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Foreclosure's Orphans: Homeowners Not the Only Ones Left Without Homes
When foreclosure forces a family to leave their home, sometimes they are faced with making a decision about caring for their pet as well. Some may not be able to cover the cost of caring for the pet and others may be moving into another living situation that does not allow pets. In either case, the situation is not a pleasant one. Informa Research Services, Inc., discusses how to best avoid facing this predicament and offers resources for those who have to choose a different living arrangement for their pets.
To prevent a loan from falling into default in the first place, homeowners should know the terms of their home loan. "A borrower should never take on a mortgage they do not fully understand," says Nancy Osborne, Chief Operating Officer of E-Rate.com, a mortgage information and consumer rate resource. Potential homebuyers should learn about the various types of mortgages available before choosing one. Additionally, they should shop for rates online ahead of time to ensure they are getting the best available rate.
If a homeowner thinks they need to miss a payment, they should contact their lender immediately. "First and foremost, a distressed homeowner needs to know who they will be dealing with before they find themselves too deep into trouble," suggests Osborne. She also insists homeowners should find out who the decision-makers are at their lending institution and learn about their policy and process to modify the loan.
When the appropriate actions are taken in a timely manner, homeowners may be able to stay clear of falling victim to the real estate crisis and avoid losing their pets to foreclosure-induced relocation.
If a homeowner feels they may be unable to keep their pet with them, they should contact their local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Humane Society, or one of many animal welfare organizations. According to No Paws Left Behind, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to finding solutions for family pets affected by the foreclosures, an estimated 63% of American households own pets. With experts agreeing that 2 million to 4 million homes will be foreclosed on this year, an estimated 1.25 million pets could be left homeless due to the current housing crisis (Source: nopawsleftbehind.org).
Moreover, earlier this month, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 2949 into law, which mandates that upon vacating a premise, property owners must notify animal control officials immediately so that they can appropriately apprehend and care for any animals that have been tragically left behind by their families.
While these are definitely commendable solutions, since they aim at solving the symptoms of the mortgage crisis and not the cause, the best solution is to avoid foreclosure altogether.