Current Housing Market Status:
In the last 3 or 4 years, a large number of homeowners have been trying to complete a “loan workout” with their current mortgage lender to lower the interest rate and improve the terms of their loan. Many lenders have chosen not to accept any new terms, rather, let the property go into foreclosure.
Because lenders have an overwhelming number of properties in foreclosure, they are starting to accept loan modifications via their loss mitigation departments. The time is ripe for consumers (who own homes) to take action and request that their loans be modified towards better terms and a lower interest rate they can afford, if they have high interest rate sub-prime loans or are at risk for foreclosure.
Since, the rate of foreclosures is increasing, everyday, the federal government, congress and the president have approved and signed a new bill which will allow homeowners to take advantage of a new “FHA – Hope for Homeowners Program” designed to save more than 400,000 homeowners from foreclosure. This program will go “live” on October 1st, 2008.
The new FHA loan program will assist homeowners who are currently in foreclosure, close to foreclosure or those who have high interest rate mortgage loans like those called sub-prime loans. The program is different than a loan modification in several ways.
The following is a bulleted layout of the deference’s between completing a loan modification and getting approved to do a FHA -Hope for Homeowners program.
1. You can recast your current loan into different terms, with the hope to benefit from a lower interest rate, which is fixed rather than an adjustable interest rate.
2. The costs of the loan modification are rolled on the “back-end” of the loan, which will increase the amount of money you owe.
3. The loss mitigation department may choose to keep the amount (that you own on your loan) higher than your current home value. Or they may choose to lower that amount, some, but not as much as it could be to make your new payment comfortable in the long term. This could mean that you may be in financial jeopardy, in the future.
4. It’s a fact, what cause your current lender to be interested in keeping your loan on their books are the servicing rights. They make money servicing your loan over the term of the amortization schedule. The problem is that many lenders have filed for bankruptcy or just got out of the business (due to poor credits markets) and the servicing rights have been sold to other investors. This often causes a strain, since; the servicer does not actually have your loan documents at their facility, so they rely on others to get your original loan information to them for review. This process can cause the loan modification workout to be slow, in many cases. Timing is very important, since, homeowners are not knowledgeable in the process and they often wait to late to get the loan modification process started. It is important to communicate with your current lender and get the loan modification process stated, months before your home goes to foreclosure sale.
5. If your request for a loan modification is rejected, you may want to try it again in a few months, since; some lenders don’t document the loan modification attempt you made. They are often motivated by changes in the housing market and their intent changes as more and more loans go into default. It does not hurt to try again. It is smart to work with a loan modification specialist, a seasoned loan officer or an attorney who specializes in real estate, mortgage lending and loan modifications. They understand how to speak to loss mitigation department, personnel and can get a general idea of the mood and trends of your lenders loss mitigation department.
6. Many loan modification specialist work together with attorney firms to get the loss mitigation departments to act in a timely manner. Those same attorney firms work with the loan modification specialist to make sure the original loan documents are not fraud ridden. This is a good approach, yet it can cost the homeowner additional money, since both the loan modification specialist and the attorney need to be paid for their services.
7. Homeowners are required refinancing home loans to pay the loan modification specialists and attorneys for the services, provided. Many homeowners think that the cost will be included in the new loan amount, but this is not the case. Logically, lenders are already losing money when they agree to modify the loan terms and conditions for the homeowner, so, you can bet that they will not agree to “package” the costs of doing the loan modification into the new loan. That cost is paid by the homeowner, directly to the loan modification specialist and/or the attorney. The cost can range between $995.00 and $, 5000.00; as an average. Many loan modification specialist, senior loan officers and attorney firms can work out a payment plan, yet, many require at least 1/2 upfront before they start the loan workout. Understand, there is no guarantee that your loan modification or loan workout will be accepted. You will still have to pay your representation your agreed amount. A large percentage of loan modifications and workouts are accepted. So, it’s a good bet, since, most people do not want to loose their homes to foreclosure.
8. Loss mitigation representatives, (most often) do not require you to pay for a new appraisal. Instead, they have your representative provide census track data, a BPO (broker price opinion) or a print out of valuation from title company market sales data. 9. If you are in foreclosure and costs have been incurred from posting your foreclosure sales data, attorney fees, title costs or other costs; you could be liable for those costs, if our current lender requires it (as a requirement to the loan modification).