Thursday, March 3, 2011

Having Trouble With Your Mortgage? Know Your Options

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Fannie Mae for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

One of the scariest thoughts for me is the idea of missing a mortgage payment or something going wrong that might jeopardize our home. I think in the 8 years I've been a homeowner I've been late on a payment twice and it totally freaked me out. It's kind of like seeing a cop as you are driving; you slow down even if you weren't speeding. Even though I know that nothing is going to happen if I miss ONE payment or if I'm late, it's still a scary thought that something COULD happen.


It usually takes at least 3 missed payments before your mortgage company will even start threatening foreclosure. The good news is that there are options before that even happens (and even if that's already happened).


Know Your Options by Fannie Mae is a website that Fannie Mae (the government sponsored entity that takes care of keeping the housing market stable) has set up to help us know the options that are available to us if you are struggling to make your mortgage payments or facing foreclosure.  I'm really glad to see Fannie Mae setting up such an informative site since this is a subject that so many people are dealing with right now. 


The good news is that there are options.  It really worries me to see the number of people who get so frustrated at their loss of property value that they are willing to just walk away from their investment and lose it completely.  If you can afford to pay your mortgage you should continue to do so.  Property values are already starting to come back.  Like any investment, values will go up and down.  The economy is already starting to turn around and the housing market will follow.  We just have to be patient.


Personally, I'd love to move RIGHT NOW. But, I know it's not realistic because we wouldn't be able to sell our house for what we have in it.  We wouldn't be upside down, BUT we would lose money so it just doesn't make sense to move if we don't have to.


If, however, your situation is such that you just can't afford your mortgage, whether it's because you signed onto an adjustable  rate or interest only loan that has come due, or because you lost a job and just don't have the income to pay your mortgage, you don't have to lose your house.  The best and first thing to do is to call your mortgage company and let them know what's going on.  The better you communicate the further you will get.  If you just stick your head in the sand and try to act like nothing is happening, something will happen.  A Forbearance may be an option for you if you are in a situation where you've lost a job or had a medical situation come up that is keeping you from making your monthly payments.  If you can show your mortgage company proof of what is going on they may be willing to suspend or reduce your payments for a short time until you can get back on your feet.  I've had family members who have had to do this in the past following medical emergencies and it may be the only reason they are still in their home now. offers consumers a wealth of information about the various options available.  Whether you need help staying in your home or need ideas for how to get out of your home without being foreclosed on, you'll want to check out this website.  Another important thing that this website offers is their Beware of Scams section.  Being an avid Dave Ramsey listener, I'm used to the idea that many of the services that offer to help you avoid immediate foreclosure or CONsolidate your credit are just scams.  Avoid companies that want you to pay them to help with debt relief.  There are HUD approved agencies that will do this for free (one more reason to Know Your Options).


Not being able to pay your bills is a very scary thing and when you get scared sometimes you act without thinking.  Whether you are in this position now, know someone who is, or ever could be, this is a website worth checking out.  Maybe you don't need the info but knowing it will allow you to pass it on to someone who may need it (now or later).

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