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Life After Foreclosure: Five Hacks to Get Back on Track

There’s good news on life after foreclosures. The total number of filings reached about 1.1 million in 2015, down 3 percent from 2014 and a whopping 62 percent from 2010.

While the declining numbers paint a rosier picture of the nation’s economy, foreclosures, no matter the number, take a toll on wallets, of course, but also a person’s health.

One study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that homeowners who are facing foreclosure are more likely to be depressed, not have enough food and skip prescription drugs. And it’s not just the adults who are at risk. First Focus, a family advocacy group, has found that when kids must move because of a foreclosure, it has the same repercussions as missing an entire month of school.

impact of foreclosure

Once a foreclosure happens, many former homeowners find it difficult to get their life back on track. The consequences of foreclosure can be huge -- from a plummeting credit score to tax issues. In some cases, lenders can require a waiting period of up to seven years before a borrower can seek a new mortgage after foreclosure.

Of course, emergencies happen in life. Illnesses, layoffs, divorce and other situations can put a strain on household expenses. Once just a few home loan payments are missed, a foreclosure could be around the corner.

If you’re living life after foreclosure and are wondering how to get your life -- and budget -- back in gear, here are five hacks to help you get started:

  1. Tackle your monthly budget: Get serious about your needs vs. your wants. Make it a priority to determine how much your living expenses cost each month. If you are living beyond your means, it’s time to cut way back. Your goal is to get your financial life in order. CESI’s budget percent calculator will give you an idea of about how much of your income you should be spending on various items.
  2. Save for a rainy day: You’ve survived one very stormy day -- when the foreclosure was finalized. You know anything can happen in life. Start putting money away in an emergency fund so, when life throws another surprise your way, you have a cushion.
  3. Get real about your debts: If you have other debts, such as credit card payments and car loans, a debt management plan may be in order. In many cases, creditors will offer reduced interest rates and waive some fees to consumers who have a so-called DMP.
  4. Get a second job: If you’re struggling to cover frugal monthly expenses, sock money away in an emergency fund and pay off debts, it might be time for a second job, a better paying job or occasional work on the side. Sharing economy businesses such as Uber, TaskRabbit and AirBnB are making it easier for people to pick up a little extra income.
  5. Boost your credit score: If you hope to own a home again, it’s likely you’ll need to bring your credit score way up. Lenders typically want borrowers to have a credit score of at least 620 points before they consider extending a loan offer. A foreclosure, however, can drop your score by as much as 280 points, making it almost impossible to meet a lender’s requirements. Get your credit score and work on pulling it back up.

You’ve been through a lot. A foreclosure can upend lives, forcing lots of questions about the future. You’ve survived that. Now, it’s time for the hard work required for recovery.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, non-profit credit counseling can help you make sense of all your options. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.

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Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.


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