“Foreclosure” is the legal process by which a bank repossesses a home from a borrower and, according to RealtyTrac, 1 out of every 100 homes were in some stage of the foreclosure process in 2007. 

This figure is astounding because foreclosure is expensive to both homeowners and banks.  Both parties have an interest in avoiding foreclosure but the process has to start with the homeowner — banks are just too big to start it themselves.

Every mortgage statement has a 1-800 phone number on it.  If you’re about to fall behind on your mortgage payments, make a phone call first.  When you call the toll-free number, a customer service representative talk about your repayment options, or help you design a work-out plan to get your mortgage back to current.

Banks know that more than 80 percent of all foreclosures result from one of the following:

  • Job loss/reduction in salary
  • Medical issues
  • Divorce
  • Death

These are life events that draw compassion from banks.  They understand that bad things can happen to people. 

However, the other 20 percent of foreclosures are the result of an inability to sell, an unwillingness to pay, and budget mismanagement.  These reasons are not as acceptable to the banks.

But when a homeowner fails to forewarn his lender of a missed payment, the lender assumes the worst.  It puts the homeowner in the 20 percent category. This makes a work-out plan much less likely and can quickly lead to foreclosure and a loss of the home.

Lenders want to avoid foreclosure as much as homeowners do.  If you’re a homeowner and you’re facing trouble with your mortgage payment, give your lender a call in advance and try to work it out.

If you never call, you can’t possibly get help.

(Image courtesy: Countrywide Financial)

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