Monday, July 16, 2012

Questions To Ask When Hiring A Loan Modification Attorney

When it comes down to it no lender follows the same process and each person’s situation is different from their neighbors. In any case, numerous people want to know what their options are and hiring an experienced loan modification attorney is their best bet. However, the majority of struggling homeowners don’t know what look for when hiring an attorney.
First thing you need to ask yourself: How do I know who to hire?
If you are seriously considering hiring an attorney with your loan modification, there is a handful of questions that you should be prepared to have answered while determining the “good” from the “bad”.
The following questions are meant to be a general guide to consumers about what to expect while looking to hire an attorney.
Before you tell a potential attorney anything about your financial situation, ask this question:  How do I know if you can help me?  
It is important to resist the temptation of venting to the first person who will listen to you.  Start of by asking “How do I knowif you can help me?” and let the potential attorney do the talking first.  Force the attorney to identify how he can help you.  Note what he looks
for in order to determining how he can be successful with your case, and what kind of results he’s had so far.  The more information you can get from this initial question before you explain your situation will give you a better idea if the attorney really knows what he is doing.
Do you have clients that you have helped get their loan modified that I can speak with?
Be sure to not only ask this question but also follow through and speak with references. Doing so will help you learn about the process and how the attorney was to work with.   You will be able to gather an overall impression of “was it worth it”?
How much do you charge for your services?
Take note that this is NOT the first question to ask.
While this may not be a good leading question it is something to take into consideration, but it is not the most important factor. The most important part to consider is whether or not the attorney can successfully modify your loan.
Asking “how much do you charge for your services?” won’t give you any idea if they can be successful with your loan modification, but more give you an idea of what to expect.
Can you tell me what to expect in my specific situation when working with my lender?
The answer to this question will allow you gather a better perspective of the attorney’s overall experience with home loan modifications.  If your potential attorney mentions that he has not worked with your specific lender before—it is a pretty clear indicator that the attorney does not have a lot of experience.
If you are currently delinquent or anticipate that you will be in the future hiring an attorney with your loan modification will save you a lot of time and stress.  Be sure to ask the previous questions, doing so will better position you to identify a “good” attorney from a “bad” one.  Choose wisely, you are investing in your future.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What to Expect When Going Through a Loan Modification

A home loan modification is one of the most popular options for struggling homeowners when refinancing isn’t an option.  Understandably, homeowners are skeptical when considering a modification due to the falsehoods created by misinformed homeowners.  While the process itself is complex; homeowners have been successful. 

Life happens.  Sometimes life throws you hardballs and you are faced with hardships such as illnesses, deaths, job loss, divorces and other unexpected challenges that make the modification process that much more difficult.  However, it is all the matter of being upfront about your situation, submitting the proper documentation and being persistent throughout the entire process.

The process begins with filling out and completing the application. This is the most crucial part of the process that needs to be taken seriously and properly handled. Many homeowners try to tackle this task on their own and find their case delayed while facing more challenges. Homeowners don’t realize that they do not have to go into this alone.  Hiring a foreclosure defense attorney can often times be the difference between saving and losing a home to foreclosure. 

In addition to the application, homeowners will be required to submit a handful of documents including recent paystubs, household budget and the hardship letter.  Often times without the help of an attorney, lending companies take their time filing the application and even worse carelessly lose paperwork and documents. 

Hiring an attorney not only relieves stress but also warrants accuracy far after the application has been submitted, safeguarding homeowners against any hassle. If you are unsure about something, ask.  Maintaining a strong level of communication with your lender and attorney is as crucial as deciding to ask for help. 

