Eleven Options for Avoiding Foreclosure in California

When you are a California home owner facing financial hardship, it is important to act immediately to protect your home from being sold at auction. California is a trust sale state, which means that your bank doesn’t have to go to court prior to auctioning off your home, but rather merely provide you with sufficient notice of default and trustee’s sale. Therefore, when you first know that financial trouble lies ahead, you should begin planning to take evasive action right away. Here is a list of the top ten (and the #1 worst) methods for dealing with this situation.

1. REINSTATE THE LOAN (A/K/A “PAY IT”)
The first and best option you have for avoiding foreclosure is to pay what you owe. This may be harder than it sounds, especially if you are in financial trouble. However, for some, it may be worth liquidating some personal property or taking out a personal loan from family or friends to buy some more time before you go into the Notice of Default (NOD) Period (90 days) If this is absolutely not an option, then you might consider Option #2…

2. MODIFY THE LOAN TERMS (A/K/A “LOWER YOUR PAYMENT”)
More and more, banks are willing to simply go in and adjust your loan type, interest, or other terms to create a more workable situation for your finances that keeps them from having to pursue a foreclosure and keeps you in your home. The most common modification is to switch from one of these predatory subprime loans (negative amortization, adjustable rate, balloon seconds), to a more traditional thirty year fixed loan. These have lower interest rates, predictable payments, and most importantly, no awful surprises laying in wait. Talk to a lawyer in your area for representation.

3. REFINANCE THE LOAN (AKA “CLEAN SLATE”)
This option is less common these days, especially due to the credit crunch on Wall Street. Most banks require such stellar credit for financing, that it is next to impossible for someone who has payment issues with their home loan already. However, bank programs change all the time, and you may just get lucky.
Talk to a loan officer in your area to see if you might qualify.

4. FORBEARANCE (AKA “TAKE A TIME OUT”)
Your bank may be willing to provide a period of forbearance on your loan (sometimes for a fee) which puts your payments on hold altogether for a period of time to help you get back on your feet. An alternative measure may also be to simply make decreased payments for a few months while you are facing hardship. Call your bank to deal with them directly before contacting an attorney to negotiate on your behalf.

5. Partial Claim (AKA “Loan me some more”)
A partial claim works similarly to a forbearance, except that the bank will actually add the months’ of missed payments onto your loan as an additional loan on top of your mortgage. So, you get some time to get back on your feet, but the bank is going to make you pay double for it in the long run. At least you get to keep your home. If forbearance, above, is not an option, follow up with a partial claim offer, which
sweetens the deal for the bank, and increases your chances of acceptance. It is wise to have a loan officer or attorney review the terms and conditions prior to signing any new loan documentation.

6. Deed in Lieu of foreclosure (AKA “WALK AWAY”)
The next couple options are not as appealing as the previous five, because most homeowners and families in default want to stay in their homes. These options all involve giving up your home, but possibly salvaging your credit so that you can start over. Deed in lieu of foreclosure basically saves you and the is likely to sell, and for how much.

8. SHORT SALE AKA “SELL FOR UNDER”
Banks may be willing to take up to a 40% loss on the principle of the mortgage property at any price. This figure is much lower today because the banks have can still sometimes sell your home for less than you owe on the loan with bank REALTOR® who specializes in short sales who can get an offer to pitch to the bank. the short sale, you can walk away. And now, thanks to President Bush, you will cent of taxes on the difference, which was formerly seen as a “gift” by the IRS. your area.

9. BANKRUPTCY AKA “SEVEN YEARS BAD CREDIT”
In California, if you live in the property as your primary residence, then you can your home, as well as have all of your debt payments restructured. As long as plan, you get to stay in your home, have lower monthly bills, and after seven years Bankruptcy is no a free lunch, though, so be sure to consult with a bankruptcy attorney are considering this option.

10. PAY THE LOAN OFF AKA “SETTLE”
This last option sounds very unrealistic, but is actually a segway into a realistic option settle the entire debt with your bank at a reduced amount. For instance, a homeowner second loan on her home. The bank wrote off the debt in exchange for $25,000.00 and $15,000.00 over three years, at NO INTEREST. Because the banks are so hard days, this option may just work for some who still have some savings, but it looks

11. Do Nothing AKA “BAD IDEA”
Terribly, some defaulting homeowners, feeling scared and ashamed, do the wrong hide. they stop answering the phone and the door. They don’t respond to bank process happen in the absolute worst way for them and get thrown out of their options above, there is absolutely NO excuse to become one of them. If you find situation, act immediately.

Michael Rooney is a California licensed attorney and real estate broker who helps their homes. He is a loan modification specialist as well as a California DRE-approved continuing education to REALTORS®. His consumer protection course, “Foreclosure teaches other REALTORS® about ethics and fiduciary duties when representing loan modification or more information on REALTOR® continuing education, please http://www.mikerooneylaw.com/mortgagemodification.