Before she was shilling for Garden State tanning chains Sizzle Tan, spokeswoman Teresa Giudice was a big-spending Real Housewife living comfortably in a North Jersey estate. So when she suddenly filed for bankruptcy in October, it sent the gossip press into a frenzy.
Known for dropping $2,000 in ten minutes on shopping sprees, it was no big surprise that Giudice and her husband found themselves $11 million in the hole. Then rumors began to circulate that her multi-million dollar North Jersey mansion is in foreclosure. Whether or not Villa Giudice is on the block, there are steps to avoid it. If you ever find yourself in a similar position, be sure to consider these alternatives.
Contact the lender
When facing foreclosure, you have options. But one thing that isn’t optional is talking to your lender. The last thing a lender wants is to foreclose on a property, so start discussions with your lender about your choices. Hopefully Giudice was smart enough to pick up the phone and try to make arrangements to keep her Garden State Shangri-La.
Lenders are often willing to work with you. That can mean modifying your loan, selling the property, or suspending payments temporarily to give you time to raise funds. In Teresa’s case, it could give her time to sell a boatload of her cookbooks.
When your house is worth less than what you owe, you could opt for a short sale if your lender agrees. If that’s the case for the Guidices, it could work in their favor since, despite 12,000 square feet and a sea of marble and onyx, their estate clocks in at a mere $1.8 million.
Deed in lieu
While just as damaging to your credit score as foreclosure, you could ask your lender to cancel your mortgage in exchange for the deed to your house. And thanks to the new Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA), you could get as much as $3,000 to help with relocation expenses. Which, for Teresa, equates to a solid 15 minutes at the local shopping mall.
If you’re facing foreclosure, be sure to explore our extensive foreclosure guide for more info. Or, if you’re in no financial trouble at all, you might consider placing a bid on everything from a 20-foot speed boat to a suit of armor in the Giudice bankruptcy auction.