Southern Marin County.

If You Are Facing Foreclosure, Here's Help

Marin Independent Journal.

Excerpted from Marin Independent Journal
August 12, 2008
Jim Staats, Staff Report

Credit "repair" specialist Hannah Fliegel of Corte Madera helped people remove the stain of foreclosure from credit reports for months before realizing she could do more. Fliegel, a mother of two who has run her credit repair business out of her home for five years, has organized fellow experts in related fields as the Foreclosure Options Network. The panel provides free monthly support groups and quarterly workshops to aid distressed homeowners with loan problems.

Foreclosure Workshops

"I'm taking foreclosure off people's records right and left, and in the meantime I'm seeing families destroyed because of this," said Fliegel, 38. "Foreclosures are going to triple before the end of the year in Marin, so why don't I just stop foreclosures. This is ridiculous . . . "

Marin's foreclosure rate has doubled in the past year. Statistics compiled by indicate 706 properties were in various stages of foreclosure within the past 120 days.

With nearly half of those foreclosures in Novato, Manny Fernandez, executive director of Marin Family Action, scheduled a couple classroom sessions on mortgage management this month.

"If everybody would have gone to a first-time homebuyer seminar before they purchased a home, it would've made a huge reduction in these foreclosures we're seeing," said Fernandez, 45.

"There are a lot of laws that just kicked into effect in the last four to five months and we want to let people know who to call and how they can be helped," he said of the class on home ownership his San Rafael nonprofit will host along with the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, Marin Community Foundation and other groups.

"Because of foreclosures, we better touch back (on mortgage management) and break it down further," Fernandez said.

Fliegel said her free meetings, with a panel including a real estate attorney, loan modification broker, short-sales specialist, financial counselor and bankruptcy attorney, begin with talks by experts followed by open time . . . She invited several realty agents to join her group, but they declined because "they were more interested in higher sales . . .

As a remedy for seniors facing foreclosure, some bank officials have touted reverse mortgages, a no-qualification loan available to homeowners 62 or older that acts as a line of credit against equity in the home, but Fliegel disagrees. "The banks need to fix the loans they were giving," she said.

"(People) were told to refinance and treat equity in their homes like an ATM. They got bamboozled. We want to put them in touch with people so this doesn't happen again . . ."

Marin Family Action will hold "Managing Your Mortgage" workshops from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the New Beginnings Center, 1399 N. Hamilton Parkway and from 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Marin Community Foundation, 5 Hamilton Landing, both in Novato. Call 444-0915.