I’d like to address similar questions I’ve received from readers looking for help in this week’s column and my next column on April 17.
On March 6, I wrote a column about how federal funds are being funneled into Nevada to help homeowners. I received more comments about this column than any other topic I’ve covered this year. These questions had at least one thing in common. Many homeowners are hurting, and they don’t know where to find help.
Gus and Linda M. asked what can be done to help their son, who they said has a first and second mortgage on his home here in Las Vegas.
“On the first he owes $195,000, and on the second $45,000,” they wrote. “Both are with different lenders. The house is worth about $150,000 in today’s market. He was released from his job in November and has been unable to find work. He just moved to another state with his wife and two kids in hopes that he can find employment there. The house is vacant. He is unable to collect unemployment benefits and is living off his limited contributions of his 401k. He will soon be forced (into) foreclosure on the first mortgage. Will he still be responsible for the second? We have been getting conflicting answers to these questions, one saying he will be wiped out, the other saying he will still personally be responsible for the second, and when he gets a job, his wages will be attached. He has been paying on the second, but it is getting harder to do, and he can’t pay it much longer. He does not want to file for bankruptcy but if he must, he will. Any help you can give us will be appreciated.”
Your son may have several options available to him, including a short sale under the new Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative program that provides incentives for a second mortgage holder to release its lien.
My best advice for this specific situation is to consult one of the free resources listed on lasvegasrealtor.com or a qualified attorney. The State Bar of Nevada operates a lawyer referral service at 382-0504. There is also a toll-free number for Nevada residents outside of Las Vegas, and that number is 800-789-5747.
I will address more questions on this topic in my April 17 column.
There are no easy answers to many of the problems being faced by distressed homeowners. For more information or additional resources, consult a qualified local Realtor or visit lasvegasrealtor.com.
Rick Shelton is the president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors and has worked in the real estate industry for 20 years. GLVAR has 12,500 members. To ask him a question, e-mail him at email@example.com. For more information, visit lasvegasrealtor.com. Questions may be edited for space and clarity.