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Government May Subsidize Loan Modifications

February 26, 2009

capitol-hillIn an effort to boost loan workouts and their related effectiveness, a plan is reportedly in the works to give mortgage lenders a subsidy if they cut mortgage rates for troubled borrowers, according to the Washington Post.

The Obama Administration is apparently mulling over a proposal that would provide greater incentives for lenders to offer loan workouts to more borrowers in need, not just those close to foreclosure.

Under one possible scenario, the government would share the cost of lowering an at-risk borrower’s interest rate, which may promote the use of loan modifications as a loss mitigation tool instead of less effective repayment plans.

“For example, consider a homeowner with a $200,000 mortgage and a 9 percent interest rate who now pays about $1,700 a month, including taxes and insurance. Lowering the interest rate to 5 percent would reduce the payments to about $1,160. The government and industry would each chip in to cover the difference, about $540,” the Post reported.

The program will likely be financed with the $50 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds set aside for homeowner relief.

It’s unclear how such a program would be carried out, though sources close to the plan believe Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will have some involvement.

Homeowners looking for such aid may be subject to an affordability test, as well as an appraisal of their home to qualify.

Of course, some critics have already argued that many homeowners are simply beyond help, and don’t belong in a mortgage.

Others question why we should subsidize mortgage lenders to do what’s in their best interest to begin with, as a loan modification is often cheaper than foreclosing.

Regardless, most seemed optimistic by the notion of the plan, which was evident in a late rally on Wall Street.

But with re-default rates expected to be in the range of 60-70 percent, it’s hard to get too excited about the initiative, especially with the giant pool of underwater borrowers left to deal with.

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Prime Mortgage Crisis Looming

February 17, 2009

Mortgage modifications hit a record in December, 2008. The troubling issue is that many of these modifications are from PRIME borrowers who are attempting to avoid foreclosure. We have heard all about the subprime mortgage crisis, but now it seems to be flowing into prime borrowers as well. The initial problem was caused by subprime borrowers having the inability to pay their loans which caused the economy to head south fast. Now prime borrowers are feeling the pinch and are attempting to modify their current mortgages. Is this something that you should consider?

Now that layoffs are commonplace in America, many more “prime” mortgage borrowers have a reason to be concerned. It is almost impossible to make mortgage payments being unemployed and that is what many unfortunate Americans are having to cope with. Two areas of the economy that are going to feel this economic downturn very hard are print media and retail. Print media is a dying horse as the Internet has changed the way we access information. It is likely we will see many job cuts in this industry. Retail will struggle because consumers are only buying staple products like toilet paper and laundry detergent. Manufacturers and high end retailers are likely to shed jobs in the next six to twelve months as well.

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Navigating The Mortgage Modification Maze

February 12, 2009

3Government-sanctioned counseling agencies, local community service agencies and private loan modification agencies concede they have been swamped by demand for loan modifications. The demand has opened the floodgates of loan modification services now offered by real estate agents, mortgage brokers, attorneys, government agencies, lenders, and other professionals.

The demand stems from a proliferation of federal, state and local foreclosure relief and bailout efforts from both government and the lending industry. Mortgage modifications have been around for years, but those recent efforts have raised the profile of the mortgage workouts as an alternative to foreclosures, short sales, auctions, and bankruptcy.

However, homeowners seeking mortgage modifications are at the mercy of lenders, because the workouts are voluntary and often without regulatory standards.

Caught in the lurch, homeowners are finding it tough to know when a modification will work and how to best obtain one.

What is a mortgage modification?

A home loan modification, granted only upon the existing lender’s approval, permanently reworks some of the terms of an existing mortgage in order to make the loan more affordable to the homeowner.

The strategy is typically designed for homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage, not for those who can pay their mortgage or are eligible for a refinanced loan.

Modifications are generally lender fee-free and involve the lender or loan holder lowering the interest rate and or changing an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed rate mortgage (FRM) with a 30-year term. Some form of mandated homeownership counseling generally comes with the deal.

Less common loan modifications include adding missed payments to the loan balance and extending the term of the loan. Least common is getting the lender to reduce the principal or wipe out any second mortgages.

A mortgage modification is not a refinanced mortgage — a brand new loan written to pay off the old home loan.

