Even under the best circumstances, everyone needs a vacation to get away from the grind of regular life, recharge their batteries, and spend some quality time with their loved ones. If you're behind on your mortgage or in foreclosure, you could probably use a stress-relieving vacation even more.
But is it appropriate to go on a vacation when you aren't paying your mortgage?
It depends on your particular circumstances, and what kind of money you're going to spend on your trip.
People generally don't stop paying their mortgage unless something went seriously wrong with their finances and/or life. We hear their stories all the time, and they're often tragic. Loss of income, cancer, divorce, and enormous debt burdens are all common for people who default on their mortgage. Nothing good causes a person to stop paying their mortgage.
When you do stop making mortgage payments, you don't immediately lose your home. There's a legal process that can go on for years in judicial foreclosure states like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Some people are seven years or more behind on their mortgage and still living in their home.
If you're in foreclosure, you should be looking for ways to save money and improve your situation, but you can't put your entire life on hold while trying to resolve your housing issues. And it is possible to go on a vacation even when you're in foreclosure.
When It's Ok to Go on Vacation
- If you paid in full for a trip before you had mortgage problems and can't get a refund.
- If someone else is paying for everything. When it doesn't cost you anything, then the price is right and you might as well go for it.
- If you have good income and are working on getting your mortgage back to normal. If the hardship that caused you to default on your mortgage has ended and everything but your mortgage is back to normal, then it's not unreasonable to take a vacation. Just be sure you're really taking care of your mortgage issues.
Taking a Thrifty Vacation
If money is tight, but you still want to get out and do something fun, here are some suggestions for having fun on the cheap:
- Staycation. There's probably a lot of fun to be had in the area around your home base if you look for it. If you live near a large city there are probably museums, public concerts, and cultural events that you can attend for free on a day trip. Even small towns have those things, and they're generally appropriate for all ages, so the whole family can attend. Check county and city websites and newspapers to see what's happening.
- Get outside. Wherever you live, there are likely plenty of activities to do in the great outdoors for free or for a reasonable amount of money. You can hike and bike if you live near the mountains, raft and kayak in the river, or swim and play countless water sports at the lake or the beach. And America is a country with tons of national, state, and city parks, which are usually free or inexpensive to visit.
- If you want to get out of town, but don't want to spend a fortune on a hotel, consider camping or staying with family or friends. While visiting your destination you can do any of the above free and low-cost activities.
If you really want to take a vacation, you should be able to find a way to do it. It may not be possible to go on a weeks-long trip across Europe with champagne and caviar every night, but there's no reason you can't do something fun, even if you don't have a dime to spend.
When You Have a Hearing Date Upcoming
It's important to remember that if you're in foreclosure and have a hearing, conference, trial, mediation or other important deadline, your attorney will most likely NOT be able to reschedule it because you're vacationing in Cancún.
Don't let travel plans interfere with your ability to get out of foreclosure.
A Vacation From Your Mortgage Problems
If you want to avoid foreclosure, you have to do something about it. For most homeowners who want to keep their home, a loan modification is their only choice. A loan modification will reinstate your loan with a payment you can afford, and it doesn't cost a penny.
The downside of loan modifications is that most people who apply on their own are denied. You have better odds of getting your application approved if you work with a professional who has experience getting the results you want for many other people. Some law firms offer foreclosure defense services with loan modification assistance as an ancillary service. This benefits the homeowner by preventing foreclosure while a permanent solution is pursued.
So take a summer vacation if you want to, but don't delay working for a solution to your mortgage problems. It won't be resolved on its own.
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