You’re undoubtedly well aware that your lender will have to take action if you fall behind on your mortgage payments. A deed-in-lieu arrangement may help you escape the consequences of foreclosure, the legal procedure by which the lender who owns your loan seizes your property. Let’s take a closer look at what a deed in lieu of foreclosure is and how it differs from a foreclosure. We’ll also demonstrate a sample deed in lieu of foreclosure.

What is a Deed In Lieu of Foreclosure?

A deed in lieu of foreclosure is a legal procedure that transfers home ownership from the homeowner to the mortgage lender. As a result, the homeowner is no longer compelled to repay the mortgage and is free of their mortgage burden. This is an alternative for homeowners with little to no home equity and who cannot make their monthly mortgage payments.

According to Jackie Boies, senior director of housing and bankruptcy services at Money Management International, a nonprofit debt counseling organization based in Sugar Land, Texas, the deed in lieu is the legal document that the homeowner signs to effectuate the transfer.

Understanding Deed In Lieu of Foreclosure

A deed in lieu of foreclosure is a potential option used by a mortgagor or homeowner to prevent foreclosure.
The mortgagor transfers the collateral property, which is often the home, back to the lender acting as the mortgagee in exchange for releasing all mortgage obligations. Both parties must enter the agreement willingly and in good faith. The homeowner signs the paper, which is notarized by a notary public and registered in public records.

This dramatic action is usually performed as a last resort after the property owner has exhausted all other options (such as a loan modification or a short sale) and acknowledged that they would lose their house.

The homeowner will be relieved of the loan burden even if they must relinquish their property and migrate. Because this process is typically carried out with less public notice than a foreclosure, the property owner may be able to reduce their shame and keep their predicament more private.

Reasons Why A Lender Might Reject A Deed In Lieu 

Remember that your lender is under no obligation to accept a deed in lieu of an agreement. A lender may reject a deed in lieu for a variety of reasons, including:

  • A decrease in your property’s fair market value: If your home’s fair market value has decreased, you may owe more on your loan than your home is worth. A lender may agree to accept a deed in lieu of an agreement in this circumstance. In this case, your lender may only accept the deed in lieu arrangement if you pay the difference between the appraised value and the amount owed. This is not something Rocket Mortgage does.
  • Liens or tax judgments on your property: Giving up your deed becomes more problematic if you have a judgment or secondary lien, a claim to your property that the lender did not create. If someone else has a claim on the property, some lenders will work with you to discharge the lien.
  • Poor home condition: If your home is in bad shape, your lender may reject any deed in lieu deal you propose.

Reasons Why A Lender Might Accept A Deed In Lieu 

Though a lender is not required to accept your deed in lieu of foreclosure, there are several incentives for them to do so. Some of the advantages that your lender receives when they accept a deed in lieu include:

  • Quicker control over your property: Lenders must hire attorneys to court, prove that you haven’t been paying your debts, and obtain court approval to remove your property from foreclosure. The lender must lawfully evict you from the property even if they’ve previously gone to court. By accepting a deed in lieu, your lender saves both time and money.
  • Better property conditions: Lenders may agree to assume possession of properties in good shape because they sell for more money and take less time to sell. With a deed in lieu, a lender may require you to keep the property in excellent shape.

Deed in Lieu Vs. Foreclosure: What’s the Difference?

Deed in lieu and foreclosure seem similar but are not the same thing. In a foreclosure, the lender takes back the property after the homeowner fails to make payments. Foreclosure laws differ from state to state, and foreclosure can occur in two ways:

  • Judicial foreclosure, in which the lender sues to recover the property
  • Nonjudicial foreclosure allows the lender to foreclose without going through the court system.

The main distinctions between a deed in lieu and a foreclosure are the effects on your credit score and your financial responsibility after the lender has reclaimed the property. A foreclosure on your credit history can be more detrimental than a deed in lieu of foreclosure in terms of credit reporting and credit ratings. Foreclosures and other negative information on your credit reports can stay on your report for up to seven years.

When you return the deed to the lender via a deed in lieu, the lender typically relieves you from all future financial commitments. That implies you no longer have to make mortgage payments or pay off the remaining loan sum. With a foreclosure, the lender may take additional steps to recover money owed on the home or legal expenses.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of a Deed In Lieu of Foreclosure

This benefits both the borrower and the lender. The most appealing benefit for both parties is frequently the avoidance of lengthy, time-consuming, and costly foreclosure litigation.

Furthermore, depending on how this process is performed in their area, the borrower can typically avoid some public notoriety. Because both parties create a mutually beneficial agreement that includes clear parameters regarding when and how the property owner would depart the property, the borrower avoids the prospect of having officials show up at the door to evict them, as might happen with foreclosure.