“A mortgage is one of the most complex transactions there is. A loan modification is also a gray area for a lot of people. So of course people need someone to walk them through the process to tell them this is what you need and this is what you don’t need,” said Ginna Green, spokeswoman for the California office of the Center for Responsible Lending in Oakland.

Is a loan modification for you?

A loan modification may not be viable if:

• The modified loan comes with payments you still can’t afford.

• Your current interest rate is already low and there’s no room for the lender to lower it further.

• You can make the new payments, but the mortgage balance is greater than the value of your home and you don’t plan on staying put long enough to reverse the loan-to-value imbalance.

• You have not already missed payments on your mortgage or can’t show financial hardship due, say, to job loss, pay decrease, illness or interest rate increase.

• You have other properties, investments or assets that could be liquidated to cover your mortgage debt.

 A short sale (The lender forgives a portion of the debt owed if you can find a buyer), bankruptcy, auction sale, refinance or other approach, short of a foreclosure, is a better option.

“You can do a loan modification and not be aware of where you stand. You can get a loan modification for a home you don’t want to be in,” said Pennington.

A financial, housing or credit counselor can help you determine your best option. Just be prepared to hold down the fort for the 60 to 90 days or more it could take to complete the modification, due to potential complications and document processing times.

The private loan modification route

Because both nonprofits and lenders have been inundated with calls for aid, it may be prudent to hire a private loan modification service to get a foot in the lender’s door. Consider the following useful tips if you hire a private loan modifier:

• Make sure your choice has a clean record. Consider legal and real estate professionals offering loan modification services only if they have current, unblemished licenses. Also check their record with the Better Business Bureau and their respective trade or professional group.

• Get performance-related service. Never pay an advance fee if your lender has already recorded a notice of default. You could be throwing good money after bad. It’s illegal in California for “foreclosure consultants” or any real estate licensee to collect a fee after a notice of default has been recorded.

• Check your state for similar regulations. Make sure to familiarize yourself with any other rules governing private loan modification services and state rules specific to lenders granting modifications. You won’t know if the modification service is adhering to the law if you don’t know the law.

Carefully examine any contract or terms of service before proceeding. If you don’t understand the terms or aren’t satisfied with what’s promised, don’t sign. Get help. That could mean reconsidering waiting for a HUD-certified counselor.

Pay particular attention to what the service will or won’t do with your information, especially when it comes to sharing it with third parties. When information

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Loan Modification Terminology

February 9, 2009

loansAssumptions – Assumption of an FHA-insured mortgage is a servicing function where the responsibility or paying for a mortgage is taken over by another person through simple assumption or creditworthiness assumption.

Claims – The vehicle utilized for payment of insurance proceeds from HUD to a Mortgagee is the Insurance Benefit Claim form HUD- 27011. This form is utilized for all submissions of claims for Conveyance of Property and Loss Mitigation Option incentives.

Deed-in-Lieu – A Deed in Lieu of foreclosure (DIL) is a disposition option in which a mortgagor voluntarily deeds collateral property in exchange for a release from all obligations under the mortgage. A DIL of foreclosure may not be accepted from mortgagors who can financially make their mortgage payments.

Extension of Time – To comply with required time frames, an Extension of Time may be granted for a mortgagee to initiate or complete a Loss Mitigation (except Pre-Foreclosure Sales) and/or foreclosure action.

Foreclosure – Foreclosure should only be considered as a last resort and should not be initiated until all relief options have been exhausted. When foreclosure cannot be avoided, it must be started quickly and prosecuted vigorously to minimize losses to both the mortgagee and HUD.

General Loss Mitigation – This category includes all Loss Mitigation questions that are not specific to one of the five Loss Mitigation Options.

Loan Modification – A Loan Modification is a permanent change in one or more of the terms of a mortgagor’s loan, allows the loan to be reinstated, and results in a payment the mortgagor can afford.

Partial Claim – Under the Partial Claim option, a mortgagee will advance funds on behalf of a mortgagor in an amount necessary to reinstate a delinquent loan (not to exceed the equivalent of 12 months PITI). Currently, these promissory or “Partial Claim” notes assess no interest and are not due and payable until the mortgagor either pays off the first mortgage or no longer owns the property.

