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How to avoid home foreclosure

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Did you know? Foreclosure isn't inevitable. There are several ways to avoid it.

What happens if the bank forecloses?

Foreclosure is a process with several stages. To most effectively avoid foreclosure, it's important to understand how the process works. Foreclosure processes vary between states, so the following is just a general guideline on how the process works:

  • You get a Notice of Default (NOD) from your lender after you have stopped paying the mortgage, usually after three to six months of no payments. You are now in a reinstatement period, which means you can cancel the foreclosure if you pay what you owe.
  • If you don't act after receiving the NOD, you'll receive a Notice of Sale (NOS) where a foreclosure sale date is set. This usually occurs within three months after you receive the NOD.
  • The foreclosure sale occurs at the local courthouse steps on the sale date listed on the NOS. Anyone in the public can bid on the home.
  • If the house doesn't sell, it goes to the lender and becomes Real Estate Owned (REO) property.

In some states, homeowners have a right of redemption, meaning they can buy back their foreclosed home after it sells. For example, homeowners in Tennessee have up to two years to buy back their foreclosed home, Alabama homeowners have one year, and Florida homeowners have until the county clerk records the transaction.4

Three ways to avoid foreclosure

While you can stop foreclosure by paying the money you owe, you may not have enough cash on hand to do so. Here are some alternate strategies worth trying:

1. Negotiate a repayment plan

If you're having trouble making your mortgage payment because of a temporary financial setback, ask your lender about negotiating a repayment plan. This typically means that you spread the amount of your overdue payments over a certain number of months. In this case, you'll pay more than your regular mortgage payment each month until you're caught up, at which time you'll resume paying your regular mortgage.

2. Have a short sale

It's better to sell your home than to have your lender foreclose, even if you need to sell it for less than what you owe, which is called a “short sale." Your lender must first agree to a short sale though. The advantage of selling your home through a short sale versus a foreclosure is that a short sale isn't as devastating to your credit score.

3. Request government assistance

Government assistance is available to help homeowners keep their homes. Here are a few options:

Consequences of foreclosure

It's best to avoid foreclosure, not only because you lose your home, but also because the aftereffects can be financially detrimental for many years. Foreclosures show up on your credit report and lower your credit score, making it difficult to get credit for anything moving forward, including buying or renting another house. In addition, you might owe a deficiency balance on your foreclosed home, which is the remaining mortgage after your home sells (if it sells for less than what you owe).

If you have a mortgage loan with us and are worried about losing your home to foreclosure, please contact a Synovus mortgage specialist to talk about a plan to help you get on the right track. Or call us at 1-800-803-0803. We're here to help.

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Important Disclosure Information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

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  1. Nolo, "Florida Foreclosure Laws and Procedures", accessed October 17, 2018. Back
  2. News-Press, "Great Recession, 10 years later: Foreclosure crisis cut deeply; the sting is still felt" Bill Smith and Greg Stanley, February 17, 2018, accessed October 17, 2018. Back
  3. RealtyTrac, "South Carolina Real Estate Trends & Market Info", accessed October 17, 2018. Back
  4. AllLaw, "The Right of Redemption", accessed October 17, 2018. Back
  5. Making Home Affordable, accessed October 17, 2018. Back
  6. National Council of State Housing Agencies, "Housing Finance Agencies", accessed October 17, 2018. Back
  7. HUD.gov, "National Servicing Center", accessed October 17, 2018. Back