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RISMEDIA, April 13, 2009-A total of 3.2 million foreclosure filings from default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions were reported on 2.3 million U.S. properties during 2008, a 225% increase in total properties from 2006, according to HUD statistics.

The challenge to everyday families who typically pay their home payment on time is overwhelming. Double-digit unemployment rates coupled with ever-worsening economic conditions are leaving American families tapped out. Now is the time to implement a strategy because good solutions exist.

So what should homeowners do when they start falling behind on mortgage payments? The most important step to take is to get help early from their mortgage lender. They should be prepared to provide details about their household, such as how much money they earn, all the bills and household costs, such as food, electric, water and even pet expenses.

Some options a lender may offer include:

Deferment-If the problem is short-term they may bring the homeowner’s account up to date and “defer” late payment expenses to the end of your loan. This usually still requires a partial good faith payment.
Repayment Plan-You may be able to catch up on missed payments by creating a schedule for repaying the past-due amounts.
Refinance-Fixed 30-year rates are very low and often can provide the lower payment relief and fresh start that some homeowners need.
Modification-In some cases, mortgage loan terms can be changed on a temporary or permanent basis to make the payment more affordable. This could include extending the term of your loan up to 40 years, reducing your mortgage interest rate and reducing or deferring your principal balance.

Jeff Mandel is president and CEO of iQual and Marlin Brandt is COO of ApprovalGUARD.

For more information, please visit or