Around 2 million homeowners are still forbearing mortgages even as many people start paying again.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warns that millions of families are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure in the coming months.
But there are actions people withholding should start taking now, even before that forbearance ends, to try to prevent this from happening.
“A lot of borrowers, if they can’t afford to get their payments back to the levels they were before the forbearance, they will have other options, so we would expect to see loan modifications, things like that, where they might need to change the terms of their mortgage to be able to make the payments, ”said Kristen Holt, CEO of GreenPath, a national nonprofit credit counseling service.
Holt says GreenPath recently received more calls about forbearance and housing needs.
As more people seek to break out of forbearance, complaints about mortgages and mortgage agents are also on the rise.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said the agency recorded the largest monthly volume of consumer mortgage complaints in nearly three years in March.
The main complaint concerns communication problems with loan officers. This is where it can help to contact a free credit counseling service first.
“We can look at your situation and tell you what options there might be. We can even call the repairman with you if you’re worried or want a bit of translation, ”said Holt.
She says that when you speak with the housekeeper, be sure to write everything down, so you can come back later and see your options.
If you can no longer afford to pay, but feel the situation is temporary, you may be able to extend your forbearance.
A good thing now compared to the real estate crisis of 2008 and 2009 is that you probably have equity in your home now.
It’s also a sellers’ market, which could be an option if your home is no longer affordable for you.
GreenPath’s number for free assistance is 888-995-HOPE. They also have virtual financial coaching on their website, if you prefer to start there.