Losing your home can be a terrifying proposition. Taking action to avoid foreclosure is often better than waiting for the day the bank comes knocking, but the best tactic can depend on your position.

If the loss of your family’s home is a possibility, you’re certainly not alone. New Jersey is once again leading the nation in foreclosures. This makes five straight years the state has topped the list. Union County rounds out the top 10 areas in New Jersey affected, with thousands of units facing foreclosure every year. Bankruptcy may offer some protections, but it’s not the only course available to you.

Moving around

Depending on your situation, you may prefer to sell the house or transfer the property back to the bank. Both options likely require approval since the bank may not make back the full amount you owe, or they don’t find the terms suitable. These paths can also come with other consequences, but there are still advantages worth weighing before you move forward.

Short sales

You could appeal to your lender for a short sale so you can avoid having a foreclosure on your record when your home isn’t worth what you owe. Your bank will accept the money that you get from the sale and apply it to your debt, or the buyer may assume the mortgage if the conditions are right.

Deed in lieu

Depending on the equity you have in your home, signing your deed over to the bank could be a viable option. It also depends on how much the bank is willing to give you in return for the property. You could negotiate a sum of money in exchange or additional time to live in the house while you plan your next steps.

You could still owe the bank money after all is said and done even after they agree to the deal. It’s important to address this when drafting your agreement because they may consent to waiving the deficiency under the proper circumstances.

There is no right answer when it comes to foreclosure, and the best option depends on your situation and what the bank is willing to offer. Make sure you understand what each entails, and you may find your best play after studying the pieces.