Every month, millions of homeowners struggle to make their mortgage payments. It could be because they bought a bigger house than they could afford, because they’re not making enough money, because they recently lost a job, or one of dozens of other reasons.
Whatever the case, if you’re consistently struggling, there are many strategies you can utilize to close the gap.
Analyze the Root Cause(s)
Before you start choosing strategies to manage your mortgage payments, take a moment to analyze the root causes of this financial problem. The better you understand your position, the better you’ll be able to move forward.
What, specifically, is holding you back?
- Lack of income volume. If you’re not generating enough income, you won’t be able to make your mortgage payments consistently. If you recently lost a job or were forced to take a demotion, this could be your main issue. The solution is to increase the income you generate, seeking a promotion or a new job, though this line of action is much easier said than done.
- Lack of income consistency. You could also struggle with income consistency. If you work contract jobs or if you have a seasonal business, a temporary drop in income can make it hard to make your mortgage payments on time. The solution here is to pick up alternative forms of income generation to diversify your income streams – and build up your savings so you have a financial cushion.
- Too much house. Many times, homeowners struggle to make their mortgage payments because they bought a house that’s too big or too expensive for their current income level. If that’s the case, getting rid of the house and moving to a smaller one could be the best path forward.
- Changing conditions. Some people face tougher mortgage conditions when the economic landscape evolves unfavorably. For example, if you have a variable rate mortgage and interest rates rise, it could be devastating for your monthly payments. The only solution here is to find more favorable terms.
- Other budgetary issues. If none of these other issues apply, you might have general budgeting issues. Mastering the fundamentals of personal finance could be all it takes to get you in a better position.
Aside from increasing your income or reducing your expenses, there are a handful of powerful strategies you can use to make your mortgage payments more manageable.
Consider Selling the House
One of your best options could be selling the house outright, in cash. In this arrangement, you’ll get a cash offer from an interested buyer, typically in a matter of minutes. You can take your time reviewing that offer; if you choose to accept, you’ll receive the cash in exchange for the deed. The new owner of the property will finalize the transaction quickly and efficiently, and you’ll move out on an agreed-upon date. You can then take the money and pay off the mortgage, and if you have money left over, you can use it toward a new house that’s better suited to your budget.
Selling a house in cash isn’t your only option. You can also list your house on the open market, especially if you use a real estate agent to facilitate better marketing and advertising. However, this process often takes weeks to months, so if you’re already having trouble making your mortgage payments, things could get worse before they get better.
Depending on your personal financial situation and broader economic conditions, it may benefit you to refinance. Essentially, this means closing out your old loan and securing a new loan. If you have a variable rate mortgage, you can transition to a fixed rate mortgage. If you took out a loan when interest rates were very high, you may be able to score a lower interest rate.
The idea here is to make your mortgage conditions more favorable and more affordable, ultimately reducing what you pay every month.
Ask for Forbearance
A forbearance is essentially a temporary hold on your mortgage. If you reach out to the bank, they may be willing to temporarily freeze your mortgage payments with no penalties for you. If you’re facing a temporary financial setback, such as the unexpected loss of a job, this solution could be ideal; you won’t lose anything, but you won’t have to pay your mortgage for a few months.
There are a couple of caveats to this, however. First, banks aren’t required to give you a forbearance. These are usually reserved for emergency situations and unexpected developments, so if you’re just bad at managing your money, you probably won’t be able to successfully request one.
Second, because this is reserved as an emergency option, its effects are only temporary. You’ll have to figure out another way to solve your mortgage payment issues in the long term.
Negotiate With the Bank
In some situations, you can negotiate with the bank. If your bank is amenable, you may be able to adjust the terms of your mortgage to make it more affordable, or come up with a favorable payment plan that works for both of you. If you don’t think you can continue paying the mortgage, you may also arrange a deed in lieu of foreclosure; this essentially means giving the bank your house in exchange for relieving you from your mortgage contract. This is very similar to a foreclosure, but you avoid the negative consequences of an official “foreclosure.”
Rent the Home
You may also be able to rent the home, or certain portions of the home. For example, in some areas, you could completely move out, charge rent that exceeds your mortgage payment, and make a profit that allows you to manage the property actively. If you have a spare bedroom, you may be able to rent it out exclusively, subsidizing your mortgage payment by a few hundred dollars every month.
Are you consistently having trouble making your mortgage payments? Are you ready to move o nto something better? Get a cash offer on your home – there’s no commitment and no cost. In a matter of minutes, you can find out exactly what your house is worth – and take one step closer to getting the cash you need. Try it today!