What happens when I miss my mortgage payments?
Foreclosure may occur. This means your lender can legally repossess (take over) your home. When this happens, you must move out of your house. If your property is worth less than the total amount you owe on your mortgage loan, a deficiency judgment could be pursued, meaning you would not only lose your home, you also would owe HUD money.
Both foreclosures and deficiency judgments could seriously affect your ability to qualify for credit in the future. So you should avoid foreclosure if at all possible.
What should I do?
Do not ignore letters from your lender. If you are having problems making your payments, call or write to your lender’s loss mitigation department immediately. Explain your situation. Be prepared to provide financial information, such as you-r monthly income and expenses. Without this information, they may not be able to help.
Stay in your home for now. You may not qualify for assistance if you abandon your property.
Contact a HUD-approved foreclosure housing counseling agency. Call toll free 1-800-569-4287 or TDD (800) 877-8339 for the housing counseling agency nearest you. These agencies are valuable resources. They have information on services and programs offered by government agencies and private and community organizations that might be able to help you. The housing counseling agency may also offer credit counseling. These services are usually free of charge.
Who is my lender? How do I make contact?
Look at your monthly mortgage coupons or billing statements for the lender’s name and contact information.
I don’t remember what type of mortgage I have. How can I find this information?
Look on the original mortgage documents or call your mortgage lender.
Do I need to keep living in my house to qualify for assistance?
Usually yes, but call your lender to discuss your specific circumstances and get advice on options that may be available.
My employer has already announced layoffs in the coming month. What can I do now?
You have started learning about available options here. Now, figure out if a layoff will make it hard for your family to make your mortgage payments. If so, consider other resources you have to pay your mortgage. Review your spending habits and see where you can reduce spending. If you have a lot of other debt, consider contacting a nonprofit, consumer credit counseling agency. Take advantage of any help your employer offers. If you still believe you will have trouble making your mortgage payments, contact your lender right away.
What are the key points to remember?
Don’t lose your home and damage your credit history
Call or write your mortgage lender immediately and be honest about your financial situation
Stay in your home to make sure you qualify for assistance
Arrange an appointment with a HUD-approved housing counselor to explore your options toll free at (800) 569-4287 or TDD (800) 877-8339
Cooperate with the counselor or lender trying to help you
Explore every alternative to keep your home
Beware of scams
Never sign anything you don’t understand. And remember that signing over the deed to someone else does not necessarily relieve you of your loan obligation
Act now. Delaying can’t help. If you do nothing, you will lose your home and your good credit rating!
What precautions can I take?
These precautions can help you avoid being “taken” by a scam artist:
Don’t sign any papers you don’t fully understand.
Make sure you get all “promises” in writing.
Beware of any sales contract that assumes the loan where you are not formally released from liability (responsibility) for your mortgage debt.
Check with a lawyer or your mortgage company before entering into any deal involving your home.
If you’re selling the house yourself to avoid foreclosure, check to see if there are any complaints against the prospective buyer. You can contact your state’s Attorney General, the State Real Estate Commission, or the local District Attorney’s Consumer Fraud Unit for this type of information.
Will I be responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses if I am approved for a workout option?
You may have to pay expenses such as recording fees for a loan modification. Because every situation is different, contact your lender for more information. But, if a lender has no contact with you and has to start foreclosure, you may have to pay very high legal fees. To avoid this, call your lender as soon as you realize you might have trouble.
The mortgage lenders listed below have voluntarily joined the federal government to assist homeowners who are concerned about the future or have suffered due to recent changes in the economy. If your lender is listed here, you can help protect your home by contacting them immediately!
Bank of America
Chase Home Finance
Chase Home Finance
HSBC Mortgage Corporation
Irwin Mortgage Corporation
James B. Nutter & Company
National City Mortgage
Nationwide Advantage Mortgage
Principal Residential Mortgage, Inc.
Sun Trust Mortgage
Wells Fargo Mortgage
Wendover Financial Services Corporation
Washington Mutual Home Loans, Inc.