No matter how good your intentions, sometimes things will go wrong. You may lose your job, suffer a health setback or simply find yourself falling so deep into debt that you’re having trouble climbing out.

Marcia Griffin

If you’re a homeowner, a financial setback can be even more nerve-wracking, particularly if you are struggling to make your monthly mortgage payments. 

While you may feel like there is no one you can turn to, here are three steps you can take that may help you turn your financial situation around and save your house.

Think positive. Shame, fear, stress and anger are just some of the emotions you may experience if you are having trouble paying your mortgage. Those are all normal reactions so don’t beat yourself up about it. 

However, the worst thing you can do if you fear that you are falling behind on your mortgage is nothing. If you don’t communicate with your lender about what’s going on or you ignore your lender’s attempts to collect your mortgage, your credit could be negatively impacted, or, even worse, you could lose your house.  

When you are going through tough financial times, remember that there are many people who have struggled financially before you who came out on the other side. You too can successfully resolve your situation with time, patience and guidance. Just keep an optimistic mindset. 

Find an ally. If you’re worried about other people finding out that you’re struggling financially, you’re not alone. Let’s keep it real. Who wants their family members, friends or neighbors to know they can’t pay their mortgage? 

However, now is not the time to try to figure things out on your own. The stakes are too high.

A HUD-approved homeownership organization can serve as a listening – and confidential – ear, and help you determine whether there are programs that would benefit your situation. There are many programs available that will help homeowners who are struggling financially to keep their homes. A nonprofit organization can tell you about them.

A nonprofit organization can also help you communicate your concerns to your lender and give you a plan of action you can take to get back on solid financial footing.

Trust me when I tell you, your lender doesn’t want to take your house. Lenders have plenty of incentives to help their customers move past a financial hurdle so that they can get back to making regular mortgage payments again. 

Take action. Once you’ve received guidance from a nonprofit organization, you will come away with a clear plan on what steps you should take next. That might mean applying for a modification, an agreement with your lender that may lead to lower mortgage payments. 

It might also mean revising your budget or tackling a debt. Some lenders may agree to forbearance, an option that lets you take a temporary pause from making mortgage payments so you can get your financial house in order after a crisis such as a death, job loss or a divorce.  

Whatever action you take, it will be designed to help you improve your finances and, ideally, keep your house. However, you must be willing to seek help before you fall too far behind.

When financial woes pile up one after the other it can seem like there is no way out of a bad situation. But if you’re a homeowner, there is help available to you if you know where to look.

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