Can a NJ Lender Foreclose for Late Payments Only?

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Like millions of Americans who own their own homes, your largest monthly bill is most certainly your mortgage payment. This is especially true if you’ve wrapped your property taxes in with your mortgage loan. Paying your mortgage each month can feel physically painful at times, especially if you have to write out all of those numbers on a paper check. OUCH.

Nonetheless, you obviously knew what you signed up for when you applied for your current mortgage, so its appearance each month doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise. Why, then, are so many Americans habitually late in paying for this particular loan?

The answer to that is simple. A large percentage of homeowners in this country are living paycheck to paycheck – earning just enough money every month to fulfill their financial obligations. This leads to tense moments when there simply aren’t sufficient funds in the bank to make the huge mortgage payment without fear of bouncing a check.

Nobody wants to bounce a check – we all know that. The hassle combined with added fees from your bank AND your lender mean that bouncing a check is an extremely costly mistake. Instead of potentially writing a check that can’t be cashed, many homeowners simply wait until their bank account has enough money to fulfill the mortgage payment. Sometimes this means the mortgage payment gets sent in a few days (or weeks) late.

The question here, is: Can a lender foreclose on a homeowner if they are chronically late with their mortgage payment? To clarify, we’re talking about a borrower who hasn’t actually missed any payments and technically isn’t “behind” on their mortgage – only slightly late with nearly every payment.

The short answer is that almost no lender will move toward foreclosure if the borrower isn’t actually behind on payments. That’s not to say it has never happened, but if it has, it’s exceedingly rare. In most cases, lenders don’t send out ‘Intent to Foreclose’ notices until a borrower has missed 3 full mortgage payments. Some lenders will threaten foreclosure after one missed payment, but as long as you can bring the mortgage current, they back down.

What can happen to you if you consistently pay your mortgage (or any other monthly bills) late is that your credit score can drop. Even though you may avoid foreclosure, late payments are often reported to credit reporting agencies, and each late payment will ding your score a few points. If you’re late every month for a year, your score may have dropped over 100 points.

If you’re currently struggling to pay your mortgage in a timely manner, there are some things you can do. First, check your credit score to see how much damage you’ve done. That gives you a good starting point. Next, get in touch with your lender and tell them why you’re having trouble paying on time. You may benefit from changing the time of month that your payments are due, paying online, or paying via telephone when your bank account is primed and ready.

If none of the above options is enough to alleviate your tardiness, you may benefit from applying for a NJ loan modification. You can apply for one on your own, but many times a real estate attorney can negotiate with your lender much more effectively, working to extend the life of the loan, reduce the principal amount due, erase late fees, and maybe even lower the interest rate on the loan. One or a combination of these modifications can make paying your mortgage on time much more manageable.

 

Image credit: John Lloyd

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Late Payments: Will They Affect my Credit Score?

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By now, you probably understand that failure to make good on your debts will definitely be reflected in your credit report and score. Regardless of your reason, leaving debts unpaid opens you up to numerous marks on your credit report, which will in turn drag your score down, down, down – until the debts are paid.

So, not paying your debts equals a low credit score, but what happens when you do pay, but you pay late?

Will late payments be reflected on my credit report?

The best answer here is “it depends.” If you make one or two utility payments that are only late by a few days, they probably won’t show up on your credit report. (But they might! Much depends on the company’s policies and the individual in charge of receiving payments for that company.)

Many times, medical debt causes significant headaches for consumers. Usually the headaches are caused by dealing with insurance companies. Insurance companies are notoriously bad at responding to claims in a reasonable time frame, which leads to red marks on your credit report. Often, codes are submitted incorrectly or multiple insurance policies are not properly coordinated. Further, some claims are initially denied but may be approved if resubmitted through the proper channels.

The bottom line regarding medical debt is that human error combined with strict and sometimes questionable policy rules lead to long wait times for some claims to be paid by insurance companies.

Why is my medical debt marked “Late” on my credit report if it is the insurance company’s fault?

This question comes up often, and the unfortunate reality is that creditors, even hospitals, doctors’ offices and other medical providers, do not care who pays their bill as long as it gets paid. Most providers do realize that there may be a slight delay for payment due to the intricacies of the insurance industry, however, they are not willing to wait for an extended period of time.

Patients who are waiting for their insurance company to pay their medical bill(s) are often surprised to find negative marks on their credit report because they don’t understand that if there is a delay on the insurance company’s side, medical providers expect the patient to pay the bill and then be reimbursed by the insurance company.

If you’ve recently discovered that some of your paid medical debt has been marked as “Late” on your credit report, you may wonder if you can get your provider to remove the “Late” status now that they’ve received payment. Unfortunately they don’t have to and typically won’t remove the “Late” mark from your report because doing so takes up more of their valuable time.

Additionally, if your medical debt was in fact paid late then it is accurately denoted on your credit report. The fact that it is marked as “Paid” is important (even if marked “Paid Late”), and you can add a note to the entry so that future creditors know precisely why it was paid late. If, however, your medical debt was paid and your credit report does not reflect payment at all, then you have a right to have the information changed.

Image credit: NursingSchoolsNearMe