U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Q: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I MISS MY MORTGAGE PAYMENTS?
Foreclosure may occur. This is the legal means that your lender can use to repossess (take over) your home. When this happens, you must move out of your house. If your property is worth less than the total amount you owe on your mortgage loan, a deficiency judgment could be pursued. If that happens, you not only lose your home, you also would owe HUD an additional amount.
Both foreclosures and deficiency judgments could seriously affect your ability to qualify for credit in the future. So you should avoid foreclosure if possible.
Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO?
1. DO NOT IGNORE THE LETTERS FROM YOUR LENDER. If you are having problems making your payments, call or write to your lender's Loss Mitigation Department without delay. Explain your situation. Be prepared to provide them with financial information, such as your monthly income and expenses. Without this information, they may not be able to help.
2. Stay in your home for now. You may not qualify for assistance if you abandon your property.
3. Contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. Call (800) 569-4287 or TDD (800) 877-8339 for the housing counseling agency nearest you. These agencies are valuable resources. They frequently have information on services and programs offered by Government agencies as well as private and community organizations that could help you. The housing counseling agency may also offer credit counseling. These services are usually free of charge.
Q: WHAT ARE MY ALTERNATIVES?
You may be considered for the following:
Q: HOW DO I KNOW IF I QUALIFY FOR ANY OF THESE ALTERNATIVES?
Your lender will determine if you qualify for any of the alternatives. A housing counseling agency can also help you determine which, if any, of these options may meet your needs and also assist you in interacting with your lender. Call (800) 569-4287 or TDD (800) 877-8339.
Q: SHOULD I BE AWARE OF ANYTHING ELSE?
Yes. Beware of scams! Solutions that sound too simple or too good to be true usually are. If you're selling your home without professional guidance, beware of buyers who try to rush you through the process. Unfortunately, there are people who may try to take advantage of your financial difficulty. Be especially alert to the following:
Q: ARE THERE ANY PRECAUTIONS I CAN TAKE?
Here are several precautions that should help you avoid being "taken" by a scam artist:
1. Don't sign any papers you don't t fully understand.
2. Make sure you get all "promises" in writing.
3. Beware of any contract of sale of loan assumption where you are not formally released from liability for your mortgage debt.
4. Check with a lawyer or your mortgage company before entering into any deal involving your home.
5. If you're selling the house yourself to avoid foreclosure, check to see if there are any complaints against the prospective buyer. You can contact your state's Attorney General, the State Real Estate Commission, or the local District Attorney's Consumer Fraud Unit for this type of information.
Q: WHAT ARE THE MAIN POINTS I SHOULD REMEMBER?
1. Don't lose your home and damage your credit history.
2. Call or write your mortgage lender immediately and be honest about your financial situation.
3. Stay in your home to make sure you qualify for assistance.
4. Arrange an appointment with a HUD-approved housing counselor to explore your options at (800) 569-4287 or TDD (800) 877-8339.
5. Cooperate with the counselor or lender trying to help you.
6. Explore every alternative to keep your home.
7. Beware of scams.
8. Do not sign anything you don't understand. And remember that signing over the deed to someone else does not necessarily relieve you of your loan obligation.
Act now. Delaying can't help. If you do nothing, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR HOME and your good credit rating.
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