If you begin to fall behind on your mortgage payments, it won’t be long before you hear from your lender. And depending on your circumstances, you could soon find a notice of foreclosure in your mailbox.

This is one of the scariest letters you’ll ever receive, as it outlines the steps the bank will take to repossess your home.

While you’re in a difficult spot, there are steps you can take to stop foreclosure. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Mortgage modification: Rather than hide from your lender and hope you come up with the money to make back payments, contact your lender to discuss a modification. For example, they may agree to tack on the missed payments to the end of your loan, thus giving you a fresh start for the time being.
  • Short sale: With this, you sell your home for less than what you owe and the lender forgives the rest. However, it’s more complicated than that. The lender must first agree to a short sale, so you’ll work closely with them throughout the process. Nothing is final until they approve it.
  • Bankruptcy: If you’ve fallen behind on your mortgage payments, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with other financial concerns, such as mounting credit card debt. A bankruptcy filing can benefit you in many ways, including its ability to stop the foreclosure process.

Along with the above, consider the fact that you can always sell your home to avoid foreclosure. If you owe less than what your home is worth, it’s easier to make this decision. You may not want to leave your home, but it’s better than going through the foreclosure process and dealing with the impact on your life.

Don’t assume that a foreclosure notice always ends poorly. If you take the right action at the right time, you can stop the process and find a way to remain in your home.

The key to success is to understand your situation, work with your mortgage company and consider all your options. Once you settle on a plan, move forward full steam ahead to protect your home from foreclosure.