If You Need Help, You are not alone
If you are struggling to pay your mortgage you are not alone. Authorities project that over 2 million homes will go into default this year. One out of every 18 homeowners is behind on their mortgage payments. That's bad news.
Help Is Available
The good news is that many real estate professionals as well as the government and lending and banking institutions, are very interested in helping you save your home. On the average, a home foreclosure reduces the surrounding property values by $17 to $18 thousand dollars - within a five mile radius of the property. Every home saved means fewer vacant homes, which supports higher property values, a stronger community, and an improved local economy.
Real Estate and Financial Professionals Can Help
Many Real estate and financial professionals realize that some in their communities are going through difficult times and it is affecting their ability to make their mortgage payments, avoid foreclosure and save their homes. Saved homes mean stronger communities that have a greater need for their services.
The US Government Wants To Help
The housing market is an important sector of the economy and the government wants reduced foreclosure rates and increased property values to strengthen the economy. The government has helped by coming up with new loan programs that make it a little easier for homeowners to refinance into a loan with better interest rates, which translates to lower mortgage payments. However, not all mortgage brokers keep track of these programs. It's important to work with a broker who specializes in this area because he or she can stay up to date on these new developments.
The Banking and Lending Institutions Can Help
The banking institutions are often willing to negotiate with homeowners who are behind on their payments, or whose interest rates are adjusting to the extent that they won't be able to make their payments any longer. The banks would often prefer to have a paying homeowner on modified terms, rather than end up with a vacant house on their books which they have to pay to fix up and sell.
Use A Team Of Experts For Best Results
You can of course talk to your lender and try to make an arrangement on your own. However, there are professionals who have become expert at these types of negotiations and know exactly how best to present your case to your lender to get you the best possible terms of loan reinstatement or interest rate reduction. The end result of a successful negotiation can be a lower mortgage rate but there is no guarantee. Timing and strategy are important. This is where having a professional in this area is the key.
By the same token, you could try to find out about all the latest loan programs and decide which one is best for you, but working with the right mortgage broker will keep you from having to ‘reinvent the wheel', as the saying goes.
Seniors Have A Special Advantage
Seniors are a special case. If you are a senior, it may be possible to eliminate your mortgage payments altogether with a mortgage product that actually pays you every month, instead of you paying a mortgage. It's called a reverse-mortgage. It's not for everyone, but it may be exactly what you need to be comfortable during your retirement years. Even if you have applied for a reverse mortgage in the past and been denied, there are some new loan products evolving that may be even better suited to your situation.
Action Plan To Reduce Your Mortgage and Save Your Home
Now is the time to empower yourself by taking constructive action.
If you are a homeowner who is saying “I need to lower my mortgage payments or I will not be able to avoid house foreclosure. " Here's what I would suggest you do next. Take the 8 Steps below that spell:
M - MOVE IT!: - Make sure you take action as soon as possible. The quicker you act, the more choices you have
O - ORGANIZE YOU DOCUMENTS: Have you been letting those scary letters pile up in the corner? Make sure you have organized all related files and paperwork so you can get your hands on what you need, quickly. This also increases your sense of control over your situation.
R - RECRUIT YOUR TEAM: Look for an experienced team of real estate and financial professionals that is working together in your best interest. Start by asking to your friends and family for recommendations and searching offline as well as online. Remember that in the financial world you are not limited geographically. Your best team members may be hundreds of miles away. Keep searching until you are certain you have the right group. Good advisors often work together. Sometimes the key is to find one team member that you know is the right fit for you and he or she can lead you to others.
T - TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL RESOURCES: Keep an open mind. Work with your team to explore all of your options for yourself and your family. The solution may or may not be straightforward. Make sure you clearly communicate the issues that are most important to you. Brainstorm. Ask questions. You will often find that the best strategy will present and confirm itself as you keep cycling through this process.
G - GAIN FAMILY CONSENSUS: Discuss options with all concerned and affected by your decision. (well maybe not the dog, but everyone else). Talking it through will help to eliminate some of the stress and provide needed support when everyone is on the same page. It's amazing how much more you can accomplish when you have full cooperation of the most important people in your life.
A - ACT: Take a deep breath, take action and make your best choice. Don't give in to analysis paralysis. At a certain point, you have to pull the trigger and make a decision.
G - GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK: Go easy on yourself, knowing you have done your best for yourself and your family. Guilt, anger, and frustration only sap your creative problem solving energy.
E- EXPECT TO SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE: When you are ready, pass on the knowledge you have gained to others worthy of your wisdom. Remember when you were at the team recruitment stage and were asking around for recommendations? Now it's your turn to ‘pay if forward’ and share your experience so it benefits others. Word of mouth travels. You may be the reason someone else can save their home by lowering their mortgage payments!
So there you have it. If you get:
Organize all of your documents,
Recruit your dream team,
Take advantage of their wisdom,
Gain your family's consensus and support, take
Give your self a serious break, and
Expect to share your knowledge with someone else who needs help, . . .
You will be amazed at how smoothly you can come up with a workable solution. . . with a little help from your friends!
I hope you have gained some useful knowledge. May you and your loved ones have all the best for your future!
If you would like more information and my other recommendations, go to:
Toni T. has been a real estate professional since 1999. She specializes in developing creative solutions for homeowners primarily by networking and by creating strategic alliances with other real estate professionals nationwide - and within the local real estate market of Southern California. She lives in the Los Angeles Area.