If you’re one of the many homeowners hit by the economic crash, chances are you’ve looked into refinancing, short sales, and other ways to help you get back on track. But if you’re in serious default or are at risk of losing your home, your best bet may be a home loan modification. Also called a mortgage modification, this process involves negotiating with your lender for more comfortable mortgage terms. The government has launched a home loan modification plan, known as Home Affordable Modification Program, designed to help troubled homeowners get better terms.
Each lender has a different standard for granting loan modifications, but the general requirements are pretty much the same. Below are some common cases that may make you eligible for a home loan modification.
Financial hardship Maybe you lost your job, got divorced, or had to pay emergency medical bills. These are all valid reasons (especially in this economy) for falling behind on your mortgage. Note that to qualify for a loan modification, the hardship has to be temporary and you have to have sufficient income. Provide bank statements or financial documents to show that youll be able to keep up with the modified loan.
Adjustable-rate mortgages A lot of today’s home defaults can be attributed to adjustable-rate mortgages, most of which were issued during the sub-prime boom between 2004 and 2007. Once the teaser period ended and the rates reverted to normal, many homeowners found themselves unable to keep up. The government’s home loan modification program allows these homeowners to return to comfortable mortgage terms, so they can avoid foreclosure and save their credit.
Falling home values Many people have found themselves unable to refinance because their home values have fallen, sometimes to a point where they owe more on the home than it’s currently worth. However, decreased home value alone won’t qualify you for a home loan modification, as home values are expected to rise and fall during the life of the loan. But combined with other factors, a decreased value can certainly increase your chances.
Lending violations Sub-prime lenders have been found to violate a number of laws on fair lending, and you can use this to your advantage when applying for a Home Loan Modification. Have a qualified loan modification attorney review your case and see if there are any violations you can use for leverage. With an experienced lawyer, you can negotiate more strongly with your lender and come out with a much more agreeable deal.