When you get behind on your home mortgage payment, it can be a scary proposition. The chances are good that if you're like most folks in that situation, your house payments aren't the only financial obligations you're behind on. You're being stressed, emotionally and financially, and your home life may be suffering as a result.
If you're in that situation, it's important that you do the one thing that 2/3 of Americans DON'T do--reach out, talk to your lender, and work out an alternative plan. It's an amazing statistic, but a recent survey by Freddie Mac and Roper Public Affairs and Media has showed that more than half of all borrowers faced with foreclosure of their homes never talk to their lender at all during the process.
On the other hand, ¾ of those borrowers do remember having been contacted by their lending institution. There was a significant percentage of reasons people gave for not following up those contacts with their own attempts to work out alternative payment plans, but the most often cited was a belief that their lenders couldn't help them with late house payments. The next most-often reasons cited involved pride, fear, and embarrassment. Borrowers thought they could take care of their problems themselves or were afraid to call because they simply didn't have the money to make their payments. Another common reason was that borrowers didn't know who to contact for help.
That last reason, although cited significantly less often than the others, is still important, because some 61 percent of delinquent buyers responded that they didn't know a person could work out an alternative payment plan to help them out of their short-term financial bind. The survey showed that 92 percent of those borrowers would have talked to their lender if they had known that such an option was open to them.
The survey found that demographics made no difference in borrower responses. Whether the borrower was male or female, white, black, or Latino, the survey showed that there is a genuine need for educating borrowers as to how to work out temporary plans to avoid foreclosure.
So if you find yourself in a financial bind that is difficult enough to threaten the loss of your home, don't be afraid or embarrassed. Lenders are in the business of lending money. It's not their job to become homeowners. So they'd rather help you keep your home rather than have to deal with taking over and then reselling a foreclosure.
Don't ignore the correspondence from your letter if you get into trouble. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by talking frankly with your lender about working out a plan to save your house. You'll be surprised at how willing most lenders will be to help you stay in your home, even if you are behind on your mortgage.
Copyright © Jeanette J. Fisher
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