No one ever intends to get behind on their bills. But life happens, and it’s easier than you might realize to find yourself in over your head. If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage right now, you’re not alone! According to federal reserve data, 3.68 percent of mortgages (or one in every 27) are in default.
The threat of foreclosure is, unfortunately, an immediately looming nightmare for many homeowners. It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of the possible loss of the home you’ve worked so hard for, but you have options, including selling your house for cash! Below are five possible paths you can take to stop foreclosure.
1. Repayment Plan
The absolute first thing you want to do if you can’t pay your mortgage is reach out to your lender. The sooner you loop them into the process, the better your chances to stop foreclosure. Communicating with them about the extenuating circumstances of your financial situation will ensure they have all the information they need to work with you on keeping your home.
If you’re already a few months behind on payments, a repayment plan may help you catch up and prevent the initiation of foreclosure proceedings. Obviously, this option will require that you pay more each month than your normal mortgage payment so that you can catch up. If you’re not able to come up with the extra cash, there are other avenues you can explore.
2. Short Sale
If you know that catching up with overdue payments or continuing to make your monthly payments isn’t in the cards, a short sale may be your best bet. In this scenario, you would be selling your home for less than what you owe the lender. If your home has not appreciated in value since you purchased it, it’s likely that you won’t make enough on the sale to pay your mortgage in full.
Depending on the laws where you live, your lender might be able to come after you for the remainder of what you owe after a short sale, so make sure to do your research before going in this direction. You could also ask the lender to agree in writing before the sale to waive any remaining balance so that you’re not on the hook for it.
3. Update Terms
If you are determined to keep your home but simply can’t make your current monthly payment, you may want to discuss restructuring the terms of your loan with the lender. This is an especially good option if your financial situation is short-term or you know there is relief on the horizon (e.g., you’re starting a new job soon, you’re due an inheritance, or you’re selling a second home or other major asset like property, a car, or a boat).
Be aware that redefining your loan terms will almost always come with an extension of your payment timeline. If you were set to pay off your mortgage in 15 years at your original rate, you could be looking at tacking five to 10 years onto that if you adjust your payments down significantly. You will also end up paying more over the life of the loan, due to compounding interest.
If you simply can’t keep your home anymore, but you’re not able to go through the sale process, you can undertake a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. This essentially means that you sign the deed to your home over to your lender and walk away.
Much like a short sale, you need to protect yourself from the lender so they can’t come back to you asking for additional cash after they have possession of your home. Get it in writing! Your lender may also have a program that helps with relocation costs for owners who sign over their deeds, so be sure to ask.
5. Sell for Cash
All the options above have pros and cons. But if none of them work for your situation and you want to stop foreclosure, your best bet may be to sell your home to a cash homebuyer. You can satisfy the terms of your loan and walk away without the stain of foreclosure on your credit score. There are no closing costs, listing fees or commissions to consider, and the process is much faster than a traditional sale with a realtor.
We know it can be an overwhelming and upsetting situation when you can’t afford your mortgage. The easiest option for you may be to move on from an ugly situation by selling your home for cash. Meridian Trust purchase homes all over Florida and our experienced staff is ready to make you a cash offer today.