You can feel the Foreclosure Monster coming. You can almost see it peeking over the fence. You’re starting to smell its stinking breath.
What do you do?
We’ve helped a lot of people battle the Foreclosure Monster over our 25 years of practice. We’ve gathered a list of some pretty basic Do’s and Don’ts that have proven effective. Here are a few of them.
Talk to your lender. Your mortgage provider isn’t actually anxious to take your home away from you. They enjoy having those steady mortgage payments coming in, and pursuing a foreclosure against a homeowner costs them time, money, and legal fees. More often than not, they will work with you to get your payments back on track.
Keep a record! When you talk to your bank, document that call – what day, what time, who you spoke with. Keep a specific file with all of this documentation in it. When you get that threatening letter, put it in the file, along with a copy of your reply.
Research your rights! There are state and federal programs that are designed specifically for people like you. Much like your lenders, government officials are anxious for you to recover and stay in your home. There are also organizations like HUD and HOME that offer counseling and other tools and can help to create a roadmap for beating back the Foreclosure Monster. Do NOT wait until the last minute to seek help!
Fall for the scam. There are unscrupulous businesses that are constantly on the prowl for you. You may see the signs on the side of the road: “We Buy Houses!”. The lure of quick cash may sound enticing, but it won’t keep you in your home.
Pay to Play. Some of those same conmen will offer to help you with or out of your foreclosure for a “one-time fee.” “For just a little cash up-front, we can get this all sorted out!” They may ask you to pay your mortgage to someone other than your lender. Think about that – Send money you don’t have to someone you don’t owe to avoid spending money you don’t have.
Ignore the warnings! We’ve written before about opening those letters and answering those calls. Ignoring the signs won’t make the Foreclosure Monster go away, and it won’t deter your lender either.
Move. It may sound tempting, and a short-term solution. “Forget it. Let the bank take it.” Foreclosure doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. Many assistance programs only work if you’re still living in your home. And even if you leave, it’s still your home while the foreclosure is in the works – it’s your responsibility. If you move out, not only are you not solving the problem, you’re missing the opportunity to live there for free while your lender files. If a foreclosure goes through, you’ll know when it’s time to leave, but use that time to construct a viable plan. We may be able to figure out a solution in the interim.
And lastly, don’t try to go it alone. There are many people, like us, who have great experience in navigating this. We know the rules. We know the tricks of the trade, what to watch out for, and the often-hidden laws that benefit folks like you.
Give us a call. We’ll help you deal with the Foreclosure Monster.