Deciding to ask for help can open more doors for homeowners in terms of their options when traveling down this dark road.  Applying for a home loan modification is a hassle but it doesn’t have to be painful.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Is It Possible to Stop Foreclosure

Do you answer yes to any of these questions: Are you facing foreclosure? Are your mortgage payments too high? Is your home worth less than you owe? Are you behind or know you are going to fall behind on your mortgage payments? And finally, do you wish there was a stop button to make this all go away?  If so, many homeowners are wishing and feeling the same thing.  The majority of struggling homeowners don’t know where to turn or even where to start when dealing with foreclosure.
To help with the stress level, the first thing homeowners need to know about foreclosure is that it is stoppable. It is not as easy as pressing a big red button but you can stop foreclosure. The ideal situation would be to start getting help before you receive the Notice of Default, and the best way that homeowners can stop foreclosure is to seek help in getting a home loan modification.  If you have already received the notice don’t worry, a loan modification can still be a good option.
The fact of the matter is that banks and lending organizations don’t want to deal with foreclosure any more than you do.  Foreclosure ends up costing the banks more money than it would for you to keep your home. Loan modifications are much easier and cheaper agreements than a foreclosure.
A foreclosure means one thing to the bank—unnecessary loss of money for both parties. With a foreclosure the bank is forced to forfeit the cost of your mortgage, in addition to paying your property taxes on that specific property.  As well as paying for a realtor to sell the house, and in almost all cases the house will be sold for a much cheaper price than it would sell on the normal housing market.
So let’s go back to those initial questions; did you answer yes to any of these questions?
  • Are you facing foreclosure?

  • Is your home worth less than you owe?
  • Are you behind or know you are going to fall behind on your mortgage payments?

Chances are if you are reading this blog post, you said yes to at least one if not all the questions.  The good news is we at The Mortgage Law Group can help!
If you pick up any newspaper you will find that President Obama has been working with and asking mortgage lenders to aid homeowners and help save your homes with modifications to avoid foreclosures.
President Obama’s bailout plan could help the following:
  • Lower your interest rate
  • Give you more time to pay off your loan
  • Reduce your principal mortgage balance
  • Stop foreclosure

Unfortunately, not all lenders are following the President’s request.  A handful are ignoring him all together, making it nearly impossible to get the loan modification you deserve.  If a lender doesn’t help or work with you don’t stress, you are not in this battle alone.  The Mortgage Law Group has attorneys all over the United States with years of experience dealing with mortgage lenders.  You have options; find out where to start today.
Call The Mortgage Law Group at  (888)591-6555 or fill out your free home loan modification consultation online at

Don’t Give Up On A Home Loan Modification Just Yet

Applying for a home loan modification can be daunting and incredibly frustrating, so much that it makes you want to give up.  However, you may want to reconsider and finish that application.  Recently mortgage companies are getting their acts together and properly processing homeowner’s applications has become a higher priority.
Let’s start off with some motivational numbers to see just how much one can benefit from a home loan modification.
Hypothetically, if your home loan is $150,000 at 7% interest—a home loan modification could be reduced to a 2% interest rate for 3 years, making a monthly payment of $550.00.  Keep in mind that escrow and impound fees still need to be added and these numbers are for example purposes only. But as you can see from this example there are strong benefits.
Submitting an application can be a hassle, especially when you don’t know what is needed. Wouldn’t it just be easier if there was a check list somewhere telling you, well you are in luck; below we have provided one for you.
  • Fill out an application form
  • Submit last two tax returns
  • Gather all your wage records (paystubs or a profit and loss statement if you own a company)
  • Submit bank records from the last 6 months (now if you are like most Americans and didn’t keep a copy, you can obtain this final step by going online or into your banks branch and ask for it to be printed. It’s as easy as that)
  • Before submitting your application, it is smart to number the pages and add your account number to each page before sending it to your mortgage company
  • Finally, make an extra copy for yourself. Accidents happen and papers do get lost once in a while.  You will save yourself a lot of stress by following this last step.

Remember that you are not the only one in this position, so it would be smart to call your mortgage company as a checkup. Thousands of other  don’t let your paper work get lost.  It is advised to call at least once a week until you have confirmation that all your information has been received. It is common to feel nervous about the application process, The Mortgage Law Group urges you to seek help before you find yourself in an underwater home that cannot be saved.  Good luck!

Short Sales Are Up, Now What?

