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Why is it harder now to get a Home Loan Modification?

In the past some banks would approve you just based on a phone interview or the submission

of a HAMP application. Not now, new home loan modification rules require homeowners to supply

financial documents upfront- including paystubs and tax returns.

The modification programs are designed to help homeowners who can no longer make their

mortgage payments .If homeowners meet a long list of eligibility requirements, it is likely they will

receive assistance. In recent months, the banks are really scrutinizing

the financial documents and making homeowners jump through hoops while still playing a lot of

the same games , such as “ we never got your paperwork”, “send us in new paystubs”, “.you are

under review for the past 6 months”. Now more than ever it is imperative that you have

a seasoned professional fight to save your home!

Banks are still aggressively modifying mortgages despite all the bad press.

Close to 50,000 people received permanent home loan modifications during the month of November, bringing totals close to 7 million thus far nationwide. The good news is that there were 20% less foreclosure sales and the trend seems to be in favor of homeowner workout assistance.


Homeowners who have suffered hardships in the past who have found ways to rebound financially are getting help through the loan modification process. Unfortunately, it is quite often a long process fraught with mounds of paperwork and numerous turndowns. If you are behind on your mortgage or falling behind, the time to get help is as soon as you know you are going to be delinquent. Most of the mortgage servicers are understaffed overworked and are masters at the delay tactics. It is in there best interest to string you along and to keep collecting service fees.


If you want to save yourself a lot of time and aggravation, hire a professional!

Time is expiring on the governments Making Homes affordable; the time to re-apply is now!

To date, over 1 million people have received permanent modifications through Hamp. 1.6

million homeowner assistance programs are providing relief for struggling homeowners.

With time running out on the government programs (expires Dec.2014) and the fact that

the New York metropolitan area is stabilizing and home prices are rising, time is not on the

homeowner’s side. Homeowners, who are truly suffering and can

prove a hardship, need to push hard now to get the assistance they need to save their home. Even

if you have been turned down numerous times before, go to a professional who specializes in loan

modifications and foreclosure defense. The system is set up for homeowners to either give up and pay

what they owe or get foreclosed on. Don’t sit idly and accept the fact that your mortgage company

won’t help, remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease!

Why does my mortgage company continually drag its feet and why does it take so long?

The nation’s five largest lenders settled a $25 billion settlement over mortgage abuses but still fail to end the maze of frustration and abuse.


The main reasons are as follows

1)         Banks receive a monthly servicing fee based on the outstanding balance.

2)         Banks charge borrowers in default fees tacked on monthly.

3)         Banks charge interest from the time the servicer collects income from the borrower until it turns payment over to the mortgagor.

4)         Banks receive income from investment interests in the pool.


To summarize, Banks have a selfish interest in not modifying the loan quickly or in most cases look to not modify at all. Banks have no incentive to modify so the end result is the homeowner suffers by falling further behind and risking foreclosure .


Hamp’s Re-default Rate Over 30%

Since the beginning of the governments Home Affordable Modification program, over a million homeowners have received permanent modifications , and over 30% have defaulted again based on numerous reasons, mainly the economy and their inability to afford the homes in the first place.


According to Sigtarp”the longer a homeowner remains in Hamp the more likely they are to default”. Most of these homeowners who fall back behind are able to receive a second or sometimes third proprietary one.


Among the eight largest servicers participating in the government program, Select Portfolio Servicing had the highest percentage of defaults followed by Ocwen, Bank of America and Nation Star.


Given the fact that homeowners who have received Hamp modifications to begin with suffered an economic hardship, these statistics are not surprising. If you’ve suffered a second or third hardship it is imperative that your lender receive a detailed an accurate submission for further assistance. You may even need to file for assistance through your state court system or consider bankruptcy or a short sale as a final option.


Help is available for those who have given up hope. Make sure you hire a law firm who specializes in foreclosure assistance and learn all your options before you throw in the towel.


Charles Fine , Esq

Can I still get a mortgage Modification?

Yes!  Are you overwhelmed by your mortgage payments, thought about giving up?  If you’ve suffered a verifiable hardship , help is still available.


What is a Home Loan Modification?


Quite simply it is an adjustment made by your lender to help you save your home. You are not refinancing, just modifying the terms of your current mortgage.


What about a refinance?


A refinance is a great option but unrealistic for most homeowners. Today it is incredibly difficult to qualify based on depressed home values and stringent credit requirements by 99% of lenders.


How do I qualify for a Home Loan Modification?


If you have experienced a hardship and have missed payments and can afford a modified payment you are eligible to apply and qualify for

assistance. An experienced law firm can help you explore all your home loan work-out solutions.


Why would a bank help me with a Loan Modification?


A bank will only help you if it makes business sense for the bank, not because you are a nice person who deserves a break. It is imperative for you to present to the bank a total modification package that works within their requirements and guidelines. An experienced professional can assist you with that.


