What Information Does a Bank Need to Begin a Deed in Lieu?

by Don Rafner

Homeowners who can no longer afford their monthly mortgage payments might be able to avoid foreclosure through a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Mortgage lenders and banks, though, will demand certain financial information from homeowners before they grant a deed in lieu, information that proves to banks that their borrowers truly can't afford those monthly home-loan payments.

Deed in Lieu

In a deed in lieu, homeowners willingly give their homes back to their mortgage lenders or banks. Homeowners might choose this option as a way to avoid the protracted foreclosure process; those owners who know that they will no longer be able to make their mortgage payments might prefer simply giving back their homes to being forced out of them -- a process that can take months -- by their banks.

Finances

Before accepting a deed in lieu of foreclosure offer, banks will want to be certain that homeowners can't afford their mortgage payments. This means that owners will have to provide banks and lenders with financial documents that prove that they have either had a drop in their gross monthly income or a hike in their living expenses that makes their once-affordable mortgage payments a burden.

Hardship Letter

To start this process, homeowners should write a hardship letter detailing the financial difficulties they face. Homeowners who have lost their jobs should include this information in their hardship letters. Those who have suffered a serious medical condition that has resulted in sky-high medical bills should write about it in their hardship letters. Those whose spouses have lost their jobs, reducing their household monthly income, should detail this. The hardship letter should concisely explain why homeowners can no longer afford their mortgage payments.

Financial Papers

Lenders want proof that the claims homeowners make in their hardship letters are true. Homeowners can provide this proof by making copies of their most recent paycheck stubs, income-tax returns or bank accounts. They can also make copies of their recent medical bills to prove that their expenses have soared. Homeowners should send these copies and their hardship letters to their lenders. Their lenders will review this information, and are more likely to grant a deed in lieu if homeowners present enough documents to clearly demonstrate that the only other option for lenders is to foreclose on these owners.

About the Author

I'm a veteran freelance writer with more than 15 years experience writing for newspapers, consumer magazines and trade publications. My stories have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, BusinessWeek Online, Business 2.0 Magazine and many other publications. I am also the managing editor of a real estate magazine based in Chicago and the writer of www.propertycrossroads.com, a blog devoted to residential real estate. This year, my first comic-book series, GEARZ, was published by Blue Water Publishing. The company will be publishing three other of my comic-book mini-series in 2008 and 2009.

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