Foreclosure rate 'unreal' in Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Foreclosure rate 'unreal' in Hawaii

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Foreclosures in Hawaii have reached alarming levels.  It's as bad as some experts have ever seen and in some cases for homeowners they're forced to choose the best of a bad situation and that still doesn't keep them in their house.  The website RealtyTrac reports more than 1,600 foreclosure notices in the last month across the state.

Even the people that are used to seeing debt cases call today's economic situation unreal.  Nearly 25 percent of the people that contact Consumer Credit Counseling of Hawaii are in trouble with their mortgage and at risk of foreclosure.  That's about 600 families this year.

"In some cases its absolutely tragic because financial troubles are not relegated just to that aspect of the client families life, it is seeping over into every aspect of life, it's straining marriages, it's straining health," said Wendy Burkholder, Consumer Credit Counseling Service Executive Director.

Over at the Hawaii Home Ownership Center they're used to trying to get people into a home.  Nowadays they're trying to keep people in the home they have.

"It is hard.  It's heartbreaking for some folks where their best option isn't necessarily keeping the house too," said Reina Miyamoto, Hawaii Home Ownership Center.

Every situation is different but her best advice...

"If I were to give general information I would say getting help early is always recommended. Some people wait and deplete their savings and wait until they're on their last dime before they find help," said Miyamoto.

That's especially bad since she says banks and mortgage lenders often drag their feet and a loan modification can take months, even a year to resolve.

"We find that more clients are coming that are current on their mortgage so they're being a little more proactive," said Miyamoto.

"Certainly a big part of our work with them is getting them to communicate effectively with their lenders and if they're not able to do that we can certainly help them with that," said Burkholder.  "Is there hope? Always. Always. Life may not be exactly as you imagined it a year from now but it doesn't mean that it's bad."

They also warn people don't fall for a magical solution because it's probably a scam.  Don't pay an upfront fee to anyone who guarantees to stop a foreclosure or modify a loan.  For more information about potential loan modification scams call the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development number at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).  There are also links for more information on this page.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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