Foreclosure is a situation in which a homeowner is unable to make mortgage payments as required, which allows the lender to seize the property, evict the homeowner and sell the home, as stipulated in the mortgage contract.
Step one: communicate with your lender
As soon as you realize that you are going to have trouble making your mortgage payments, contact your lender and tell them about your financial difficulties. This gives them the opportunity to work with you to create a plan. Do not stop paying your bills, and do not wait until you cannot make payments before you act. Though you may feel scared or embarrassed, immediately begin working with your lender to avoid foreclosure on your home. Learn more about how to talk to your lender about trouble making payments.
Step two: work with the MHA program
You can get help through the Making Home Affordable (MHA) program, which provides free counselors for advice and assistance with keeping you in your home or getting out safely. Visit the MHA website to read about the options and what you’ll need to prepare.
MHA has a hotline you can call anytime: 1-888-995-HOPE (1-888-995-4673) and TTY users should call 1-877-304-9709. You can also find a counselor in your area.
Dishonest companies or individuals sometimes target homeowners who are struggling to meet their mortgage commitment or are anxious to sell their homes. Scam operators like this promise to help you keep your home or sell your home without having to go into foreclosure, for a fee. However, they rarely deliver on what they promised.
These scam operators find potential victims in several ways:
Advertise online and in local publications
Contact people whose homes appear in the foreclosure notices (they can easily find these notices online or in a local newspaper)
The Independent Foreclosure Review was established to determine whether eligible homeowners suffered financial injury because of errors or other problems during their home foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010. The following resources provide information on the review process:
As of October 10, 2014, $3.4 billion in checks distributed as part of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement have been cashed or deposited. Because checks were issued with a 90-day expiration date to prevent fraud, checks issued in the early waves of distribution that have not been cashed or deposited have begun to expire.
If you need a check reissued or have questions:
Call Rust Consulting at 1-888-952-9105 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET.
Refinancing refers to satisfying a debt by making another loan on new terms. The most common consumer refinancing is for a home mortgage, which generally involves paying off your existing mortgage and taking out a new mortgage.
The following resources provide further information:
The Making Home Affordable Program offers opportunities to modify or refinance your mortgage to make your monthly payments more affordable. It also includes the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program for homeowners who are interested in a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. Call 1-888-995-4673 for more information.
Please note: New Federal Reserve rules require mortgage companies to notify homeowners when their loans are transferred to another company. The company that takes over your loan must send you a notice within 30 days of acquiring it. Even with a new loan owner, the company that "services" or handles your loan might not change and you might continue to send your payments to the same address. If that loan servicer changes, you will receive a separate notice.