How to Catch Up on a Mortgage

Contact your lender immediately if you have fallen behind on your mortgage payment. Explain your financial problem and that you expect to quickly get back on track. You don't have to use this initial phone call to enter into a definitive agreement and you should not make promises that you cannot keep. Instead, simply alert the the lender that you are aware that your account has fallen behind and that you will call back before your next due date with an update.

Schedule an appointment with a nonprofit housing counselor approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The counselors specialize in foreclosure prevention and can contact lenders to negotiate on your behalf. Find a counselor near you by checking the HUD website (see Resources).

Take a copy of your mortgage statement to the meeting with the counselor. Also take a list of all your debts, expenses and income. The counselor will use the information to analyze your immediate problem -- the past-due mortgage -- as well as longer-term issues that may be contributing to your delinquency. For example, the counselor may suggest a debt management plan to help get your credit card debt under control.

Authorize the counselor to contact your lender to work out a solution for catching up on your mortgage. Choose from various options, including repayment, which allows you to catch up by paying a little more each month, or loan modification, which allows the lender to tack the missed payments onto the back of the loan while changing the interest rate and other terms to make the payments more affordable.

Participate in the telephone call with the lender and the housing counselor. Ask that the lender send you the terms of any agreement in writing. Make all payments on time.