Short sales are up due to the foreclosure rates dropping. Now you wonder how this affects the real estate market.
Well, before we get into that, some back ground:  Short sales happen when a lender agrees to sell a home for less than it the mortgage is worth.  In this case the lender forgives the difference and the borrower is no longer responsible for the home they cannot afford.  The short sale process is becoming more efficient, which is both good news for lenders and borrowers. This streamlined process is much more organized making turn around quick; typically homes spend more than a year to finalize when being foreclosed on.
Lenders are making a strong effort in considering short sales as an alternative to foreclosure.  According to Bloomberg, large banks including, JP Morgan, Chase and Wells Fargo—started to give away cash to borrowers for agreeing to do a short sale instead of falling into foreclosure.
Similar to foreclosure, short sale can bruise home prices. The experts at the National Association of realtors (NAR), short sales normally sell for 17percent below the market according to February’s numbers. This is a huge price cut, but less than the average 22 percent for foreclosure sales.
Assuming that short sales typically pick up more money for the lender, it would be safe to assume that short sales would be another valuable option of unloading distressed homes.  It is important to note that short sales don’t add to the bank-owned homes (REO’s) supply, the houses don’t sit on the market long and the impact on home prices is not as substantial as that of a foreclosure.
Although foreclosures have typically surpassed short sales in terms of volume, that trend is changing. Bloomberg just reported the most recent data available which indicates that short sales exceeded foreclosure sales for the first time in January of 2012 by 4.2 percent.
If short sales continue to streamline their way past foreclosure it could mean that home prices will hit bottom by the end of 2012.  Over time, we will see less homes going through foreclosure, which would decrease home prices dramatically.  At best, this uptick in short sales will help avoid foreclosures a road that no homeowner wants to go down.
If you are a struggling homeowner and have questions about loan modifications or to find out if you qualify contact The Mortgage Law Group.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bank of America Offers New Program Aimed at Helping Struggling Homeowners

Bank of America announced this month that they will be offering a new program that allows struggling homeowners to start renting their homes rather than have them taken through foreclosure. The program, still in its beginning stages, will only test markets in Arizona, Nevada and New York, some of the states hit hardest by the housing crisis.

Homeowners that live within the test markets and have loans held through Band of America will only be eligible for the new program if BofA sends them a letter inviting them to participate, no one will actually be allowed to apply for the program. Also, the aptly-named “mortgage to lease” program will only expand if BofA concludes that avoiding foreclosure reduces costs associated with repossessing and reselling the properties.
The program is based on the simple “deed-in-lieu” process, which is used by many lenders to avoid home foreclosure. Through a deed-in-lieu (DIL) arrangement, the lender forgives the borrowers mortgage in exchange for the deed to the property. BofA will enter a DIL agreement with its borrowers and then lease them the homes for at or below market values, so long as the borrower can prove their ability to afford the terms of the new lease.

If the program remains successful for one year, BofA says it will allow the borrowers to continue to lease the homes for an extra two years, and will eventually sell the properties to investors seeking to buy rental properties.
Although the program is only in its trial stages, it is considered especially noteworthy because it marks a shift in mortgage relief practices by lenders. Typically, banks that own loans held by struggling homeowners will try to work the borrowers on either a mortgage modification or a principle reduction so that they will still receive some form of payment on the loan. Through the new program the loan is forgiven all together, and homeowners will be allowed to stay in their homes for a much lower monthly payment.

Keep following The Mortgage Law Group’s blog for more news on the latest mortgage relief programs offered by lenders, and for all of your mortgage relief or foreclosure defense questions be sure to call our law offices at (888) 591-6555. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Credit Scores and Your Mortgage

Owning a home is a long-standing dream for many Americans, and most prospective homebuyers are compelled to financing in order to buy. However, did you know that your credit score can determine your interest rate and payment terms with a mortgage lender? So the question now is, just how much of your credit score weighs in on your mortgage payment?

What Is A Credit Score?

A credit score is a number used by lenders to regulate how likely you are to pay back the loan. They are calculated by using the information contained within your credit reports. Scores can range from 300-850. Generally most lenders look at higher credit scores more favorably than lower scores as the key indicator to the likelihood of being paid back. So if you are looking to apply for a mortgage it would be in your best interest to increase your credit score before applying.

How Is Your Credit Score Calculated?

