From extended job furloughs and unexpected job losses resulting from businesses permanently shutting their doors, the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented. Not surprisingly, many Americans are finding it difficult to pay their bills. As of early May, millions of mortgagees have been seeking help to make their mortgage payments or defer their payments using available federal programs. If you are struggling to pay your bills, you may be wondering what to do if you can’t pay your mortgage. Let’s take a look at what your options are if you can’t pay your mortgage.
Contact Your Lender Right Away
If you are facing one or more missed mortgage payments due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there are steps you can take to avoid foreclosure. The first thing you must do is to contact your lender right away and disclose your situation. Be sure to document the conversation so you have a record of your attempt to resolve the situation to the best of your ability. As a general rule of thumb, the earlier you contact your lender to ask for help, the more options you’ll have going forward. Your lender will likely discuss your options with you and will ask about your current income, expenses and taxes to get a better understanding of your current financial situation.
Mortgage Forbearance Options
One option that may be available to you is a mortgage forbearance. In a mortgage forbearance, you may be able to reduce, or even postpone, your mortgage payments for a predetermined period of time. It’s important to note that if you qualify for a forbearance of mortgage payments, you will still be ultimately responsible for any payments missed during this period. In other words, forbearance doesn’t eliminate the payment, rather it delays the payment due date. What’s more, you will be required to pay any interest that accrues during a forbearance period. It’s also important to note that your credit may take a bit of a hit due to having a mortgage forbearance on your record, but it will not impact your credit score as significantly as a foreclosure. Before agreeing to a mortgage forbearance, be sure to clearly understand the repayment terms so that you are prepared to meet them when it’s time to repay the forbearance amount.
Loan Modification Options
As you work with your lender, you may be presented with a loan modification option. Loan modifications are different from mortgage refinancing in several ways. First, no credit check is required for approval. Second, a loan modification can actually change the terms of your loan to result in a lower monthly payment by either cutting the interest rate, lengthening the terms of the loan or adding missed mortgage payments to the total amount owed instead of making them due immediately. In some cases, you may be able to take advantage of a loan modification in combination with a mortgage forbearance.
The CARES Act
The CARES (Coronavirus aid, relief, and economic security) Act was passed in an effort to provide relief to Americans during the pandemic, and it offers some protections for mortgagees. If your mortgage is federally-backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you may be protected from foreclosure or eviction. In addition, some local state and city governments have put protections in place for mortgagees and renters, so it’s important to speak with an attorney who is familiar with local laws in your area to find out about all the protections that may be available to you..
Experienced Baltimore Foreclosure Attorneys
With so many people struggling to make their mortgage payments, many believe the United States is facing a threat of a foreclosure crisis. Unemployment rates are high, as they were leading up to the Great Recession of 2008. Right now, banks are eager to work with mortgagees in order to help prevent damage to our financial system. At Sirody & Associates, our attorneys are experienced in foreclosure prevention. We have helped thousands of Marylanders keep their homes, and we can help you too. Contact an experienced Baltimore Foreclosure attorney at (410) 415-0445 to better understand your options and determine the most prudent course of action for your individual financial scenario.