Amid the current economic crisis, many homeowners are finding it increasingly difficult to meet their monthly expenses. Jobless rates are rising, and lenders are facing difficulties of their own with the tightening credit markets. The faltering financial conditions we are experiencing have caused countless borrowers to fall behind on their mortgage payments.
If you are in default on your home loan and confronting the possibility of losing your property, there are steps you can take to clear your mortgage arrears before it is too late.
Stay in contact with your lender.
The first and most important step is to contact your lender. Having to call your lender and admit that you are unable to keep up your monthly mortgage payments is a daunting task. However, if you ignore the phone calls and letters demanding payment, your lender may assume that you have no intention of curing the default on your home loan.
Calling the lender and expressing your willingness to work together to bring your payments current is vital to maintaining a cordial relationship. Banks and other mortgage holders do understand the current financial situation, and it is important to remember that repossessing a property is a very costly process for lenders. They will in almost every case prefer to renegotiate your payment terms than to initiate a foreclosure.
Ask for a forbearance agreement.
Many mortgage companies and banks are willing to grant a forbearance agreement in order to clear mortgage arrears. The particulars of a forbearance agreement vary from one institution to another. Most commonly, the borrower resumes making monthly payments, but at a slightly higher rate until the arrears is cleared.
If your current financial situation does not permit this, it may be possible to suspend the arrears and renegotiate your mortgage in order to reduce the monthly payment amount. You may be able to capitalize the arrears, which means that the past due amount is added to the principal of your mortgage. This will clear the arrears, but will increase the cost of your mortgage over the long term.
Consult a credit counselor.
Credit counseling services are available to assist borrowers with mastering their debt. They will work with you and your lenders to negotiate more favorable payment terms and reduce your monthly expenses, enabling you to repay your debt over a longer period of time.
If your mortgage is in arrears and you are facing foreclosure, there are options available to you. Consulting your lender is the first step in getting your debt back under control.
Nicholas writes for a debt problems advice site, where you can read more about mortgage arrears and how to deal with them.