How to Pay a Mortgage When You're Laid Off

Contacting your mortgage company is one of the first things you should do if you have been laid off and fear that you may start missing mortgage payments. Avoiding late notices while scrambling around for a solution could be a major mistake. Technically, you can default on your mortgage by missing just one payment. It's possible your mortgage company will be more understanding if you are open, honest and timely about your financial problems.

Contact a nonprofit credit counselor in your area. A housing counselor approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, will have broad knowledge about foreclosure avoidance programs -- including help for people like you who may have trouble making mortgage payments because of a layoff. Find a counselor by checking the HUD website (see Resources).

Give the counselor complete information regarding your finances and the layoff. Tell her how much you can afford to pay on your mortgage each month.

Authorize the counselor to contact your lender directly on your behalf. Take part in the three-way telephone call with the counselor and your mortgage company. Contribute to the discussion as the counselor asks the mortgage company to reduce or even suspend your mortgage payments while you look for work. Lenders have programs to address problems such as yours, including forbearance, which specifically allows for partial payments. HOPE NOW reports that forbearance agreements typically last for three months when approved and sometimes can be renewed. HOPE NOW is a consumer information website supported by mortgage companies and nonprofit counseling agencies.

Pay for your mortgage by making reduced payments through a forbearance plan negotiated by your housing counselor. Follow the agreement to the letter as you seek a permanent solution.