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Delinquent Mortgage Payments

Updated on January 28, 2010

Can't Make The Mortgage Payment?

How To “Buy Time” When Late On Your Mortgage Payment


Were you aware that as soon as you've missed three (3) consecutive mortgage payments in a row, that most lenders will NOT let you pay less than the full amount (all three payments at once) at that point?

If you're struggling right now to just keep up with your mortgage payments until you can work out something with your lender, or the government's bailout program steps in to help you, then did you know that you can continue to run 30 or 60 days behind indefinitely? Most lenders will continue to let you make one payment every month, as long as you are NO MORE than 60 days behind on your mortgage. This isn't going to help your credit score any, but it does buy you some time.

What happens if I miss that 3rd payment?

Once you miss that 3rd mortgage payment and are a full 90 days delinquent, your lender will no longer accept less than 3 full months of payments to bring you current. They are also required to file an NOD (Notice of Default) against your property, and this marks the beginning of the foreclosure process. From here, the phrase "foreclosure process started" is going to appear on your credit report (and will remain there for 7 years even if you bring the loan current) and your loan is going to start to incur additional, pretty hefty charges because of the process itself.

Unless your lender can work out an arrangement with you before your home "goes to sale", and you lose it forever, which takes a minimum of 90 days, then buying time by making at least one mortgage payment before you are 3 months down is the best way to go, if you can possibly do it.

What if I'm already 90 days late?

If you've already missed 3 months of mortgage payments and your lender has already filed an NOD against your property, the first thing to do is contact that lender and see if they'll be willing to renegotiate your loan terms, so you do not lose your home. Mortgage lenders are NOT in the business of owning real estate, and right now, the last thing they want is to own another house. They own too many already! If you don't get satisfaction at the first level that you speak to, ask for their supervisor and keep moving up the "food chain" so to speak, until you actually talk with someone who can answer your questions with the authority to do so. In business, I've found that "Those who scream the loudest, get the best service."

Don't spend the money!

A lot of folks will have some of their mortgage payment, but possibly not all of it. One of the biggest mistakes you can make if you are in this situation, is to spend that money on something else. Just because the lender will not accept less than 3 payments to bring your account current, does not mean that you will not need to come in with "some money" if you can negotiate a loan modification with your lender. A lender is going to be more willing to work with you, if you're willing to do your part and bring some cash to the table during the negotiation process. Even if this turns out not to be the case, you're going to need somewhere else to live and now that your credit is shot, you're going to look a lot better to a prospective landlord if you have enough cash to come in with first and last months' rent, along with a security deposit, so be smart about what you do with that extra money.



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    • Credit Trauma profile image

      Credit Trauma 5 years ago from United States

      Hey Trouble....I am so sorry you've had to go through all this. You should never have to pay for help, as there are may non profit companies who will help you for free. Here's a link for you:

      Avoiding mortgage relief scams:

      The offers seem like answers to the prayers of a struggling homeowner: A promise of legal tactics to forestall foreclosure, reduce mortgage balances and interest rates, or restore credit. But these so-called mass joinder lawsuits being advertising in mailings are fraudulent – sent out by companies purporting to be law firms, according to a consumer alert by the Federal Trade Commission’s (F.T.C.) website.

      Making sense of the story

      • Consumers can lose valuable time to these dishonest players – not to mention money. The nonprofit Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law estimates that homeowners nationwide who reported scams to its database have lost more than $60 million in the last two years alone.

      • There are many credible law firms around to help homeowners. But some businesses might be promoting themselves as providers of legal services, they might have only one lawyer on retainer, as a way around F.T.C. rules that allow only lawyers to collect upfront fees on mortgage aid.

      • Such firms, and people posting as lawyers, are fueling a 60 percent jump in complaints about mortgage scams this year, according to a report by the homeownership Preservation Foundation, which helps distressed homeowners.

      • When speaking with a lawyer, consumers might ask about the lawyer’s track record, including documentation of successes via media reports or signed court documents awarding borrowers money or relief.

      • Consumers should beware of promises. According to the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, “legitimate lawyers don’t make guarantees, just like doctors don’t.”

      • There are plenty of free services available at nonprofit groups certified by the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

      • The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® also has information available about short-sale and foreclosure-prevention fraud. Visit for more information.

      (Information from CA Assn of Realtors)

    • profile image

      trouble homeowner 5 years ago

      Ive been working with Liberty Credit Law since 6/2011 trying to get a loan modification approved. Costed me over 3,000 for their services. I'm feeling real shakey about this transaction. I have not been making any mortgage payments only because I can't afford the payments. Faithfuly on a monthly basis I receive a mortgage bill from my lender showing the compounding missed payments. I beginning to feel like a dope - I need to know whats going on - No one lives for free! Are there programs out there that protect homeowners in this situation?

    • Credit Trauma profile image

      Credit Trauma 5 years ago from United States

      Took me a minute to follow along with you, but yes, you're description sounds correct. I would put in a call to your lender and let them know what you're going to do and hopefully you won't end up on their "call" list, with them bugging you ever other day. Good Luck!

    • profile image

      Mortgage Question 5 years ago

      We are in a bind and can't make payments for @ 3 months; however, we will be able to be caught back up by September of this year. Based on your article, I read this to mean that we can skip May, but should pay in June. That will make us 30 days delinquent on May and restart the count for June. If I then pay again in August for two months, I will bring current my 60 day delinquency for June and my 30 day delinquency for July. If I then finally pay for two months in September, then I will bring current my 30 day delinquency for August and current on September. Am I understanding that properly?

      Thanks in advance.

    • Credit Trauma profile image

      Credit Trauma 5 years ago from United States

      Absolutely not Karmen. If for some reason they're not working with you on this, you need to contact a lawyer or someone to intervene immediately to get this straightened out before the property goes to sale. This should have been worked out as soon as they misapplied your very 1st payment. You can't wait any longer. You have to do something NOW! Let me know what happens and I wish you the best of luck!

    • profile image

      Karmen 5 years ago

      So what if you have never missed consecutive payments and then all of a sudden they don't apply your payments to your account and are now pushing for foreclosure. They have a sale date of April 19th. They have over 2,000 of my money in which they will not send back or apply to the account. Can they do this???