What Is a Voluntary Surrender of a Home & How Does It Affect Your Credit?

Voluntary surrender of your home can remove your mortgage liability. Lenders take the property, you vacate the home and the lender resells the home. But before signing over your deed, understand the possible consequences of walking away and giving up your property voluntarily.

Deed in Lieu

Voluntarily surrendering a home is called a deed in lieu of foreclosure. This course of action is an alternative when a homeowner faces mortgage foreclosure. Foreclosures result in losing a house due to defaulted mortgage payments. Homeowners who request a deed in lieu and voluntarily surrender the property can no longer afford the mortgage payment. It can take several months for a lender to foreclosure. Rather than waiting for the inevitable to occur, some homeowners avert a foreclosure by deliberately signing over the deed to the home.

Qualifying for a Deed in Lieu

Satisfying the requirements for a deed in lieu affects whether you're able to sign over your deed. Realize that deeds in lieu are a possibility when lenders and borrowers have exhausted other alternatives. Each lender establishes its own criteria. However, you can anticipate needing to provide your lender with updated financial information. This allows the mortgage company to assess if you're eligible for help. The company needs to read a hardship letter that provides a rundown of your struggles; and you must describe any attempts to sell the home within the past 90 days.

Deed in Lieu and Credit

Regrettably, agreeing to a deed in lieu and surrendering a property does result in some credit damage. While homeowners can avoid a loan foreclosure, they do not complete the mortgage obligation and choose to walk away. On a favorable note, borrowers who sign over the mortgage deed can generally rebuild their credit scores faster than someone who loses the home to foreclosure. And this quick recovery allows borrowers to qualify for another mortgage loan in less time, according to Fannie Mae.

Credit Improvements

Building a better score after a deed in lieu and re-qualifying for a mortgage loan involve smart credit actions. Borrowers who forward timely payments to auto lenders and credit card companies will give their credit score a boost each month, which puts them on the path to recovery. Paying down debt is another tactic to fix credit after mishaps, such as a deed in lieu. According to Real Estate Consumer News, borrowers may qualify for a new mortgage two years after a deed in lieu.