What to do if you cannot meet your mortgage payment

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If you can’t afford your monthly payments on your mortgage, you’re not alone. Despite an economy on the upswing, thousands of Americans are still struggling to meet their monthly mortgage payments. You may be faced with weekly or daily calls from your lender and it may feel like foreclosure is imminent. But before you end up facing foreclosure, you still have many options that may help you lower your monthly mortgage payment. Here are four ways to help you change the terms of your mortgage that could result in a lower monthly payment:

Refinance your mortgage to a lower interest rate

Homeowners can take advantage of record-low interest rates by refinancing their mortgage to a lower interest rate. Since interest is a portion of your monthly mortgage payment calculation, a lower interest rate would likely mean a lower mortgage payment.

Request a loan modification

A loan modification, or a change to your mortgage terms agreed upon by you and your lender, could also help lower your monthly payments. Depending on the flexibility of your lender, they may be willing to change a few terms of your mortgage: your interest rate, your payment amount or other ways in which you pay back the money you owe. Remember: you may be able to lower your monthly payments in the short-term, but you will still owe all of the money on your mortgage and your lender will want to make up the different later.

Lengthen the repayment term on your mortgage

If you originally took out a 15-year mortgage, you may want to consider refinancing to a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to help lower your monthly mortgage payment. If you’re paying off the same amount of money (let’s say a $250,000 principal) over a longer period of time, your monthly payments will be lower. You will end up paying much more over the lifetime of your loan, but your monthly payments may be more manageable in the short-term.

Seek out foreclosure prevention counseling

If a loan modification or refinancing isn’t an option and you’re falling behind on your mortgage payments, contact a housing nonprofit organization to help you find a solution and avoid foreclosure. The Homeownership Preservation Foundation offers counselors who will review your financial situation, recommend the appropriate course of action and help you communicate with your lender.

About Stephanie Halligan

Stephanie is the founder of The Empowered Dollar, a site dedicated to helping millennials to fix their finances and find their stride in money and life. When she's not blogging, Stephanie is designing school curricula and online games to teach students about smart money management.

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