Avoid Foreclosure and Keep Your Home

If you are having trouble paying your mortgage for any reason, or expect problems, you should work with your loan servicer (the company that collects payments on your mortgage) or other experts to find a solution now. If you fall behind and don’t take action, the lender will foreclose on your home. If that happens, you may lose your home and all of the money you have already invested in it. The sooner you act, the better the chances you will avoid foreclosure.

Talk To Your Lender

Talking to the lender, or loan servicer, the company that collects the payments, should be one of your first steps. The earlier you call, the better your chance to work out a solution.

Here are some options:

Loan Modification. Loan servicers can help you catch up on late payments or amend your mortgage to make it more affordable. For homeowners who face losing their home, a loan modification is often the most effective way to avoid foreclosure. The options include:

  • Adding all the missed payments to the loan amount and changing the monthly payment to cover the larger loan.
  • Giving you more years to pay off the loan, lowering the interest rate, and/or forgiving part of the loan, to lower your monthly payment.
  • Switching from an adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage, so you can avoid higher monthly payments.
  • Requiring amounts for taxes and insurance to be included with your monthly mortgage payment so you avoid big bills in addition to your mortgage.

Other options include:

Repayment Plan. If you can start making payments to catch up, the lender may let you pay an additional amount each month until you are caught up.

Forbearance. Lenders may let you make a partial payment, or skip payments, if you have a reasonable plan to catch up. Tell your lender if you expect a tax refund, a bonus, or a new job.

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Reinstatement. Reinstatement refers to making a payment that covers all your late payments, usually at the end of a forbearance period.

Sign Over the Property to the Lender in Exchange for Debt Forgiveness (often called “deed in lieu of foreclosure”). This can hurt your credit, but is better than having a foreclosure in your credit history.

Watch out for companies that ask you to sign papers that waive your right to pursue legal actions against them—especially if you expect to continue struggling with your home loan.

For immediate advice, call 888-995-HOPE to speak to a counselor on how to avoid foreclosure. Available in English and Spanish, 24/7. Or visit www.995hope.org for more information.