Loss Mitigation is a method used to avoid foreclosure by negotiating the mortgage terms for the distressed homeowner. It is used to describe either a third party assisting the homeowner, a department in the bank that mitigates the loss of the bank, or a law firm that negotiates with the lender on the homeowner's behalf. The new loan terms can be obtained through loan modification, a loan work out, partial claim, deed in lieu, cash for keys, short sale, or short refi. These options were developed to allow the homeowner to either prevent the foreclosure and/or to afford the new terms. All of the terms above serve the same purpose: to balance the risk of loss to the lender.
Most folks want to stay in their home, therefore, the most popular option for the distressed homeowner is loan modification. This is the process where the homeowner's mortgage is modified (changed) and both the lender and homeowner are in aggreeance with the new terms. This allows the homeowner to stay in their home and afford the new monthly payment. On the other hand, Loss mitigation allows the lender to take a less of a loss now in order to avoid a much greater loss caused by a foreclosure. Most loan modifications result in lowered interest rates, reducing the principle balance, fixing adjustable rates, stretching out the loan term, moving past due payments to the end of the loan term, or any combination of these.
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