Financial Tips

What Should You do if You Can’t Make Your House Payment

You did your research, you bought responsibly—but the unthinkable happens, and for some reason, you can’t make your mortgage payment. What do you do? There are a few options available to you, but most require you to take the initiative and move quickly.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t wait. Mortgage servicers can start the foreclosure proceedings after 120 days of nonpayment, so if you can’t make your payment, or know you won’t be able to make it next month, contact your servicer immediately to explain your situation and discuss options.

Get Advice

Your servicer might be able to help, or you can get free expert advice from a housing counseling service. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a great resource to find government-approved counselors in your area.

Ask for Help

There might be options available to you, including refinancing to get a lower monthly payment, a loan modification, a repayment plan, forbearance, or—if all else fails, options like short-selling or signing over your house to the lender—both of which, however, will still require you to leave your home.

Avoid Scams

Many scammers like to prey on people with mortgage troubles. Never give money to someone who makes promises to help, or sign paperwork you don’t understand. The help you need is available at no cost through your lender or a counseling agency.

Falling behind on your mortgage may not leave you with many alternatives, but remember that options like short-selling and foreclosure are going to have a major impact on your credit score—and your future ability to take out a mortgage, so if you find yourself in this situation, move quickly to get help.

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