Getting Help When You Can't Meet Your Mortgage Payment

By Karen Lawson
LoanPage.com Columnist

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You've never made a late mortgage payment until recently. Everything is costing more, and it's hard to keep up. Add a family emergency or two, and you might find that you can't make your mortgage payment on time. If this happens to you, take steps immediately to resolve the situation. The most important thing to remember is that your lender would prefer to work with you than have your mortgage go into default.

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Late Mortgage Payments: Forget What You've Seen on TV

We've all seen the stereotypical bad guy who ties a young woman to the train tracks because her father couldn't pay his mortgage. There is nothing pleasant about financial problems, but your lender would prefer to work with you to achieve repayment than foreclose your mortgage and take ownership of your home. Mortgage lenders lose money on foreclosures, and would rather help you work out a repayment plan.

Know Your Financial Situation, and Suggest a Solution

In order to determine a course of action, you'll need to do the following:
  • » Determine the amount of your monthly net income. (Income after taxes and other deductions.)
  • » Make a list of all monthly expenses. Include everything from your mortgage payment to incidental expenses such as gifts and entertainment.
  • » Do the math. If you are paying out more than you make, adjustments must be made.
  • » This is the hard part. Eliminate any expense that is not essential. (Note: if you can't pay your mortgage on time, entertainment, eating out, and expensive salon visits are not essential expenses.)
  • » Establish the exact amount have available to pay your mortgage.
Your mortgage payment is likely your largest expense, and your home equity may be your biggest asset. If you are still short, contact your lender. Be honest and provide amounts and dates you can repay. It's best not to let your mortgage become more than one month past due. Late charges and additional fees may be assessed, which only add to your financial woes.

About the Author
Karen Lawson has more than fifteen years of experience in mortgage banking, and holds a Master's Degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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