Owe More Than the Value?

Many homeowners are currently "upside down" on their mortgages, owing more than their homes are worth. During the current mortgage crisis, this is a common situation.

If you are a homeowner behind on your payments and upside down on your mortgage, you may feel there is no possible way you can remedy the situation. You may be considering walking away from your mortgage and letting the bank have your house. There are many other options to try to rescue the situation, and walking away is your absolute worst option.

You have options, but don’t wait! The sooner you discuss your property with a Realtor the better.

Conventional Sale

If you have lived in your home a long time and owe very little, there is a good possibility you have some equity in your property. It is important not to assume your home’s value and fall prey to feeling that homes are not selling – in fact, appropriately priced homes are selling quickly. The best way to understand this option is to review your property with a professional Realtor who can review the current market data with you. To request a free Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), contact us today.

Short Sale

A short sale is where the bank is willing to allow you to sell your property for less than you owe without owing the bank for the short fall. Since short sales net the bank roughly 30% more than a foreclosure sale, this has become a more common solution.

Short sales require a great deal of patience and can be very time intensive – they are much more difficult than a conventional sale. Representing the current market conditions, assembling necessary documentation and listing your home with a real estate company are just a few of the bank’s conditions for considering a short sale. And there is no guarantee that your lending institution will accept a short sale. Therefore, working with a professional Realtor experienced in short sales is an absolute necessity to enhance your chances for success. Let us assist you today.

Lease or Lease Option

Homeowners who are not able to pay their mortgage or sell the home in a short sale may consider renting the home. Ideally, you would be able to rent the home for an amount that covers your mortgage. However, even if the rent falls short of your monthly mortgage payment, if you can make the mortgage payment between rent and your regular income, while renting yourself, you may be able to sell or refinance the home at a later time, when the real estate market has recovered from the current crisis. This is a great option for those who can wait to sell, but want to move into a smaller home now.

Renting your home in order to save it may seem strange, but as long as you make the payments and remain in possession of the home, there is always a chance that your financial situation may turn around, and you do not have a foreclosure on your credit record.

The Most Important Thing Homeowners Can Do

When they start receiving overdue notices from their lender most homeowners stop opening their mail. This is a very serious mistake. Most lenders understand that people may experience financial problems from time to time. They are usually willing to work with homeowners who are sincere about repairing their mortgage and resolving their situation.

The best thing you can do is contact your mortgage lender about a loan workout. There is probably something the lender can do to help you either save your home or get out of your loan without foreclosure, and they are willing and usually able to help with this process. By talking with your lender and working out a solution acceptable to both of you, you may be able to save your home. You can usually at least avoid foreclosure, and that is one of the best moves you can make for your future.

Mortgage Modification

One option available to borrowers is a mortgage modification. You may be able to negotiate, for instance, an extension of your mortgage. This extension would lower your payments while keeping the interest rate the same. In an extension, you would pay your mortgage off over a longer period of time, thus paying more interest in the end, but rehabilitating your mortgage now and saving your home.

Another option for rehabilitating a loan when your financial situation is permanent is to ask the bank to lower your interest rate. While this does not sound like a promising solution, banks can and do modify mortgages in this way when the alternative is to foreclose on the home. Banks want to negotiate workouts for failing mortgages. They do not want the home; they want the borrower to pay their mortgage. Many lenders will go to great lengths to help mortgage borrowers who are in financial difficulty but are sincerely trying to save their home.

If you contact your mortgage lender and talk with them honestly about your situation, presenting a plan for how you can save the mortgage and avoid foreclosure, most lenders will give you a fair hearing and try to work with you to resolve the situation.

Do Not Just Walk Away!

During this current mortgage crisis, many people are, indeed, walking away, not paying their mortgages, and just letting the bank take over. The thinking seems to be that if you can't pay your mortgage, you should just save the money, or spend it, find a place to rent, and let the bank foreclose on the home. Abandoning this obligation could seriously impair your ability to live your life as you choose for years to come.

Walking away from a mortgage is the single most damaging thing you can do for your credit. In fact, if you walk away from a mortgage with the intention of renting an apartment, it would be best to line up the apartment while you're still paying the mortgage. Most complexes check credit references very carefully, and it will be difficult to find a rental if you've walked away from the most important financial obligation you've ever made.

If the bank must foreclose, and there is no way to avoid it, you may be able to do a little better, as far as your credit report is concerned, by giving the home back, using a deed-in-lieu-of-mortgage process, rather than forcing the bank to file a foreclosure lawsuit against you. This is a traumatic situation, and you will still experience a foreclosure, but it may be a less traumatic process than the alternative, and your credit report may read differently than if the bank is forced to foreclose through legal channels.

* Considering the financial importance and complexity of the mortgage workout, Short Sale &/or Forclosure process, you must be educated and you should discuss your situation with a competent lawyer and accountant. The more educated you are on the process, the better your chances are for favorable results.