There are a lot of things that could come up in life to cause financial hardship. From job losses to unexpected medical expenses, or even serious car accidents, people fall on hard times. Anyone who has fallen behind on a bill before knows the stress and the feelings of uncertainty and hopelessness that come along with it. However, there is hope for everyone who has gotten behind on their mortgage or is unable to make a timely payment. The first and most important step is often the hardest one to take: talk to your lender.

Try to Call Before You Miss a Payment

Between the recent mortgage crisis and the high cost of foreclosure proceedings, most lenders are going to be more than willing to work with someone who is in a tight spot. Provided that there is a reasonable cause for the lack of funds, such as a job loss or emergency expense, your lender may offer a repayment plan that includes the missed payment or another type of repayment options. Some lenders might also offer a skip-a-payment service for qualified borrowers. This, of course, is all easier to arrange if you call as soon as you know there is going to be a problem.

It’s Never Too Late

Even if you didn’t call right away, don’t panic. Lenders are still more than likely to be willing to work with you to make arrangements because you are stepping up to the plate, albeit a little late. Most lenders understand how intimidating it can be to ask for help, so they are not going to turn you away just because you didn’t call sooner. Just make the call and ask for help. Be prepared to offer your own solutions and provide an idea of how much or when you will be able to pay to assist them in coming up with the best resolution.

Your Options

Typically, lenders will offer one of two options to people who have fallen behind on payments. If you have missed multiple payments and are ready to catch up, they may offer a repayment plan. This will split the total amount of missed payments into a set number of monthly payments, which are then added to your existing mortgage amount. The other option is known as reinstatement and forbearance. In this program, a lender will temporarily reduce or suspend your payments for an agreed upon period of time. When that time elapses, you will be required to make a lump sum payment for the total amount that went unpaid.

There are other long-term options in the event that your hardship is not quickly resolved. Lenders can help you change the terms of your mortgage or discuss refinancing options. The biggest thing to remember is that your lender can help.