Strategies for Avoiding Foreclosure

As a case negotiator for the Secure Law Center in Atlanta, Yuriy Shor has negotiated with numerous banks to help clients avoid foreclosure. Formally educated in business and finance, Yuriy Shor comes to his role backed by an associate degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

For homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments, the best chance at avoiding foreclosure may be negotiating with the bank. Whether doing so with the help of a professional or alone, a homeowner should begin by researching foreclosure rules in his or her home state. Some states do not allow banks to sue for the difference between the amount collected from a foreclosure sale and the total mortgage funds owed; in this case, the bank may be more willing to agree to a deal with the borrower. In addition, homeowners should understand all relevant debt collection laws, as violation of any such law or any missing forms can stall the foreclosure process and buy the borrower more time.

A borrower should then examine federal programs that may allow him or her to alter the existing mortgage. For example, the Home Affordable Refinance Program allows qualified buyers to refinance into a fixed-rate mortgage, while the Home Affordable Modification Program lowers payments for certain borrowers based on income. Whether or not one of these programs is applicable, the borrower should discuss potential partial payment plans, late payment forgiveness, or term alteration with the bank’s loan modification officer. If these efforts are unsuccessful, a federally approved housing counselor can help a homeowner develop alternate terms of negotiation.