Your credit score is based off of whether or not you pay your bills on time (i.e. payment history), the total amount of dues owed (typically, a percentage of your outstanding credit), the length of your credit history, as well as the type of credit and how much is new.

How Does Your Credit Score Determine Your Mortgage Payment?

To put it more simply, the higher the score the lower your mortgage interest rate will be. So for example, if we take a borrower who has a credit score ranging from 760-850, this person qualifies for around 3.55% mortgage interest rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, whereas a borrower with a low credit score would receive a higher interest rate. Needless to say, this was just an example for illustrative purposes only; the best way to find out your mortgage interest rate is to speak a mortgage lending professional.

How Can You Improve Your Score?

To get your credit score where you want it, it is crucial that you pay all your bills on time. Keep in mind that your payment history is the largest factor of your credit score; therefore, any late or missed payments will hurt your overall credit score.

Also, amounts owed on existing credit lines may factor into your score. So it is important that you pay off and lower your credit card balances. Note that a ‘’maxed out’’ credit card may reflect poorly on your score as well. So try to pay off any debts and not opening new credit cards to help improve your score.

The Point is…

Buying a home is possible, but it is a lot of responsibility that needs to be taken seriously. If you continue to take care of your credit cards your credit score will likely by high, and your mortgage terms are far more likely to be in your favor.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guide to the Fed's Mortgage Settlement

A little over a month ago the federal government and 49 states revealed that they made a $25 billion settlement with five of the largest mortgage servicers to help homeowners who have lost their homes to foreclosure or need help making their payments on time. 

Much of the nitty-gritty part of the settlement is still being worked out. But the Center of Responsible Lending, a nonprofit group that supports the borrowers printed a summary and a preliminary guidebook to help consumers find out if they are eligible under the settlement. 

The guide is an overall outline of standards and conditions to help homeowners stay on top with their payments and determine if they qualify for benefits from the settlement. There are three categories by which the borrowers can determine the eligibility: 

Borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure, from Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2011 may be eligible for cash payment of $1,800 to $2,000. The loans must be serviced and owned by one of: Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase or Ally Financial (GMAC). 

Those who are currently underwater on their property—their home is worth less than they owe. Not only must your loan be serviced and owned by one of the five lenders listed above, the interest rate must be at least 5.25% or higher. 

For homeowners who are late or on the verge of missing payments you may be eligible to receive a modification of your home loan, which would reduce your monthly payments and lower your principal. Once again your loan must be serviced and owned by one of the five lenders.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tips for Aspiring Young Homeowners

For anyone in a committed, long-term relationship that is thinking about marriage, the next step usually seems to be buying a home together. However, for many couples, investing in a home can lead to a potential breaking point in the relationship. Not only must the partners agree on a location, price range and size of the home, but they also have to figure out how to finance it. 

Any couples that are considering homeownership should be sure to go into the process with a well-laid plan that both partners agree upon in order to save themselves financial headaches in the future. The following are some tips that we’ve come up with to help budding, young homeowners on their journey into the housing market. 

1. Communication is key.
Before even looking for homes, you and your partner should have a clear understanding of what you both want vs. what you can afford. Although it may not be the most romantic of conversation topics, you will need to discuss what each of you is bringing in each month and how much of it you are willing to invest in your property. If one of you is making more than the other, you might want to delegate more financial responsibility to that person, such as being in charge of home repairs or property taxes. Once you understand where you both are financially, you can start to create a plan on how you will finance the home. 

2. Construct a financial road-map. 
It is normal for lenders to cover 80-90 percent of a home’s cost, the rest of which the buyer must pay upfront in the form of a down payment. First make sure you can afford the home’s down payment, then analyze you and your partners combined monthly income to determine what type of mortgage you should pursue. Typical mortgages are usually spread out over 15 or 30 years; with the former having lower interest rates and the latter having lower monthly payments. Keep in mind that to reduce stress in your relationship it is recommended that you dedicate no more than a quarter of your income toward your property, including the mortgage and other extraneous expenses. 

3. Bring in a third party.
It is easy to be blinded by the thrill and excitement that comes with buying a new home, which is why we recommend bringing in a neutral third party to help you weigh your options. This is a helpful tip that many couples tend to overlook, but mediators, financial planners and attorneys work with soon-to-be homeowners all of the time. Bringing in a third party can help to ease any tensions that may arise during the home-buying process and also help shed light on some financing options that maybe you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. 

