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Help! Behind on the mortgage and sinking fast

Ginger Dean

February 15, 2013

By: Ginger Dean, Home Finance Specialist

In: Finance and Legal

Falling behind in your mortgage payments without a way to recover can be very stressful to a homeowner. After all, this is where you live and raise your family. While there are a few options out there, you must weigh all the pros and cons of each, and then be willing to live with your decision.

Deciding to abandon ship and walk away from your home is not an easy decision. But when it seems like the only way out, the choice can seem easy. Here are a few reasons a person may decide it is best:

  • Loss of income. You have lost your job and even though you are collecting unemployment, the check you receive is half of what you used to take home.
  • Do not meet the criteria for financial help with your mortgage. While there are a few programs out there that can offer assistance to a homeowner in trouble, you must be current on your mortgage payments in order to qualify.
  • Uneducated about other options. Even if you are having financial difficulty, you may still qualify for other options. Not knowing what is available can move you to a decision that could have been avoided.

On the other hand if you have been a responsible homeowner and have done everything within your means to make certain that your payments on your mortgage were made first, then there are several programs that may help you to refinance and reduce the monthly payments or qualify for a government-assisted program where the amount you owe can actually be reduced or refinanced at a lower rate. They are as follows:

  • HARP. Also known as the Home Affordable Refinance Program, this program is designed to help homeowners who are current in their mortgage payments and have equity in their home make reduced affordable monthly payments.
  • HAMP. Also known as the Home Affordable Modification Program, this program is for those homeowners who are current on their payments but cannot refinance because they owe more than the home is worth.

These options are not a guarantee but are worth looking into if you feel that you can qualify.

If your home has recently gone into foreclosure and you had a loan with one of the five major banks, you may qualify for a Department of Justice (DOJ) Mortgage Settlement. The DOJ Mortgage Settlement came about when the lenders of five major banks used unqualified individuals to serve and sign foreclosure documents. If you feel that this may be the case for your foreclosure, then you can contact the National Mortgage Settlement Agency and see if you qualify to have the foreclosure lifted.

While you may feel alone with your struggles, there is assistance available if you just do some research. If you want to stay in your home, are current on your payments and have exhausted all resources, the time is now to see if you qualify for help.

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