Who Do You Call When You Can't Pay Your Mortgage?

Real Estate Agent with John L Scott

Another month and you don't have any money to pay your house payment.  What are you to do? Do you want to sell your house? Are you looking to stay in your house.  What ever your desire please don't just sit there and do nothing, call someone to help you explore the solutions that are just right around the corner. This happens to you the home owner when you have lost your job, your wages have been cut, or you recently have gone through a divorce.   When there is a will there is a way. 

 What can you do if you owe more than what your house is worth?  At this time you can try and sell your house using a Realtor.  The Realtor will market and sell your house for you and the bank pays the commission.  A short sale is when you sell your house to someone else for less than what is owed. Is this really feasible? Can you sell your house for less than you owe and will it actually benefit your family?

Everyone's situation is different but it can be done by talking to an attorney and or cpa will help you make some difficult decisions that may effect your family for years to come so it's important to explore your rights.  Just taking the time toanswer the question do I want to stay or do I want to go?  An attorney can look at your case and objectively give you an opinon to help you make those tough decisions. 

If your attorney is asking for a large retainer, ask questions of why they want this retainer. An attorney is an officer of the court.  Don't ever be afraid of asking them questions.  I have known  A lot of attorneys  that will help you and not require a large retainer.  If they do ask for a large retainer ask them if they can guarantee their results? 

 Ask them what type of experience they have had in the past when dealing with your type of case.   Can you both work together for a positive solution?  Having clear questions and clear  understanding of expectations is extremely important.  Only you or your attorney can define this role. 

If you can't make the mortgage payment then it makes sense to let your attorney know that you can't afford a large retainer.  Ask the attorney how can they help you when you just don't have any money?  Explore some govermental benefits by going to this website:  http://www.benefits.gov/    Do you need to expore bankruptcy?  What kind of an attorney do you want to talk to? Ask for an attorney who is experienced in Real Estate Law And Bankruptcy Law.   Ask questions like, If I do a short sale  What will happen when the bank sends me a1099?  Check out the IRS page regarding mortgage forgivenss act;  http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=179414,00.html

 You can call Oregon State Bar and they will give you a referral for an attorney,  here is the website.  http;//www.osb.org/ 

A Realtor isn't qualified to give you any legal advise and this must come from an attorney or a CPA these are people who are allowed to give you legal and financial advice.  Realtors are here to help you sell your house not give you legal or financial advice. 

Please stay away from anyone who asks you for money and they aren't an attorney or a cpa.  There are lot of scammers out here that will promise you the moon and produce nothing.   If someone calls you and wants you to pay them for help with a loan modification hang up the phone.  Help is FREE.  Go to this web site: http://makinghomeaffordable.gov/

Remember life changes all the time.  You are not the only person going through this financial meltdown.  As you take baby steps life gets better everyday.  Don't ever give up.  When I was 12 years old I was riding my horse and my horse bucked me off.  I got up dusted myself off and began walking down the road with my horse trailing behind me.  My step-dad drove up in his truck and asked me what I was doing.  I bravely told him I'm walking for a while because I got bucked off.  My step-dad said no you aren't walking.  You are going to get up on that horse again and ride like the wind or go home.  I had been looking forward to this trail ride for a long time so even though I was scared to death of getting bucked off I got back on my horse and rode like a real cow girl.  You have hard times oh well don't focus on the hardship but focus on the reality of life can make you tougher.  Don't be a victim and fall for the victim mentality.  Get back up and ride life like the wind.   If you need help call me so I can help you sell your house, April Moore, Broker  541-296-8880

Comments (21)

Bandele Oguntomilade, Top REALTOR
Bogun Realty and Luxury Homes - Woodland Hills, CA
Your Woodland Hills Real Estate Agent 818-825-6996

April:  This is a great post to encourage people to take some action, seek counsel, explore thier options even in challenging times.  There is help out there.  Do not despair; do not give up.

Dec 02, 2010 10:55 AM
Henry Pailles
Chula Vista Realtor,Short sale,Eastlake Real estate,Realtor - Chula Vista, CA
San Diego Real Estate, San Diego Realtor, Chula Vista Real Estate

The only problem is that Attorneys are really after a fee that they charge from the beginning, they usually don't guarantee the outcome, they are the vultures of this economic meltdown, and at the end, they usually offer free: short sale of the house if they could not help.

They are clogging the system with frivolous lawsuits, with MERS related threats to banks, and at the end, a great deal of the sluggishness of the recovery can be attributed to attorneys making a buck regardless what happens to the world.

Dec 02, 2010 10:59 AM
Karla Casey
Karla Casey (BIC), List Sotheby's International Realty, Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
April, Great post! Karla Casey Principal broker Casey & Associates Honolulu, Hawaii
Dec 03, 2010 02:55 AM
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

The best advice is to not ignore it!  Asking for help from a Real Estate Professional is a good start, but calling your lender is a good idea as well... Better to work with them before there is a big issue than stick your head in the sand.

