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How to avoid home foreclosure

Despite positive indicators in the economy, there are many homeowners in Florida and around the nation still struggling to pay their mortgages every month. Some fall behind in payments due to loss of job, medical emergencies or other unforeseen difficulties. Regardless of the reason, facing home foreclosure and the potential loss of a home is a frightening prospect. However, since the foreclosure process does not happen immediately, there are some actions to take that could provide protection.

Foreclosures occur when a homeowner has been unable to pay the lender the amount stipulated in the mortgage note. The lender may begin the process to take back the house and try to recoup the money. Of course, the first step to stop this process would be to make the loan current. This typically involves making any past due payments, though a lender may have the right to demand the entire mortgage balance once a default occurs.

For those unable to get their loan payments up-to-date, it is important to communicate with the lender as quickly as possible. Many homeowners are able to arrange a loan modification, particularly if they are able to show ability to pay back the mortgage with lower payments or a longer loan term. Others may get a forbearance, which is when a lender voluntarily agrees to delay enforcement of its legal rights. This could be beneficial for someone who has undergone a short-term financial hardship.

The possibility of a home foreclosure would be traumatic for Florida residents. Someone dealing with this process should not face it alone. A knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney can help homeowners understand their options and how to best address the situation. A trusted lawyer will partner with clients to develop a plan designed to help them remain in their homes.

Source: realtor.com, "How to Stop Foreclosure and (Hopefully) Save Your Home", Jeanne Sager, Jan. 31, 2108

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