Can I defer a mortgage payment?

Homeowners often find themselves in a financial crunch. When this happens, making monthly mortgage payments can be difficult. However, several lenders offer solutions to borrowers who have financial difficulties to help them avoid foreclosure. Foreclosure can result if you do not make efforts to pay for your mortgage or ask for a deferral.

The fact is that mortgage payments can be deferred and this is often called a "forbearance."

Forbearance is an agreement between your lender and you to delay a foreclosure. Homeowners that may have problems making monthly payments. To avoid foreclosure, your lender may offer you a temporary fix that may consist of reduced payments, higher payments to catch up past due amounts or defer your monthly payments for a certain amount of time. Often, the decision will come down to whether you can truly afford your home and if you have a solution to start paying again.

Forbearance is usually for temporary financial problems.

The first thing you need to do is to contact your lender the moment you know you are going to be late for payments. You will be able to find out what options a lender can give if you communicate with your lender at the soonest possible time. You have to be ready to talk to a number of people from your mortgage company as you will likely be routed around to a few people to get the answer you need.

When you do contact your mortgage company, ask for options. Ask if a deferral on mortgage payments is possible for your situation. Usually, lenders can give a reduction on charges for late payments in cases of job loss or emergency scenarios. However, you must be willing to show proof.

You must be able to prove that you are experiencing hardship before you can be given a deferral.

Lenders require proof of your inability to pay temporarily. Income statements and bank statements can serve as proof of your inability to pay. You should also be able to provide a signed statement assuring your lender that you are making efforts to come up with payments. A deferral may be faster when you guarantee your lender that you will pay. However, if you cannot pay for your monthly mortgage payments already, it may be better to sell your home. A foreclosure might not be a good thing.

You should also communicate with your lender throughout the process. Lenders are more than willing to work with you when you take the initiative to communicate with them. It may be a difficult process to undertake since it requires a lot of paperwork and time. However, it will be worth the effort if you are able to keep your home.

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Moe Bedard
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My name is Maurice "Moe" Bedard. I am the founder of America's #1 Mortgage Forum, My online work has been featured in the New York Times, LA Times, Fox Business, and many other media publications. I currently live in Carlsbad, California with my beautiful wife and children.
  • cathy

    I heard on the news last week something about mortgage deferrment for the unemployed starting August. Can you verify?

  • tanya

    my grandparents starting renting their home out and the renters bailed on them they are now 7mths past due and i was wondering if a loan deferment was an option my gma is in the hospital and has been sick for a long time they are both veterans is there ne other help

  • http://yahoo Brian

    I did this, and thought everything was good. Then I found out that the lender is reporting the deferred payments as 12 months 90 days late. I have never been 60 days late let alone 90 days for a year. now my credit is shot. I can’t even get a department store credit card. Make sure you know this before doing it. it is a quick fix to help you stay in your home, and it also allows the bank to collect intrest twice. Both parties should be happy, but banks do not tell all always. I wish I could get this off my credit score

  • Amber


    My grandma had hip surgery and she got her house payment deferred. They did not tell her she would have to pay everything back of what she didn’t pay. She thought deferring her house payments would be great until she got well. Well she found out she was 6000 behind on her house. Now my grandma recently passed away with cancer and she wanted me to take over her house but house is in foreclosure. I don’t see how they can do this. Any advice.

  • Evan Bedard

    Hello Brian,

    My condolences go out to you and your family, I’m very sorry to hear of your loss. Unfortunately, the deferment (aka forbearance) is designed for homeowners who are unemployed or underemployed and do not have the income to qualify for permanent assistance. This 6-12 month plan will lower your payment x amount to buy some time to work on increasing earnings, but the difference between these deferred payments and the original payment will be owed upon completion. Have you contacted the mortgage servicer to inform them your grandmother has passed away?