At The Mortgage Law Group, we’re dedicated to helping homeowners save their American Dream. That starts by taking a proactive approach on homeownership and educating potential buyers now, so they won’t find themselves in hot water later on. If you have helpful tips for first time homeowners, please share them in the comments section of our blog.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Top Ten Underwater States

Does owing more on your home than the house is actually worth sound familiar? As home prices continue to slide more and more homeowners find themselves underwater. After last year’s foreclosure activity it is no surprise that so many homes are in trouble. 

According to a report by Corelogic, the number of underwater mortgages as a percentage of all mortgaged homes in the US rose in the fourth quarter of last year. Corelogic’s Negative Equity report suggests that mortgages 11.1 million homes out of the 48.7 million mortgaged homes are underwater. Based on this report we were able to identify the ten states with the top percentage of underwater homes. 

Some of the states on the list had been dealing with economic problems long before the current recession. States like Rhode Island and Michigan have been dealing with long term industrial declines for quite some time, therefore, drops for their home values are only accelerated by recession that the rest of the country went through. 

For the majority of the states on the list below, a decline in the housing market is the sole reason homeowners find themselves owing more than their house is worth. Check out the 10 states depressed by underwater mortgages:

Pct. homes underwater: 23%
Total property value: $428.46 billion
Mortgage debt outstanding: $307.48 billion
Median home value drop from peak: 16.7% (21st-biggest decline)
Homes in foreclosure or 90+ days delinquent: 4.1% (ninth-smallest percentage)

9. Ohio
Pct. homes underwater: 23.9%
Total property value: $310.62 billion
Mortgage debt outstanding: $238.20 billion
Median home value drop from peak: 14.4% (23rd-biggest decline)
Homes in foreclosure or 90+ days delinquent: 6.9% (14th-largest percentage)

Pct. homes underwater: 24.3%
Total property value: $418.34 billion
Mortgage debt outstanding: $296.81 billion
Median home value drop from peak: 23.7% (12th-biggest decline)
Homes in foreclosure or 90+ days delinquent: 8.0% (tied for fifth-largest percentage)

Pct. homes underwater: 25.0%
Total property value: $49.76 billion
Mortgage debt outstanding: $36.58 billion
Median home value drop from peak: 29.3% (sixth-biggest decline)
Homes in foreclosure or 90+ days delinquent: 5.2% (20th-smallest percentage)

Pct. homes underwater: 29.9%
Total property value: $2.73 trillion
Mortgage debt outstanding: $1.94 trillion
Median home value drop from peak: 46.7% (third-biggest decline)
Homes in foreclosure or 90+ days delinquent: 7.0% (12th-largest percentage)

Pct. homes underwater: 33.0%
Total property value: $306.59 billion
Mortgage debt outstanding: $252.81 billion
Median home value drop from peak: 26% (10th-biggest decline)
Homes in foreclosure or 90+ days delinquent: 8.0% (tied for fifth-largest percentage)

Pct. homes underwater: 34.7%
Total property value: $198.05 billion
Mortgage debt outstanding: $165.45 billion
Median home value drop from peak: 30.1% (fifth-biggest decline)
Homes in foreclosure or 90+ days delinquent: 6.5% (19th-largest percentage)

Pct. homes underwater: 44.2%
Total property value: $809.95 billion
Mortgage debt outstanding: $706.00 billion
Median home value drop from peak: 44.8% (fourth-biggest decline)
Homes in foreclosure or 90+ days delinquent: 17.4% (the largest percentage)

Pct. homes underwater: 48.3%
Total property value: $243.02 billion
Mortgage debt outstanding: $226.22 billion
Median home value drop from peak: 47.9% (second-biggest decline)
Homes in foreclosure or 90+ days delinquent: 7.1% (11th-largest percentage)

Pct. homes underwater: 61.1%
Total property value: $96.57 billion
Mortgage debt outstanding: $109.94 billion
Median home value drop from peak: 60% (the biggest decline)
Homes in foreclosure or 90+ days delinquent: 13.4% (second-largest percentage)

As 2011 wrapped up, 13.4% of mortgages are either 90 days delinquent or in the foreclosure process. So now that 2012 is upon us, let’s see what numbers will change. What do you predict?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tips to Lower the Price of Your Property Tax

For anyone struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments, saving money on other bills can be crucial when it comes to keeping their homes. One very common, yet fairly unknown way to achieve that savings is by lowering your property tax.