Pre-Foreclosure Sale – The Preforeclosure Sale (PFS) Program allows the mortgagor in default to sell his/her home and use the net sale proceeds to satisfy the mortgage debt even though these proceeds are less than the amount owed.

Single Family Default Monitoring System – Data reported to the Single Family Default Monitoring System (SFDMS) is used to measure the effectiveness of origination and servicing activities, and the potential risk to the insurance fund.

Special Forbearance – A Special Forbearance (SFB) is a written repayment agreement between a mortgagee and a mortgagor, which contains a plan to reinstate an asset that is minimum three mortgage payments due and unpaid.

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Foreclosure Help

February 6, 2009

mortgagedm2705_468x729If you have been looking for mortgage help or assistance with a loan modification, then you have came to the right blog for safe and accurate information. This blog will helpful to homeowners who are struggling with their mortgages to find the real help.

The first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. There are literally millions of people suffering as a result of their mortgages and this housing crisis. Realize that you will get through this, one way or another.

One of the first things that a homeowner should do is identify that the mortgage on their current property is a lawful one, meaning that there are no Truth in Lending Act or RESPA violations and there wasn’t fraud involved on behalf of the lender or broker that originated your loan. If there are legal issues, then you can use these violations to your advantage and put the lender on the defense.

Red Flags and things to look out for in your mortgage loan

If your lender or mortgage broker violated the law, by all means, you may have found the holy grail to help you get out of your toxic or fraudulent mortgage.

Start by comparing the loan you got with the one you thought you were getting. Are the terms the same? Is your Annual Percentage Rate (”APR”) the same as the one you were quoted? Are your total monthly payments the same as you were told they would be? Is there a prepayment penalty, and if so, were you told about this prepayment penalty?

If you have refinanced your primary residence, the home your currently live in, then the first thing you should look at is the “notice of Right to Cancel” which is also called the Three Day Right of Rescission. You usually have three days after signing loan documents to change your mind and cancel the loan.

The borrower must be told of this right in writing.

If the creditor fails to properly provide notice of this right to cancel, the right of rescission may be extended for up to three years. When the right is extended for three years you can rescind the loan at any time before three years, meaning that the loan is treated as if it never existed. Essentially, you become entitled to all profits made by the creditor as a result of this loan. This means that the creditor must refund all interest paid, all closing fees, all broker fees, and even pay for your attorney fees. As you can imagine, this amount can be quite significant.

The extended right of rescission is a powerful tool to help borrowers who have been victims of predatory lending, and helping our clients exercise this right is often the first step in holding a creditor responsible for illegal behavior. If it is determined that no laws have been violated on your mortgage, then it’s time to approach your lender for a possible loan workout or loan modification.

The factors they will look at to see if your are eligible for a loan modification are:

1. Nature of Hardship Causing Your Mortgage Problems
2. Ability to pay
3. Amount Owed
4. Equity in the property
5. Future financial situation
6. What is better for them. To foreclose or pursue a loan workout with you and or modify your loan. Meaning which approach will best benefit the lender in the long run.

Mortgage help can take form either via a loan workout or loan modification  and this generally occurs where the parties to a problem loan mutually agree to workout the problem by creating new and better loan terms. The hope is that the new loan will enable to the borrower to meet their obligations.

Make the Plan and Work the Plan:

When applying for loan modification help, make a game plan on how exactly you are going to approach your lender or servicer. You need o plan for the worst and hope for the best. So, that means you are going to make 2 plans. 1 plan is to approach a loan workout plan with your lender and the 2nd plan is a “backup” plan in case your attempts to get a loan modification do not work. The 2nd plan is for your to prepare for the worst case scenario.

Understanding your lenders or servicers employees:

These people are trained in minimizing loss for their company and they get paid to by getting the most amount of money out of you as possible or declare that your case is un workable and foreclose on you. That is how they mitigate loss. If you understand this, then you’ll know that you have to approach them and all conversations very carefully. They are people just like you and they are just doing a job.

Many do not care much about anything but lunch and Friday’s. You have to befriend them and “win” their compassion and open ear.. My advice is to be as nice as you can  to these people who answer the phone (no matter how pissed off you are at your lender). They have a tough job with hundreds of angry homeowners calling every day. Stand out and be the nice, calm and collective homeowner. You’ll be surprised that this simple tip will get you FAR!

