I Can’t Pay My Mortgage–Understanding Your Options

If you find yourself considering foreclosure, first make sure you understand the many options available to help you keep your home and avoid foreclosure. Like so many aspects of financial lending, this too can be confusing, overwhelming and use unfamiliar terminology.  Below light is shed on the many different options you may have instead of foreclosure.  You may not be eligible for all of these options but you and your lender can determine how best to move forward.  Remember, the earlier you contact them the better your chances are of getting the help you need.

Making Home Affordable Program

The Making Home Affordable Program provides help to homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgage or anticipating trouble in the future. Find out if you are eligible for assistance through this program by clicking here http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Workout Options

If the Making Home Affordable Program is not an option for you, there may be other alternatives. By working with your lender you can determine if you are eligible for any of the following workout options, including:

  • Refinance: If you have enough equity in your home, your new mortgage could pay off the old loan along with any late fees and attorney fees. If you decide to pursue a refinance, remember to shop around for the best terms and compare the Annual Percentage Rates.
  • Reinstatement: Your lender may agree to let you pay the total amount you are behind, in a lump sum payment and by a specific date. This is often combined with forbearance when you can show that funds from a bonus, tax refund, or other source will become available at a specific time in the future. Be aware that there may be late fees and other costs associated with a reinstatement plan.
  • Forbearance: Your lender may offer a temporary reduction or suspension of your mortgage payments while you get back on your feet. Forbearance is often combined with a reinstatement or a repayment plan to pay off the missed or reduced mortgage payments.
  • Repayment Plan: This is an agreement that gives you a fixed amount of time to repay the amount you are behind by combining a portion of what is past due with your regular monthly payment. At the end of the repayment period you have gradually paid back the amount of your mortgage that was delinquent.
  • Loan modification: This is a written agreement between you and your mortgage company that permanently changes one or more of the original terms of your note to make the payments more affordable.

Depending on your circumstances it may not be possible to keep your home. But there are still options available to help you avoid the financial and emotional impacts of foreclosure:

Short Sale or Short Payoff: In cases where you sell your home for less than you owe, your lender may accept the lesser amount.

Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure: Your lender may accept the voluntary transfer of the title of your home back to them in exchange for cancellation of your mortgage debt. This approach may have tax implications for you, and it may not be possible if there are other liens against your home.
Assumption: This option permits a qualified buyer to take over your mortgage debt and the mortgage payments, even if the mortgage was originally non-assumable.

Be aware that some workout options affect your credit rating more than others and you should discuss all potential impacts with your lender to better understand which option works best for you and your future financial possibilities.  You may also visit www.mcmf.net  for more information about your credit and credit scores.


About jenniferhamby

Jennifer Hamby, Executive Vice President of My Credit My Future, has worked in the financial sector since 1996. She is dedicated to educating consumers on financial education and responsibility. Having worked in Data Facts’ Nashville office since 2007 as an account executive, Hamby realized the need for financial education that was informative, yet easy to understand and attainable. Partnering with both Junior Achievement, and Tennessee Jump$tart, in providing financial education, opened her eyes to the tremendous benefits in providing financial literacy and resources for consumers to aid in making better financial decisions.
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