Foreclosure Prevention Tips

1. Don't ignore the problem.

The further behind you become, the harder it will be to reinstate your loan and the more likely that you will lose your house. 

2. Contact the VIHFA as soon as you realize that you have a problem.

The Authority has options to help borrowers through difficult financial times. 

3. Open and respond to all mail from the VIHFA.

The first notice you receive will provide information about foreclosure prevention options that can help you weather financial problems. Subsequent mail may include important notices of pending legal action. Your failure to open the mail will not be an excuse in foreclosure proceedings. 

4. Know your mortgage rights.

Find your loan documents and read them so that you are aware of actions that may be taken by the VIHFA if you can't make your payments. Learn about the foreclosure laws and timeframes in the Virgin Islands by contacting the Division of Banking and Insurance. 

5. Understand foreclosure prevention options (LOSS MITIGATION).

There is a lot of valuable information about foreclosure prevention also called loss mitigation. Listed below are the different Loss Mitigation options available to the Authority's clients:

1. Repayment Agreements
2. Refinance
3. Loan Modification
4. Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

6. Contact the VIHFA's Certified Housing Counselor.

Housing counselors can help you understand the law and your options and organize your finances. If you need this assistance, you may contact the VIHFA Housing Counselors at (340) 772-4432 on St. Croix and (340) 777-4432 on St. Thomas.  

7. Prioritize your spending.

After healthcare, keeping your house should be your first priority. Review your finances and see where you can cut spending in order to make your mortgage payment. Look for optional expenses--cable TV, memberships, entertainment--that you can eliminate. 

8. Use your assets. 

Do you have assets--a second car, jewelry, a whole life insurance policy--that you can sell for cash to help reinstate your loan? Can anyone in your household get an extra job to bring in additional income? Even if these efforts don't significantly increase your available cash or your income, they demonstrate to your lender that you are willing to make sacrifices to keep your home. 

9. Avoid foreclosure prevention companies. 

You don't need to pay fees for foreclosure prevention help--use that money to pay the mortgage instead. Many for-profit companies will contact you promising to negotiate with your lender. While these may be legitimate businesses, they will charge you a hefty fee (often two or three month's mortgage payment) for information and services the VIHFA will provide free if you contact them. 

10. Don't lose your house to foreclosure recovery scams!

If any firm claims they can stop your foreclosure immediately and you sign a document appointing them to act on your behalf, you may well be signing over the title to your property and becoming a renter in your own home! Never sign a legal document without reading and understanding all the terms and getting professional advice from an attorney or a trusted real estate professional.