The Mortgage HELP Plan:

1. Gather all your financial information and separate it into 3 categories

 Income – Any and all income. Wages, social security, child support, welfare etc.
 Assets – All real estate, 401k, IRA, stocks & bonds, autos, boats etc.
 Expenses – All expenses, mortgage payment, taxes, utilities, vehicles, cell phone, child care, insurance etc.
 Income & Expense Sheet – Now make a income and expense sheet with all your data. Here is a sheet to help you.
Your lender or servicer will ask you to fill out a financial statement and this is what the lender will use to determine if you are eligible for a loan modification.

2. Write a hardship letter. Here in an example hardship letter

You’ll need to provide this hardship letter, documenting the reason you are unable to afford the mortgage (or reason you have fallen behind) and the reason that you are a good candidate for loan modification.  This letter will give your lender or servicer a clear picture and shows that you are a responsible borrower who has just suffered a hardship or a rate reset that is causing your problems.

This letter is going to explain what is causing your mortgage woes and why you are having problems
Make it short and sweet. 1 page to 2 at max. Remember you are sending this letter to an “employee” who is very busy and does not have time to read 5 page hardship letters.

3. Prepare for your first phone call:

Here is a list of lender and servicer contact information
Gather all the contact numbers you’ll need.
Place your emotions to the side because this is all about “business”
Place a smile on your face and get ready for the fight of your life!
The trick with any bank and getting a work out done is learning to navigate their phone system so as to increase your chances of getting a live person. Over the years I’ve learned some tricks that help, sometimes you hear options that you know will lead to a person like when it says “to speak to a representative press ___” but sometimes they don’t give you these options.

So, you have to think, what options WOULD get a live person. For example often anything that involves new clients signing up will get a live representative…because they always want new business. You have to be a little savvy though; you can’t just tell the sales guy you called them so you could get a warm body to answer the phone!

Once you get a live person, you want to be working your way up to a decision maker. This is sometimes harder to do for a homeowner than a 3rd party. Often with the homeowner they get stonewalled at the first level, and sadly the first tier in Loss Mitigation is really a glorified collections department. They are paid hourly employee’s who have very little if not zero motivation to go the extra mile and help you get some needed comfort and relief while resolving your problem. Often they just compound the problem by being rude and demanding, telling people things like “just pay your bills”. So it’s essential that you get beyond these people and to a specialist.

4.  Document your efforts

Make a separate folder for this and attach a “conversation log” or a “call log”
Document every call, conversations, fax, letter, email on your call log
This is very important in case you receive abuse and neglect from your lender or servicer. This will be your “evidence” in case you have to file a complaint with the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or if your decide to bring a lawsuit against your predatory lender or servicer.

5.  Do you have complaints against your servicer? Please do not take this abuse and understand your have rights that protect you from predatory servicing.

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is a consumer protection statute, first passed in 1974. RESPA covers loans secured with a mortgage placed on a one-to-four family residential property. These include most purchase loans, assumptions, refinances, property improvement loans, and equity lines of credit. HUD’s Office of RESPA and Interstate Land Sales is responsible for enforcing RESPA.

Loan servicing complaints

Section 6 provides borrowers with important consumer protections relating to the servicing of their loans. Under Section 6 of RESPA, borrowers who have a problem with the servicing of their loan (including escrow account questions), should contact their loan servicer in writing, outlining the nature of their complaint. The servicer must acknowledge the complaint in writing within 20 business days of receipt of the complaint.

Within 60 business days the servicer must resolve the complaint by correcting the account or giving a statement of the reasons for its position. Until the complaint is resolved, borrowers should continue to make the servicer’s required payment.

Borrowers may obtain actual damages, as well as additional damages if there is a pattern of noncompliance.

Closing loan modification thoughts:

The MOST crucial element to this whole process is your Budget and if you have done your due diligence, you’ll be ready . They will ask you for a detailed list of your monthly expenses. If it’s too tight, you may not get approved, if you have too much extra income you are going to have an outrageous payment plan.

Don’t agree to it!

The 2nd MOST important thing you can do is DO NOT SPEND YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENTS.

