21 Mar Good Morning America’s Report On Mortgage Modification Falls Short.
Good Morning America has been doing a series of financial stories including the website Making Home Affordable. The story features a family reviewing the site Making Home Affordable. This story leaves the viewer feeling that this site will be the answer to all their prayers and that is very quick and easy. My problem with this is that when it comes to mortgage modification nothing is ever quick let alone easy.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of GMA and the morning team. I am not a news producer and I realize that there is a very short period of time to report on story but during these tough economic times it is important to provide all the facts. Making Home Affordable was made public this week of March 16, 2009. This site is in partnership with United States Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner and his Finanical Stability team. The purpose of Making Home Affordable is to assist the home owner seeking financial assistance through one of two paths, refinancing or loan modification.
The first part of the site asks you to take a quiz to determine if you are eligible for refinancing or loan modification. This is the part of the GMA story where the gentleman said the process was quick and easy. This is just a preliminary quiz to see if you qualify but this just means whether or not you should take the time to fill out the remaining paperwork. Nothing else. This quiz does not mean that you are automatically qualified or disqualified for the refinancing or modification.
If you qualify for the refinancing then you must determine if you have a Fannie or Freddie Loan. This question in the past was a difficult one to answer. Therefore, I give kudos to this website for assisting the homeowners in providing the answer. So if you are qualify for refinancing and if you have either Fannie or Freddie Mac loan you must proceed to the next step. The next step will be for YOU to call your lender and request to refinance your loan under the Making Home Affordable program. Check out the website for facts about the refinancing process.
On the Making Home Affordable website there is a warning:
Please be patient
Lenders and servicers have started to implement the program and there may be a slight delay before they are prepared to process all applications.
Again I give kudos to the Making Home Affordable website because this process is anything but fast and they are not trying to give false hope. I have clients right now attempting to refinance, or do loan modifications, or basically attempting to do anything to save their homes and neither they nor I can get a call back from the mortgage company. I am hoping that maybe now the tide is changing and finally the homeowners can truly receive help.
Refinancing is the first part of the site. If you do not qualify for refinancing you maybe eligible for a loan modification. By now you may be asking what is the difference between the two because it is all Greek to me and I do not speak Greek. Refinancing takes your current loan and creates a new loan on your home and pays off the existing loan. A loan modification keeps the existing loan and just changes the terms of the contract such as the payment per month and/or interest rate.
So if you are not eligible for refinancing you can take the loan modification quiz. If you qualify per the quiz you again must call your mortgage company and ask for a loan modification under the Making Home Affordable program. I cannot stress enough that it will take time for either process and there is no guarantee that this will work for you.
Bottom line is if you are having trouble making your home payments then definitely try to refinance or do a loan modification under the Making Home Affordable program. But while you are attempting to qualify for these programs do not stop making your payments. Also during this process remember that the squeaky wheel will get the grease. Meaning that YOU must keep in contact with the mortgage company. Do not think for one moment that the mortgage company cares about you as an individual. You are simply a business decision for them to make. This means they are not going to go out of their way to help you. Call your mortgage company once a week to see where you are at in the process and document every conversation. Check out the website for facts about the modification process.
Good Morning America did a great job of providing teaser information about saving your home but remember that knowledge is the power. To gain that knowledge read the website Making Home Affordable, read your mortgage contract, and be sure to read the paperwork regardless if you are refinancing or modifying your loan. If you are not sure what you reading than get help from an attorney. You should never sign any contract without reading it first and never sign the contract with understanding every word in that contact. The Making Home Affordable website also provides information about reading your mortgage statement. Never stop asking questions about your mortgage. It is up to you to protect yourself and your rights under your mortgage contract.
Written by Kansas City, Missouri Bankruptcy Attorney, Rachel Lynn Foley.