Dec 03, 2010 02:55 AM
Karen Steed

The first call anyone should make when they can't make the house payment is the mortgage co./lender.  Tell them what's going on, and they usually have a dept. that can help you out with information about available options.

If the house needs to be sold, it's better to start the short sale process as soon as possible.  When the notice is running in the paper for the courthouse auction, it is usually too late.


Dec 03, 2010 03:08 AM
Rebecca Nystrom
RE/MAX Renaissance - Phoenix, AZ

Great blog, extremely informative.  Reiterates that we, as agents, are not qualified to give our clients the type of advice they need when facing such difficult decisions.

Dec 03, 2010 03:43 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I have found many attornies ask for money and deliver nothing. 

Dec 03, 2010 04:12 AM
Simon Mills
Mills Realty - Toluca Lake, CA

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is ask for help.  When you are unable to make your mortgage payment homeowners need to understand that their are options out there, but they need to face the reality and ask for help.

Dec 03, 2010 04:50 AM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

April, Great post for any homeowner who is in trouble. Great advice for troubled homeowners.

Dec 03, 2010 12:12 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Great post to warn homeowners about people who might take their money, but not help them with their problem. Hard times produce too many crooks!

Dec 03, 2010 05:43 PM
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

April, you hit the nail on the head and wrote this perfectly for distressed sellers.  Great post!!!!

Dec 03, 2010 06:24 PM
Craig Snead
Quality Home Investments, LLC / Dearborn Heights, MI - Dearborn Heights, MI
Real Estate Investor

April, action = results.  What about those current, under water and wanting to stay in their homes?

Dec 03, 2010 11:42 PM
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

April, that was a nice story.  I remember when I was about 16 & riding a horse in Michigan behind a friend that was an accomplished rider. (3rd time on a horse & first time bareback) I fell off because my horse was running chasing the ohter horse on a frozen gravel road.  Broke my thumb, fell off 2 more times & finally road the horse home in the other direction!

Dec 04, 2010 01:49 PM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Getting free advice is getting nothing of value and certainly not a solution especially when you are in financial distress. There are many professional financial advisers who have helped their clients and may also be licensed RE agents or brokers who can provide meaningful solutions or steer a distressed property owner toward additional assistance from other credible resources.

Knowledgeable RE agents and brokers are fearless with their advice to their clients and future clients and always advise their clients to seek legal advice on matters or issues regarding their legal circumstances and consequences.

There are many unscrupulous people who take advantage of financially distressed homeowners, all of whom begin with FREE to lure their victims into a relationship. Unfortunately, many victims don't use professionals to help them until they have become victims of fraud and deceit. So what's the value of FREE, absolutely nothing!

Dec 04, 2010 07:52 PM
Margaret C. Taylor
Century 21 New Millennium MD - Mechanicsville, MD
St Marys/Calvert/Charles MD Real Estate Agent

Very good post April.  Helps the seller know what they can do and what a REALTOR can and cannot do.  Margaret C.

Dec 05, 2010 01:22 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear April,

Talking with a Realtor could not hurt, because they have many contacts and resources. However, the first call should be to the loan servicer to inform them of your hardship situation and to see, if they could work on the problem with you.

Dec 05, 2010 01:45 PM
George Wilson
Lincolnton, NC - Lincolnton, NC

Great Blog and others offer some sound advice.

Heard on the news: Federal Reserve has issued a guidance to various state courts that request financial documents submitted in foreclosure proceedings be taken as a true statement of the facts; to wit- Financial Intuitions are to be found innocent until found guilty; homeowners are to be found guilty until found innocent (home owners have to prove the documents are inaccurate; they have to subpoenathe documents as banks are not required to provide the documents). IMO this is a work around by the Fed to protect the banks & mortgage servicer from judges who have found some of the foreclosure documents to have serious legal errors; IE: unable to find original documents or determine who owns the note when sold many times. The memorandum also implied that all homeowners who seek mortgage relief had committed fraud on the banks and not vice-a-versa; this is certainly not true in all cases.

Unfortunately, most home owners when they get to this point don't have the cash to retain a lawyer to fight for their rights. A time may come (hope I'm wrong) that land & home ownership will be the way it was during the 1950's; locally we call thse homes Mill houses as documents show they were owned by the local mills.

Dec 05, 2010 03:55 PM
Paula Burt

Good Post!  This should really be helpful to a lot of homeowners who are in distress!

Dec 05, 2010 05:09 PM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

This is good advice. People really don't know where to start when they get in trouble.

Dec 07, 2010 03:35 PM
Dennis Neal
RE/MAX, Big Bear - Big Bear Lake, CA
Your Home Sold in 21 Days or We Sell It For Free

Luckily in California the DRE is cracking down on scam artists cheating people out of money by charging them up front for a service they never perform.

Dec 17, 2010 06:24 PM