Often called the glue that holds the family together, women also often assume the role of keeping the home together. They work hard to provide their family with a home that makes them feel comfortable, safe, and secure. When foreclosure strikes, it’s common for the woman of the house to place a great deal of the burden of saving the family’s home on their own shoulders. Their natural role as wife and mother is to keep the home intact.
Some facts that will help you as you strive to save your home:
1. A denial is not necessarily the final word. If a bank denies your request for a loan modification, try again. Many homeowners have been unsuccessful in their first attempts, then received approval on a subsequent attempt. Some of the things you can do are to lower your family’s debt, increase your income, and reduce household expenses. For instance, selling a car could eliminate a monthly payment and your debt, making it easier for you to afford your mortgage, while altering your debt-to-income ratio enough to make you a candidate for loan modification.
2. Mistakes are common. Banks make errors. Don’t take them at their word—always ask what figures they used and do your own math. Double check. Become informed about the foreclosure laws in your state and make sure your bank has the necessary documentation and is following the legal timeline.
3. If you know you are right, you can fight back. Be persistent and don’t back down. Provide the bank with facts, figures, data, and anything else to support your position. If necessary, be prepared to take your cause to the next level. If you are right, they will have to readdress the situation.
4. Sale dates are commonly postponed; you have to stay on top of it. Make it a point to confirm and reaffirm the scheduled sale date, even as close as the day before or the day of the sale. Postponed dates are not uncommon and will give you more time to save your home.
5. You cannot be thrown out/evicted prior to foreclosure. Know the foreclosure timelines in your state. By law, your family cannot be removed from your residence before a foreclosure, and many states provide a period of time after foreclosure before the residents must leave the premises. The law specifically sets the time you are allowed to stay in your home—not the bank.
While it’s understandable and commendable that women want to save their homes, while they’re doing so, it also undeniably creates additional emotional stress. Along with the pressures of work and day-to-day family and financial responsibilities, they now encounter the emotional toll and pressures of dealing with their bank. At the same time, they feel responsible for appeasing the worries of other family members, assuring them that everything will work out. Some wives have the support and assistance of their spouse or partner; however, some are flying solo, pushing to save their home from foreclosure when their spouse wants to wave the white flag and give up. Naturally, such diverse viewpoints can create conflicts in the marriage, adding yet another stressor to these women’s lives.
While the process of saving one’s home from foreclosure is often fruitful and well worth the effort, it’s also necessary for women to remember that their health, well being, and happiness shouldn’t be sacrificed during difficult times. In fact, it’s times like these when it’s even more important to relieve stress and find peace, joy, and happiness. While that can be difficult at times, it helps to follow some of the following guidelines, which can help reduce pressure and bring some much-needed relief from stress.
1. Find private time. It’s not always easy for women to find time to themselves, but it’s especially necessary when facing major challenges. Take a few minutes idea to relax. Read a good book that will take your mind off your problems, take a leisurely walk, or meditate. You’ll find that these activities can help clear your mind, and as a result, you will be better able to think clearly when communicating with your family or the bank.
2. Exercise. Whether it’s a brisk walk, tennis, swimming, a zumba class, or other activity, exercise is a natural stress reliever that also rejuvenates and increases energy—these are all things that will benefit you and give you added strength during trying times.
3. Eat right. Advising women to eat a balanced, healthy, and nutritional diet is not just for doctors. Caffeine, sugar, and empty calories might give you a quick pick-me-up, but that only lasts a short time before they counter with a let-down. When you’re under pressure or stress, your body needs the right nutrition to stay healthy. Otherwise, you will feel too sluggish, tired, and drained to meet your family’s needs.
4. Get enough sleep. One common complaint among women facing foreclosure is that their worries prevent them from sleeping. Tossing and turning, they don’t get enough deep sleep to function mentally or physically throughout the day. Practice relaxation exercises and develop a routine before bed time that is conducive to sleep. Staying awake at night is not going to help your family, or you, for that matter.
5. Get organized. Whether it’s routine household things or financial paperwork, organization saves time and needless worry and energy. Put everything in its place and keep your documents organized, filing them in an easily accessible manner so you don’t have to waste time or energy looking for a vital document, your car keys, etc. The time you save from organization can be spent on loan modification paperwork, planning, or spending time with your children.
6. Talk. If your spouse isn’t in agreement with you on saving your home, it’s vital that you talk and express your feelings. Opening the lines of communication is vital to the marriage. Work together to make plans, to save your home and/or in the event you are not able to do so. Passing blame or arguing will only add to your burden—remember that your family will always be your family, even if you lose your home. Being respectful and considerate of each other’s feelings and wishes will help you to find common ground.
7. Seek help. Foreclosure is a difficult burden to bear alone. It helps to share your troubles with someone who will listen and not judge. Turning to a friend or relative for support can provide relief. You can also:
Seek counseling. Homeowner’s counseling is a good place to start. If necessary, you can also seek counseling or therapy to handle stress and the various emotions you’re facing. Some women turn to spiritual counseling to find inner peace.
Find a sitter. Whether you have a meeting at the bank or are scheduling an important call with your bank, it’s often beneficial to be alone, in a quiet area where you can think without interruptions. Ask a friend or neighbor to watch the kids during those times, or simply to give you some much-needed time alone with your spouse or to enjoy doing something that brings you satisfaction and happiness.
Share responsibilities. Children are often aware that something is going on. Even if your children are too young to understand, you can ask your family to pitch in and help with routine chores so you can free some time to exercise, visit a friend, or work on preventing foreclosure. Remember, just because you are the wife and mother, that does not mean that you have to be super woman and do it all.
8. Lean on your faith. Whether you worship God or another being, turn to your faith to find inner peace, calmness, comfort, and support. Prayer is a powerful ally, and one which you should turn to frequently for strength, assurance, and support. Your faith will never desert you—it will help you through difficult times and still be there when you’ve cleared this hurdle in your life. Let it guide you and bring you peace of mind in knowing that you have done everything you can do. Then turn your worries over to your God so your burden becomes lighter.
While these suggestions might not save your home, they will help you to mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually support you while you do so. By following them, you will be better able to address your current and future situation with as little disruption to your life and the lives of your children. You can do it—you just don’t have to do it all.
Anna Cuevas, known as “America’s Loan Modification Guru ,” has guided thousands of Americans in keeping their homes from foreclosure. A popular blogger (askaloanmodguru.com and huffingtonpost.com), Cuevas has been called a “superhero of the loan modification industry” and has been nominated for CNN’s Heroes. She is the #1 bestselling author of SAVE YOUR HOME Without Losing Your Mind or Money.