What you should do if you can't make the mortgage payment

Your mortgage payment re-set to a higher interest rate and you can't afford the new payment. Or you lost your job and can't pay the mortgage. Or you're facing surgery and don't know how you'll have enough money to pay the mortgage. These are the three most common reasons people can't pay their mortgage, and your reason may be even different.

Whatever the reason, when you know you no longer can afford your mortgage payments, don't go hide in the closet. The best thing you can do is to call your mortgage servicer (whether it's the bank you first took the loan through or a new bank that is now collecting the payments) and let them know you have a problem and what the problem is. Many loan servicers will tell you they can't do anything for you until you miss at least two payments or are more than 60 days late. If you can't get help from your mortgage service, don't give up seeking help.

Your next call should be the the Center for Foreclosure Solutions at 888-495 HOPE (4873). This hotline handled more than 50,000 calls in the third quarter of 2007, so you're not alone. The center is a collaboration of housing counselors, mortgage servicers, investors and other mortgage participants.