Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is my home for just a few more days

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are granting the wishes of many Michigan families this holiday. Families facing eviction following foreclosure are being given some grace by the mortgage giants so families can enjoy the holidays together without fear of being forced from their homes.

The lenders want to make sure families are able to enjoy the holidays together. The reprieve will go into effect on December 19 and last through January 2, 2013.

Options for families facing foreclosure in Michigan

Eviction is the final step in the foreclosure process, after the home has already been sold at a sheriff's sale or auction and after the redemption period has expired. The best way to avoid this scenario is to consult with a Michigan foreclosure lawyer as soon as you fall behind.

If you want to keep your home, a loan modification is often a good avenue to explore. Unfortunately, as many discover, they are not easy to get. Many families find refuge in bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers homeowners the opportunity to stay in their homes, protected from foreclosure while catching up on mortgage arrears. In some situations, it may even be possible to strip off a second or third mortgage.

Staying in your home may not be the right thing for you. Not everyone is interested in staying in their homes with deflated market prices leaving many homeowners with more debt than equity. Even in these situations, there are several reasons why you may still want to avoid foreclosure. There are several alternatives to foreclosure that may get you out from under your mortgage debt without having to go through the foreclosure process.

Understanding deed-in-lieu of foreclosure and deed-for-lease options

If you want to surrender your home without going through foreclosure, you have three options: a short sale, a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or a deed-for-lease.

A short sale allows you, essentially, to sell the home to a third party for less than you owe on your mortgage. A short sale is a great solution if you can get the bank to agree to the terms. Finding a buyer and getting approval is not always easy.

The remaining alternatives are a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure and a deed-for-lease.

If you sign a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, you are essentially signing over your home back to the bank with the understanding that your mortgage obligation will be forgiven. A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure is attractive to many people because it looks better on your credit report than a foreclosure.

Good credit may be important if you want to buy another home in the future. According to Fannie Mae, a person who signed a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure may be able to qualify for a future mortgage in as little as two years, as opposed to seven years for those who have gone through a foreclosure.

A deed-for-lease incorporates the deed-in-lieu of foreclosure option, but allows you to lease back the house from the mortgage lender as a tenant, usually at an affordable rate. This option is ideal for people who cannot afford their current home, but still want stay there. It gives you the option to stay in your home while getting out from under the debt.

Contact an experienced Ann Arbor foreclosure lawyer

Before you make any decision, it is important to speak with an Ann Arbor attorney to make sure you have a thorough understanding of all of the options available to you.