Can’t Afford Your Mortgage? Understanding Your Options
This content was created in collaboration with Dr. Phil, a spokesperson for Sundae.
Millions of Americans are having affordability issues with paying back their mortgage. These are options available to people who can’t afford their mortgage.
If you came to the conclusion that you are struggling to afford your mortgage, you are not alone. Nearly 10 million Americans were not up to date on their mortgage or rent payments and were not confident about paying on time for the following month. Many factors of mortgage affordability have to do with the state of the economy.
We came up with ideas and options for you to understand so you don’t feel so stressed when it comes to your next mortgage payment. Let’s take a look at your options below.
Contact your mortgage servicer
The truth is, your mortgage servicer doesn’t want to see you fail. Most servicers have programs in place to assist you. Programs are flexible and accommodate your budget since payback is never guaranteed. Before you call your mortgage servicer for a conversation about mortgage affordability, have your questions and concerns prepared.
Prepare to explain why you are struggling to afford your mortgage and whether your situation is ongoing or temporary. Provide details about your current budget and whether anything has changed since you signed your mortgage agreement. Afterwards, make some notes as your servicer walks you through specific options available and start to come up with a plan.
Assess your budget
You’d be surprised how many Americans don’t pay attention to the amount of money they are spending. According to a recent survey, 65% of Americans have no idea how much money they spent last month.
You can take tremendous strides to improve just by being aware of your finances before taking concrete action. Prioritize your spending and get to work on tracking your expenses. After everything is tracked, come up with your new financial goals and set realistic expectations for yourself. You may be surprised to find a leak in your income such as a subscription you don’t use anymore or a credit card with a very high interest rate. Fortunately, managing your budget is easy with free apps, spreadsheet models, and access professionals specializing in this area.
Every mortgage situation is different for homeowners. When you refinance, you’re basically swapping out your old mortgage for a new one. In some cases, the option of refinancing might lower your monthly payments. Keep in mind that this depends on your current interest rate compared to market rates.
In order to take advantage of refinancing you do need to have the capital to take action. Refinancing has costs including appraisal, inspection, and other fees. However, it’s better to think about what refinancing could do for you in the long run compared to the cash spent right now.
While you understand your mortgage affordability options, you can consider forbearance. Mortgage forbearance allows you to delay payments when refinancing isn’t available.
In most cases, forbearance means that interest will still accrue even though the principal amount is paused. The best way to handle forbearance is to at least contribute money towards the interest that you would pay anyway. Servicers are not allowed to charge you additional interest during the paused period.
Sell your home
Foreclosure is a significant event which impacts your record and credit. Once you reach the state of foreclosure, it’s going to be harder to secure a loan in the future. Before you get to this point, you can always sell your home and adjust.
There’s an unlimited amount of reasons for selling your home. Adapting to your financial situation is one of them. Luckily, many homeowners have built up equity over the last few years. This means that you may be able to sell for a profit. It’s worth exploring this option. Don’t reach the state of foreclosure; instead sell your home, relocate for your own health, and benefit from the upside.
Why understanding goes a long way
Deciding that it’s time to change is always one of the hardest challenges with being a homeowner. If you can’t afford your monthly mortgage payments, know that you aren’t alone in the process. What you can do is strive to understand your situation better so you can take action. Afterwards, you can focus on reducing your stress levels knowing that you’re back on track in a healthy financial situation.
Dr. Phillip C. McGraw is a paid spokesperson for Sundae and made this content in partnership with the company. The views and opinions expressed by Dr. McGraw are solely his own and do not reflect those of CBS Media Ventures.