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Options for Distressed Homeowners

In 2005, my husband and I decided to separate. The one stable thing I could provide for my children during this time was to remain in the family home. The real estate market was still booming, so I had no problem making the mortgage payment.

After 3 emotional years, my divorce was final. Then the economy took a nose dive, along with my income. I struggled with the house payments. The emotional and financial stress was a lot for me to bear all at once. I needed to find a way to relieve the financial stress.

I took a survival job at a local call center making a little above minimum wage. That lasted about 9 weeks until a friend asked me if I wanted to work for her at Carter’s Children’s Clothing at the Auburn Mall. It sounded better than working at the call center, so I accepted. Then I was offered a 2 year project position with the Washington State Employment Security Department in Olympia. I was finally making more than minimum wage. But not enough to makes ends meet, so I continued working in Real Estate. At this point I was able to see things clearly and started to get back on my feet, emotionally and financially. I began the process of getting a loan modification; however, there are more options available. You have to start with calling your mortgage company and asking for help.

Contrary to popular opinion, mortgage companies really do NOT want to foreclose because foreclosure costs them a lot of money. Depending on your specific situation, mortgage companies may offer any of the following options to avoid foreclosure:

* Repayment Plan – You can make your regular installments each month plus part of the missed installments.

* Special Forbearance – The mortgage company agrees not to initiate foreclosure to allow time for you to repay the missed installments. An example of when this would be likely is when a borrower is waiting for a tax refund.

* Loan Modification provides you a fresh start by adding the delinquency to the loan balance and stabling a new payment schedule.

* Additional time to arrange a private sale – the mortgage company agrees to delay foreclosure to allow a sale to close if the loan will be paid off.

* Short Sale – When the mortgage companies agrees to allow you to sell your home for a lesser amount than what is currently required to pay off the loan.

* Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure – You voluntarily agree to deed the property to your mortgage company instead of going through a lengthy foreclosure process. There are some mortgage companies that provide a program called “Cash for Keys”. If you sign over your house to your mortgage company, they will pay you (I’ve seen up to $3,000).

If you are feeling emotionally or financially stressed and would like to discuss your options let’s talk – I’ve been there.

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