If you finding it more and more difficult to make your monthly mortgage payments, you may start thinking about foreclosure. But before you go there, try to do the following:

Talk to your lender - Do not wait until you cannot make the payments. It is in the best interest of the bank for you to stay in your home and continue to pay the mortgage. They will try to work with you.

Make a partial payment - This is better than no payment at all. Call your lender and explain the circumstances. They may be able to spread out the payment for you.

Ask for a loan modification - The bank may agree to extend the term of your loan (the number of months required to pay off the loan). This is effectively refinancing your loan. All past due interest and escrow will be rolled into the new loan.

Secure a partial claim from HUD - This only applies to FHA loans. A partial claim is an interest free loan from HUD. It is used to repay past due interest and escrow on your home mortgage.

Sell your home - This is a good option if the market value of your house exceeds the mortgage balance.

Use a home buying company - If you are concerned about making the next mortgage payment, you need to sell your house. A home buying company that specializes in quick turnaround may be helpful.

If all the above options fail:

Negotiate a short sale - A short sale means that you sell your home for less than the amount you owe on the loan. In a short sale the bank agrees to accept the this amount as payment and forgives the remainder of the loan. There are long-term credit score consequences when doing this, but not as severe as a foreclosure.

Deed in lieu of foreclosure - You voluntarily transfer your property deed to the lender. There are long-term credit score consequences to this also, but again, it is not as severe as a foreclosure.

Get assistance from the federal government - The HOPE for Homeowners program is for borrowers who are at risk of default and foreclosure. Under this voluntary program you get a new 30-year fixed rate mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Both the lender and borrower must both agree to participate.

You can search online, read articles and follow links to find out about mortgage refinancing options. The important thing is to take action now, and do not become a mortgage foreclosure statistic.