About 357,000 properties, or 0.26% of all U.S. homes, were in foreclosure in 2023.
If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage, you may feel worried that the above can happen to you, too. However, just because you can’t pay your home loan this month doesn’t mean you’ll immediately face foreclosure.
So, how many mortgage payments can you miss before that happens? And what other consequences could you face if you fail to pay on time?
This guide answers all those questions and provides insights on what you can do, so read on.
How Many Mortgage Payments Can You Miss Before Facing Late Fees?
Usually, you only have to have one late mortgage payment for your lender to charge late fees.
However, many lenders also provide a 15-day grace period, which starts the following day of a due date. If you pay within this period, you can bring your mortgage current without paying for the late fees.
What About Before Default and Pre-Foreclosure?
Suppose you can’t afford mortgage payments during and after the grace period.
If you skip mortgage payment for the second (consecutive) time, your lender may already consider you in default. They’re highly likely to impose late fees at this point. They’ll also report the non-payment of your mortgage installments to credit bureaus.
Once reported, your credit score will likely suffer and drop.
Then, if you miss three payments in a row, your lender can begin the pre-foreclosure process on your home. This includes sending you a letter stating you have 30 more days to update your account. Most lenders typically expect a full payment, including late fees and penalties.
If you still fail to pay or settle your account within that 30 days, your lender may likely start foreclosure. At this point, you’ve already missed four consecutive months of mortgage payments.
What Can You Do If You Can’t Afford Your Mortgage?
Many lenders are willing to work out an agreement with borrowers in default. After all, foreclosure is just as time-consuming and costly for them as it is for borrowers.
So, if you’re in or at risk of defaulting on your mortgage, talk to your lender about loan modification. They may be willing to change the terms of your original loan to make it easier for you to pay them back.
Alternatively, you may want to consider working with a cash buyer. The buyer can take over your mortgage, or you can use the sale proceeds to repay the loan. You can learn more about this process by reading this guide on how to sell your home fast for cash.
Don’t Lose Your Home Through Foreclosure
And there you have it, the guide answering the question, “How many mortgage payments can you miss before facing late fees, default, and foreclosure?” Now you know this can range from one to four instances of non-payment. Four is the worst, as this can already make you lose your home.
So, if you’re having trouble paying off your mortgage, speak with your lender ASAP. They may be able to work with you to make your loan more affordable.
For more home and housing guides like this, check out our other blog posts!