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Avoiding Foreclosure – Two Options for Homeowners

February 16, 2009

I just finished reading a Reuters article that said home foreclosures for January of this year were up 57% over January of 2007.

I guess it takes numbers like that do really drive home what’s happening in this country. I knew foreclosures were way up as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis that started last year, but that 57% increase still shocks me.

So lately I’ve been publishing a series of articles to help homeowners avoid home foreclosure altogether. In this article, I’ll explain the two paths a homeowner can take based on his or her financial situation: (1) the “get back on track” option and (2) the “sell the home quickly” option.

Essentially, these two options classify homeowners into one of two camps:

1. Those having temporary financial problems who could still keep the house.
2. Those having long-term problems who can no longer afford the home, period.

Getting Back On Track to Keep the Home

In the first camp, we have those homeowners who have had only temporary financial problems, and expect to get caught up on their mortgage payments. These people can work with their lenders to come up with repayment or reinstatement plans in order to avoid foreclosure while keeping the home.

Generally speaking, you have two options to get caught up on your missed mortgage payments. You can pay back the missed payments as a lump sum (reinstatement), or you can spread that amount over future mortgage payments (repayment plan). These are the two most common options when the homeowner’s financial problems are only temporary.

Selling the Home to Avoid Foreclosure

In the second camp are those homeowners whose financial problems are more long-term in nature. In other words, these homeowners simply cannot afford their homes anymore. These folks can avoid home foreclosure by selling the home, possibly through the real estate short sale technique we covered last week.

This is where the real estate short sale comes into the picture. A short sale is a technique through which the homeowner sells the home for less than the amount owed to the lender, in order to sell the home quickly.

With this technique for avoiding home foreclosure, speed is of the essence. That’s why mortgage lender often allow homeowners to pursue a short sale in the first place … to sell the home quickly and to get the non-performing loan off their books. This is the closest thing to a “win-win” scenario the lender and homeowner will find when foreclosure is imminent.

Obviously there is a lot more to learn about the two primary paths outlined above, and the multiple options that each path presents. My point with this article is simply to help you realize that you do have options when trying to avoid a property foreclosure, and knowing what those options are is the first step to success!

About the Author: Brandon Cornett publishes the Home Buying Institute, a website full of advice on mortgages loans, house hunting, credit scores and more. Learn more or contact the author by visiting www.homebuyinginstitute.com

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