The FHA has many programs to help home buyers find and purchase a home. But FHA help doesn’t end there–the government has a vested interest in helping people keep their homes even in times of financial difficulty.
When borrowers get into trouble with their FHA mortgage loans, the first line of defense is to address money problems as early as possible. That’s why the FHA offers their toll-free number (1-800-569-4287) to put home owners in touch with a housing counselor.
It’s also why there are FHA foreclosure avoidance programs and other homeowner bailout assistance plans like Making Home Affordable; nobody wins when a home goes into default and foreclosure. But how can you tell if your FHA mortgage is in trouble?
As the FHA official page points out, foreclosure does not happen overnight. The warning signs begin with a few simple indicators, often starting with a change in financial stability because of hospital bills, divorce, job loss or even higher taxes. In these cases the warning signs include credit card bills that get out of control, or begin to become unmanageable because the homeowner is using credit for basic “survival needs” like gas and groceries.
In this, the earliest stage of financial trouble, the homeowner may find it difficult to pay all monthly bills, letting one or two of them go in favor of others in a given month. This is the point where the FHA urges borrowers to call for help. The next stages often lead to missed FHA mortgage payments–where the real trouble begins on the slippery downhill slope toward foreclosure.
Fortunately help is available. If you find yourself in the beginning stages of a financial crisis, call HUD at 1-800-569-4287 to get advice and assistance. In our next blog post we’ll look at the intermediate and advanced stages of a financial crisis that can threaten home ownership…and how even in the advanced stages it may be possible to save the home with some help from the FHA and/or your lender.