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New alternatives to foreclosure for South Carolina residents

South Carolina's unemployment rate is among the highest in the country, at 11.1 percent. Although this may not be seen as a positive statistic, it did bring one advantage to the many area homeowners who may be having trouble making their mortgage payments. Due in part to this figure, South Carolina was designated as a recipient of significant federal funds as part of the Treasury Department's Hardest Hit Fund, which will be used to help provide struggling homeowners with alternatives to foreclosure.

This money, totaling more than $295 million, was paid to the state's foreclosure prevention program. It will be available even to those homeowners who didn't previously qualify for mortgage relief programs, due to having income above the established limits or for other reasons. The assistance will be available in the form of cash, which could be used toward monthly payments while a homeowner is job-seeking, or to bring loans current and pay any penalties.

More traditional assistance to help with short sales and deeds in lieu of foreclosure will be available to those who are too far into the foreclosure process to benefit from cash assistance. A state employee said that efforts are being made to ensure that the aid reaches the homeowners who need it most.

It can be stressful and frustrating to deal with the foreclosure process. But now South Carolina residents who are facing foreclosure have additional choices to consider. Although in some cases a short sale could be the best choice, it would be of benefit to consult an experienced real estate lawyer to explore all available options and to assist in handling whichever transaction is chosen.

Source: Island Packet, "Trying to save a home? S.C. foreclosure prevention program receives $295M," Yvonne Wenger, Sept. 26, 2011

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