Dealing with a house in foreclosure can be scary, but knowledge overcomes fear. This is a short education on your options when your house is threatened by foreclosure.
Option 1: Loan Forbearance or Modification - A strategy worth pursuing is called a loan forbearance. The loss mitigation department of your mortgage company may make arrangements with you to pay some of the back payments now and the balance within a certain time period. Of course, you would have to resume making your normal monthly payments. A loan modification is a permanent change to your mortgage that may lower your payments and the delinquent payments may be added to the mortgage balance. A loan modification or forbearance is easier to arrange prior to the Mortgage Company filing a foreclosure lawsuit. Some lenders will not consider this after filing, but it’s worth trying.
Option 2: Reinstate Your Mortgage - You have up to and including the morning of the auction to catch up your payments. Perhaps you could borrow from friends or family, credit cards or retirement program. You may be able to arrange a second mortgage to catch up the back payments and fees.
Option 3: Refinance - Arranging new financing will depend on your income, credit report, value of your home and the amount of your equity. If you’re not sure of the value of your home, give me a call. Usually I can give you a fairly accurate estimate of value within a ½ hour. I would be glad to help and of course, there’s no obligation. If you attempt to refinance, you should always have a backup plan available to you.
Option 4: Chapter 13 Bankruptcy - A viable alternative if your financial situation has improved, filing bankruptcy prior to the auction will stop the sale. Unfortunately for most people, it only postpones the sale for one or 2 months. Immediately after filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you will have to file a repayment plan with the courts. This plan has to show that you have sufficient monthly income to pay basic living expenses such as food and utilities and other monthly payments such as credit cards, car payments etc. In addition, your income must be sufficient to resume making your monthly mortgage payments. If you feel as though you have the income to immediately begin repayment of all your debts and the courts agree, this may be a good choice for you to save your home.
Over the years, I’ve spoken with many individuals who filed for bankruptcy protection only to have their cases dismissed. Not only were they out their attorney’s fees (usually $1,000 - $2,000) but now had a bankruptcy and foreclosure on their credit report. Bankruptcy is considered an action of last resort.
Option 5: Sell Your Home on the Open Market - This is probably the most under utilized option available to you. The fact is selling your home will give you the most money in your pocket. The market is very active and we’ve all experienced significant appreciation in the past few years. Your home may be worth a lot more than you think!
If you have recently been served with a foreclosure lawsuit you still have enough time to sell your home which will provide you and your family the greatest amount of money to help provide a fresh start for you and your family.Option 6: We Can Buy Your Home - If efforts to save your home have been unsuccessful and time doesn’t permit selling your home on the open market or you just don’t want to, but want a quick sale with no problems, call me. I’ll make you a cash offer and close quickly. If you need additional time to relocate, that can easily be arranged.
Option 7: Let Your Home Be Sold On the Courthouse Steps - By far, the worst option available to you! Many people feel "I have no equity, let the bank take it", but homes that are sold on the courthouse steps typically sell between 50% and 70% of their fair market value. Moreover, if a bank suffers a loss due to the pending foreclosure action against you, they also have an option. They can file a deficiency judgment against you and pursue you for the amount of their loss.All of the above options remain just that, options - unless you take action. If your house is in foreclosure, this issue will not resolve itself unless you act on one of these options. Do not be afraid to make a decision about what to do. Even the decision to do nothing is still a decision.
As with any serious legal situation the reader is encouraged to consult legal counsel regarding any points of law. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice.