1. Don’t Put off Dealing with the Issue. Or as some would say, “don’t be in denial about it.” The worst thing you can do if you are behind on your mortgage or facing foreclosure is to avoid the issue and do nothing. We are going through one of the most challenging financial times in years and becoming paralyzed by fear is not the answer. In addition, you should be careful to avoid falling into the trap of believing “you’re the only one” or “you’re a failure” because you’re in this situation. Financial challenges happen to the best of us. The good news is, you can recover and rebuild later. For now, take responsibility, own up to the situation you’re in and don’t let fear and avoidance control you. It never accomplishes anything constructive.
2. Consult a Real Estate Agent. If you need to get out from under your mortgage, talk to a real estate agent you know and trust. Real estate agents are professionals and they can give you an idea of the market value of your home and the actual costs involved in selling it. Even if your home is not market ready and needs a lot of work, they may know someone willing to buy it as-is … even if it is not in perfect shape. Real estate agents can also help you be realistic about the value of your home. If you are truly upside down and can’t sell your home for what you owe on it, they will tell you. This can be the first and easiest step to taking responsibility and finding out what your options are.
3. Seek Advice. Once you know the market value of your home, the costs involved and whether you can sell it or not, seek advice from trusted friends or professionals like an accountant, attorney or financial planner. Renting your home instead of selling it might be an option, so get some good advice before making a life-changing decision like selling your home. The hardest thing for many people to do is to ask for help but it’s the BEST thing you can do. It is much easier to face a challenge of this magnitude with someone else than by yourself. Think of your favorite stories or movies. There is always a “fellowship” of some kind. Frodo and Sam, Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion, the four siblings in Narnia. Don’t try to go it alone. No one ever succeeds alone. Get some good advice and support from others.
4. Call Your Lender. If you find yourself upside down and can’t sell your home for what you owe, call your lender and ask them what are your options. Many lenders are willing to work with homeowners on the terms of repayment. Some are not, so a phone call to them is essential. If you have fallen behind on your payments and they are calling you, talk to them … and most of all, don’t avoid them. If they are uncooperative or have turned your account over to a collection agency, know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
5. Call HomeTelos. If you truly need to get out from under your mortgage and owe more than you can sell it for, you may qualify for the HomeTelos Loan Exit Option (LEO) program. The goal of the Loan Exit Option program is to exit your mortgage loan by completing a pre-approved “short sale” at a pre-determined price. A short sale results when a homeowner sells the home for an amount that is not adequate to repay the mortgage loan, but the mortgage lender agrees to accept the sales proceeds and release its lien. The lender typically accepts the sales proceeds in full satisfaction of the borrower’s loan, thus helping you to avoid a foreclosure on your credit record. HomeTelos LEO Program short sales are pre-approved by the mortgage lender so they are very different from a traditional short sale. Homeowners participating in the LEO program BEGIN with a letter that defines the lender’s loan settlement terms. This letter includes a minimum sales price for the home based on its current market value, thereby avoiding all the delays and headaches of most short sales. For more information on the LEO program and to find out if you qualify, you can call HomeTelos at 1-866-99Telos between 8:00 and 5:00 central standard time.
Facing foreclosure can be one of the most challenging and stressful events you ever face, so seek good professional advice, take responsibility and don’t try to go it alone. You need help navigating this situation and there are many options to consider.