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How to protect yourself against home foreclosure

For Ohio homeowners, one of the scariest experiences is struggling to make the house payment. Sometimes life happens, though, doesn't it? Husbands lose their jobs or have to take medical leave from an unexpected health crisis. Wives who typically provide income become incapacitated due to an accident or illness.

These things happen, and when they do, they are usually out of anyone's control. Medical bills can pile up fast, and so can other smaller expenses that have never before caused a homeowner to worry. Add the thought of losing the place that has been central for a family, and sleepless nights become a regular part of life. 

The Federal Reserve Board would like to help homeowners avoid the insomnia brought on by fear of foreclosure, so it offers tips for protecting homes. One recommendation the FRB gives is to cut optional expenses such as premium television services and the high cost of dining out regularly. Another is to acknowledge the struggle. Those who are having difficulty making mortgage payments should admit they are having trouble, and the sooner they do, the better.

Other helpful tips the FRB provides include:

  • Recognizing "foreclosure rescue scams" and being careful to avoid them
  • Understanding the options available to consumers facing foreclosure
  • Contacting a credit counseling agency for assistance 

Also weighing in on the conversation is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which notes important dates to be aware of:

  • At 30 days late, the delinquent payment may flag credit reporting agencies
  • At 45 days late, the delinquent payment will trigger assignment of an assistant to help with options
  • At 121 days late, the delinquent payment could go to foreclosure attorneys for follow up

Note that HUD has trained counselors to assist anyone struggling with pending foreclosure.

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