When you're having trouble making your mortgage payments, you may be understandably worried about the threat of foreclosure. Sadly, about one in every 200 homes will be foreclosed upon; unexpected job losses, medical bills, and other hardship can leave families unable to afford their monthly mortgage payments. Whether you're late on a single payment or have already received foreclosure notices from your lender, there are some things you should look into now to potentially save your home.
Contact Your Mortgage Lender
Start by reaching out to your mortgage company directly, if you haven't done so already. You might be surprised at how willing your lender is to work with you if you're going through a difficult time. Some lenders, for example, will offer forbearance or deferral of loan payments under special circumstances, while others may allow you to make a late payment without reporting anything to your credit bureau.
At the end of the day, it is in your mortgage lender's best interest to work with you, as the foreclosure process is long and costly. It can never hurt to reach out and explain your situation honestly.
Consult With a Real Estate Attorney
If you've exhausted your options with your mortgage lender and are still having trouble with your mortgage payments, it's time to consult with an experienced real estate attorney who works specifically on foreclosure cases. They will be able to assess your financial situation and your current mortgage account to make recommendations moving forward. They may even be able to work out a payment plan with your mortgage lender that works for both parties.
Look Into Bankruptcy
Sometimes, filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy makes the most financial sense if you're having trouble making your mortgage payments and want to avoid foreclosure. While you shouldn't expect filing for bankruptcy to stop foreclosure altogether, it can buy you some time in the form of an automatic stay on your property.
Explore Short Sale Options
In some cases, a short sale may be a better solution. Specifically, a short sale occurs when you essentially sell your home to a third party for less than what is due on your mortgage. Your lender then collects all proceeds from the sale and excuses the remainder of your debt. While not all lenders will accept a short sale, following through with one is a great way to avoid a foreclosure on your credit report while reducing your debt in the process.