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Facing foreclosure? Don’t panic, but act fast.

If you are at risk of losing your home in foreclosure, you are likely overwhelmed with feelings of fear, frustration and anxiety. In these situations, it is easy to react in one of two ways: panicking or denial.

In either case, these reactions can only make matters worse because they can lead to some costly mistakes and missteps. To avoid these, it can be wise to take a deep breath, carefully assess the situation and then take deliberate, swift action.

To alleviate some of the panic you might be feeling, you need to understand that you won’t lose your house overnight. There are several steps in this process and numerous opportunities for you to act and stop foreclosure.

The process itself can vary based on where you live and the type of foreclosure being initiated. However, generally speaking, there will be about four months between your first missed mortgage payment and the time your house can be put up for sale; you will have until the day your house is sold to avoid foreclosure.

But don’t be fooled by this timeline: you still need to take action. If you wait too long, you could miss out on options to save your home that might be more preferable than others. These options could include refinancing, government assistance programs and foreclosure prevention options available through your lender.

If you are out of options and out of time, you can still avoid foreclosure and put a stop to a scheduled sale by filing for bankruptcy.

Finding the right solution for your individual case will depend on many specific factors, including the terms of your mortgage and whether your inability to pay is temporary or permanent. This is why it can be so helpful to seek help sooner, rather than later, when it comes to assessing your options to avoid foreclosure.

Again, you do not need to panic if you have received notice of foreclosure proceedings recently. But you also need to know that the problem will not go away on its own, and you will lose your home if you fail to act. Therefore, you would be wise to take a deep breath and contact an lawyer to assess your options and legal rights.

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