In rare situations, the property owner may be able to arrange with the lender to lease the property back from the lender for a set amount of time. The lender frequently saves money by avoiding the expenditures incurred during a lengthy foreclosure procedure.

The lender must examine specific risks accompanying this transaction when evaluating the possible benefits of committing to this arrangement. Among the potential dangers are the likelihood that the property is not worth more than the remaining mortgage balance and that junior creditors may have liens.

The main disadvantage of a deed in lieu of foreclosure is that it will harm your credit. This means increased borrowing costs and a greater likelihood of difficulties obtaining another mortgage. A foreclosure on your credit report can be disputed with the credit bureaus, but this does not guarantee that it will be removed.


  • Reduces or eliminates mortgage debt without the need for foreclosure.
  • Lenders may re-lease property to owners.
  • Often preferred by lenders


  • It hurts your credit score
  • More difficult to obtain another mortgage in the future
  • The house can remain underwater.

Deed In Lieu of Foreclosure Sample

This section offers a sample deed in lieu of a foreclosure agreement, with some exhibits for typical closing documents to further implement the transaction. This deed in lieu of foreclosure sample has 1 page and is an MS Word file type listed under our legal agreements documents.

This Deed is made on this ______ day of _____, 20___, between Grantor [property owner], of [address], and the Grantee [Lender], of [address].
For valuable consideration, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, Grantor hereby deeds to Grantee, in lieu of foreclosure, the following described real property:

Address of the property: _____________________ APN: ___________________ Legal Definition: ____________

This Deed is a binding conveyance. Grantor has sold the above-described real property to Grantee in full payment of all obligations secured by the Deed of Trust previously completed by Grantor and filed with the County Recorder on Date _______ as Instrument No. ___________, Page No. __________ , Book ___________.
Grantor declares that this conveyance is freely and honestly made and that there are no other agreements, oral or written, between the Grantor and Grantee, with respect to the real property mentioned herein, other than this Deed.
Executed this ________ day of _________, 20 __________.

Grantor:_______________ [Name of the Grantor]: ___________

Grantee:________________ [Name of Grantee]: ____________

NOTICE: Any form of Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure must be notarized.

How to get a Deed In Lieu of Foreclosure

Obtaining a deed in lieu of foreclosure is not always easy; some mortgage lenders will not agree to one, depending on the property’s existing condition and whether there are tax liens or judgments against it for failure to pay property taxes. According to Boies, lenders are liable for any judgments or tax liens. Therefore they must consider the expense of discharging any liens as part of the deed in lieu.

“The representative will discuss your financial status and confirm that you cannot afford your mortgage, that a disposition alternative is required, and which of them is the best fit,” adds Boies. “Your mortgage servicer is not required to provide a deed in lieu.”

Some of the determining variables are the standards of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, USDA, or VA (if any of those organizations backs the loan) and the home’s current market value.

What is the meaning of a Deed In lieu of foreclosure?

A deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure is a voluntary transfer of your home ownership to the lender to avoid foreclosure. A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure may allow you to avoid being personally liable for any leftover mortgage balance.

Is a Deed in lieu better than foreclosure?

Less credit damage: A deed in lieu arrangement stays on your credit report for four years, but a foreclosure stays for seven. Using a deed in lieu agreement can allow you to buy a new house sooner than if you go through a foreclosure.

What is the most significant disadvantage of a lender of a deed in lieu of foreclosure?

Perhaps the most significant disadvantage of a deed in lieu is that the Lender obtains the Property subject to all other encumbrances and interests. As a result, if there is a second mortgage, for example, a loan in lieu is unlikely to be viable.

Does a deed In lieu of foreclosure hurt your credit?

According to FICO data, your credit score may drop by 50 to 125 points following a deed in lieu of foreclosure, depending on where it was before the deed in lieu. However, the impact is slightly less severe than a foreclosure filing, which can reduce your credit score by up to 160 points.

How do you negotiate a deed in lieu of foreclosure?

Deficiency Judgment Negotiation

Because a deed in lieu of foreclosure is a voluntary arrangement between you and the lender, you can strike a deal in which the lender agrees not to seek a deficiency judgment. You agree to pay a portion of the deficit or to refund the deficit over time.

What is the benefit of a deed in lieu of foreclosure compared to a short sale?

One advantage of a deed in lieu, as opposed to a short sale, is that you do not have to take responsibility for selling your home. A bank will generally only approve a deed in lieu if the property has no liens other than the mortgage.


If you have difficulty making mortgage payments, a deed in lieu of foreclosure may be an appropriate solution. Before agreeing to a deed in lieu of foreclosure, it’s critical to understand how it will affect your credit and ability to buy another home in the future. Consider other options, such as loan modifications, short sales, or mortgage refinancing, to help you decide how to proceed.


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