Washington Property Solutions Offers 5 Steps to Take If You're Behind on Your Mortgage; Tips Include Doing a Short Sale to Avoid Foreclosure

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Financial setbacks can cause people to fall behind on their mortgage payments. Washington Property Solutions, a short sale negotiating firm, offers five steps homeowners can take if they find themselves behind on their mortgage.

"If you are behind on your mortgage payments, the sooner you contact your lender, the more options you will have," explained Richard Eastern, CEO of Washington Property Solutions.

Financial setbacks like the loss of a job or large medical bills can make it tough to make ends meet. If a homeowner finds themselves behind on their mortgage payments, it helps to be proactive. Be aware that federal and local agencies, even banks, are working to help those who are behind on their mortgages with alternatives, such as a short sale, to avoid foreclosure.

Washington Property Solutions, a short sale negotiating firm, offers 5 steps to take if you are behind on your mortgage.

1) Call your lender as soon as possible.

"If you are behind on your mortgage payments, the sooner you contact your lender, the more options you will have, " explained Richard Eastern, CEO of Washington Property Solutions. "Some homeowners postpone communicating with their lender for so long that foreclosure becomes the only option."

2) Talk to a housing counselor.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a list of approved nonprofit housing counselors who will provide free counseling to homeowners who are behind on their mortgages. Counselors will go over options with you and suggest next steps. Call HUD at 888-995-4673 to find a counselor in your area.

3) See if you can lower your mortgage payment.

You might be able to refinance or do a loan modification to make your monthly payment more affordable. There are a number of programs available depending on your circumstances. A HUD housing counselor or your lender can help you explore your options.

4) Find out if you qualify for a short sale.

A short sale is an alternative to foreclosure when a homeowner needs to sell and can no longer afford to make mortgage payments. The lender agrees to accept less than the amount owed to pay off a loan, rather than going forward with a lengthy and costly foreclosure process.

Although every homeowner’s situation is unique, the basic criteria for qualifying for a short sale are:

You need to sell your home.
You owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth.
You have a personal financial hardship that will prevent you from making future payments. (Examples of hardship include loss of job, divorce, death of a spouse and medical emergency or illness.)

"In most instances, a short sale makes more sense than foreclosure, " said Eastern. "When you want to obtain a loan to purchase a property in the future, more opportunities will be available to you if you do a short sale." Find out more about how short sales work.

5) See if you qualify for cash incentives tied to a short sale.

Several programs offer cash incentives to homeowners to do a short sale in order to avoid foreclosure.

The federal government's Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives(HAFA) program might provide $3,000 in relocation assistance to homeowners who do short sales.

Lenders, including Chase and Bank of America, have paid significant cash incentives to encourage sellers to do a short sale and avoid foreclosure. Eastern has short sale clients who have received incentives from their lender at closing in amounts that range up to $35,000. The checks are given for relocation assistance and can be used however the homeowner sees fit. There are no restrictions.

It’s important to note that the seller incentive is determined by the investor, so not every lender is paying incentives. However, if you are considering a short sale, it’s a good time to find out if you qualify.

About Washington Property Solutions
Washington Property Solutions is a short sale negotiating firm based in Bellevue, Washington. Founded in 2003, the company has helped brokers and homeowners successfully negotiate over 900 short sales with a 90% success rate in closing. Washington Property Solutions also consults with homeowners on qualification for the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) process and the Washington State Mortgage Foreclosure Fairness Act (FFA). Washington Property Solutions negotiators are licensed Windermere Real Estate brokers.

For more information, visit http://www.washortsales.com

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