Recently, the foreclosure process has been in a state of disarray, as banks, regulators and lawyers struggle to uncover issues and faults within the system. As a result of this confusion, some homeowners either currently in the foreclosure process or in danger of foreclosing may lack a clear direction or be unsure of what steps to take next. "It is imperative that these individuals reach out to their lender now to avoid an unwelcome outcome later. The most dangerous thing a homeowner can do is nothing," says Ethan Ewing, president of Bills.com.
Lenders typically lose money when they foreclose on a property, and because of this, they are often motivated to reach some sort of conclusion with struggling borrowers. It's important to recognize the fact that lenders will usually respond to a settlement offer made by a borrower. Homeowners concerned about their ability to continue paying on a mortgage should take advantage of the opportunity and reach out to their lender to open a line of communication.
Potential alternatives to foreclosure include:
A forbearance, which is a temporary agreement with your lender to delay mortgage payments for a short time. If you can prove that you will be able to restart payments in the future and bring your mortgage up to date, lenders may allow for this.
A reinstatement occurs when you are behind on payments and agree to a lump sum payment by a specific date that brings you current on your loan status. A reinstatement is normally part of a forbearance agreement.
Repayments are usually negotiated plans that allow you to become current by making catch-up payments over a fixed amount of time. Some repayments may allow for a combination of your overdue amount with your regular payments until you catch up.
A loan modification adjusts the terms of your loan by changing either the amortization table or interest rate to sizably affect the amount of your regular payments. This is great for banks because it avoids foreclosure while you keep your home at a more affordable monthly rate.
Short sale agreements can be made after a failure to negotiate occurs between lender and borrower. In a short sale, your lender agrees to let you sell the property for less than it's worth while they absorb the loss. Short sales are good for borrowers because they avoid the credit damage of a foreclosure, while the lender ends up receiving more money than in a foreclosure.
In a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, a last resort option, the lender allows you to give your property back in exchange for canceling the mortgage. This will hurt your credit score, but the damage is far less severe than a foreclosure.
For homeowners who find themselves in trouble, taking action is always the best move to prevent foreclosure. By knowing these options, you can hopefully work out a plan to keep your home or at least prevent excessive damage to your line of credit.
For more information about preventing foreclosure, please visit the Bills.com Foreclosure Resource Center at http://www.bills.com/stop-foreclosure/.