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How to avoid foreclosure
If you see you maybe heading for trouble, you can take steps NOW to prevent foreclosure on your home.
As with anything of this magnitude, you need to act quickly. Don’t wait until it’s too late to turn things around.
You may be facing:
. oThe loss of a job
. oCuts in hours or overtime pay
. oIllness, injury, or the death of a family member
. oDivorce or separation
If your family is facing any of these changes and cannot pay your bills, now is the time to look closely at what you owe and what you earn, eliminating unnecessary spending and reaching out for help if you still can’t meet your financial obligations. Taking action now can help you protect your family from the loss of your home.
On the next page are some steps you need to take now, to safeguard your home for the future, and put the threat of foreclosure behind you.
Remember. The time to act is now. The longer you wait, the deeper the problem becomes.
1. CONTACT YOUR MORTGAGE COMPANY NOW
Many people avoid calling their lenders when they have money troubles. Most of us are embarrassed to discuss our money problems with others or believe that if lenders know we are in trouble, they will rush to collection or foreclosure.
Lenders want to help borrowers keep their homes. Foreclosure is expensive for lenders, mortgage insurers and investors. HUD/FHA, as well as private mortgage insurance companies and investors like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, require lenders to work aggressively with borrowers who are facing money problems.
Lenders have workout options to help you keep your home. However, these options work best when your loan is only one or two payments behind. The farther behind you are on your payments, the fewer options are available.
Do not assume that your problems will quickly correct themselves. Don’t lose valuable time by being overly optimistic. Contact your mortgage lender to discuss your circumstances as soon as you realize that you are unable to make your payments. While there is no guarantee that any particular relief will be given, most lenders are willing to explore every possible option.
To help you, lenders typically need:
. o Your loan account number
. o A brief explanation of your circumstances
. o Recent income documents (such as Pay stubs; Benefit Statements from Social Security, Disability, Unemployment, Retirement, or Public Assistance. If you are Self-employed, have your tax returns or a Year-to-date Profit and Loss Statement available for reference)
. oList of household expenses
Expect to have more than one phone conversation with your lender. Typically, your lender will mail you a “loan workout” package. This package contains information, forms and instructions. If you want to be considered for assistance, you must complete the forms and return them to your lender quickly. The completed package will be reviewed before the lender talks about a solution with you.
CALL TODAY! The sooner you call; the sooner help is available.
2. DO NOT IGNORE MAIL FROM YOUR LENDER
If you do not contact your lender, your lender will try to contact you by mail and phone soon after you stop making payments. It is very important that you respond to the mail and the phone calls offering help. If your lender does not hear from you they will be required to start legal action leading to foreclosure. This will substantially increase the cost of bringing your loan current.
3. TALK TO A HOUSING COUNSELING AGENCY
If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your lender, you should immediately contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency and arrange an appointment with a counselor. A counselor will help you assess your financial situation, determine what options are available to you, and help you negotiate with your lender. A counselor will be familiar with the various workout arrangements that lenders will consider and will know what course of action makes the most sense for you and your family, based on your circumstances. In addition, the counselor can call the lender with you or on your behalf to discuss a workout plan. By meeting with a counselor before your mortgage payments are too far behind, you can protect yourself from future credit problems.
A good counselor will help you establish a monthly budget plan to ensure that you can meet all of your monthly expenses, including your mortgage payment. Your personal financial plan will clearly show how much money you have available to make the mortgage payment. This analysis will help you and your lender determine whether a reduced or delayed payment schedule could help you. Also, a counselor will have information on services, resources, and programs available in your local area that may provide you with additional financial, legal, medical or other assistance that you may need.