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Protect your home from foreclosure

There have been a record number of foreclosures in the United States over the last ten years following the economic recession of 2008 and the collapse of the real estate bubble. Homeowners and families have struggled to save their homes and protect their finances.

Luckily, homeowners have a choice in how they face this difficult situation. They may decide to hand over the keys and walk away from their home. Or they may be able to find other options that may help them keep their home.

A foreclosure workout

Even after you missed three mortgage payments, you may be able to save your home by working out a compromise between you and your lender for a payment plan for your mortgage. You have a conversation with your lender before the auction is scheduled.

Unfortunately, there is no "right of redemption" in the state of Pennsylvania. A post-sale statutory right of redemption allows a party whose property has been foreclosed to reclaim that property by making payment in the full sum of the unpaid loan plus costs. Once the property is sold, there are few options for retaining the ownership.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is an option that stops foreclosure in its tracks because once you file for bankruptcy, the law prohibits any debt collectors, including a mortgage lender, from continuing collection activities. Foreclosure is seen as an act of collection in the eyes of the court.

However, bankruptcy is about buying more time to recover your finances; it does not absolve your debt. It's crucial to formulate a repayment plan with your lender and decide how you will fix your finances after the fact.

Lease-option scenario

The lease-option scenario may be the rarest option for homeowners because it involves modifying your mortgage and finding a buyer for your property. You would have to persuade your lender to drop a "due on sale" - a clause where a borrower agrees to pay the loan off entirely if and when they transfer the property.

Dropping the clause would allow a new buyer to assume your loan, eventually your property. The buyer becomes the tenant of the property while you still own your house. The buyer will either purchase the home in a lump sum or save money and pay over time. The buyer's payment will go towards your mortgage payment.

It is a rare option because it's difficult to accomplish successfully. Homeowners will not have a high enough payment for their mortgage, or a buyer lined up, so it is best to work with a financial planner or counselor to see if this is a viable option.

None of these options may work for your specific situation, so consult with a lender or a financial planner before it gets to the point of foreclosure. You may be surprised about the number of options available for your home.

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