Property taxes are often set at a fixed amount when the property is purchased; however social, economic and environmental changes in the neighborhood can cause the taxes to fluctuate.  In order to see that change reflected in your property tax payment, homeowners must file an appeal with their state.

The following are some tips to help you through the tax appeal process:

1. Keep your payments up-to-date.
Before even beginning the process make sure you check that your current property taxes are paid up. Most property tax assessors will not even consider an appeal if the homeowner has past-due payments.

2. File on time.
Most states have strict guidelines for when tax appeals can be filed. Be sure to check your states laws to make sure yours is filed on time, if not the appeal may be thrown out.

3. Be prepared for a battle.
With sweeping budget cuts and rampant downsizing affecting all areas of government, giving up income collected from taxes is the last thing your state wants to do. In other words, be prepared to fight for the fair taxes you deserve and be sure to provide substantial evidence as to why they should be lowered.

4. Appeal the appeal.
If you receive an unfavorable reassessment of your property taxes, it is possible to appeal the review. However, because this process can be somewhat complex, it is really only recommended when the newly appraised value of the property is significantly higher than the fair market amount. 

Even if you’re currently not financially distressed, you may want to consider lowering your property tax anyway. The money you save could be your lifeline in the future. For more information on restructuring your finances and other ways to help you keep your home, please call The Mortgage Law Group today. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tips on Getting Your Underwater Home Sold

There’s no doubt about it, since the burst of the housing bubble homeowners looking to sell their properties have faced a constant struggle. With prices at an all-time low, it is estimated that nearly one out of five American homes is underwater. Here are some tips to get above water and quickly sell your home at the best possible price:

1. Appraise the home
The first thing you should do before putting your home on the market is to have its value determined by an appraiser. By having the home appraised, sellers can get a realistic idea of what price a bank would value the home at before entering into a sale, saving them both time and money.

2. Conserve utilities
Cutting back on utility usage while your house is on the market is an easy way to make the home more attractive to potential buyers. Many times buyers will ask to look at the home’s utility bills to determine if they can afford the “entire package,” and in this economy having lower bills can definitely tip a sale in your favor.

3. Conduct your own inspection
Many buyers will want to have the home inspected before settling on a sale. Having your own inspection done allows you to know what red-flags the buyer may use to negotiate the home’s price and also gives you a chance to get them fixed for a lower cost beforehand.

4. Rev up your curb appeal
The first thing a buyer sees when checking out a new house is the view from the street, so make sure to pay extra special attention to your home’s outer appearance. Take a walk around your block and see what other homes look like on the outside, then try to make yours stand out. Revving up your curb appeal can be as simple as cleaning out your gutters or edging your lawn, both which can be done for practically next to nothing.

Following these tips could be the difference between selling your home fast or watching it flounder. Keep in mind that today’s market is unpredictable and even the most attractive homes sit untouched. If you’ve exhausted all of your resources to sell your underwater home, it may be time to consider other options such as a short sale or a deed-in-lieu arrangement. In either case, always be sure to educate yourself first before making any major decisions as it will save you time and money in the long run.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

How Does A Mortgage Modification Work?

