I missed a house payment, now what do I do?

Communication is key if you miss a mortgage payment.

Due to unexpected car repairs and missing work to take care of your sick children, you can’t make your mortgage payment. You aren’t sure how to handle the situation. Here are some tips for what to do next: “Act immediately” is the best advice if you have missed a mortgage payment. Contact your lender, find a certified HUD housing counseling agency, cut out unnecessary expenses and look for community resources are a few action strategies to help recover from a missed mortgage payment. The sooner you get on top of the situation, the better.

A certified HUD housing counselor can assist you to review the situation. The housing counselor should help you to look at your household budget. By reviewing all of your monthly expenses and income, a plan can be established to help you recover from the current situation.

Be open to making adjustments to your monthly spending. Cut out any unnecessary expenses. Look for ways to lower monthly expenditures. There may be alternatives that are less expensive for some expenses. There may be expenses that can be eliminated at this time until your situation improves. Look for ways to increase your income such as a part time job.

It is important to communicate with your lender/servicer. Let them know you are experiencing financial difficulties and are seeking help to overcome it. Do not avoid any phone calls or written correspondence from your mortgage company.

Learn the Michigan law for foreclosure. Changes to Michigan’s foreclosure law took place in 2014. The foreclosure process is Michigan is based on a foreclosure time line. If your mortgage payment is due on the first day of the month, you are delinquent on the second day of the month if you haven’t made the payment on the first. This may be confusing as usually a late fee is not accessed until the 16th of the month.

Be realistic. If you cannot afford to keep your home, sell it. List your home with a reputable Realtor who is familiar with the “short sales” if you owe more than your home is worth.

Michigan State University Extension has free foreclosure education and counseling available to assist homeowners in understanding the process of foreclosure. All MSU Extension counselors are MSHDA and HUD approved. Also, the MiMoneyHealth.org website has many resources available to assist with anyone facing possible foreclosure or has missed a mortgage payment.

Don’t wait to seek help if you are behind on your mortgage payment. Help is available. Reach out today to find a certified HUD counselor.

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