The number of foreclosures in Dallas and Fort Worth has increased dramatically in recent years. Although the turbulent economy and high unemployment are largely to blame, homeowners may be unable to make their mortgage payments for any number of reasons, such as a prolonged illness, unmanageable debt from credit cards and consumer loans, or the death of a spouse.
If you are more than a month behind on your mortgage, your bank may be calling you frequently at home and at work in an attempt to get you to catch up on payments. In some cases, the servicer on the other end of the line may seem intimidating or even threatening. You should not ignore calls from your bank, but you can take steps to manage the communication and maintain your sanity:
Make a Plan – If you know that you can no longer afford your home, your primary focus is to avoid foreclosure. Selling your home in a short sale can help you salvage your credit history and give you the time and resources to find a more affordable place to live. It can also prevent the lender from coming after you with a judgment on the difference you owe. Regardless of whether you have received a notice of foreclosure, contact an experienced short sale realtor immediately to begin the process.
Inform Your Lender – As soon as you have decided to pursue a short sale, tell the bank representative the next time you receive a call and provide the contact information of your realtor. Do not offer any additional information or discuss the terms of the short sale, no matter how much the caller is pressuring you. Your realtor should handle all negotiations with the bank. Tell your lender that your realtor represents you 100% and will be receiving a Letter of Authorization, which gives the realtor the ability to discuss your short sale transaction with them.
Stay Calm – If a conversation gets heated, remember that the person on the other end of the phone is just a bank employee sitting in a cubicle somewhere. They may try to make you angry or scared so that you will go to any lengths necessary to pay your mortgage. Keep your cool, no matter what the lender tells you. Continue to remind the representative throughout the conversation that your short sale realtor will be contacting them. If you feel yourself getting emotional or frazzled, politely end the conversation and hang up.
Request it in Writing – To minimize the number of calls you receive, tell your lender to communicate with you and your realtor only in writing. Keep every piece of correspondence from the bank, and remember that you do not have to answer the letters, even if the bank sends a foreclosure notification. If you are doing a short sale on your house, your realtor will handle the negotiations with the bank to avoid foreclosure.
Know the Limits – Your lender is not allowed to garnish your bank account or wages to recoup past due mortgage payments without first filing (and winning) a lawsuit against you. If the person servicing your account tells you otherwise, they are bluffing.
Like other creditors, your bank will be persistent in collecting on delinquent mortgage payments, but that does not mean you have to tolerate threats, verbal abuse, or other forms of harassment. Taking swift action to arrange a short sale can help you avoid foreclosure and put an end to collections calls. If we can be of any assistance, please contact our office right away.