No one wants to lose their home.
Whether a job loss, medical bills, or a divorce puts you in a precarious financial position, there are ways to mitigate a bad financial situation and keep you in your home.
What exactly is foreclosure?
Foreclosure is a legal process where a lender recovers the balance of a loan due from a borrower who has stopped making payments by selling or taking possession of the property used as collateral for the loan.
Contact your lender right away.
Many major lenders have a program to delay foreclosure, or put into forbearance, for at least 30 days. Forbearance means to “hold back.” When used in reference to loans, forbearance is an agreement between a lender and the borrower to delay or prevent foreclosure under specified conditions.
This timeline may be even longer depending on your State’s coronavirus response.
It’s ideal to contact them as soon as you know you’ll be late or miss a payment; once you start missing payments your credit rating and eligibility for relief programs takes a hit.
Develop a budget to help you trim expenses.
Creating a budget gives you control over your financial situation. A budget will help you identify and cut unnecessary expenses that are diverting funds from your mortgage payments and other critical bills.
The single rule in budgeting is that your income must cover your expenses. And you have just two options to change the outcome:
- Decrease your expenses.
- Increase your income.
First, calculate your total take-home (after taxes) income. If your pay varies week to week, average it over three months to come up with a monthly value. And if your income varies significantly by season, you will need to save more during your peak income to cover expenses incurred during you lower pay season.
Next, study your spending habits and categorize expenditures into essential expenses (housing and utilities, groceries, transportation to and from work, daycare, insurance, and any loans or debt payments) and non-essential expenses (eating out and entertainment, new clothes, vacations, gifts, and donations).
Tip: Sometimes banks or credit card companies provide an annual breakdown of your spending into several categories. This can speed up your budgeting process.
Now is the time to be ruthless in cutting expenses. End subscriptions like streaming services or cable, eliminate take-out, and delay vacations until you’re on more secure financial footing.
Consider selling high-value assets.
Selling high-value assets like a second vehicle or boat, electronics, or jewelry may help you cover additional mortgage payments to give you some breathing space and time to create a longer-term plan.
Essential expenditures are fair game, too. If you only have one vehicle, consider swapping it in for a lower-cost car.
If you’re unemployed you may have additional options.
There are federal and state emergency assistance programs designed to facilitate forbearance and prevent foreclosure due to a job loss. Considering coronavirus-related legislation, these programs are constantly evolving.
Seek other forms of relief.
Considering a foreclosure prevention company?
Foreclosure prevention companies often charge you the equivalent of two or three mortgage payments. This money is better spent paying your mortgage! Call us first and we’ll help you determine whether or not you’ll benefit from debt relief companies or legal services. If we can’t help you, we’ll provide you with alternative solutions.
We are here for you.
With more than 30 years of financial law experience, we can help:
- Connect you to specialized programs to put your mortgage into forbearance.
- Negotiate loan modifications on your behalf.
- Shield you from debt collection harassment.
- Stop creditors from garnishing your wages.
- Explore bankruptcy options to give you a fresh financial start.
- Facilitate a short sale of your home.