My Bank Won’t Accept a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure


Unfortunately, banks and lenders are under no obligation to accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure application from you, or from anyone, for that matter. While it may seem like a much more attractive alternative than foreclosure for you, deeds in lieu are not popular among most lenders.

What is a deed in lieu of foreclosure?

Filing for a deed in lieu of foreclosure (also referred to as a DIL) is an option for a distressed homeowner who is either having trouble paying his monthly mortgage payment or is unable to do so at all due to a change in life circumstance. A DIL is a process in which the homeowner essentially gives his home to the bank and walks away.

Since foreclosure is such a negative event to have listed on a credit report, many people desperately try to avoid foreclosure at all costs. A foreclosure happens when the bank or lender essentially puts your home up for sale if you have not been making payments. You must vacate the home and find another place to live. Even worse news regarding foreclosure is that afterwards, the lender can still sue you for what is known as a “deficiency judgment.”

If the bank secures a deficiency judgment, the homeowner will then owe the bank the difference between what was still owed on the mortgage and what the bank was able to sell it for in a foreclosure sale. So, while you will have already lost your home and your credit score will be marred, you will also have the possibility of still owing money to the bank. All of these reasons combined are why many people are choosing to apply for a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

A deed in lieu of foreclosure (DIL) occurs when the lender agrees to accept ownership of your home without pursuing foreclosure or deficiency judgments. It is important that you get a detailed agreement in writing during your deed in lieu process, so that you are assured that there will be forgiveness of any money you may still owe on the mortgage, along with any deficiency between what is still owed and what the home eventually sells for.

Lenders are hesitant to accept deed in lieu applications. The main reason for this is that they are in the money business, not the property business. Taking care of a home that they now essentially own (via a deed in lieu of foreclosure) means there will be further costs in order to maintain the home, such as homeowners fees, taxes and general upkeep of the home’s exterior and interior until it can be sold.

In order to increase the chances of your deed in lieu application being approved by your bank, you’ll have to be able to prove that you are indeed suffering from significant financial hardship. When a lender sees that you are at least a month behind on your mortgage payments, they are more inclined to accept your proposal.

Additionally, property with liens on their title are not attractive to lenders for a deed in lieu. It’s also extremely important that all of your DIL application paperwork is filled out completely and correctly.

Deeds in lieu of foreclosure do appear on your credit report and will cause an impact on your credit score, though it will be much less of an impact than a foreclosure. Alternatives to filing for a DIL include applying for a loan modification and applying for federal assistance through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Both of these options will avoid any negative effects on your credit report or credit score.

To learn more about the specifics behind filing for a deed in lieu of foreclosure or applying for a loan modification to make your payments more affordable, contact Veitengruber Law. We have achieved DILs for many clients before you, and we would love nothing more than to help you get the best result possible as well.


Photo credit: Images Money (flickr)


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