Alternative payment options will vary by lender but can includegetting a lower interest rate or extending the mortgagerepayment period to lower the monthly payments.Luxury homeowners often have more tools to delayforeclosure, says Daren Blomquist, vice president atRealtyTrac. These borrowers are more likely to hire lawyerswho will point out problems with how the loan was originallystructured, such as an inflated appraisal that resulted in alarger mortgage, and other technicalities.
"It's all aboutbuying time," says Richard Vetstein, a real-estate attorneyin Framingham, Mass.
Separately, some lenders will encourage owners to consider ashort sale. Armando Tiongson Jr. of Rockaway, N.J., saysBank of America
recently offered him and his wifeup to $30,000 in cash to sell their 4,100-square-foot home,which they purchased for roughly $1 million in 2006, in a shortsale. Mr. Tiongson, an IT program manager, says he and hiswife haven't paid their mortgage in 18 months after themonthly payments on their loan, which initially required justinterest payments, spiked. By offering this cash in exchangefor a short sale, Bank of America says it can reduce the lossesthat would kick in if the loan goes to foreclosure. (The bankadds that it has been making such cash offers to homeownersof all loan levels since last year.)The Tiongsons are going to take the bank up on its offer andsell. "We are going in for the short sale mainly to avoidforeclosure," Mr. Tiongson says. "The cash option is really justa benefit."For their part, lenders say they try to offer repayment plansand modifications to all borrowers, regardless of the size of their loan. Some say the repayment options offered willdepend on what the investors currently holding that loan willpermit.