Avoiding Foreclosure
(Loss Mitigation)

If you are having trouble making your mortgage payments, there are many programs and solutions that can help you avoid foreclosure. Some of them change the terms of your loan, either until you get back on your feet, or forever. Some solutions give up your home but avoid more debt. It is a good idea to speak to a low-cost or free Foreclosure Avoidance Counselor.

When you and the lender talk about ways to avoid foreclosure this is called loss mitigation. The earlier you work with the lender the better, since negotiating a workable deal becomes more and more difficult as time passes and arrears add up. Below are some loss mitigation options:

Pay arrears, become current on the loan
You agree to pay the lender the entire past-due amount, plus any late fees and/or penalties, by a certain date. This option may be right for you if paying your mortgage is a temporary problem. This is also called reinstatement.

Work out a period of loan forbearance
Loan forbearance means that the lender agrees to temporarily reduce or suspend monthly payments for a period of time, like six months. At the end of the forbearance period, your regular mortgage payments start again, and the missed payments are added on. This is good if you just need short-term relief.

Loan modification
The lender agrees to change the terms of the mortgage loan so that you can afford to make payments. For example, you make the term of your mortgage longer, you lower the interest rate or recalculate your payment schedule. The federal Making Home Affordable program has loan modification options. Visit Making Home Affordable.

Refinance with another lender
Another lender may agree to refinance your mortgage. There are some federal government refinancing options, visit Making Home Affordable.

Options Where You Don’t Keep Your Home

There are alternatives to foreclosure that can settle your debt but do not allow you to keep your home. These can be good for people who are divorcing or no longer want to own a home together or know that they do not qualify for loan modification or the house is worth less than the debt.

Deed in lieu of foreclosure
To avoid foreclosure, you agree to turn over the deed to your home to the lender. In exchange, the lender agrees that you no longer owe any additional debt. The agreement should say that the deed in lieu of foreclosure is in full satisfaction of your debt. This allows you to walk away from the home without a Deficiency Judgment, and without a foreclosure sale on your credit report.

Sell home, negotiate short sale
If you are unable to sell the house for an amount that covers your debt because your debt is more than the value of your home, lenders will sometimes agree to a short sale. In a short sale, you sell the house to a third party at fair market value and the lender agrees to accept less than your full debt in satisfaction of the loan. The agreement should say that the lender waives its right to a Deficiency Judgment.


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