If you are like many Americans struggling to make your monthly mortgage payment, you are not alone. While the current economy has many struggling, the good news is that banks are more likely now to work with you than ever before.
Because banks have had to foreclose on so many homeowners, they would rather negotiate with you than have another foreclosure where they will likely lose money. Banks want to get paid, and they now understand that the best way to get their money is to work with you, the borrower.
What You Need Before You Begin to Renegotiate
If you would like to renegotiate your mortgage, you will need several documents to prove that you are having a hard time making your payments. You’ll want to round up your credit card statements, loan statements, unemployment information (if applicable) or your last paycheck stub, your last two years’ tax returns, and your checking and saving information as well as possibly other investments you have.
Ways to Renegotiate Your Mortgage
There are two main ways you can renegotiate your mortgage. Which way you chose depends on several variables.
1. Work with the lender. Call the lender and honestly tell them that you are having a hard time making your monthly mortgage payment. You will need to also tell them why you are having trouble, whether that be because of job loss, an injury or illness or another reason.
Ideally, the best time to work with the lender is before you fall behind on your payments. This was not traditionally the case, but times have changed, and the lender wants to hear from you and work with you as soon as possible.
2. Consider refinancing. If you have more than 10% equity in your home and a credit score of 720 or higher, you may be a good candidate for a refinance. Refinancing can lock you into a lower interest rate and give you a lower monthly payment that you will be able to afford.
While you may initially work with your own lender on a refinance, that is not your only option. You can contact a mortgage broker who can help you find the best offers, or you can look around yourself and compare rates. If you belong to a credit union, don’t forget that credit unions often offer lower rates than banks do.
In addition, consider changing the terms of your loan. If you have a fixed rate mortgage, a 5 year adjustable rate mortgage may give you some breathing room with a lower interest rate and lower monthly payment. This alternative is especially attractive if you plan to move within 5 years.
If you are having trouble making your mortgage payment, don’t despair. You are certainly not the only one who has been in this situation, and you will likely find your lender willing to work with you. Even if your lender isn’t, there are likely other lenders who will work with you and be glad to get your business. Remember, in general renegotiating your existing mortgage is easier than getting a new mortgage.