Fighting back the foreclosure process is not an endeavor to which anyone looks forward.
However, our Miami foreclosure lawyers are well aware of the particularly stressful burdens it can place on someone over the age of 65. When you have spent your whole life working and saving, you now want stability.
But too many of our seniors in Florida are seeing that stability crumble.
A recent study by the AARP, titled, “Nightmare on Main Street: Older Americans and the Mortgage Market Crisis,” spelled out just how devastating the collapse of the housing market has been for older homeowners.
While we often talk about the effects of a foreclosure on younger families, the fact is that older folks have less of an opportunity to bounce back. For them, saving their home is not even an issue of long-term credit – it’s a matter of independence, pride and comfort in your golden years.
But the results of the AARP study are troubling. Among them:
- About 16 percent of those with underwater loans are over the age of 50, which accounts for approximately 3.5 million loans;
- Since 2007, the foreclosure rate for those over the age of 50 has spiked from 0.3 percent to 2.9 percent;
- Older folks at risk of losing their home (characterized as having a seriously delinquent mortgage) increased dramatically, from 1.1 percent back in 2007 to 6 percent in 2011; That’s a 460 percent increase!
We don’t have statistics specifically relating to Florida, but we do know from personal experience that the foreclosure crisis has hit seniors especially hard. RealtyTrac reports Florida has again recorded another year-over-year increase in foreclosures, and we are the second-highest in the country for our foreclosure rate.
Part of the problem for older folks is that they come from a generation when seeking help was seen as a sign of weakness. They are often embarrassed that they have fallen behind on their payments. They may feel this way even though they know logically that they have fallen victim to a machine that churned out a massive number of unaffordable mortgage loans and all but ensured they would one day be underwater.
Part of the problem actually started before the official beginning of The Great Recession. Housing prices were climbing higher than ever, and many homeowners took out second mortgages and home equity loans. These weren’t just senior citizens – this was everyone. However, these older folks had less means by which to continue to cover those if the payments got out of hand. Many were living on fixed incomes, on disability or unable to pick up a second job or extra hours, like their younger counterparts.
According to AARP, those who were the hardest hit were middle-income and low-income seniors. Those with incomes below $50,000 accounted for more than 30 percent of all senior foreclosures. Those with incomes slightly higher accounted for more than 50 percent of all senior foreclosures.
This is an acutely felt fear for many seniors, who worry that if they can’t save their home, they’ll be forced to either seek shelter with a relative (if they’re lucky) or be forced to live the rest of their days in an institution.
But it doesn’t have to come to that. There are options available, and we can help you find a solution that is going to best work for your situation.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991.
For seniors, foreclosure can destroy the golden years, Sept. 17, 2012, By Ana Veciana-Suarez, The Miami Herald
More Blog Entries:
Study: Banks Pushed Hundreds of Thousands to Unnecessary Foreclosure, Sept. 15, 2012, Miami Forclosure Lawyer Blog