This article was originally published on BLAC Detroit Magazine.

The mortgage moratorium has lifted, and homeowners across the country are now facing thousands of dollars of overdue mortgage payments. We saw an increase in foreclosure filings of 34% from July to 45,517 filings in August according to a 2021 U. S; Foreclosure Market Report. This is up 68% from last year. The report also shows there were a total of 19,609 US properties with foreclosure filing in September. This is up 24% from August and up 102% from September 2020.

The question thousands of homeowners are asking is, What Can I Do To Save My Home From Foreclosure?

If you are a homeowner facing foreclosure the first thing you can do is find out what type of loan you have, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae or something else and look online for resources being offered for this government backed mortgage.

If you are a homeowner and you weren’t able to make your mortgage payments during the pandemic, and you don’t know if you are facing foreclosure, contact your county sheriff’s department and ask what houses have been publicly listed for foreclosure sale.

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FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have resources to help you stay in your home if you are behind on your mortgage payments due to the pandemic.

Find out what type of mortgage you have:

Search to learn if you have a Fannie Mae home

https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup

Search to learn if you have a Freddie Mac home

https://loanlookup.freddiemac.com/

Use this tool to learn if you have an FHA mortgage or other servicer

https://www.mers-servicerid.org/sis/common/search

1. Redemption – Even if you loose your property to foreclosure, you can redeem it. The foreclosure process is not quick and it is not permanent. Typically it can take 12 months for the sheriff to claim the property after the foreclosure proceedings. By law you have 6 months to redeem your property after foreclosure so don’t fret.

2. Call Your Lender – Believe it or not, banks do not want your house. Banks are not in the business of property management. Schedule 1-3 hours and find a comfortable place in your home, grab a cup of chamomile tea and call your lender. Let them know honestly what is going on, what your work and income situation is and ask for options. After the mortgage crisis of 2008, banks have created several tools and programs to help you stay in your home. But you must first call to open up the dialog and let them know about your current circumstance

3. Communicate Clearly and Factually – The thought of losing your home can be emotional. That’s understandable. However, when you are speaking with your lender it is best to stick to the facts. There are millions of people across the country facing foreclosure and the representative at the bank is spending long hours a day helping people stay in their home. Make a list of the facts: • Date of your last full payment • Date of your last partial payment • Accurate amount of money you earn every month • Accurate amount of bills you pay every month (necessities like medicine, food, auto/ travel, utitilites) Not things like eating out, cable bill, etc. • Date of your unemployment benefits started • Date your unemployment benefits ran out • How much you can reasonably afford and when you think you will be able to start making full payments again.

4. Gather Your Paperwork – If you are behind due to employment, unemployment or decreased wages, you will need to supply documentation verifying your claims. Gather all your emails, letters and other information from your employer, unemployment office, department of human health services anything you have that can validate your situation

5. Stay Open But Vigilant – If you don’t get the answers you need on the first phone call, ask to speak to a manager or a different department that is helping homeowners stay in their home. Listen to the suggestions from your lender, you might be asked to take some financial literacy or homeowner classes. Be open to doing what you need to do to save your home and create a workout plan with your lender.

6. Do Not Abandon Your Home – If you want to keep your home, do not abandon it. Foreclosure proceedings can be accelerated if the lender determines the property is vacant. If your property is eligible for foreclosure, the government requires that a public notice is sent out to inform the public about future available properties. Surveyors, realtors, appraisers, inspectors, assessors and other interested parties are on the lookout for foreclosed properties.

7. Self Care – Facing foreclosure is stressful. But it is avoidable. During this time of negotiations get plenty of rest, turn off the TV and News, eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, drink a lot of water and try to take a brisk 20 minute walk everyday. Your mental health is important, during stressful times, such as these you are at higher risk. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your home and your family. Remember, everything is negotiable and foreclosure is not an option you are willing to take For more tips download The Trusted Banker’sFinancial Management and Credit Preservation Toolkit here. 

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