It’s no surprise that a majority of Americans have gone through ups and downs when it comes to their financial situation.  Some have lost jobs.  Some have suffered depressed home values, an unplanned medical expense, even an unfortunate death of a spouse that could have left an unpaid mortgage.
Fortunately in the United States struggling homeowners may qualify for one of the several mortgage modification programs available to help them pay off their mortgage and save their home.   So if you can demonstrate the factors (detailed below) and continue to stay current on your loan, your lender could reduce your payments, and/or spread out your payments.  Not making a new loan—modifying your current terms on your existing loans.
How does it work do you ask? Will you actually get the relief you need? Here’s what you need to know:
How Many Mortgage Modification Programs are Available?
The leading mortgage modification program is the Making Home Affordable Program, financed by the federal government, but also offered through individual lending banks.  Alternatively there are other programs such as Federal Housing Finance Agency Loan Modification, offered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, available to homeowners who have a mortgage held by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Lastly, some popular lenders offer their own programs; Citigroup, JP Morgan, Chase, Bank of America all offer their own loan modification program. 
Although there are quite a few different mortgage modification programs available, a majority of homeowners seeking them go through the Making Home Affordable Program.
Are You Eligible for a Modification?
There are several guidelines and restrictions to follow in order to be eligible.  A couple questions to ask yourself:
·         Is the home you are seeking a modification on your primary residence?
·         Are you current on your mortgage payments?
If you answered yes to both these questions, then your best bet is to set up an appointment with your lender’s modification department. Get prepared and be sure to collect and bring in at least 2 months of current pay stubs, tuition bills, utility bills, mortgage statement, auto loan papers, and unemployment checks, anything that illustrates your current situation.
Additionally, be willing and prepared to talk about changes including loss of income, unexpected expenses and depressed home value.  You will be expected to have your modification application and a hardship letter fully prepared including:
·         An explanation and proof you have made an effort to pay your current mortgage payment
·         Demonstrate that you are being cooperative with your bank
·         Be able to fully describe your financial circumstances
·         Be willing to talk and provide all requested documentation.
If granted a modification, it is likely to be granted a trial period during which you will be obligated to make lower mortgage payment.  If you miss a payment during the trial period, your modification could be denied.
Obtaining a mortgage modification can be a lengthy process depending on your individual case, however, it typically varies between 4-6 months.  Trial periods can range from 6-18 months.  So from start to finish, the whole process could take up to 2 years.
The process will be frustrating but try to keep calm and stay on top of your application process.   Keep a log of all the interactions, dates, times, and banker’s name for your records.  Try to remember that you are not alone and that your banker is trying to help.  If you have any doubts or questions do not hesitate to seek the answers you need.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mortgage Myths

In today’s housing market it can be very difficult to tell fact from fiction when it comes to understanding the market’s rules and regulations. For homeowners, misinformation can be the difference between qualifying for a home loan and being denied. Knowledge is foreclosure prevention. So let’s correct some common mortgage misconceptions.
 Myth One: You have to be in default on your mortgage to meet the requirements for help
• This is 100% NOT true. Purposefully falling behind on your mortgage payments can flop on you for two reasons. First off, if you fail to pay 60 days past due, your bank is forced to run your modification through a net present value test. Meaning your lender would lose less by foreclosing than by modifying your loan, not qualifying for a modification. Secondly, if you don’t qualify for your modification, you may have put some serious setbacks in your credit score.
Myth Two: If you are unemployed you do not qualify for a loan modification
• False. The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) guidelines states, “If the borrower receives public assistance or collects unemployment: Acceptable documentation includes letters, exhibits or a benefits statement from the provider that states the amount, frequency, and duration of the benefit. The servicer must be determining that the income will continue for at least nine months.” In addition, if you are getting unemployment paybacks, the bank can work them into your case when determining your ability to make a modified payment.
 Myth Three: Mortgage companies can guarantee getting your principal balance reduced
 • While that would be great, it is highly unlikely. Companies all over the US are boasting promises of principal write-downs to get consumers to sign up. Unfortunately, reality is that very few loan modifications involve principal reductions. Lenders are not paid by the government for write-downs. There are a lot of scammers that may “guarantee” to get your loan balance written down, however this is NOT true. If every company could guarantee, this practice would crush the lending industry.
When it comes down to it the more you know, the better you can protect yourself and your home. If you or someone you know may be facing foreclosure, please contact us today. The sooner you address the problem, the faster you will see results.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Few Tips on How to Save on Closing Costs

