No matter where you live, the word foreclosure can be nerve wrecking, and when faced with financial problems, the number of questions which surface can feel overwhelming. What happens if you can't pay your mortgage? Will your bank work with you? How long does it take to foreclose? What if you file bankruptcy? These are just a handful of questions that can keep you up at night.
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The most important thing to remember when facing a foreclosure situation is that you are not alone and we are long past the point of needing to feel shame. Today’s economic environment and housing market are some of the worst in decades and hardly a single individual cannot name someone they know going through financial stress. The most important thing is to keep your sanity. No matter how tough things are, your health should never be compromised due to a debt that is beyond your control. Here are some of the best things you can do to cope with the stress of a foreclosure:
Consult Proper Counsel
Foreclosure attorneys are a dime a dozen and probably one of the only growing professions in this country. You need to shift your energy by learning about your options and your rights. Banks have no obligation to do anything for you but the right counsel can advise you of your rights and play a big role in helping you sleep at night.
It’s Not Your Fault
There is a lot of debate on this but there are dozens of reasons why you may be facing foreclosure and many of these reasons are beyond your control. From a mortgage you never understood to a forced move with an upside down mortgage, sometimes it’s just a matter of bad timing. While foreclosure is a personal thing nobody else really cares about your personal situation so you need to take the steps to protect your own finances and provide for your family in the best way possible.
Think Long Term
If you are 50 percent upside down on your house do you really think you will ever have equity again? Why not consult with a lawyer and consider a strategic default or short sale weighing your options about having a home which may actually have future equity in it. Many consumers still think about how to simply pay next month’s mortgage instead of focusing on the big picture.
Reduce other Financial Stress
Most people who are going through foreclosure are not doing so by choice which means you need to save money on all your bills. Shop around for savings on regular bills and use comparison shopping to find cheap car insurance, tips on how to save money and package deals on items such as cable and internet. If foreclosure was not planned then it’s important to get your financial house in order.
Understand the Steps of Foreclosure
No one is going to come take your house overnight. Foreclosure takes time and there are many ways to stall a foreclosure. For example, the average time it takes to foreclose in Miami, Florida is 619 days—yes, almost 2 years before anybody kicks you out. Of course, you need an attorney to stall the process but many foreclosure attorneys work at only a fraction of your mortgage payment. This often gives you time to re-organize, save and possibly even work out a loan modification. Of course, the timeframe depends on where you live among other factors but you will often have plenty of time to make a decision.
Talk about It
Financial stress can kill a marriage and your social life. When it comes to real estate a discussion about personal finances is not as taboo as it once was. Consumers simply have no love for banks anymore and defaulting on a mortgage is not this social scar you may think it is. Not only will talking about it help but you will be surprised how many people are actually going through the same situation and you may even learn some helpful advice.
Once you have weighed all the pros and cons of foreclosure let the system work and with the right counsel it will probably be quite some time before you have to call a moving company. Focus your energy on getting your finances back on track and leave the stress of dealing with un-cooperative banks to a lawyer.
There is no doubt that losing a home is a stressful process but there are many options a foreclosure attorney can assist you with to make life less stressful and reduce the economic impact to your family. Never feel like you are alone, odds are someone on your street is going through the same thing.
Alan Dunn is a serial entrepreneur and publisher of various consumer education websites, including a site with tips on how to save moneyand a destination for consumers to compare auto insurance quotes.