Here are some possible temporary solutions for short-term problems, such as being one or two months behind in your mortgage due to illness. Other more permanent solutions address long-term financial difficulties, such as job lay-offs or long-term unemployment. If you have an FHA-approved loan, special loan modification programs may be available to you--ask your lender about them. Unfortunately, in some cases, keeping your home may not be possible--options for handling that situation are available as well.
Temporary solutions for short-term financial problems:
- Reinstatement: Lenders are often willing to “reinstate” your loan if you make up the back payments in a lump sum by a specific date. A forbearance plan may accompany this option.
- Forbearance: Your lender may be able to provide a temporary reduction or suspension of your mortgage payments for a short period, such as 3 or 4 months. After this time, your lender will work with you to create a repayment plan for the loan. You may qualify for forbearance if you have experienced a reduction in income (for example, if you have become unemployed) or an increase in living expenses (for example, higher medical bills). You must provide information to your lender to show that you will be able to stick with the new payment plan.
- Repayment plan: Your lender may agree to a plan that includes your regular monthly payments plus a portion of the past due payments each month until your payments are caught up.
Long-term solutions or adjustments to your loan:
- Loan modifications: Your lender may be willing to rewrite the terms of your original mortgage loan to address your financial situation. A loan modification is designed to make your monthly payments affordable. Changes to your loan may include extending the number of years to repay and changing the interest rate, including changing an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. You may have to pay a processing fee to obtain a loan modification.
- Partial claim: If your mortgage is insured by a private mortgage insurance firm, your lender might help you file a claim. Some insurers provide a one-time, interest-free loan to bring your account up to date. The interest-free loan is due when you refinance, pay off your mortgage, or when you sell the property.
If keeping your home is not an option, you may want to consider these alternatives:
- Sale: Your lender will usually give you a specific amount of time to find a buyer and pay off the amount you owe on your mortgage. Your lender may require you to use a real estate professional to help you sell the property.
- Pre-foreclosure sale or short sale: If you can’t sell the property for the full amount of the loan, your lender may accept the amount you get for the selling price, even if it is less than the amount you owe. You may owe income taxes on the difference between the amount you owe and the amount you are able to pay back. Check with the Internal Revenue Service for tax information.
- Assumption: A qualified buyer may be allowed to assume (take over) your mortgage. Ask your lender whether this option is available to you.
- Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure: You may be able to “give back” your property to the lender, who then forgives the balance of your loan. Again, there may be income tax consequences, so check with the IRS. This option will not save your home, but it is less damaging to your credit rating. Some lenders impose certain restrictions on taking back property. For example, they may require that you try to sell your home at a fair market value for at least 90 days.
Courtesy of http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/brochure.htmFor more information you may also visit our website and click on Help for Sellers.