Through no fault of your own, you may be facing one of the greatest challenges of your life; how to prevent your property from being foreclosed upon.

Why let the bank take your most valued asset and leave you with nothing? Fortunately, alternatives exist. In fact, there are seven ways you can avoid foreclosure. They are:

1. Refinance;

2. Bring your mortgage current;

3. Create a “workout” with the bank;

4. Declare bankruptcy;

5. Create “shared equity”;

6. Transfer title; and

7. Sell the property quickly.

Let’s discuss each option—what it is, and the pros and cons of using each one:

1. Refinance

In today’s marketplace, there are many different types of financial institutions that lend money. Although you may not be able to refinance with your local bank due to your current situation, there are many mortgage companies and lenders who specialize in creative financing solutions. That’s how they can compete with the big banks. They are often able to review your situation and find a solution to your needs. It is true that the loan you get will probably have a higher interest rate than a regular loan. But if you have a good amount of equity in your property, the ability to refinance will most likely be a good option that’s available to you.

2. Bring your mortgage current

I know what you are thinking: “If I could bring my mortgage current, I wouldn’t be in this situation!” That may be true, but have you investigated every possible way that you may be able to get the funds? Can you borrow it from a friend, family member or co-worker? Can you sell something? Does your employer have any hardship loan programs? Brainstorm with family members or close friends. The more you think about it, the more likely it is that someone will remember or come across a solution.

3. Create a workout with the lender

The lender does not want to foreclose. That’s because lenders are in the business of having their money at work in loans, and not sitting in a property they have taken back through foreclosure. Not only is that a black mark on the lending institution, but it hurts their financial picture as well. Therefore, in many instances lenders are willing to do “workouts” (also known as a forbearance agreement). What this means is that they are willing to work out the back payments that are owed, until you become current again.

A typical workout would be the lender taking the full amount of your back payments and dividing that number by 12 or 24. They would then add that amount to your current payments, until you are paid off. When considering a workout, you’ve got to be able to make that extra payment each month or you will be right back where you started—in the foreclosure process for the second time. At that point, the bank will not look very favorably upon your situation. It’s best to work with a workout specialist…someone who has done workouts before and knows the “ins and outs” of the lending business.

4. Declare bankruptcy

Declaring bankruptcy is a viable option to being foreclosed upon, but it should be used only as a last resort. Also, use it only if you know that you will be able to keep up with the future loan payments. Otherwise you’re just postponing the inevitable, and the longer you wait, the less money you will walk away with from your property. A bankruptcy will be reported on your credit report for seven years. The bankruptcy will also be reported in the financial section of the newspaper—it’s a requirement from the bankruptcy court.

Declaring bankruptcy is also costly. When declaring bankruptcy you will have the option to declare either Chapter 7, 11 or 13 bankruptcy. These refer to different parts of the bankruptcy law, and relate to whether you are somewhat in debt and need to renegotiate with lenders, or whether you truly are going to walk away from your debts. However, be warned that because you can only declare bankruptcy periodically, certain future debts might not be eligible for even bankruptcy protection. The point is that bankruptcy should be your route of last resort. If you truly have no other alternative, call us and we will give you the names of two or three reputable bankruptcy attorneys.

5. Create shared equity

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To create shared equity, you borrow the money from an investor, in order to make up your back payments. In return for bringing your loan current, you give the investor a certain portion of the equity in your property. You are giving up part ownership, in return for keeping part ownership: That beats giving the whole thing over to your lender.

Of the seven methods to avoid foreclosure, this is the most difficult to accomplish, because there are not many investors who are willing to risk money (the back payments) on an individual who has a history of not paying.

By Haadi