Sense & Centsibility Blog

Five Ways to Avoid Your Sheriff's Sale

A foreclosure is usually a very stressful time. Many families are struggling with other bills as well and may not have a back-up plan if the house is lost to foreclosure. It causes distractions at work as well as at home, and can even be the source of health issues like depression, ulcers, and other stress-related conditions. In most states, the remedy for your foreclosure situation must be imposed before the sale date in order to stave off foreclosure. Talk to your local HUD certified housing counseling agency (you can find your local agency here) for detailed information on your state’s foreclosure timeline and laws.

Here are five “universal” solutions for avoiding the sale date on your property:

Reinstate your mortgage

Find a way to get current. Be sure to find out EXACTLY how much money you need to get to the lender and WHEN the deadline is for that amount. If the home is actively in foreclosure, there may be late fees and attorney fees that go along with the missed payments.

Qualify for Federal Program

The Making Home Affordable Program has been revamped to capture more homeowners than before. There are also new guidelines for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinances. Private lenders have even started to set up new processes to look at homeowners who may have previously gone unassisted.

Work something out with your lender

Many lenders offer internal programs that range from modifications similar to federal programs to repayment plans on mortgage delinquencies. Most lenders will look at the federal programs first (if they participate) and then look for internal programs if the federal programs are not a fit.

Sell the property

Not everyone in foreclosure WANTS to stay in the home. Consider the idea of selling, especially if there is equity. Talk to your local HUD certified housing counselor to find out when selling is no longer an option.

File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

In most states, you can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy before the sale date to postpone the foreclosure. The repayment plan then goes through the bankruptcy trustee. Seek competent legal advice from an attorney (or two!) who specializes in bankruptcy.

No matter which option you choose, working with a housing counselor who is HUD-certified and gathering as much information as possible is ALWAYS the best first step. The counselor can determine realistic options for you and establish an action plan to avoid foreclosure. Again, find a local housing counselor to get answers to your questions and to find out if there are local laws and/or other options for avoiding or postponing your sheriff’s sale.

LSS Financial Counseling has HUD-Certified Counselors available for appointments and to answer questions. Call 888.577.2227 to schedule an appointment. It's always better to take action right away so don't wait - call us today or visit our website. Not in foreclosure and just need a nudge in the right financial direction? Give us a call or start online counseling now.

Malcolm Johannessen is a Certified Financial/Housing Counselor with LSS Financial Counseling, and he specializes in Foreclosure Prevention Counseling.