Falling behind on mortgage payments is a stressful situation. Thankfully, there are several VA foreclosure avoidance options available to you that can potentially save you from losing your home.
VA homeowners who are struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments should contact their lender or loan servicer immediately.
The sooner you make that phone call, the faster you can hopefully work toward some manner of resolution. Proactively reach out to your loan servicer before you get behind on your mortgage payments.
Homeowners need to understand the process and their potential options.
Loan servicers are required to make a good faith effort to contact borrowers within 36 days of a missed mortgage payment.
Before homeowners get 45 days behind, loan servicers have to send the documentation that provides:
Lenders and servicers can't file for foreclosure until a homeowner is more than 120 days late on their mortgage. That four-month span is designed to give homeowners time to evaluate their options and file a formal request for help from their servicer. Active duty military members may have additional foreclosure protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
Completing a loss mitigation application in a timely fashion is a crucial step for distressed homeowners.
Multiple factors impact the types of loss mitigation options available to you, including your income and current fiscal obligations, equity, interest rate, credit and payment history, and more.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to stay in your home and get back on track with your monthly payments.
Some common foreclosure avoidance options include:
It's important to understand that some loss mitigation measures may negatively impact your credit and your ability to purchase a home in the near term. Some, like a short sale, may also have income tax implications.
Remember, every loan servicer and homeowner situation is different. The earlier you reach out to your loan servicer, the sooner you can better evaluate your options.
When it comes to asking for mortgage relief, the earlier you do so, the better. Remember, you've got a 120-day window after that first missed a payment before a servicer can move to foreclose.
Additional timelines can come into play once a foreclosure sale is scheduled.
Lenders have 30 days to review a homeowner's loss mitigation application.
Homeowners who submit a completed loss mitigation application at least 90 days before a scheduled foreclosure sale are entitled to a few protections:
Servicers who receive a completed application at least 45 days before a foreclosure sale are required to tell homeowners they've received the application.
Servicers who receive incomplete applications have to explain to homeowners what information is missing. They're required to evaluate your application and consider alternatives to foreclosure, provided you submit a complete application before it's too late.
Servicers aren't required to offer you an alternative, but they do have to explain their denial in writing.
Homeowners who submit a completed loss mitigation application 37 days or less before a foreclosure sale may not have the same protections regarding foreclosure avoidance options.
For homeowners with VA loans, their first call should always be to the loan servicer. But the second call can go straight to the VA loan program.
The loan program has a team of foreclosure avoidance specialists who advocate with servicers on behalf of VA borrowers. Those specialists encourage lenders to offer foreclosure avoidance options and help veterans stay in their homes.
Those efforts have helped hundreds of thousands of veterans stave off foreclosure over the last few years alone.
VA homeowners in need can contact the VA loan program directly at 877-827-3702.
Loan servicers and HUD-approved housing counselors won't charge fees to provide assistance or loss mitigation options. But foreclosure prevention has become a ripe target for scammers.
Be wary of companies or individuals offering to help you for a fee, and never send a mortgage payment to any company other than the one listed on your monthly mortgage statement or one designated to receive your payments under a state assistance program.
Beware of a company or person who:
If you suspect a scam, you can report it at www.preventloanscams.org or call 888-995-4673.
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