no negotiating, Mr. Firoved says.