How can I avoid foreclosure?" It's a question that surprisingly few homeowners facing foreclosure will ever ask themselves. But foreclosure is not inevitable.. there are ways to stop foreclosure. Maybe not indefinitely, but at least until you can regroup and get your finances back on track.

A homeowner may find himself facing foreclosure for a variety of reasons, many of which may be beyond his/her control. In order to avoid foreclosure, you cannot afford to bury your head in the sand.

Here are ten simple tasks which, once performed will help you to avoid foreclosure and the misery that it causes.

1. You should always be aware of what your debts are and make your mortgage payments your priority. If you are unable to meet all of your monthly payments, pay your mortgage first at the expense of other debts. This is the best way to never need to avoid foreclosure.

2. If you do fall into arrears with your mortgage payments, always keep in touch with the lender and don't ignore letters and phone calls about arrears on your account. Most lenders will work with you in your efforts to avoid foreclosure, but it is important that you maintain communication at all times.

3. Try to get the lender to modify the terms of your loan to avoid foreclosure, so that you are able to pay the arrears off over a period of time, spread out over the period of the loan or better still added to the end of the loan.

4. It is really important that you motivate yourself to avoid foreclosure! First of all check your state's laws pertaining to foreclosures. You need to know your legal position and your financial position before you can make your plans to avoid foreclosure.

5. Another way to stop foreclosure is to seek the advice of a non-profit housing counselor who will be able to help you restructure your bills in a way that offers you an easier way of paying them. They can actually help you create a budget tailored to your specific needs.

6. Once the foreclosure process has begun, you may choose to refinance with a "hard money" loan in order to avoid foreclosure. This loan will often be funded at a higher rate of interest, but it may buy you time to sell your home and therefore avoid foreclosure.

7. In certain cases, your best move may be to sell your home to avoid foreclosure and focus on repairing your credit until a later date when you will be able to purchase a new, maybe less expensive home.

8. Short sales can be a good way to stop foreclosure for those homeowners who owe more on the property than it is currently worth. In this case the bank accepts less than what they are actually owed on the mortgage, and would not be able to come after the homeowner for the rest of the loan amount, because by accepting a lower amount, they waive the rest of the debt owed on the mortgage.

9. You can also avoid foreclosure by filing for bankruptcy, but the fees involved in doing this can often be more than the outstanding mortgage payments. Bankruptcy should only be considered if the homeowner is desperate to avoid foreclosure, and has a significant amount of disposable income they can set aside for the bankruptcy payments.

10. Finally, one way to avoid foreclosure that is often overlooked by homeowners facing foreclosure is to simply pay the arrears in full and have the mortgage re-instated. This may involve selling other assets to raise the finance but you need to realise that your home is your most treasured asset and should be protected before your car, furniture, private collections or any other assets you might own. Most state laws will grant the home owner the absolute right to re-instate before the foreclosure and demand that the lender accepts full re-instatement and stop the foreclosure.

The above methods offer a way to help you avoid foreclosure, but have to be totally motivated.. Never adopt a 'wait and see' attitude. Put your plan to stop foreclosure into action. Contact the appropriate people and be prepared to provide any requested information to the lender or its trustee (representative). Make sure everything is in writing, and if you do have a telephone conversation with your lender, or trustee, be sure to follow up with a letter reiterating what was discussed in your call. And keep to your promises to the lender at all costs. Once offered the opportunity to stop foreclosure, stick with it!

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