During these uncertain times, it’s natural to worry about making your regular mortgage payments – especially if you have already fallen behind on your account, or if your family has suffered COVID-19 related job losses. The unemployment rate in Utah is currently at 3.6%, and 4.4% in the nation. At Ruesch and Reeve, our attorneys can help you review all your options if you’re struggling with debt. However, there are also a few key ways you may be able to manage your mortgage payments during COVID-19.
Ways to help manage your mortgage payment during COVID-19:
1.Talk With Your Mortgage Company.
Do not stop making your payments without talking to your mortgage company. Mortgage companies are putting their own tools and guidelines in place to provide relief to those in need. Be sure to contact them and get specifics. Mortgage companies are getting high volumes of calls during this time, so you may need to try numerous times.
Talk to them about the possibility of paying part of your mortgage until you are back on your feet. Some mortgage companies are even offering payment forgiveness for up to 3 months, or the option to pay part of your mortgage payment.
It is important to remember that this does not mean that you do not have to pay your mortgage, though. It means that on the 4th month, you will be expected to pay all 4 payments.
2. Document Loss Of Employment.
If you have been laid off, furloughed, or placed on leave, make sure you have the appropriate documentation to provide if and when necessary. If the impact of Covid-19 has impacted your employment and you have found yourself laid off, or furloughed, there are options. The most important thing to do is get documentation of your loss of employment. It’s important because if you’re unable to make your mortgage payment without employment, they need to know you were working and it wasn’t your choice to lose employment. Your mortgage lender should be able to work with you if they see proof that you were found at loss of income due to the pandemic that is affecting a large percentage of the population.
Having viable documentation of your loss of employment provides them proof to show that you are not receiving any incoming payments from work and that it isn’t by choice. At Ruesch and Reeve, they can help you weigh out all of your options to extend due dates, or even bypass your mortgage payments for the time being. Having legal documents from your workplace is the best way to ensure you have something to back you up when applying for things like unemployment and making these payments.
3. Go Online
Check your mortgage company’s website to see if they have an online process. Many companies have shifted to an online-friendly process to help avoid long wait times on the phone. If you’re a few days late on your mortgage payment, you likely won’t have to pay a penalty. Most lenders have a grace period – usually around 14 days – when you can make your mortgage payment without an additional late fee. If you fail to pay before the grace period expires, you’ll likely pay a penalty.
Contact your lender right away if you’re going to miss a mortgage payment. Missing multiple payments can hurt your credit score, but it can also lead you to default on the loan – and you could lose your house. If you’re experiencing a hardship such as job loss from this health crisis, your lender may be able to create a payment plan to help you get back on track.
If you cannot find anything posted, give them a call. Loan servicers are working diligently to make sure you have a plan for mortgage payments in place.
4. Avoid Scams
During the pandemic, we may see a rise in scam calls and mailers giving false information. Be sure not to give out personal information unless you know exactly who is on the other end of the call. Most may know of the policies the government is voting into place during the time of this health crisis. The most well known being the stimulus check provided to assist all of those who are hurting financially from being laid off, or loss of business. Knowing when and how the check will arrive is something you really need to know. You don’t want to give out any personal information via text, email, or calls from anyone who says they’re working with the government on giving out stimulus money. They will not contact you directly.
Ignore any online offers for vaccines or offers on online test kits. The FDA recently announced approval for one home test kit, which requires a doctor’s order. But most test kits being advertised have not been approved by the FDA, and aren’t necessarily accurate.
Being aware and alert to everything going on is the best way to support you and support your family and loved ones. Knowing all of your options for continuing to make your mortgage payments on time and keeping your home during job loss is crucial. Know all of your options.
5. Use Your Stimulus Check
In order to decide the best way to use your stimulus check for financial support, is to weigh out all of your options. Look at all of your bills and which are most important to keep paid first. Prioritize your essentials. Food, mortgage and your car are probably the three most important things to budget for. The next step to look at should be if you need it anywhere else, or if it can go into an emergency fund during a very emergent time.
Many people get an extra $1,200 and want to spend it on wants, not needs. Your mortgage is something that needs to be prioritized. If your lender isn’t willing to work with you on your payment, then you need to make that your first choice as guaranteeing that roof over your head in the possibility of job loss and financial depletion.
6. Apply For Unemployment
Applying for unemployment is the first thing you should do after the loss of a job, especially during COVID. The government is taking extra measures to ensure all of those affected by the virus are aided financially. You should generally file with the state you were employed in. The process can be done completely online and you should begin to see benefits in 2-4 weeks time. If struggling to complete the process, reach out to experts who can help you apply and ensure you receive everything you’re financially eligible for.
Most states are extending unemployment benefits in lue of the virus. People are being unemployed without choice, due to government shutdowns. Benefit extensions are becoming readily available and are further helping to ensure you can manage your mortgage payments for longer.
7. Apply For Bankruptcy
If you have fallen behind on your mortgage and don’t have a solution, please set an appointment to discuss how a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you save your home. By filing for bankruptcy, you may be able to reorganize your debt and gain some financial protection during this crisis. If you have taken all above measures and are still finding yourself behind and unable to catch up on mortgage payments, don’t wait. Your home is a necessity and there are options and experts to help you keep it.
There is a large percentage of Americans right now who have no other options and are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It’s not the end of your credit and it can be rebuilt. The liquid assets that aren’t essential are not prioritized at this time.
The lawyers at Ruesch & Reeve Law Firm are here to help you during this trying time. Contact us today about your case, our team is working and offering consultations via phone, email, and video conferencing.
86 North 3400 West
Building C Suite 101
Hurricane, Utah 84737