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Don't get rushed into foreclosure

Will this be your last holiday season you will spend in your home? Is foreclosure looming large and bearing down fast? If so, it's time to make some hard decisions.

You might feel as if you no longer have a choice in the matter any longer, but quite often that's not the case. Learning that you actually do have some wiggle room regarding a pending foreclosure can be empowering.

Ultimately, it might be in your best fiscal interests to divest yourself of a property you cannot afford to keep, but doing so under your own terms is preferable to losing it in a foreclosure.

It's helpful to understand that your lender does not want to go through a foreclosure, either. It's a lengthy and costly process that is best avoided all around. Consider the two options you may have:

-- Short sale. Selling your property for less than what you owe to the mortgage lender — with the lender's permission.

This has several potential benefits for debtors. It can wipe out or substantially reduce the amount owed on the debt to the lender. It spares homeowners from the black marks foreclosures leave on their credit ratings. It can even provide them with financial assistance to relocate and shortens the length of time needed to get another mortgage through Fannie Mae.

-- Mortgage Release. Sometimes referred to as a "Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure," this option means that you transfer ownership of your home to your mortgage lender in order to be released from your financial obligation to them.

It has the same benefits as a short sale, effectively canceling your mortgage debt in full. It also gives you a measure of control over your final exit from the property. While you may vacate the premises immediately, should you choose to, you may also remain rent-free for 90 days, or continue living in the property for up to a year as long as you pay rent under a lease.

Take control of your life by examining and weighing your options carefully. Speaking to a legal advisor can clarify your position and help you make the right choice.

Source: Know Your Options, "Foreclosure," accessed Dec. 16, 2016

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