I am consistently one payment behind on my mortgage, and I can’t catch up. What can I do? Could I negotiate with the lender to tack the payment on at the end of my loan term, or something like that?
The quickest way to get caught up is to double up on your payment one month, including any late fees. If you can't do this, you may be able to convince the lender to add the payment to the end of your loan term. Another option, one that the lender would be more likely to agree to, is to get caught up using a repayment plan.
With a repayment plan, you work out an agreement with the lender to spread the past due amount over a specific period of time, usually several months, in order to bring your mortgage current. During the repayment period, a portion of the past due amount is added to each of your normal monthly mortgage payments. Once the repayment period has ended, you’ll be current on your mortgage payments (as long as you made every payment).
If you want to use the repayment plan option, here's what to do.
To arrange a repayment plan, you'll have to call your loan servicer (the company that you make your payments to). But before you call, gather up basic information about your finances, like:
Call your servicer and tell them you are interested in a repayment plan and would like to find out if you are eligible. Be prepared to explain why you are having trouble bringing your loan current, including the reasons why you fell behind and why you can’t catch up. Your servicer will walk you through the next steps to find out if you qualify and help you get back on track with your loan payments. Most of the time, a servicer can approve a short-term repayment plan without getting the lender's approval.
Once you and the servicer figure out a repayment plan, you will sign an agreement that outlines how you are going to repay the past-due amount, including the length of the repayment period and the specific terms. After you make all of the payments, you’ll be current on your loan.
If you are having trouble getting your loan payment current, you should contact loan servicer as soon as possible to go over your situation, discuss what you hope to do, and find out the answer to any questions you may have.
However, if you find that you are having difficulty dealing with the servicer—before or after contacting them to ask for a repayment plan—you can get free assistance from a HUD-approved housing counselor who will work with you and your servicer on your behalf. You can find a HUD-approved housing counselor by going to the HUD website.
To learn more about repayment plans and other options to avoid foreclosure, see Avoiding Foreclosure: Basic Workout Options.