HUD Fair Housing: Top 10 Tips to Avoid Foreclosure

HUD Fair Housing: Top 10 Tips to Avoid Foreclosure

Are you dealing with financial challenges? Are you concerned that you may be facing foreclosure? If you can’t make your mortgage payment or if you’ve received a delinquency notice in the mail, don’t give up hope! This document describes actions you can take and resources from HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) that you can use to help avoid foreclosure and stay in your home.

Call your lender or loan servicer as soon as you know you have a problem.

The best way to keep your home is to act quickly! Some people say that if your lender finds out you’re in trouble, they’ll rush to foreclosure. This is not true. Your lender makes money only if you stay in your home and make payments. They want you to keep your home; and they have options that may be able to help you—including forbearance, deferment, loan modification, refinancing, and more.

Be prepared when you call.

Have your loan number on hand, and be ready to briefly explain your situation. You’ll also need your most recent income documents—including pay stubs and any benefit statements from Social Security, disability, unemployment, retirement, or public assistance. If you’re self-employed, have your most recent tax return or a year-to-date profit/loss statement. Finally, prepare a list of your monthly household expenses.

Open and respond to all mail from your lender.

Don't ignore letters from your lender or loan servicer! The first notices you receive will provide information about options to help avoid foreclosure. Later mail may include notices about possible legal action. Failure to open your mail will not be an excuse in foreclosure court

Know your mortgage rights. 

Read your loan documents and find out what your lender is allowed to do if you can't make payments. Learn about the foreclosure laws and timeframes in your state (every state is different). For more information, call your state’s Housing Authority or visit their website. 

Contact a HUD-approved foreclosure counselor.

HUD funds free foreclosure counseling nationwide. Counselors can help you understand the law and your options, organize your finances, and negotiate with your lender. Use this website to find a HUD-approved foreclosure counselor near you. You can also call HUD toll-free, 24/7, at 800-569-4287 (TTY: 202-708-1455). 

Prioritize your spending.

After healthcare, keeping your house should be your first priority. Review your finances and see where you can cut spending to help make your mortgage payment. Look for optional expenses—such as cable TV, memberships, and entertainment—that you can eliminate. You may even need to delay credit card payments until after you’ve paid your mortgage. 

Use your assets. 

Do you have a second car, jewelry, antiques, a whole-life insurance policy, or other assets that you can sell for cash to help get current? Can anyone in your family get an extra job to bring in additional income? Even if you can’t significantly increase your income, your efforts will show your lender that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep your home. 

Avoid foreclosure-prevention companies. 

For-profit companies may contact you, promising to negotiate with your lender—for a fee (often two or three months of mortgage payments). HUD-approved counselors provide the same help for free

Don't lose your home to a foreclosure recovery scam. 

If anyone claims they can stop your foreclosure if you sign a document that appoints them to act on your behalf, beware! You may be signing over the title to your home. Never sign any document without reading and understanding all of its terms. Be sure to get advice from an attorney or a HUD-approved counselor before you sign

Do you have an FHA-insured mortgage? 

Special help may be available for you. The Federal Housing Administration (a division of HUD) works aggressively to stop foreclosure whenever possible. Through its National Servicing Center (NSC), the FHA offers a variety of foreclosure-prevention programs and information resources. Visit the NSC Loss Mitigation Programs website