I’m behind on my mortgage. Should I move out or stay in the house?
In most cases, it is wiser for a homeowner to stay in their house. Many people who are behind on their mortgage payments have an unfounded fear that they will come home one night to find their belongings removed and their door padlocked.
Banks prefer to have someone, particularly the homeowner, stay in the house. Mortgage lenders do not like vacant houses, as they lose value due to break-ins, ice damage in the winter, or lack of upkeep.
A homeowner behind on their payments can save money by staying in their house. Rather than paying for rent somewhere else, they can live rent-free in their house until the property is sold. The money that is saved during this period can be allocated for moving costs, a security deposit, and rent when they eventually move elsewhere.
Even if the homeowner is delinquent with their mortgage, they are still the owner of record and therefore remain responsible for the property. The owner could be cited by the local municipality for not maintaining the grounds, such as failure to cut the grass or shovel the snow off the sidewalk. The owner is still responsible for paying property taxes.
The owner is also liable for what occurs on the property. For example, if the owner abandons the property and has a pool, they could be liable if someone falls into the pool even if that person were trespassing. The owner is also expected to maintain insurance on the property. If they cannot afford insurance, they should inform their mortgage lender so the lender can pay for forced placed insurance.
Unless there is a compelling reason to move now, such as a job relocation or a contentious divorce, it is wise for a homeowner to stay in the home while the foreclosure process unfolds.