options when you can't pay mortgageDon’t let yourself get out from under that house you can’t afford with a belly-flop whose splash keeps you wet for a long time—instead, get out of the soaking pool, dry yourself off, and exit gracefully. Here, we offer four ways to help remain composed and unruffled when you’ve just got to give it up.

Listing through an agent seems so straightforward; nothing could go wrong here, right? Wrong. According to Gracie Weis from Blonde Girl Homebuyers in Jacksonville, an excellent agent might not be able to do anything with your house in less than 3 to 6 months. So, keep in mind how fast your equity may be evaporating with lender fees and interest piling up. If you want to use this option, use it quick and you might come out with some cash.

Some people have enough cash-on-hand and can help you by buying your home, and they’ve figured out ways to make it work for them as a business. These smart folks are called investors. Find the good ones that care enough to get to know you, then, consider selling to the investor. Working with an investor can prove to be a lot quicker than signing on with a real estate agent, but be careful because investors are very smart and know what your home is worth more so than an average buyer led in by an agent. Two upsides here: First, the paperwork can be amazingly clean and quick to execute. Second: No fees to pay a REALTOR. In any event, if you do choose to work with an investor, be sure to hire a good real estate attorney—one of your choosing, not the investor’s—to review all of your paperwork before signing on the dotted line.

If you abandon your home there are definite dos and don’ts. If you’re definitely going to lose it anyway, do not make the mortgage payments because you will—trust me on this—need the cash. Do cut expenses by stopping the daily bleeds of all nonessential expenses. Restaurant meals? No more. The same with movies and popcorn, using the car to drive around the corner, landscaping guys, premium (or any) cable—no more! Get in touch with one of the programs in your town that help distressed people pay bills. Have a garage sale for everything you can unload because it costs something to take it with you. No time to be fancy here… unload those extra dishes and the soccer balls, too!

With little or no equity, and what I really mean to say here is–no real hope to escape with cash–and if time is short, you may be in a position to deed away your house to someone who has the cash or means to pay off creditors or make better deals with them than you can. It’s like you give a gift to someone where you are smart enough to consult an attorney to make sure your interests are protected under the law.

4 Graceful Exit Strategies to Get Out from Under a House You Can’t Afford

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