Homeowners across the country are trying to get mortgage loan modifications that will allow them to avoid foreclosure. They're behind on their house payments, and a permanent change to the terms of their loan that reinstates it with a lower payment is their only hope of keeping their home.
But, for many people, working with their bank on their own simply isn't getting them the results they need. So they're wondering if they should continue to go it alone or get professional help. If you're trying to decide, here are some things to take into consideration.
First, it is possible to get a loan modification on your own. You don't have to pay anyone to assist you. And considering that it also doesn't cost anything to apply for or get approval for a loan mod, trying for yourself can seem like an attractive option.
Problems With Applying for a Loan Modification on Your Own
Unfortunately, few people who try to get a loan modification on their own are happy with the results. You have to complete an application called a request for modification assistance (RMA) to be considered for a loan modification. The documentation required to complete an RMA includes:
- A hardship letter that details what caused you to default on your mortgage payments
- Copy's of last two years tax returns and W-2s
- Financial worksheet that shows your income and assets
- Copy of past two months pay stubs and bank statements
- Most recent mortgage statement
- Proof of homeowner's insurance
- Property tax statement
The real fun starts after gathering those documents and submitting them to your loan servicer. Applicants frequently complain about being asked to resubmit documents they already included the first time. There are also cases of banks saying that the entire application was lost and therefore needs to be resubmitted.
The biggest complaint homeowners have is that their applications are denied. After weeks of gathering documents needed tor the RMA, resubmitting papers, and stressing over what the future holds, the application is denied. The “good” news is that you're eligible for a short sale, the bank says in its denial letter.
But you don't want a short sale. You want to keep your home. So you apply all over again and the same thing happens. Denied.
While you're waiting for the bank to make a decision, the stress, anger, and frustration can be overwhelming. People trying to resolve their housing issues often can't sleep at night because they're so worried about what's going to happen. And they experience physical and mental health ailments at a higher rate than the rest of the population.
Taking Advantage of an Attorney's Knowledge and Experience
There's a better way to go about getting a loan modification, a way that involves less uncertainty and stress: hire an experienced attorney.
There are many benefits to working with a qualified attorney. You have better odds of getting the results you want and you don't have to worry as much since you know your case is in the hands of a trusted professional.
With an experienced pro on your side you can get the best deal possible. Don't just settle for any modification, get the best modification. Your lawyer should know what to do to get your modification approved, when to accept the bank's offer, and when to hold out for a better one. That's something you can't know without experience.
There are clearly substantial advantages to hiring an attorney who has experience helping people in your situation. But, if you're like a lot of people, you assume that you can't afford to hire one. However, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that some reputable attorneys fees are very affordable. So don't assume, look into it. And check out our tips on finding the right attorney for your needs.
And don't forget to consider the cost of failing to get a loan modification. If your house is foreclosed on, you're going to have to pay the costs of moving out of your home, putting a security deposit on a rental, and of having bad credit for years after foreclosure.
Also consider that an attorney may be able to get you time in your home without paying the mortgage through any number of foreclosure defense strategies.
Take it all into account and you'll see that a good attorney could save you from wasting time, money, and emotional energy. Don't procrastinate. If you've stopped paying your mortgage, it's a matter of time before you're foreclosed on. And the federal government's home affordable modification program (HAMP) is set to expire at the end of 2016.
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