First 'Solutions' forum at Sandusky State Theatre

SANDUSKY Who qualifies for refinancing? Is it possible to get out of an adjustable-rate mortgage? An
Annie Zelm
May 24, 2010



Who qualifies for refinancing? Is it possible to get out of an adjustable-rate mortgage? And what kind of incentives are available for a first-time homebuyer?

In uncertain times, questions regarding home ownership abound.

A panel of experts hope to provide answers Tuesday night at the Sandusky State Theatre.

The forum begins with a gathering at 6:30 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session at 7.

In response to challenging times, the Register is hosting the first in a six-part series of community forums that address a variety of issues.

The first meeting covers the home.

"This whole economic situation is something that impacts everyone in some way, shape or form," Register circulation director Bill Ney said. "There's so much general information that's out there, it's hard to get straight answers to straight questions in a way people can understand. What we hope to do with the seminar is to do just that ... to give people avenues."

The seminar features a panel of experts from state and local agencies -- including lenders, attorneys and people who specialize in foreclosure prevention.

Panelist Dan McGookey, a longtime attorney with a focus in commercial lending, said a client's situation prompted him to learn more about the mortgage business in recent months.

Through his studies, he discovered a large number of home foreclosures can be defended by the borrower in court -- but the borrower is often kept in the dark.

"There's a real lack of knowledge on everyone's part, including lawyers," McGookey said. "To borrowers, (I'd say) take a good look at your loan or have a lawyer study it -- there's a very good chance you'll find something illegal to it."

Other panelists are:

* Lou Tisler, Housing Authority of Greater Cleveland

* Lucas Rowe, Foreclosure Prevention Advocate, Empowering and Strengthening Ohio's People

* Jason Stenger, Fifth Third mortgage representative

* Pamela Colbert-Brumbaugh, executive director of United Way of Erie County and director of the Save Our Homes task force

* VacationLand Federal Credit Union vice president Peggy Day

* Cindy Flaherty, Director of Home Ownership for the Ohio Housing Finance Agency

* Citizen's Bank consumer lending director Jim Nabors

* Ohio Treasurer's Office regional director Jessica Ford