When you first apply for a mortgage, you can usually seek out programs that help you purchase a home, such as closing costs or down payment assistance. However, when you already have a mortgage, you may need other types of assistance programs. Your lender may provide multiple mortgage help options, because allowing you to default on your mortgage is not beneficial to either party.
Refinancing is a top mortgage assistance option that many lenders offer. It is the option to trade your old mortgage for a new one. The purpose of refinancing is to allow you to change the terms of the agreement.
These changes usually provide you with an immediate benefit in the form of smaller monthly payments you must make. That is because the length of the loan is typically extended, so the amount you owe is spread out into additional months.
Your lender may also offer a similar option that does not involve renegotiating the loan length itself. Instead, perhaps the interest rate is renegotiated. The interest rate is important because it increases the amount you must pay monthly in order to reduce your remaining loan balance.
Lowering your interest rate allows you to make smaller monthly payments without extending the loan. However, this option tends to offer more long-term savings than short-term relief.
Another option for mortgage relief is to apply for a reverse mortgage, but only if you are at least 62 years of age. Doing so allows you to turn part of your home equity into immediate cash. You can use that cash for any purpose you wish, which may alleviate some financial burdens. The disadvantage is that since you are reducing equity, you may not make a profit when you eventually sell your home.
The last option to consider is a short sale. A short sale assumes the home is going to sell for less than the remaining mortgage balance. The home is sold quickly, and the funds earned go directly to the lender. If you participate in a short sale for mortgage relief, you have the advantage of mortgage forgiveness for the remaining balance not covered by the sale.
The disadvantage of a short sale is you are left with no profit from the sale of the home. That makes it extremely difficult to purchase another home, as you do not have funds lying around to help you with a down payment.
It is important to exhaust all other options before considering a short sale, especially if you do not have a backup plan. However, a short sale is a valid way to get mortgage help fast, especially if you can move in with a relative or have another place to stay lined up.