August 15, 2011 1:00 AM~Daytona Beach News Journal
Posted in: Real Estate
DAYTONA BEACH -- The area's recently formed foreclosure mediation program is expanding its offerings to work with struggling homeowners before a foreclosure lawsuit has been filed.
Daytona Beach-based mediation firm Upchurch Watson White and Max
runs the program for the Seventh Judicial Circuit, which covers Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties. The program began in July 2010. Its goal is to use mediation to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and free up a clogged court system.
The program until now only worked after a foreclosure lawsuit had been filed, but the Upchurch firm is partnering with the Collins Center for Policy, which runs some Florida mediation programs outside of the Volusia-Flagler area, and Fannie Mae to provide those same services before lawsuits are ever filed.
Program manager Sandra Upchurch
says the goal is to send clients to mediation so that the default is not insurmountable for the borrower and the costs aren't too high for the lender.
The state's Fourth Judicial Circuit, which includes Jacksonville, will also offer a pre-trial program. The Jacksonville Bar Association is partnering with the Collins Center to perform the new services there, and Fannie Mae is referring potential clients to the program.
-- Tom Knox