When you buy a home using a mortgage loan, your home becomes collateral for the loan. If you do not repay the mortgage loan as agreed, your lender has the right to take your property and sell it to satisfy the debt, also known as foreclosure.
Whether or not your lender will begin foreclosure proceedings depends on exactly how far behind you are on your mortgage payments. If you are only a month or two behind on payments, your lender will not likely begin foreclosure proceedings. Typically, a lender will not file for foreclosure unless the lender is absolutely certain that the borrower is defaulting on the loan.
It is important to remember, however, that late mortgage payments can damage your credit rating. If you are more than 30 days late on a mortgage payment, it will appear on your credit report and can remain there for up to seven years. In addition, most lenders will charge a late fee if you miss the due date for your mortgage payment.
If you are in a situation that will impact your ability to make timely payments (e.g., you or your spouse has become disabled), you should seek advice on how to deal with your creditors rather than wait until you are at risk of losing your home.