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What is acceleration in the foreclosure process?

Financial hardship and other reasons -- like illness or bad investments -- may result in your inability to pay your mortgage on time. When you can't make the mortgage payments on your home, it will eventually end up in the foreclosure process. However, before foreclosure, your mortgage could be subject to acceleration. Acceleration happens when the financial institution that issued the mortgage asks for complete payment of the entire amount owed due to the homeowner's failure to make timely payments.

As an example, let's say that the mortgage holder takes out a $100,000 mortgage. However, the homeowner doesn't make the monthly payments on time. The mortgage holder may then make a demand for the full $100,000 to be immediately paid. This is called acceleration.

Most mortgages have an acceleration clause for this purpose. If the mortgage does not have such a clause, however, then the lending institution must complete the foreclosure process. Either that, or it must request permission to divvy up the property into individual units, which it can sell to pay off what is owed. The court might also order the sale of the entire property under the mortgage agreement and use the proceeds to pay off what's left of the mortgage.

If you're late on your mortgage payments, or you think you might be late on your mortgage payments, you'll want to consider speaking with a real estate lawyer to develop a strategy to prevent the foreclosure of your home. There are many effective strategies that homeowners can employ in certain cases to pause or completely stop a foreclosure in its tracks.

Source: FindLaw, "What are the primary types of foreclosure?," accessed April 07, 2017

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