Saturday, March 3, 2012

Loan Modifcations: Tips and Warnings

       As a Bankruptcy Firm, we see many good, hardworking people whose homes are in foreclosure. And after all these stories, I am surprised to see that many of them fell behind because of Loan Modification Programs. To be clear, modifying your loan can help you financially; however, I want to set out many tips and warnings you need to know before attempting a modification so you do not fall victim to what has led others to foreclosure and consequentially, bankruptcy.

       First, you need to know the truth. Very few borrowers after the process end up with a loan modification. I recently spoke with a friend of mine in the mortgage loan market and learned that approximately only 6% of those who apply end up lowering their mortgage payments. Six percent, that's all!

       Second, if you want to hire an attorney to work with you and your bank for a loan modification, DO NOT hire an attorney, agency, or professional who wants to be paid up front. I've heard plenty of stories, where a person pays a couple thousand dollars to an attorney to work with their bank. That money would be better spent on paying down your actual mortgage or to savings. Lots of times, these agencies are scams who take your money and run. Other times they are legitimate, but remember SIX PERCENT success rate. The only fee arrangement you should make is that the attorney you hire will receive a percentage of any savings from a successful modification. If anyone wants money up front, go somewhere else. A contingent fee makes the person you hire actually try to succeed since that is the only way of him getting paid. If he has already been paid, then he won't care if you end up being part of the 94% who fail.

       Lastly, keep making your mortgage payments during the process! Many people have said how their Bank told them that they don't have to make payments while applying, or that the bank only accepts those who are behind in their mortgage. If you must be in default to qualify, do not do it on purpose, stay current. And when your bank tells you that you are not obligated to keep making payments, the fine print says that if you do not succeed in getting a modification, all of those missed payments come due immediately along with interest and late fees. And then the bank ends up foreclosing on your home. So keep making those payments, and if you choose not to, do not spend that money. Save it on the great chance that do not succeed in modifying your loan.

       The Loan Modification is a long, complicated, and drawn out process that will likely lead to nothing. So please be smart about your money. Hopefully, you may end up as part of the 6%, but as you go through the process, remember these helpful tips and warnings.

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