Foreclosure Assistance Programs

Struggling with your home payments and facing the possibility of foreclosure? There is help out there! From the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, here’s some information that might make all the difference for you.

“Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reminded homeowners who are in the midst of struggling to pay their mortgage or are facing a foreclosure that there are consumer programs available to help them out.

Register O’Donnell stated, “During the past several years, our office has partnered with reputable agencies by promoting their services when it comes to mortgage modification and foreclosure issues. Consumers can contact either the Quincy Community Action Programs at(617) 479-8181 x-376 or NeighborWorks Southern Mass at (508) 587-0950 x-46.

Another option would be the Massachusetts Attorney General’s HomeCorps program at (617) 573-3333. These agencies provide a range of assistance from helping with the mortgage modification process to providing legal services to stave off a foreclosure as well as offering several forms of credit counseling. Additional information can be found on the Registry’s website, www.norfolkdeeds.org under the Support tab.”

The Register also had a cautionary warning for consumers. “It’s important to seek the right source for your needs such as a non-profit or state agency as cited above. Unfortunately, foreclosure rescues and mortgage modification relief are becoming a growing scam. Some unscrupulous private companies look to charge consumers outrageous prices for services and make unrealistic promises to them.”

During the past few months, a statistical review showed that there has been a relative decline in foreclosures, particularly Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings – the first step in the process. “With that said,” noted O’Donnell, “we realize that while Norfolk County is a destination location to both live and work, there are still some of our neighbors facing economic hardships. During the month of January, there were 30 foreclosures recorded at the Registry and 41 Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings initiated against homeowners.”

Register O’Donnell concluded, “The Registry is unequivocally committed to helping those facing a mortgage delinquency or foreclosure by directing them to the appropriate agency that can hopefully put them back on the road to financial recovery. I urge people who feel that they need such services to contact the agencies referenced above.”

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us atfacebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds andInstagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, located at 649 High Street, Dedham, is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can consult the Registry’s website www.norfolkdeeds.org or contact our Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101.

Register William P. O’Donnell

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

Norfolk Registry of Deeds – January 2017 Report

Fresh from the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, here’s the Register’s report on real estate activity for the beginning of 2017!

“Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported a good but not spectacular start to 2017 Norfolk County real estate scene. While sales volume exhibited a modest increase, lending activity showed solid gains in both the number of mortgages recorded and the overall amount of money lent to home and business owners.

During the month of January 2017, the total volume of residential and commercial real estate sales increased by 3% to $532 million from the previous January. The average sale price, again including both residential and commercial, did not show any statistical change from January 2016. The average sale price for the month was $678,916. Register O’Donnell noted, “While the number did not pop, Norfolk County did hold its own.”

On the other hand, lending activity was more robust in January than compared to one year ago with a total of 2,282 mortgages recorded, a significant 15% increase from the previous year. “What these numbers prove,” stated O’Donnell, “is that consumers and business people continue to take advantage of relatively low interest rates in a historical context. Some of the increase in mortgage activity may also be tied to interest rates starting to creep up.” In addition, total mortgage lending in January increased an eye-popping 131% to $1.7 billion. This figure was influenced by a $573 million mortgage taken out against Quincy property in early January.

Norfolk County foreclosure activity was a mixed bag in January. The bad news was 30 foreclosure deeds were filed compared to 15 the previous January, a 100% increase. The good news was a significant decrease in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings, the first step in the foreclosure process. A total of 41 Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings were recorded in January compared to 97 in January, 2016.

Register O’Donnell noted, “As I have stated many times, one foreclosure deed filing is one too many. However, I do continue to be encouraged by the trend lines relative to foreclosure activity. As we saw in the 4th quarter 2016, there continues to be a reduction in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings, which could have been triggered by the state’s low unemployment rate of 2.8%, the lowest in 16 years.

“With that said, some of our neighbors do continue to face economic hardship. The Registry continues to partner with Quincy Community Action Programs at (617) 479-8181 x-376 and NeighborWorks Southern Mass at (508) 598-0950 to help anyone who has received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage from a lender. Another option for consumers is to call the Massachusetts Attorney General’s HomeCorps program at (617) 573-5333. I urge anyone who is facing a foreclosure issue to avail themselves of these excellent programs.”

However, a source of good news was Norfolk County homeowners continuing to avail themselves of the Homestead Act. “A Homestead,” stated O’Donnell, “provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. I urge homeowners who have not recorded a Homestead against their primary residence to consider this valuable consumer protection tool.”

In conclusion, Register O’Donnell stated, “Overall, when considering all the indicators January was a good month for real estate activity in Norfolk County. The county held its own relative to property sales. Additionally, homeowners continue to avail themselves of the relatively low interest rates. As long as the economy remains sound, I am hopeful that the Norfolk County real estate market can gain further momentum.”

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us atfacebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds andInstagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, located at 649 High Street, Dedham, is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101, or on the web atwww.norfolkdeeds.org.

Register William P. O’Donnell

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

Norfolk Registry of Deeds – Protect Your Homestead

From the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, here’s some valuable information about homestead protection…

“Stating that for many people their house is the most important financial asset, Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell today reminded homeowners about filing for Homestead protection.

Under Massachusetts law, a Homestead recording provides for limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.  
“Protecting one’s primary residence is a key objective for all homeowners,” noted Register O’Donnell. “If you own a home and it is your principle residence, one way to protect your home’s asset is to file a Homestead. The Homestead law also allows the filing of an Elderly Homestead application, defining elderly as a person who is 62 years of age or older. This protection can be increased if the elderly couple files jointly. ” 
Register O’Donnell further stated, “One of the major changes under the 2011 Homestead Law passed by the Massachusetts Legislature is that a valid homestead cannot be terminated when refinancing a mortgage. Another clarification of the statute is that a Homestead can provide protections for a primary home kept in trust. Primary residence can also include a manufactured or mobile home.”
It is important to note there are certain debts that are exempted from protection under the Homestead Act, such as federal, state and local tax liens, as well as mortgages contracted for the purchase of a primary home and nursing home liens. Most other mortgages, debts, and encumbrances existing prior to the filing of the Declaration of Homestead, along with probate court executions for spousal and child support, are also not covered under the Homestead protection statute.
Filing a homestead application at the Registry has become a popular consumer protection. “Last year,” stated O’Donnell, “There were approximately 12,500 Homesteads filed at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in 2016, a 4% increase over the previous year.”
Homestead recordings can be filed at the Registry of Deeds for a state imposed fee of $36.00. To find out more about the Homestead law, or to get a free application, please go online to the registry’s website at http://www.norfolkdeeds.org or contact the Registry’s Customer Service Center at 781-461-6101.
Register O’Donnell concluded, “It is important to make clear that a Homestead protects consumers against the forced sale of their primary owned residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. While the debt is still owed, homeowners will at least have the comfort of knowing that with a Homestead filed at the Registry of Deeds, their primary residence cannot be forcibly sold to satisfy most debts.”
To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at facebook/com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds and/or Instagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.
The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, located at 649 High Street, Dedham is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or on the web at http://www.norfolkdeeds.org.”