LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Owning a home is the American dream and many Nevadans are worried about losing that dream after missing mortgage payments during the pandemic. But there's good news! 13 Action News anchor Todd Quinones speaks with some local experts about what you need to know to avoid foreclosure.
BEHIND ON PAYMENTS
"Nerve-racking... Just given the uncertainty of what we were expecting," says Las Vegas homeowner Gene Pena.
He admits it was scary when he fell behind on house payments. It all started at the very beginning of the pandemic.
GENE FOUND HELP
"There was writing on the wall with regard to my current employer... There were already a series of layoffs. I just knew I was going to be in the next lineup," says Gene.
The good news is, Gene found help, even when he had thousands of dollars in overdue mortgage payments.
"It just took a little while for me to be able to catch up. But there were some solutions provided by PIF Lending," says Gene.
"There's a lot of options that are still available," says Andrew Leavitt, broker and owner of PIF Lending.
He says relief starts by contacting your mortgage lender.
"Depending on where they're at in the process, if they are 12 months behind or less than 18 months behind, they can look into getting additional extensions on that forbearance," says Leavitt.
A COVID-related mortgage forbearance allows you the chance to pause your mortgage payments. Best of all, the missed payments don't affect your credit score. For those able to make a partial mortgage payment, there's another option:
"There's modifications available to the mortgage, to where they'll change what that payment originally was. Redo it and bring it to a point where you can make it," says Leavitt.
LOAN SERVICER ASSISTANCE
Leavitt says Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the entities that regulate the industry, are making sure loan servicers provide you with assistance.
"They're instructed to automatically do a lot of this. To go ahead and preserve that house from being an actual foreclosure," says Leavitt.
Just remember, there's more than one way to face foreclosure.
"It's absolutely something to be concerned about. You can lose your home to your HOA even if your current on your mortgage payment," says consumer rights attorney Peter Aldous, with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.
He says beware if you're behind on your HOA fees.
"You need to reach out to your HOA or the management company and find a way to get caught back up on those assessments," says Aldous.
The good news is your servicer can also help cover third-party expenses related to your mortgage; including taxes, insurance, and those HOA fees. As for Gene, he's happy to be back on track and hopes his story inspires others to reach out for help.
"The thing is you don't want to sweep this under the rug. It is something that you wanna confront at some point... Coordinate with your mortgage broker to find out all those options that are available," says Gene.