Do you see it? That’s the real estate elephant and he’s in the room

I don’t think a single Canadian would deny that, in the last 12 to 18 months, there have been drastic changes to our economy. Job security or even just HAVING a job can no longer be taken for granted.

Chances are someone you know has had wages cut or lost their job altogether. Current and foreseeable economic conditions make finding a new job difficult. Payments become increasingly hard, if not impossible, to make. With this in mind, serious questions need to be asked even though it’s natural to want to avoid them.

There is an elephant in the living room of many Canadian homes. This prevalent pachyderm is foreclosure, and it’s a real possibility for thousands of families.

The good news is that options exist to avoid foreclosure and retain some of the equity you have worked so hard to establish. From your lender’s perspective, they DO NOT want to foreclose on your home. It’s time-consuming, a logistical nightmare, and they rarely recuperate their costs. In a discussion with a mortgage specialist recently, he said it’s in the lender’s best interest to work with you to help you keep your home.

So what are those options to help avoid foreclosure?

Naturally, each situation is unique. In some cases, lenders will work to implement an extended “skip-a-payment” scenario with few, if any, penalties. A mortgage’s life may be extended to consolidate higher-interest debt, thereby making payments more manageable. If these options aren’t available, the best suggestion is to sell your home to access your equity before it is too late.

With home prices decreasing rapidly in hardest- hit markets, the goal is to extract as much equity as possible before all is lost. Selling your home in the current economy is not only possible, but you may sell for more than you think.

Determining how to make this happen can seem overwhelming, which is why you need professional help on your side. The key is having a knowledgeable, focused real estate agent that will give you no-holds-barred advice about your home’s value and target demographic, as well as a comprehensive advertising, marketing and sales plan. You need someone who will work with you to preserve as much your hard-earned equity.

Benefits are two-fold. First, you keep as much equity as possible. And no elephants are harmed in the process.

Trevor Foraie is a top- producing residential REALTOR® focusing on Calgary and surrounding areas.