How to Protect Yourself When Facing Foreclosure

foreclosure notice document

Learning that your lender has started the foreclosure process is extremely scary. You may think that you are out of options and that, inevitably, you are going to lose your home. It is at this point that many people give up and simply go through the motions of the foreclosure process. Others simply ignore the process and abandon the home. Both of these actions are big mistakes. You have many options when facing foreclosure, and some of them may even help you keep your home.

Talk to Your Mortgage Loan Servicer

It is perfectly natural to want to stick your head in the sand when you know you are behind on mortgage payments, but this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Your mortgage loan servicer will prefer to try to work out a payment schedule with you than they are to foreclose on your home when you have fallen on difficult times.

Foreclosing on a home is a lengthy and expensive process, and the servicer would much rather keep you in the home and continue to accept payments from you. Be honest with the mortgage loan servicer, and remain realistic about your options. The chances are quite good that you and the servicer can come to a solution.

Know Your Rights

You may not think you have any rights when you are facing foreclosure, especially if the lender has already started proceedings. However, you do have rights and it is important to know what those are so you can protect them. Review your loan document, as it will likely outline the rights the servicer or lender has, and what they are prohibited from doing during the foreclosure process.

You should also read Florida’s law on foreclosure so you know what other rights you have, such as the right to respond to the summons, so the servicer or lender does not secure a default judgment against you.

Speak to a Non-Profit Housing Counselor

Due to the fact that you are facing foreclosure and therefore, likely in financial hardship, you may find it difficult to pay someone for help and to get advice on what to do during the foreclosure process. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can help you find a housing counselor, free of charge, that will help you understand what next steps to take, and what your rights are.

Understand the Most Relevant Terms

There will be a number of terms that come up during the foreclosure process, particularly if you are trying to work out a solution with your lender. It is important to understand what these terms are, and the options they provide.

The most common terms associated with foreclosure include:

  • Reinstatement: When behind on your mortgage payments, your mortgage loan servicer may offer a reinstatement plan in which you make a lump-sum payment by a certain date. Sometimes, there are late fees and other costs associated with a reinstatement plan.
  • Forbearance: Forbearance allows you to defer your mortgage payments for a certain period of time. If you can prove that you have a bonus, tax refund, or other income coming in at a future date, your servicer or lender may agree to a forbearance. Remember that a forbearance does not mean you do not have to make the payments, it only defers your payments to a future date.
  • Repayment plans: These plans are often confused with reinstatement plans or forbearance, but they do differ. A repayment plan breaks up your delinquent payments into several smaller payments, and that reduced payment is added to your normal monthly payment. Over time, you pay back the delinquent amount little by little.
  • Loan modification: A loan modification is an agreement you enter into with the servicer or lender that changes one or more terms of your mortgage loan. Any term can be changed in a loan modification, including the interest rate, the length of the loan, and even the principal amount.

Research Various Mortgage-Assistance Solutions

There is often help for people facing foreclosure, but they do not even know it. If you are a senior, the Florida Senior Legal Helpline can provide the necessary assistance. If you are a veteran, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs may also have possible solutions for you.

Carefully Review Your Finances

Again, if you are facing foreclosure it is likely because money is tight, making it difficult to make your mortgage payments. As such, you should carefully review your finances, and determine where you can either cut expenses or bring in more money to the household.

Determine if there are payments you can delay on credit cards and other unsecured debt, consider if you have any assets you can sell to help repay your loan and try to decide if any member of the household can get a second job to boost the household’s income.

Not only will all of these steps help with the cash flow inside the household, but it will also show your lender or servicer that you are serious about staying in your home. That may be enough to convince them to work with you on a loan modification or a repayment plan that can help keep you in your home.

Call a Florida Foreclosure Defense Lawyer

There are many resources available that can help you during the foreclosure process. However, you should still always enlist the help of a Fort Lauderdale foreclosure lawyer. A lawyer will ensure your rights are protected at all times, represent you during judicial proceedings, and will give you the best chance of staying in your home.

If you are facing foreclosure, or are behind on mortgage payments, call our skilled attorneys at Loan Lawyers. We can help you throughout the entire foreclosure process, help you determine which option is best for you, and negotiate with your lender or servicer when necessary to give you the best chance of a successful outcome. When you need legal foreclosure help, call us at (954) 523-4357 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

For more information about foreclosure defense, click here to visit our website.

Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers with their debt problems, we have saved over 2,000 homes from foreclosure, eliminated more than $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have recovered over $10,000,000 on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations.  Contact us for a free consultation to see how we may be able to help you.