The goal of the Wisconsin Foreclosure Mediation Network Model is to assist parties determine, within a reasonable period of time, whether foreclosure can be avoided by an alternate mutually agreeable arrangement, such as a loan modification or repayment plan, or to allow for a graceful exit from the property. The mediation program seeks to achieve this goal by structuring the collection and exchange of information to prepare the parties for their mediation session. The neutral and impartial mediator then guides and summarizes the communications so that parties gain a complete and clear understanding of any options that may exist, or the reasons retention options are not available.
The Program is available to parties to a first or second mortgage foreclosure action involving a one-four family residential property. The homeowner need not reside in the property, but they may not own more than four other rental properties. This is consistent with the eligibility criteria for the U.S. Treasury’s Making Homes Affordable loan modification program. In addition, the action must be pending in a county that is a member of the Wisconsin Foreclosure Mediation Network. Vacation properties or “seasonal homes” are not eligible, nor are homes subject to a bankruptcy.
The fee to participate in foreclosure mediation is county-specific. Please see the appropriate Mediation Request Form or Detailed Mediation Process Description for the county in which you are participating.
d. Preparing for Mediation
i. Requesting and Consenting to Mediation
Homeowners initiate a request to mediate through a three step process: submitting a Mediation Request Form, completing Housing Counseling, and paying the program fee to the Regional Mediation Program. Upon completion of these steps, lenders are invited to mediation. If the lender declines to participate in mediation, the homeowner is refunded the majority of the fee, with the Regional Mediation Program keeping a small portion to help offset administrative expenses, as explained in the Detailed Mediation Process Description.
ii. Housing Counseling
Housing counseling is an integral component of foreclosure mediation. Experienced housing counselors assist homeowners in assembling the financial records and accurately completing the various forms that are needed by lenders to review for loan modification options.
iii. Sharing of Documents
The Network utilizes a secure “Portal” that allows servicers, attorneys, counselors and mediators to communicate and share documents in a transparent, easy to use and secure manner.
Each Region maintains a roster of skilled volunteer foreclosure mediators that have undergone comprehensive foreclosure mediation training through the Network.
ii. Scope of the Mediation
The mediation session may include negotiation of a modification of the homeowner’s
loan, whether by new payment terms, reduction or forgiveness in principal, interest, escrow shortage or advanced costs, surrender or sale of the mortgaged property or otherwise. Disputes of the amount due, application of payments, or other claims are within the scope of mediation only if both parties expressly make such election.