One of the most powerless feelings is realizing that you may lose your home due to lapsed mortgage payments, yet it’s impossible to catch up. Let’s get one thing out of the way: there’s no shame in this! Life happens. Financial burdens hit hard. It doesn’t mean you’re powerless to get out of this situation with a semi-winning hand, though. If you are going to lose your home, you might as well benefit as much as possible. In a race against the clock, you need to know the best practices for selling your home before your lender forecloses on your home – luckily, we have just the tips you need to stay afloat.
Got a demand letter? Don’t ignore it.
While your first reaction may be to throw the letter away in anger or frustration, keep it. Read it over. Then again. And again. Then a fifth time. Recognize the language and realize what the ramifications may be to fully understand the scope of the situation.
Know your timetable.
Your letter should tell you how much time you have before the bank seizes your home. If the letter doesn’t state this, call your lender immediately. Typically, Canadians have between 1-3 months before foreclosure proceedings begin.
Get a good lawyer
This is no time to call Foreclosin’ Phil the Budget Real Estate Lawyer: if there was ever a time to dig deep and get a good lawyer – ‘nay, a damn good lawyer – it’s now. Do your research and find the best in your region and set up a consultation with them as soon as possible (take off work if you must). Explain your situation, let them know you are trying to sell your home before foreclosure proceedings begin, and learn your options. You will need them in the final step of selling your home, so keep in contact with them throughout the process.
Get an equally good real estate agent
Specifically, one that specializes in selling homes at risk of foreclosure. These agents understand that this is one of the most time critical situations in real estate – and just like a damn good lawyer, a damn fine real estate agent will work his/her butt off to find you a buyer. Explain your situation as well, let them know the timetable, and stay in constant contact with them as the situation with your lender and lawyer evolves over the next few weeks.
Make the home look immaculate
Now is not the time to spare any expense; make your home look awesome and modern, and you’re bound to find a buyer. Speak with your real estate agent and discuss the best approach to making your home showroom-ready – after all, they know firsthand the types of homes that are selling and which homes remain unoccupied. Adhere to design trends that will make your home look more appealing (even if it means implementing designs you’d never use in your home). If time is of the absolute essence, hire professionals to remodel the home and landscape the lot if applicable.
Don’t rely on your agent to do all the marketing
Spread the word that you are selling your home on social media, Craigslist, Kijiji, your local newspaper – even the bulletin board at the local diner. Let your community know you have a home to sell, and to speak with your real estate agent to show the home ASAP (ask your real estate agent if it’s suitable to provide their professional contact information first, though). Use language that makes your home look appealing; a home, ‘in the middle of nowhere’ doesn’t sound appealing; buyers that want quiet country life does. Remember: you’re not trying to persuade people that your home is awesome; you’re trying to persuade them that the house is awesome for them.
Kill your lender with kindness
Not literally of course, but it’s in your best interest to reach out to them every few days and explain the latest developments in the process. If a few people have looked at the home since the last time you talked to them, let them know. When an offer is placed, inform the lender immediately. The more you let the lender know what’s going on, the more willing they will be to give you some ‘wiggle-room’ regarding starting the foreclosure process if you don’t find a buyer in time. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do.
I may be able to help. If you are finding yourself in a tough credit environment, give me a call.