Homeowners seeking solace from an overwhelming mortgage payment have many hoops to jump through to avoid foreclosure. The most crucial ingredient needed in all foreclosure prevention processes is the hardship letter. A hardship letter explains to your lender why you are not able to make your mortgage payments or why you have fallen behind. A weakly written hardship letter causes lenders to delay your request or worse, deny it. Here are five easy steps to drafting the perfect hardship letter.

1. Get to the point: Short staffed lenders are flooded with foreclosure prevention requests daily, so it’s essential that your hardship be short and to the point. Loansafe.org recommends a hardship letter be no more than one to two pages max, because writing a book will not get the attention of an over worked, $12 an hour loss mitigation employee.

2. Why why why?: Just writing a letter stating you can’t make your payments and need help is not enough. Obviously the lender knows you’re not making your payments; it’s important to state why! Job loss, reduced income, divorce, illness, and even incarceration are examples of valid reasons that should be detailed in your hardship letter.

3. The Proof is in the Pudding. In addition to your hardship letter, you will of course need to show proof of your hardship. Lost your job? Show an unemployment letter. Drowning in medical bills? Have those invoices handy. Back-up documentation will only solidify your hardship to the lender and help speed up the process.

4. Tell them what you want, what you really really want. So you’re late or having trouble making payments. If you don’t state what you want the lender to do, how can they fix the problem? Request what you want to be the solution. Whether that be a loan modification, reduced payments, or financial assistance, choose whichever best helps stop foreclosure.

5. Don’t forget the details. It’s important to let the lender know the best time, whom, and how to contact you. Surprisingly, many forget these simple, but essential details in their letter and have a harder time getting the assistance they are so desperately requesting.




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