Options to Manage Your Mortgage If You've Lost Your Job
A job loss can be devastating, especially if it happens unexpectedly and you don’t have a lot of money saved and can’t find another job right away. Aside from the anxiety associated with being out of work and trying to find a new job, there’s typically an added level of concern when it comes to figuring out how to manage your mortgage so that you don’t fall behind on your monthly payments.
Insurance Coverage Against Job Loss
If you have mortgage insurance, the policy might include coverage in case of unemployment. Depending on the terms of your policy, mortgage insurance might cover your loan payments, taxes and homeowners insurance premiums for a limited period of time. Review your policy or contact your insurance company to ask about coverage.
Options Available Through a Private Lender
If you think you’ll be unable to make your mortgage payments on time, or you can only pay a portion of what’s due, contact your lender immediately. Explain your job loss and financial circumstances over the phone and in a hardship letter. The lender will appreciate that you’re being honest and attempting to handle the situation responsibly. More often than not, they’ll be willing to work with you by providing a range of options to keep you in your home.
Forbearance is one option your mortgage lender may offer you. Many major companies offer forbearance programs, which could allow you to lower your monthly payments for a period of time—or temporarily avoid payments altogether.
The lender might also suggest a mortgage modification that would permanently change the terms of your loan. A mortgage modification might add missed payments onto the loan balance so that they can be paid at the end of the repayment period, or it might adjust the interest rate or extend the length of the repayment period.
If your financial situation looks bleak, you might decide that you would be better off walking away from your home and renting an apartment or moving in with friends or family. In that case, your lender might agree to a short sale, in which you would sell the house and the lender would accept whatever amount was received, even if it was less than the balance owed on the mortgage.
Help From the Government
If your mortgage was obtained or guaranteed by a government agency, such as the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Department of Agriculture, you may qualify for a mortgage assistance program through the federal government. Terms vary depending on the agency involved and the homeowner’s situation.
If you’ve recently lost your job, you’re most likely worried about how you’ll cover your mortgage. That concern is understandable, but don’t let fear overwhelm you. Many people have wound up in similar situations, and help is available. Contact your mortgage lender and the government to explore your options.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional or legal advice.
Jennifer Dion, Realtor