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Real estate Q&A: What I should do if I'm about to fall behind on mortgage payments?

Gary M. Singer, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Q: With the gas and food getting more expensive, it is getting more challenging to pay my bills, and I am about to fall behind on my mortgage payments. What should I do? — Agnes

A: Your first step is to write down exactly where your money is going will make sure that you are not wasting any on services you no longer use or for which there are less expensive options.

You should also make a written budget.

These two steps may be enough to get you through, but if it not, your next step is to contact your lender. Explain your hardship and see if they have any options to reduce your payments, such as a loan modification. Keep detailed notes of every conversation you have with your lender, including the names of the people you speak to.

You will probably need to follow up a lot. Dealing with a lender can be a test of patience and perseverance.

If you are also falling behind on other debt, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you to reorganize your debt in a way that will enable you to save your home.


Be very wary of people promising to help you in untraditional ways. They are often looking to take advantage of desperate people. They use various schemes such as lease-backs, offering to buy your home, deal with your mortgage woes, and allow you to rent your own home. They sweeten the offer by “allowing” you to buy back your own home at an inflated price in a year or two.

These people can be creative, but if a deal seems too good to be true or veers too far from a “normal” loan or sale of your home, you should be careful.

These schemes have one goal: to strip away your equity in your home.

You would be better off selling your house and using the equity to buy a more affordable home or rent for a while until you get back on your feet.

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