Sometimes events just happen. You or your spouse lose a job or an economic downturn causes a lack of customers and sales at your current job, which reduces your take-home pay. The problem is severe enough that you miss a mortgage payment or two. As a homeowner, you may wonder if you can work things out with your lender before they foreclose on you.
Fortunately, many banks and lenders have options in place for borrowers who miss just one or a couple of payments. The Federal Trade Commission describes a few options that you may explore with your lender to pay outstanding amounts and get back on track.
This option is pretty simple. You would talk with your lender and arrange a date by which you would pay the amount you owe. Your lender would likely add some late fees or other penalties. You might be able to work out a reinstatement option if you know your financial problems are temporary and unlikely to last for much longer.
If you have missed just a few payments, your lender may be willing to work out a repayment plan with you. With a repayment plan, your lender will add amounts of your missed payments onto your existing payments over a specific period of time. You would basically pay more in your mortgage installments until the late payments are complete.
You might also work out a period of forbearance. Your lender will agree to minimize your mortgage installments or suspend them completely for a period of time. At the end of the forbearance time period, you start paying your installments again plus a lump sum of the money you owed from missed payments, or you may just pay more to make up for missed amounts.
Forbearance may be a feasible option if you know your income will rise again in the near future. If you face long-lasting financial difficulties, you may not be able to make enough money to sustain your mortgage, which may make bankruptcy a possible option.