You’re in a tricky spot financially. Maybe you found yourself unable to make ends meet or unsure if you can pay your bills on time. You’re considering skipping your mortgage payment to catch up on your other bills. Maybe it will just be a few days late, or maybe you miss a few payments in a row. How many mortgage payments can you skip before foreclosure?


While it might seem harmless to skip a single mortgage payment, the repercussions might be steeper than you think. The exact number of mortgage payments you can skip before negative actions are taken will depend on a number of factors. Essentially, there’s no blanket answer to this question.


In this guide, we’ll uncover the many factors that go into the foreclosure process to determine just how many mortgage payments you can skip before things really head south. More importantly, we’ll provide suggestions for alternatives to skipping your mortgage payment if you do find yourself in such a sticky situation.


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Payment Factors to Consider

Your lender has certain policies and practices in place if you skip a payment on your mortgage. This will be your best source of information about what exactly happens if you miss one, two, or more payments. It’s not usually as dire as you think.


In most cases, there is some room for forgiveness. Mortgage lenders understand that sometimes things happen. Most lenders will forgive an occasional missed payment that isn’t a habit for the homeowner. This is especially true if your lender has a large portfolio of low-risk loans.


If your mortgage lender is in the business of high-risk loans, however, you might not be given so many chances. Foreclosure proceedings could begin in as few as two missed payments. It doesn’t matter if you’ve made perfect payments up until this point or if you’re a low-risk borrower.


Another factor is the state of your local housing market. If your neighborhood is prone to foreclosures, you might be able to stay in your home longer because housing authorities already have a large backlog. Finally, if you’re in default on your loan, your lender will take steps to contact you before they elevate the situation with authorities. This gives you many chances to alleviate the payment problem before you have to worry about foreclosure proceedings.


What to Do If You Can’t Pay

If you find yourself unable to pay your mortgage, you have options. While the question of how many payments you can skip before you go into foreclosure proceedings has no clear answer, it’s best not to find out if you can avoid it. Luckily, most lenders are willing and able to work with you to discover a solution.


Your first step is to call your lender. This can seem intimidating but think about it from a different perspective. Your mortgage lender wants to get paid. You’re not the only one who’s ever been in a tricky financial situation, and your lender likely already has protocols in place for when you have a hard time coming up with the money on time. They want their money, and they’d rather not deal with foreclosure proceedings. In most cases, they’re willing to work with you.


There might be a mortgage assistance program to help in your situation. For instance, you can find a counselor through the Department of Housing and Urban Development who can guide you through your options. From there, you have a few options like refinancing, a loan modification, or a new repayment plan with your lender.


Protecting Your Home

Ultimately, you have more options than you think. If you’re in a situation where you’re unsure if you can pay on time, start by contacting your lender. You might not need to skip any payments at all. The lender might offer a flexible payment schedule, a payment extension, or another mediation option.


If you do skip a payment on your mortgage, you likely won’t have to worry about your home immediately going into foreclosure proceedings. You’ll have to skip at least two payments in order for this to happen, and your lender will do all they can to contact you during this time to discuss your options.