How To: Avoid Foreclosure
The most important thing you can do when you’re having trouble paying your mortgage is take control. In most cases, the worst thing you can do is nothing. Taking control means taking four steps:
1. Make or take a call for help
- Take control by accepting calls from your mortgage servicer. Even better, call your mortgage servicer as soon as you know you can’t make your monthly payment. The phone number is on your monthly bill. Tell your servicer why you can’t make your monthly payment and ask the servicer for help avoiding foreclosure.
2. Ask for free expert help
- Your servicer may be able to help if you get in trouble with your loan payments. If you can’t get what you need from your servicer, ask for expert help from housing counseling agencies near you. The counselors can develop a tailored plan of action and help you work with your mortgage company. Visit consumerfinance.gov/mortgagehelp or call the CFPB at (855) 411-CFPB(2372) to find a HUD-approved housing counselor.
3. Slam the scam
- Scam artists try to take advantage of homeowners who get into trouble by charging lots of money— even thousands of dollars—for false promises of help. You don’t have to pay anyone to help you avoid foreclosure. The help you need is available at no cost to you from your servicer, or through a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.
4. Apply for help
- If you send in a complete application to your mortgage servicer early enough, your mortgage servicer has to tell you the options you have to keep your home, or if it makes more sense, to leave your home.
- Housing counselors have a lot of experience helping people work on avoiding foreclosure. They can assist you with the complicated steps to understand your options and apply for help.
- Your mortgage servicer can’t make a first notice or filing for foreclosure until you are more than 120 days behind on your payments. In addition, when you submit a complete application for mortgage help early enough, the mortgage servicer can’t start foreclosure while you’re being evaluated or if you’re following through on the requirements of a loan modification. So get it done, and don’t delay. The earlier you complete the application, the more protections you get.