Keeping up with mortgage payments can be one of the biggest financial responsibilities you take on, aside from keeping food on the table. In the up, down and rebound of the real estate industry over the past 10 years or so, many people have bought homes in Hawaii. And a portion of those are actually happy they did.
Those homeowners who unfortunately bought when the market was high (pre-crash) have felt the pain of expensive mortgage payments, especially if they bought an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). Keeping up with these payments has been difficult for many. And let’s face it – Hawaii can be an expensive place to live if your income drops.
Once you miss a payment, the game changes with your bank or lender. If you miss three consecutive payments, you might find a Notice of Default (NOD) in your mailbox one sunny day. That’s the bank’s way of saying that they’re preparing to initiate foreclosure action soon — and that they’re piling up legal fees that they’re holding you responsible for.
If you find yourself behind in your loan or are about to miss your first payment, then it’s time to start looking your options. If you wish to keep your house, then you need to discuss a forbearance or loan modification with your lender.
If you wish to sell your house to put it all behind you, then you should take action immediately. Talk to an actual house buyer in Hawaii (like us) or discuss your situation with a trusted agent. Just don’t put it off – the sooner you act, the better the solution will be.
Keep the Communication Lines Open
It’s important to stay in as good graces with your lender as possible. Keep up with your payments if you can. If you can’t, let them know you’re having difficulties. Trying to ‘get one over’ on your bank is NOT the way to go forward. You won’t win that game and it can cost you thousands just to try.
If someone tells you to stop making payments, then stop listening to that person immediately. You want nothing to do with their advice. To that point, if someone asks you for money upfront for help, then run immediately. NO ONE should ever ask you for upfront money to help you. That’s a surefire sign of a scammer – don’t fall for that trap. There are people like this right here in Hawaii, so watch out.
Remember, keeping current with your mortgage not only continues to provide a roof over your head, it keeps your credit intact and helps preserve any equity you’ve built up in your home. It also gives you a lot more time to decide if you need to make a change. Otherwise, you give the power to your lender when they start knocking on foreclosure’s door.
However, things happen unexpectedly and if you fall behind, despite your best efforts and intentions, don’t be ashamed. As in everything in life, do the best you can. Get informed so you can make an informed decision. And if you need help, talk to the people who can provide the assistance you need.