Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

Highlights

Open

Contests and
Sweeps

Dream Vacation Sweepstakes

10 weeks. 10 amazing trips. Seize your chance to win!
See official rules. 

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

PROGRAMS

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

You can get free, face-to-face tax assistance nationwide.

Money Matters Tip Sheets

Download and print out these PDFs to help with your financial matters.

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming Money webinar or find materials from a past session. 

Jobs You Might Like

most popular
articles

Viewed

Commented

Beat the Housing Crisis

Lost equity in your home? Underwater? Here's how to navigate the housing market

Word came late on a Thursday afternoon. The bank planned to sell Lynette Neidhardt's house two weeks later, on a Friday. The place she had called home for 23 years, a two-bedroom Craftsman on a hilly street in Oakland, California, would be auctioned at the county courthouse.

Neidhardt, 63, was worn down. She'd been battling to save her home for two years — ever since the sputtering economy had sideswiped her one-woman graphic design business and she could no longer keep up with her mortgage payments.

See also: Picking the right mortgage options.

The Housing Horizon

There are ways to weather the tough housing market. — Illustration by David Cowles

Still, she kept fighting. That Friday morning Neidhardt and more than a dozen friends and neighbors strode into a downtown bank branch, chanting : "Stop the auction; stop the sale today!" Her bank agreed to postpone the foreclosure, and in January 2011 it put her into a trial loan-modification program that cut her monthly payments almost in half.

In the wake of the housing crash, millions of older Americans like Neidhardt are struggling to pay their mortgages. A 2010 survey by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition found that 45 percent of distressed homeowners seeking help through its counseling services were older than 50.

Homeowners have also lost tens of thousands of dollars in home equity — money they were counting on to bankroll retirement. Nationwide, home prices are down more than 30 percent since their 2006 peak, according to the Case-Shiller housing index. Some 11 million homeowners are underwater — owing more than their homes are worth.

The news isn't all bad. Economists expect home values to recover, though in some places it may take 15 years or more. In the meantime, "help is available and there are ways to try to make it work," says Bill Druliner, a housing counselor at GreenPath Debt Solutions in Milwaukee. Read on to learn about three common scenarios facing older homeowners — and a range of creative solutions.

Next: What to do when you can't pay your mortgage. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Money blog

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits