FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: SEPTEMBER 1, 2007
CONTACT: Patti Boerger, Freddie Mac, 703-903-2445
Joni Byun, Nakatomi & Associates, 310-914-5000
McLean, Va. — September is National Preparedness Month and a good time to prepare homes and families for emergencies. Along with first aid kits and food supply for emergencies, it is important to prepare for urgent financial situations.
“Something as simple as a broken pipe under your home’s foundation, or the temporary loss of a job, could leave you in financial straights, jeopardizing your home,” said Dwight Robinson, senior vice president of Corporate Relations and Housing Outreach for Freddie Mac. “Just as you would prepare emergency supplies for your home, you should be ready for emergency financial situations.”
Freddie Mac offers the following tips for getting your home and family ready for financial emergencies. The tips are from its CreditSmartÒ Asian curriculum at www.FreddieMac.com/CreditSmart. The tips are available in Chinese, English, Korean and Vietnamese.
Expect the Unexpected – From a minor plumbing problem to a tree falling in a storm, homeowners are likely to face the need for emergency funds. Having savings set aside for such emergencies will help you through difficulty. If you do not have any savings for emergencies, now is a good time to start. Even a small amount from each paycheck set aside in a special savings account will help you avoid using your credit cards or a high-interest loan in an emergency.
- Property Maintenance– One of the best defenses against unexpected emergencies is a well-maintained home. Proper care of plumbing, roof, and heating and air conditioning systems will help them last longer. Keeping trees trimmed will lower the risk of limbs falling and damaging property.
- Get an Insurance Checkup – As your life changes, so do your insurance needs. When you get married or have a child, or when you buy a home, car or high-value item, you should re-evaluate your insurance and add coverage if needed. In some areas, you should check your coverage for flood, earthquake or other disasters. (The federal or state government administers some disaster policies, so check with your insurance company for eligibility and coverage limits.) Also evaluate your family’s health coverage. An unexpected illness or injury can be a financial drain if you do not have adequate coverage. If you do not have health insurance through your employer, you may be able to buy your own coverage, or you may qualify for public health benefits.
- Check your Credit – An error on your credit report could put your financial future at risk, making it difficult to obtain low-interest credit cards or loans. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to review your credit report annually. If you find an error, you have the right to correct it. Call (877) 322-8228 or visit www.annualcreditreport.com to request your free annual disclosure.
- Prevent Identity Theft – Today, it is vital that you protect your personal information. To avoid being a victim of identity theft, review all your bank and credit card statements regularly. If you spot any suspected fraud, notify your lender and get it resolved quickly. Many local law enforcement agencies have identity theft bureaus to help you.
- If you Get Behind – A real fear for many homeowners is falling into deep financial trouble and losing your home. If you are in financial trouble, make your mortgage payment a priority. Ask for help early in the process. Explain your situation to your lender and ask for advice and assistance. You can also speak to a trained credit or homeownership counselor who can advise you about your options. Typical loan workout options would include: reinstatement, forbearance, loan modification, and refinancing. Visit www.hud.gov or call (800) 569-4287 to find a housing counseling agency near you.
Freddie Mac’s CreditSmart Asian series was designed to provide valuable information to consumers about building and maintaining good credit, understanding steps to buying a home and protecting their investment. The guidebooks address common barriers to homeownership including language, lack of knowledge of the home buying process, unverifiable income and lack of credit.
The guidebooks are available through Asian American community organizations across the nation including Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), Boat People SOS, Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD), National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD), National Congress of Vietnamese Americans, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA), and National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, Inc. (NAKASEC).
For a complete set of the CreditSmart Asian guidebooks go to www.freddiemac.com/creditsmart/creditsmart_asian.html.
Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation established by Congress in 1970 to support homeownership and rental housing. Freddie Mac purchases single-family and multifamily residential mortgages and mortgage-related securities, which it finances primarily by issuing mortgage-related securities and debt instruments in the capital markets. Over the years, Freddie Mac has made home possible more than 50 million times, ensuring financing for one in six homebuyers and more than four million renters. For additional information about Freddie Mac, visit: www.FreddieMac.com.