When purchasing big-ticket items such as houses and cars, it is natural to do research and shop around for the best deal. However, many Americans tend to forget to use that same mentality when it comes to purchasing a mortgage loan.
The attorneys at The Mortgage Law Group want to remind consumers that entering into a mortgage agreement is one of the most important, if not the most important, part of buying a home. Consumers who take the process too lightly and go with the first lender they talk to can end up over paying thousands of dollars in unnecessary and/or hidden closing costs. In order to be a wise borrower, there are a few crucial aspects consumers should keep in mind.
First, one  way to try to avoid costly closing fees is to petition the seller to cover the closing costs, a practice that typically occurs when the real estate market is favored toward buyers. However, if that is not an option, there are a few other things consumers can do to get the best possible deal on their mortgage.
It is important to compare, shop and do research on different lenders before applying for any type of loan. Select a handful of lenders and then ask them to provide a list of charges associated with closing costs on a mortgage.  If a lender refuses to provide a list of charges before the application is turned in, move on to the next one. A reliable lender will always provide a list of fees when asked.
After receiving the list of charges from the lenders, be sure to review each fee separately. Many times the fees can be disguised under misleading titles, which can lead to being charged multiple times for the same service. Also, be cautious of “junk fees,” which are often extraneously tacked on to closing costs simply to earn lenders an extra buck.
Some examples of “junk fees” can include: inspection fees, processing fees, warehousing fees, and underwriting fees.  Many of these charges should already be included in the origination fee, or the fee lenders charge upfront to process a new loan, and the others are simply the lenders responsibility as a business.  Also keep in mind that even if some of the fees cannot be avoided, it may be possible to negotiate them to a lower amount.
Most importantly, remember that as a consumer you always have a choice on which lender to go with. If you are not satisfied with the closing costs and conditions of a potential mortgage, ask for an adjustment. If your lender refuses to come to a reasonable mortgage agreement, find one that will.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Know Your Options to Foreclosure

Is life getting in the way? Do you find yourself unable to pay your mortgage on time or at all? Are you compelled to stick your head in the ground, well you’re not alone. Thousands of Americans are currently in the same fight to save their homes. It’s crucial to know that hiding from your problems will only worsen the reality of it.

If you are a struggling homeowner that is feeling overwhelmed, know that you have alternative options to foreclosure. Knowing and understanding all your options will help you make the best decision for your case and in the long run you and your family.

Route One: Short Sale
Option one involves the lender taking the less amount of money than what’s owed on their property once sold. Typically in short sales, lenders offer incentives to the sellers in effort to avoid the cost of foreclosure. These incentives are often called relocation packages which are meant to help the former homeowner leave their current residence.

There are programs and incentives for banks to do the short sale route, such as the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) program. Unfortunately, banks are taking months to finish these deals and in some cases your lender may refuse to follow through. Short sale is a good option as long as you are aware that they are not easy as they sound.

Route Two: Deed-in-Lieu
Option two is not mandatory for banks but the lender can accept the deed to your house in lieu of the mortgage payments, this is called Deed-in-Lieu or DIL, for short. The banks can deny your DIL request and foreclose if they choose. However, lenders often accept this option because it is a fastest, easiest and often times cheapest way to get you out of your house.

Route Three: Loan Modification
Option three has been infamous for being next to impossible to get, with a lieu of demands of document completion, initial evaluation process, and a slim chance of obtaining the actual modification; it could very well be the best option outside of foreclosure.

The positives in a loan modification are the lender agreeing to change your loans terms so that you as the borrower can continue to make payments on your mortgage. The loan changes to fit your financial specifications and is meant to be long-term if not a permanent solution. Whether that change means a lowered or fixed interest rate, lower monthly payments, and in rare instances the lender lowering the amount owed in the principles of forgiveness.

It’s vital to seek professional advice on your situation before making a decision, note that before qualifying for a loan modification you must already be behind on your loan. However, remember that is not advised to fall behind on your payments, and this report is for educational purposes only! It is un-ethical for anyone to advise you to do so.

So as you continue on your journey for keeping your home, you can see there are several options to consider before you go into foreclosure. Please consult the appropriate professionals before making your decision. Remember if one option isn’t for you, you have others to look into.
For loan modification help, call The Mortgage Law Group now: 888-591-6555