Loan Modification programs:


1)         White House/ Treasury programs,  Hamp etc

2)         Federal housing Finance Agency Programs (FHFA)

3)         Major lenders In House Programs  -these are modifications offered by your mortgage company, not through the government.

Is time running out on Home Loan Modifications?

President Obama extended the Hamp program to run until the end of this year 2014, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t extend it further. Even if he does not extend the government program, banks can still do there own in house modifications. Modifications have existed for decades and if it makes business sense banks will continue to do so.


If you have suffered a hardship or have been waiting months or even years for help from your bank, the time to get the assistance you need is now. There is no telling what the financial climate will be by years end and banks are aggressively going through their inventories and looking to clear the backlog of delinquent mortgages off their books.


Even if you have been turned down for assistance in the past or feel like giving up, help is still available for those who qualify and are persistent.

Before you give up, seek help from a professional with proven experience and always check a firms credibility by checking complaints on the web and other sources.

Top Five Mortgage Servicers Agree to More “Oversight” in Illinois

The five largest mortgage servicers agreed to offer distressed borrowers additional time to gather their loan modification paperwork, while also accepting additional oversight of loan modifications.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a member of the National Mortgage Settlement Monitoring Committee, said the group overseeing the $25 billion national mortgage settlement stepped in after receiving a large number of complaints from borrowers, legal aid groups and housing counselors about the loan mod process.

In response, servicers: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank  and Ally Bank, agreed to give homeowners 30 more days to respond to requests for additional documentation before referring a home to foreclosure or sale. The five servicers also agreed to expand their oversight of representatives working with borrowers.

Bank of America and Wells Fargo went a step further, saying they would provide more customer support to address missing information, escalate the process for borrowers dealing with multiple document requests and establish a direct contact for housing agencies that work with homeowners.

Two of the mega banks, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, plan to use an electronic online portal to submit documents back and forth, a move that will streamline communications and increase transparency for servicers, advocates and homeowners.

Kevin Kanouff, president and CEO of specialty servicer Statebridge Co. stated he does not believe that this will be a difficult task for the servicers saying: “This is not difficult for servicers to implement, but this will primarily increase foreclosure timelines in this jurisdiction leading to reduced home values.”

Illinois Attorney General Madigan has been aggressively watching mortgage servicers. Her office suggested back in May that 60% of loan modification files reviewed by her team showed servicers failing to comply with at least one requirement outlined in the national settlement. Forty-five percent of the files experienced multiple document requests.

New Jersey Residents in Foreclosure Face a Scary Reality Just in time for Halloween

When hearing the term “Vampire house” or “Zombie Home,” many Americans would think of the haunted houses springing up just in time for Halloween. However, these two terms do not refer to the fake ghosts and goblins that surround us during October, but rather refer to the sad reality of many New Jersey residents whose homes are in foreclosure.

A “vampire house” is the term referred to when describing a home that has gone through foreclosure, is owned by the bank, yet the previous owner still resides. A real estate firm coined the term considering this to be a frightening occurrence. reports that, one in every two homes in New Jersey that have gone through a foreclosure are considered to fall under the eerie term.

Under New Jersey law, a resident may remain in their house up to 45 days after the property has been foreclosed on. Most residents however remain since the average time of processing a foreclosure is 1,002 days according to RealtyTech. That average may be influenced by the fact that New Jersey is one of 17 states that require foreclosure to go through the court system. With the large amount homes currently in foreclosure that is an obscene amount of paper work for the courts to process.

“Zombie homes,” are slightly different.  Zombie homes are houses that are undergoing foreclosure but have been abandoned by their previous owners. These zombie homes vastly outnumber the population of vampire houses, with a staggering amount of 14,000.

The most affected areas in New Jersey are Cape May and Hudson County. 82 and 79 percent respectively of the counties foreclosure population are now vampire houses. The highest zombie counties are Camden, Gloucester, and Somerset, having 69, 64, and 62 percent of their foreclosure homes abandoned.

With the prices of houses increased, the banks are likely to want to sell houses sooner rather than later to acquire as much money as possible for the homes. So New Jersey’s un-dead population may be on the move.

Connecticut’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMAP)

The Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMAP) provides temporary monthly mortgage payment assistance for up to five years to eligible Connecticut homeowners who are facing foreclosure due to a financial hardship.  The EMAP loan is secured by a fixed-rate, subordinate mortgage on the homeowner’s residence yet is one that is both limited and requires repayment. However, the repayment of an EMAP mortgage starts when the homeowner’s financial condition sufficiently improves.

Who Can Apply?

Generally, EMAP assists Connecticut homeowners who are facing foreclosure, are 60 days delinquent, have received a notice of intent to foreclose from their Lender, or anticipate becoming 60 days delinquent on their mortgage.  EMAP has many technical requirements and funding is limited, so homeowners interested in applying for this program should research or contact an experienced attorney to get informed.

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