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How to defend against foreclosure: You have options

Every year, homeowners throughout the Buffalo area receive a notice of foreclosure from their lender. As scary as it may be, this notice doesn't necessarily mean you'll lose your home to repossession.

There are foreclosure defense strategies you can implement to stabilize your situation and remain in your home indefinitely.

Here are some of the strategies you should consider:

  • Mortgage modification: Before you decide against this, realize that your lender doesn't want to repossess your home. They'd rather work with you so they can receive the money you owe them. This is why a mortgage modification is often the best strategy. This can include a change in your interest rate, a reduction in your monthly payment, the elimination of late fees and penalties, or forbearance.
  • Make your back payments: Depending on how far you've fallen behind, you may be able to make back payments to bring your loan current. It's not always possible to make a lump sum payment, but if the opportunity exists, it's something to strongly consider.
  • File for bankruptcy: When you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay halts the foreclosure process. It doesn't save your home for good, but it at least gives you more time to figure things out. Also, a bankruptcy filing may alleviate other financial problems, thus giving you more money to pay your mortgage.
  • Short sale: With a short sale, the bank agrees for you to sell your home for less than the balance. While this helps you escape foreclosure, and the impact on your credit report, you're unable to remain in your home. This forces you to find somewhere else to live.

Since every homeowner facing foreclosure is dealing with unique circumstances, there's no right or wrong strategy. You may find that you can quickly negotiate a modification with your lender, thus allowing you to get back on track. Or maybe you find that filing for bankruptcy will solve many of your financial issues at the same time.

Understanding the foreclosure process, your legal rights in New York and the many defense strategies will help you decide what to do next. With the right approach, it's not out of the question for you to save your home.

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