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Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Back in 1981, a band known as The Clash recorded their only number-one hit, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” Unfortunately, that is an all too familiar refrain among homeowners facing foreclosure.

“Getting into the house of your dreams is just the first step. The long-term objective is staying there,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. “However, if making the mortgage payment is a struggle month after month, if it is going to present a hardship to the family, then other options should be considered.”

A home is usually a person’s largest investment, thus it is one that should be protected, but not at all costs. Our 2011 Financial Literacy Survey revealed that 3 in 10 Americans found the terms of their mortgage turned out different than what they originally expected. For this reason, today’s consumer often takes drastic steps to satisfy the mortgage payment. Some are resorting to payday loans, while others are dipping into their retirement plans at work.

Obviously, a payday loan should not be a long-term solution to a monthly shortfall. Paying triple digit annualized interest is never good. Likewise, individuals continually tapping into their retirement plans could end up with no house and no money for retirement.

Average consumers do not know the difference between a short sale, a deed in lieu, a forebearance or a loan modification, nor should they. That’s where professional help becomes essential. There is help available, the help is free, and the answer may lie at the other end of the phone.

Why does the consumer not reach out for assistance? Statistics show that over half of those whose homes are foreclosed on never speak with their lender/servicer prior to foreclosure. They are avoiding the one person who can help. The reasons varied, but among them are:

  • They do not believe that any real help is available;
  • They do not understand the terms, thus do not feel they can even begin a conversation on the topic; and
  • They simply cannot face it.

If you are a struggling homeowner, you do not have to go through the process alone. Find the nearest NFCC Member Agency to make an appointment with a certified housing counselor who can help you by calling (800) 388-2227 or visiting www.debtadvice.org.

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