10 Tips to Avoid Foreclosure

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, these 10 tips will help you avoid foreclosing on the home you worked so hard to buy.

1. Don't Ignore the Problem.
The further behind you become, the harder it will be to reinstate your loan and the more likely it will be that you will lose your house.

2.Contact Your Lender as Soon as You Realize That You Have a Problem.

Lenders do not want your house. They have options to help borrowers through difficult financial times.

3. Open & Respond to All Mail From Your Lender.
The first notices you receive will offer good information about foreclosure prevention options that can help you weather financial problems. Later mail may include important notices of pending legal action. Your failure to open the mail will not be an excuse in foreclosure court.

4. Know Your Mortgage Rights.
Find your loan documents and read them so you know what your lender may do if you can't make your payments. Learn about the foreclosure laws and timeframes in your state (as every state is different) by contacting the State Government Housing Office. You can visit their website.

5. Understand Foreclosure Prevention Options.
Valuable information about foreclosure prevention (also called loss mitigation) options can be found online.

6. Contact a Hud-Approved Housing Counselor.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds free or very low-cost housing counseling nationwide. Housing counselors can help you understand the law and your options, organize your finances and represent you in negotiations with your lender, if you need this assistance. Find a HUD-approved housing counselor near you or call (800) 569-4287 or TTY (800) 877-8339.

7. Prioritize Your Spending
After healthcare, keeping your house should be your first priority. Review your finances and see where you can cut spending in order or make your mortgage payment. Look for optional expenses (cable TV, memberships, entertainment) that you can eliminate. Delay payments on your credit cards and other "unsecured" debt, until you have paid your mortgage payment.

8. Use Your Assets.
Do you have assets that you can sell for cash to help reinstate your loan? These can be a second car, jewelry, or a whole life insurance policy. Can anyone in your household get an extra job to bring in additional income? Even if these efforts don't significantly increase your available cash or your income, they demonstrate to your lender that you are willing to make sacrifices to keep your home.

9. Avoid Foreclosure Prevention Companies.

You do not need to pay fees for foreclosure prevention help, instead use that money to pay the mortgage instead. Many pro-profit companies will contact you promising to negotiate with your lender, and while they might be legitimate, they will charge you a large fee. You can get free services through your lender, so contact them first.

10. Don't Lose Your House to Foreclosure Recovery Scams!

If any firm claims they can stop your foreclosure immediately and you sign a document appointing them to act on your behalf, you may be signing over your house to a scammer. Never sign a legal document without fully understanding it and getting professional advice.

Contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency Toll FREE at (800) 569-4287 or TTY (800) 877-8339.