Avoiding Foreclosure

By Lee Cameron Published 08/13/2008 | Real Estate

It isn't news to anyone that widespread foreclosures are a large problem in our current real estate market. For many families, it can be unavoidable. However, what many people don't know is that there is help out there for those facing foreclosure. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Stay Home - When facing foreclosure, stay in your home. If you vacate your property and something happens to it - whether it be vandalized, struck by lightning or broken into - the bank will likely hold you financially responsible for the damages.

Stay in the Loop - Talk to your lender. If you feel like you're going to have trouble making next month's mortgage payment, let them know. Whenever you phone them, follow up your contact in writing. If your lender is more informed of your situation, they will be better prepared - and perhaps more willing - to work with you.

Stay Realistic - Remember that lenders are a business and they are always interested in making their money back whenever possible. Ironically, banks are less willing to work with those who have made payments for years and built up equity on their home. In those cases, the lender can simply keep the payments they've already received and sell the house quickly for considerably less than it's worth and still turn a profit. If you haven't been in your home for very long and you haven't built up a lot of equity, then your lender might be more willing to come to an agreement that benefits you both.

Stay Safe - Unfortunately, this market has attracted a slew of dishonest scammers and con artists that prey on desperate home-owners. Always - always - do your research whenever you think about getting help from a company or program. Watch out for anyone who insists on being paid upfront. Don't pay somebody to do something that you could do for free, such as dealing directly with your lender. The Department of Housing and Urban Development keeps track of legitimate foreclosure-prevention programs. Get a list from them.

Stay Practical - Not all foreclosure-prevention programs will be the answer to your prayers. Many programs offer one-time solutions, often for a single month's payment. Carefully think about your situation and make sure that such a temporary solution will really make a difference in the long run. It may just be delaying the inevitable.

Sometimes foreclosure is simply unavoidable but there are many times when help can be found as long as you know where to look. Do your research, call an expert, and find out as much as you can about your options for possibly avoiding foreclosure on your home.