Behind on Mortgage Payments? Here’s What You Can Do
Mar 01, 2020 | Ed Vasterra
I’m behind on mortgage payments. What can I do?
Getting behind on mortgage payments can be a slippery slope, and the longer you ignore the problem, the more dangerous it becomes. It can feel like you’re running out of options, treading water until a life-preserver is thrown out to you. Ultimately, you want to avoid foreclosure and losing your home, as this will put you in a difficult financial situation that it is very hard to recover from. Don’t lose hope, as you have options when it comes to catching up with your payments or getting rid of your mortgage altogether.
Make a Plan
First, you need to accept where you are and understand the importance of your next steps. Taking action early can save you a lot of headaches down the line, and leave you in better financial shape for the rest of your life.
Second, take ownership of your financial decisions. You are in control, and what you decide will impact your future. Read through your lending agreement so you know the terms and the rights available to you as a homeowner. Make a plan that is realistic for paying your debts.
Finally, ask for help if you need it. Know that there are resources out there to help you and others like you get back on your feet. You are not the first person to struggle with a cumbersome mortgage, nor the last. There are people who specialize in this exact situation who are prepared to lend a hand and assist you in dealing with your debts and continue to move forward.
If you’re behind on mortgage payments, there are things you can do to help yourself. Let’s explore some of your options.
Catch up on Mortgage Payments
The quickest way to fix this problem is to catch up on payments by paying them outright in a lump sum. This will bring you up to current payments and you can go back to paying normal amounts next month. To acquire funds for this lump sum, you may consider selling assets like non-sentimental valuables or antiques. Look around your home for ways you can downsize and get rid of possessions you don’t need, like an extra television set or expensive camping gear. Every little bit you can sell will help you get closer to your goals.
Talk to Your Mortgage Lender
Another action that could help you if you’re behind on mortgage payments is to speak with your lender about possible solutions. They may be open to arranging a new repayment plan or adjusting the terms of your mortgage to help you meet more achievable monthly payments. Let’s look at a few options you can bring up with your mortgage lender.
Forbearance means your lender would temporarily postpone or reduce payments until you can agree on a repayment schedule. Agreeing to forbearance means your lender will not pursue foreclosure, which will give you peace of mind as you work on a plan that benefits both parties. Keep in mind that when your repayment is due, you will need to pay back all of the missed payments to bring your account current.
Reduction of the Mortgage Principal
Your lender might be open to reducing the amount you owe, or the principal of your loan. The lender might agree to this if they could recover more money through a lowered principal than they would in a foreclosure, especially if you owe more than what your home is worth.
Refinancing your loan means you make a completely new loan agreement with new payment amounts, interest rates, and payment schedule. It may lower your monthly payments, which could help you keep up with the schedule. You must be up to date on payments to refinance your loan or you will still need to settle the other mortgage, but it could help prevent you from falling behind on mortgage payments by making them more manageable in the future.
Selling Your Home to Pay Off the Mortgage
If you’re falling behind on mortgage payments, it can feel overwhelming when the debt stacks up month after month. If you want to get rid of your mortgage payments altogether, you may consider selling your home to pay off your debt. There are a few different ways to do this. You can sell your home in a short sale, with the help of a realtor, or sell it as-is for a quick sale.
Sell Your Home in a Short Sale
A short sale is when you sell your home for less than you owe. You can avoid foreclosure with a short sale, but you basically start from scratch. It might be an option if you’re desperate to get out from under your debts. You have to discuss it with your lender before you can sell your home in a short sale.
Sell Your Home With a Realtor
If you choose to sell your home with a realtor, you will work with their office to prepare your home for sale. It could take months before it’s ready to be put on the market, and months more before an offer is received. Although you might be able to sell your home for a higher price with a realtor’s skilled help, their commission will slightly lower your profits — and the amount you can pay back on the mortgage. Plus, the time it takes to sell your home this way puts your further behind on mortgage payments, leaving you with a bigger debt to settle at the end of the process.
Sell Your Home As-Is for Cash.
In an as-is home sale, professional real-estate investors will give you a fair price for your home’s value. You don’t have to worry about making repairs or working with a realtor. Most importantly, you can be paid for your home sale right away. You can have your debts paid in as little as five days and move on to the next chapter of your life.
Get Some Help
If you still have questions about catching up with mortgage payments, go to a government agency like Housing and Urban Development. They have housing counselors available to guide you through the process of catching up with missed mortgage payments. Counselors can give you real answers about what to expect if you aren’t able to pay your debts as well as practical solutions to avoiding foreclosure and bankruptcy. Their advice is free, so it never hurts to ask.
You’ve already made a great first step by looking for a solution before you’re underwater. You’ve taken control of the process and are well on your way to forming a clear plan that will lead you out of mortgage debt.
Here at Hometown Development, we know it can be tough to feel like you’ll never catch up. Our team is here to help. If you’re behind on mortgage payments, we can offer you a fair cash offer for the market value of your home to help you get out from under that cumbersome mortgage. Call our office at 616-379-3090 or contact us online to learn more.