Steps to Take if You're Facing Foreclosure

If you are facing foreclosure, it is important to know what you should and should not do to avoid making the situation worse.

Make Sure You DO

  • DO answer the phone and read your mail. Avoiding your lender won’t make the problem go away. In fact, it will only make the problem worse. Your lender may be able to help you so be sure to answer the phone and read any mail from your mortgage company. That letter from your lender may contain good news!
  • DO contact a non-profit housing counselor. They will provide information on a borrower's options when facing foreclosure and counselors can also act as facilitators for communication between lenders and borrowers. All assistance is confidential and provided to you free of charge.
    Visit our Resources for Help page for more reasons why you should contact a counselor or click here for a list.
  • DO realistically assess your situation. If your financial problems are temporary, your lender may be able to offer a forbearance or repayment plan until you get back on your feet.
  • DO consider your options. If you are not in a position to keep your home, consider selling it before you face foreclosure. A nonprofit housing counselor can help you decide what your options are. If you cannot sell it yourself, your lender may be able to offer you purchase options like a short payoff or assumption to help you avoid foreclosure.
  • DO protect your wealth. Recognize that you may have significant equity in your property, and it is in your best interest to preserve it.

Make Sure You DON'T

  • DON'T move out of your home. In order to qualify for assistance, you are often required to be living in your home. Be sure to talk to talk to a housing counselor and your lender before you think about moving. If you move too soon, you may still be legally liable for accidents, taxes and repairs on the property.
  • DON'T ignore the problem. If you are facing foreclosure you have a limited amount of time to take advantage of certain rights and actions that may help you keep your home. Call the Take Root Milwaukee Hotline now, at 414-921-4149 to assess the options available to you. Out help is free of charge.
  • DON'T convince yourself you can afford a home you can’t. If your mortgage is truly beyond your means, consider selling your home and purchasing a less expensive one or renting for a period of time before the only option left is foreclosure. A nonprofit housing counselor can help you decide what your options are. In this situation your lender may be able to help you avoid foreclosure by agreeing to an assumption or short payoff.
  • DON'T fall victim to a "rescue" scam. Be wary of people who want to profit from your misfortune by offering to negotiate with your lender on your behalf for a fee. Make sure any assistance you receive is carried out by a reputable organization or trusted advisor. Take Root Milwaukee non-profit housing counselors and your lender do not charge fees for modifying your loan.
    Click here for more information on Rescue Scams.

Renters and Foreclosure

Tenants whose landlords are being foreclosed upon have protections under federal law. Once a property is acquired after a foreclosure sale, any leases in place must be honored, or give 90-days notice to terminate tenancies of any tenants who do not have a lease. If you are a renter in a foreclosure situation, contact
Legal Action of Wisconsin or the Tenant Resource Center for assistance.

© 2010 Take Root Milwaukee. Take Root is a service mark of Freddie Mac.

The consumer information on is used with permission from Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac offers extensive, regularly updated consumer information about buying and owning a home on its website,, in the “About Homeownership” section. Freddie Mac is not responsible for content errors or omissions on

The funding source of this activity is the Milwaukee Homeownership Consortium and Freddie Mac.