Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many people in the United States were already struggling with debt and trying to figure out ways to get out. The pandemic has left a path of financial ruin in its wake and many of us are now finding ourselves facing foreclosure, eviction, and more after job losses and being unable to pay bills. While some debt collectors may be forgiving during this time, others are moving forward in pursuing repossessions and other adverse actions.
Navigating these times can be tough and stressful, but there are some resources you can look into using such as debt counselors, credit consolidation, reverse mortgages, and more. Check out some tips on how to get through a foreclosure or debt collection.
Take out a reverse mortgage on your home.
If you are unable to make your house payments, you can consider the option of getting a reverse mortgage loan, which is different from a traditional mortgage. Essentially, you are able to borrow money against your home while keeping the title of the house in your name. Payments are not made until you move out of the house. You must keep the house as your primary residence, pay your property taxes and home insurance, and keep the house in great condition while you live there.
The most common type of reverse mortgage is a home equity conversion mortgage, and you must be 62 or older in order to qualify for this one, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bureau also cautions against falling for a scam when it comes to reverse mortgage lenders. There are, unfortunately, scammers out there who will show up with false loan documents and a fake certification trying to take advantage of the good faith effort on the part of a property owner. Reverse mortgages in California and other states could be pushed by contractors or other entities, and you should never feel like someone is forcing you to take out one of these loans. Make sure the lender you choose is reputable and that you have a trusted friend, family member, or attorney there to assess the documents and make sure everything is fair to you and help you avoid undue hazards.
Repayment starts once you no longer live there, and the loan will have to be paid off by either you or your heirs, usually, once the house itself has been sold. You may want to explore getting some reverse mortgage counseling before completely moving forward with this step so that you know exactly what you’ll be getting yourself and your family into if you take out one of these loans.
Find a law firm to advise you on your legal rights.
While you were the one to take out the loan and assume the responsibility of paying back your mortgage or credit card debt, you do also have certain legal rights during this time. Debt collectors are allowed to contact you, but only through certain means. Under federal law established by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors may only contact you via fax, mobile, texts, phone, or mail, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
If you feel like you are being harassed by anyone, you can speak with a law firm such as Legal Rights Advocates. Their representatives can give you legal advice about your debt situation and what you might be able to do in order to stop those phone calls, text messages, and other forms of communication. A counseling agency can also help you come up with a plan to tackle that debt and try to get monthly payments under control. They’ll also talk with you about the financial implications involved in declaring bankruptcy if you feel that you may need to take that route. Throughout this whole process, someone will be there to help you figure out the best solution for you, your spouse, and your family.