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What are some ways to avoid foreclosure?

Foreclosures can be terrifying to homeowners, because it feels like everything you've put into a home is lost. While a foreclosure could be looming, there are some ways to avoid it. For instance, if you can catch up on your mortgage payments or pay off your home, then you may be able to stop foreclosure, but those aren't the only ways to keep out of foreclosure.

First, you do need to ask yourself why you're trying to avoid foreclosure. Foreclosure causes serious damage to your credit report and can make buying a home in the future difficult, since it will be harder to get a loan. A foreclosure also stays on your credit report for a long period of time, so potential lenders can see it for years to come.

A short sale is one possibility when you're trying to avoid foreclosure. With a short sale, you do lose your home because you're selling it, but you also have the potential to walk away from the situation without ongoing debt or a bankruptcy. You will likely sell the home for less than it's worth and your credit will take a hit, since the lender doesn't get back all the money that was loaned.

It's not likely that you'll be able to get a short sale if you haven't yet defaulted on your loans, so remember that if you're still keeping up with your mortgage, other options may be a better choice. Bankruptcy is another choice you can try, and it allows you to have certain exemptions. You may be able to restructure your finances in order to make your home payments more manageable. Just remember that if you take a bankruptcy, it may make it impossible for you to enter into a short sale, because collection activities aren't allowed during bankruptcy.

Source: Bankrate, "Fearing foreclosure? Consider a short sale," Bobby Dempsey, accessed Aug. 11, 2015

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