Can You Defer a Mortgage Payment?

by Jordan Meyers, Demand Media
    Mortgage deferral can keep you out of foreclosure temporarily.

    Mortgage deferral can keep you out of foreclosure temporarily.

    Buying a home isn't the only financial hurdle you'll have to jump. Each month, you'll have to make your payment on time. When financial storm clouds are gathering, you may find it difficult to pay your mortgage on time. In such a case, a mortgage deferral can keep you out of foreclosure while you get your finances together again.

    Definition

    When you defer a mortgage payment, you put it off and pay it later. You are still obligated to pay the amount you are responsible for, but you get a month or so with no payment due. Whether a payment deferral will work for you depends on when you attempt to make the deferral and your mortgage company's policies.

    Automatic Deferral

    When you initially close on your home, you get an automatic deferral -- sort of. Let's say you close on your house in the middle of December; you will usually prepay interest for that month. Then, the payment for January won't be due until the the beginning of February. You can pay then with no consequences and enjoy more than a month with no mortgage payment.

    During the Term

    It is possible to defer a payment during your mortgage term, but you'll need your lender's cooperation. If you are dealing with a temporary financial hardship, ask your lender for forbearance. To help you avoid foreclosure, a lender may let you defer a payment or two. To be eligible for this kind of deal, you'll have to prove that your financial difficulties are only temporary but you have a solution for them. For example, you may have to prove you were temporarily out of work for a hospitalization but are returning to your job and a regular paycheck.

    Paying Late

    Paying a mortgage late is rarely a good idea. If you find yourself in a pinch, however, you may have no choice. If you know you'll be late and your lender won't let you defer a payment, ask for a payment arrangement. For example, your lender may allow you to make a smaller payment for a short time. If the lender is unwilling to help, a late payment won't usually show up on your credit report unless you are 30 days or more late. Get it in under the wire, and you will only face late fees rather than a credit report ding.

    Written Agreement

    If a lender agrees to defer your mortgage payment, get the details in writing. This way, you can avoid misunderstandings and take a look at any additional fees the lender will charge. Likewise, a written agreement serves as your proof that you and the lender struck a deal.

    About the Author

    Jordan Meyers has been a freelance writer, specializing in health, education, business and parenting topics for more than a decade and a copy editor since 2008. Meyers has written Web and print copy for hundreds of businesses, including many Fortune 500 companies. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Maryland and is studying for a bachelor's degree in psychology.

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