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Foreclosure is one of the most stressful experiences anyone can endure. The sheer fear of it has bred a number of foreclosure myths.
A common story is that foreclosure happens fast. In fact, it begins no earlier than 90 days after a missed mortgage payment. The average borrower can expect to wait 14 months beforeentering foreclosure. It’s 22 months on average in Florida; 26 months in New York.
Also, contacting your lender won’t speed up the process. In fact, this is the first thing you should do if you’re worried about missing your next mortgage payment. Foreclosure myths prevent homeowners from making the right decisions in tough financial times. One of the USA’s largest mortgage investors, Freddie Mac has debunked 5 foreclosure myths they frequently hear. Starting with…
Foreclosure myth 1: ‘If my house is foreclosed, I can never buy a house again’
Foreclosure can devastate your credit score. Typically you’d lose 100 – 150 points. But you can claw it back.
Set up a spending plan that uses credit effectively to rebuild your score. After facing foreclosure, borrowers need a credit score of 620 – 640. Don’t miss payments on your credit card, and get 2 years of continuous employment behind you.
It’s possible to get an FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment, just 3 years after foreclosure.
Foreclosure myth 2: ‘I should stop paying my mortgage, so I can get assistance with my payments’
Don’t do this. Stopping payments only hurts your situation, exposing you to difficulties that take years to recover from. Keep up with the mortgage payments as long as possible.
Foreclosure myth 3: ‘If I’m late on my monthly payments, I’ll lose my house’
It’s not ideal. But contact your lender as soon as a problem occurs, preferably before you miss a payment.
Remember, foreclosure is the last thing the lender wants. They’re often better off negotiating a new payment arrangement. You’ll need your financial documents, a strong knowledge of your situation, and a short statement of your financial hardship.
Foreclosure myth 4: ‘I’m getting offers of help from a variety of people – they’re probably all scams’
Sadly, there are people out there ready to prey on homeowners at their most vulnerable. You must be wary, but not everyone is out to scam you.
If you’re facing foreclosure, it’s important to keep communication up with your lender. Never work with anyone offering to save your home for a fee. And never sign your home over to anybody. Some will say the law requires you to sign over your property.
Foreclosure myth 5: ‘My lender is not responding to my inquiries – should I give up and face foreclosure?’
The current housing crisis means lenders are extremely busy. Call volumes can be high. But don’t walk away from your home. Never give up on working with your lender to produce a new arrangement that allows you to keep your house.