Deed in lieu of foreclosure

What is deed in lieu of foreclosure?

If you are a homeowner and behind on your payments, you may enter into a deed in lieu of foreclosure agreement with your lender. This transaction relinquishes all homeownership rights to the mortgage lender. In many cases, the lender will forgive the outstanding debt.

Deeper definition

The terms and conditions of a deed in lieu of foreclosure are highly negotiable and depend in large part on the bargaining position of each party.

Ideally, your mortgage lender prefers that you make all agreed-upon payments and eventually pay off the mortgage. If it becomes clear that you cannot make payments, agreeing to a deed in lieu of foreclosure may be the best alternative for a number of reasons, including:

  • The lender immediately becomes the owner of the property and can take immediate steps to preserve its economic value. The longer a delinquent homeowner is on a property, the less likely he or she will take care of repairs for plumbing, electrical work and lawn care. By taking over immediately, the lender can minimize how much value the home loses due to neglect.
  • A deed in lieu of foreclosures can be settled quickly.
  • If you have no equity in the property, there is no chance of the transaction being set aside by a bankruptcy court if you later file for bankruptcy

Avoid foreclosure on reverse mortgage.

Deed in lieu of foreclosure example

Although a deed in lieu of foreclosure will remain on your credit report for seven years, your credit score may not be dinged as much as it would be by a foreclosure. In fact, you usually will be able to purchase another home in two to three years.

Even so, if your lender reports a deficiency to the credit reporting agencies, it will serve as a negative element on your report. For example, if you owed $300,000 on the property, but the lender was only able to resell it for $250,000, there would be a $50,000 deficiency. Even if the debt is forgiven, the lender can report it to credit bureaus.

Next, discover how to avoid foreclosure.

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