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What to do when falling behind on mortgage in Washington, D.C.

The threat of losing a home can be terrifying, but there are options for people in Washington, D.C., who are falling behind on making mortgage payments. As the Department of Housing and Community Development points out, seeking counseling from an accredited provider can be key to preventing foreclosure. The DHCD reports that people are eligible for a free one-on-one session from professionals who can help.

In addition to consulting with a company that the government has vetted and approved, people should also contact their mortgage provider. The sooner this is done, the more likely it is that the lender will try to work with the homeowner on finding a way to ensure the payments can be made. This could mean extending the deadline for a payment or renegotiating the terms of the loan.

A homeowner may also secure a forbearance, during which the payments are either suspended or reduced for a set period of time. Once that timeframe is over, the regular payments resume and the homeowner makes additional payments to bring the loan up to schedule.

There is also the Making Home Affordable Modification Program, which the Federal Trade Commission notes is an option when the following conditions are met: 

  •        The home is the primary residence.
  •        The payment is more than 31 percent of the homeowner’s gross income.
  •        The mortgage was acquired prior to Jan. 1, 2009.
  •        There is less than $729,750 owed on the home.
  •        A financial hardship is causing the struggle to make payments.

People who understand their mortgages are more likely to be able to budget accordingly. Certain home loans, such as ones that feature adjustable rate mortgages, will feature increases that should be factored into the budget. People who are worried about making those higher payments may want to consider refinancing into a fixed-rate loan.

Filing for bankruptcy may also be options, but they should be considered a last resort. Taking other measures first may help someone stay in the home and preserve a credit score.

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