Popular Myths About Loan Modifications

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Times are tough right now. There’s no denying this. The unemployment rate is sky-high. Incomes are down. Home values are down [35% in one year in L.A. County].  There is no doubt that especially here in Southern California probably around 50% of homeowners are upside down in their mortgages. Many of these are struggling to make the mortgage payments on loans that are far more than the value of the house.

If you have missed a payment or may be likely to in the near future, maybe a loan modification is for you. Don’t let the following “myths about loan modifications” stop you from at least making an attempt to get your loan modified.

MYTH #1: The bank wants my house.

. Banks and other lending institutions do not want to foreclose. They earn more money if you can make your payments. When they foreclose, they not only lose your monthly payments, but they also have the expense of foreclosing (attorney fees), rehabbing the home, and then selling it (agent commissions). It’s estimated it costs the bank about 50% of the loan’s value to foreclose. And when they own the house, then what? The bank has to maintain it, meaning pay someone to do the maintenance, and keep the utilities on.  This is all good news for you – it means the bank is highly motivated to make a deal with you.

MYTH #2: My credit score is bad so I won’t qualify.

Guess what? In doing a loan mod, the bank doesn’t even consider your credit score. As mentioned about, it’s to the bank’s benefit to at least try to work it out with you.  A loan mod simply adjusts the loan in rate or term or balance or combination thereof. You still have the same loan and the same loan number.

MYTH #3 I am not late on my mortgage payments so I won’t qualify. I have to miss a payment to be eligible

Early on, this was true. In fact, some early eligibility requirements stated that you had to be 61 days delinquent in order to qualify. In other words, you would have had to have missed two full payments. The truth is that the eligibility requirements are constantly changing and differ among lenders. Many lenders are now working out loan modifications with borrowers who are up to date on their payments. It’s difficult to determine whether you qualify until you actually discuss your situation with the lender or with someone such as myself is knowledgeable and experienced in loan modifications.

MYTH #4: I would be better off walking away or declaring bankruptcy than modifying my loan.

Walking away from the home and filing for bankruptcy are certainly two options, but they are rarely the best options when you are facing foreclosure. If you simply walk away, the lender is unlikely to pursue legal action against you, but in some jurisdictions, the lender can pursue a deficiency judgment against you to collect the difference between what the lender receives for your home at auction and what you currently owe on the balance of the mortgage. Plus, that foreclosure will prevent you from buying a house for five years. Plus, there may be tax consequences.

Filing for bankruptcy may be better than just walking away, but it stays on your credit report for seven years, making it difficult to borrow money in the future. A successful loan modification is almost always a more prudent choice.

MYTH #5: It’s too late. I have already received a foreclosure notice.

As long as you still reside in the home – that is, you didn’t voluntarily abandon it, and the home hasn’t been sold at a foreclosure auction – you may still have time to work out a loan modification with your lender. The sooner you take action, the more options you have available and the more time you have to pursue the best option, but you can still negotiate late into the process. Even if you have received a Notice of Default [NOD], in California you will have a minimum of 111 days before the bank can foreclose. It often takes much longer.  By contacting the lender or, better yet, having your negotiator contact the lender on your behalf, you demonstrate a good faith effort and can often buy yourself extra time to work out a loan modification.

Myth #6 I already did a loan mod and was unable to keep up the payments. I know I can’t get another one.

Earth to homeowner: you may be able to get another loan modification that you can live with in your current situation. In fact, as your economic state changes, you can ask for forebearance or another modification. After all, interest rates change all the time, don’t they? Remember: it’s always better to try. Never just give up. Never assume you know what the bank will say.

Finally, I want you to know if you want to do a loan modification, I am happy to help you. Just give me a call at 626-641-0346.

3 thoughts on “Popular Myths About Loan Modifications

  1. Yes it is untrue depending on your state. If you are a licensed broker who’s applied with the DRE in your state, you are able to collect advanced fees as long as the homeowner is current on their payments. If an NOD (notice of default) has been issued, then regardless if you are on the advanced fee agreement only a practicing attorney can accept a retainer fee.

    Great article! I work for the National Housing Relief Agency – http://www.nhrelief.com

  2. My father inlaw just did a loan modification and it was quite successful. He had tried two different companies because the first company did not seem to be making progress. The second however was very helpful, in fact they told him that whether or not he decided to work with them that he needed to do the following with any company he chose, in order to protect himself.

    1. Request Law credentials. This is because it is unlawful for any company to collect an up front fee for this without a lawyer performing the loan modification.

    2. Request proof of their best loan modification.

    This was one thing that set them apart from the others. Then they got his modfication from 6.5% down to 4.2% interest fixed for 30 years. They got his defualt payments forgiven and he did not have to make his payment for 4 and a half months. His total monthly savings form his old payment to now was $509

    I hope this helps

    • Wow, that’s great. I’ll have to get in contact with that company. Did his first company get money from him? If so, did they get the money back? I’m not sure you’re right about only lawyers being able to ask for upfront money. I think the statute is that real estate agents may not unless permitted by the DRE. Anyone else, though, may do so. This area is completely unregulated. I’m afraid that many people are getting ripped off. That’s a shame because frequently they think they are OK and suddenly they are in foreclosure.

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