Often people stop making their payment because they are falling behind on other bills, or they can’t quite make the whole house payment. Over the years more often than not, the people I met with still have an income coming in each month, they just can’t meet all their obligations, so while the house is falling behind they take advantage of the fact that they aren’t paying the house payment in order to catch up on other debts.  Sock away as much of that money each month as you can. Its crucial, here’s why;

If you don’t pay your mortgage for 3-4 months and your lender decides to negotiate a repayment plan or a loan modification, then they will want what is called “good faith” money for you to come to the table with. Typically this is from 30-75% and sometimes 100% of what you owe in delinquent fees and attorney fees. Often I speak with homeowners who spend all their money and have nothing to work with. If that is the case, then don’t expect them to work with you or you better have a VERY good explanation and proof as to why you have no money to bring to the table.

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How To Avoid Mortgage Fraud

February 5, 2009

mortgageWhat Constitutes Mortgage Loan Fraud?


If you lie on your real estate loan application, it’s mortgage fraud. Even tiny white lies constitute mortgage fraud. But many borrowers hedge a little there, puff a little here, often because they don’t know any better or, worse, because a real estate professional suggested it’s no big deal.

It is a big deal. So-called “creative financing” went out in the 1970s, along with bell bottoms. If the lender subsequently discovers any part of your loan application is false, not only can it demand immediate full payment of your loan, but you could pay six-figure fines, find the FBI ringing your doorbell one day and/or go to jail.

What Constitutes Mortgage Loan Fraud

The FBI defines mortgage fraud as “any material misstatement, misrepresentation or omission relied upon by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase or insure a loan.”

Here are a few examples of common mortgage fraud:

• Undisclosed kickbacks.
If you strike a deal with a home seller to give you a big wad of cash or to slip a check across the closing table, say, to pay for a new roof, and if the lender doesn’t know about it — because it’s not disclosed in the purchase contract nor addendum nor your estimated closing statement — it’s mortgage fraud.
• Silent second mortgage.
A borrower without a down payment can commit mortgage fraud by borrowing the down payment from the seller in exchange for giving the seller a silent second mortgage, which is unrecorded (or records after closing) and hidden from the lender.
• Falsifying employment income.
Stated income loans were originally created for self-employed individuals whose income is difficult to verify, but some employed borrowers inflate their income above and beyond a W-2.
• Non-owner occupant claiming occupancy.
Lenders offer higher interest rates and less favorable terms to non-owner occupants because the lender’s risk is higher. If you don’t intend to live in the property, don’t promise that you will.
• Down payment gifts you will repay.
Both parties, the giver and the recipient, commit loan fraud if the gift is to be repaid. Gifts cannot be repaid.
• Inflated purchase price.
If you have two purchase contracts and send the false contract with the higher sales price to the lender in hopes of obtaining a higher appraisal, its mortgage fraud.
• Falsifying deposits.
Dishonest borrowers who do not have an earnest money deposit might state in the contract that the deposit was paid outside of escrow, which is fraudulent.

Professional Mortgage Fraud

Length of time in the business is no guarantee that your “trusted adviser” isn’t a crook. A Pennsylvania mortgage broker got 30 years behind bars after defrauding more than 800 borrowers in a Ponzi scheme, which somehow kept all the balls in the air for 20 years. A Kansas City, Missouri, appraiser pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, plus a $500,000 fine. Schemes are happening every day. The newspapers are filled with similar stories.

Mortgage Fraud In Sacramento, California

A young couple bought a home in Sacramento, CA, that had gone into foreclosure and, by accident, stumbled upon a mortgage fraud scheme. It wasn’t too difficult to piece together the scenario. Let’s say it last sold in November for $600,000. The listing agent was a mortgage broker with no traceable track record of selling real estate. He also represented the buyer. Although I possess no concrete knowledge that the mortgage broker arranged the financing, it would seem likely, given the fact that arranging loans was his primary business.

I’d venture to guess that earning both sides of the real estate commission, plus pocketing the loan points — the sum of which easily totals more than $40,000 — could have been the monetary factor for mortgage fraud.  The home was listed for four months without any offers at $550,000, but it suddenly sold at $600,000 — in a buyer’s market when property values were falling, not rising. The buyer never occupied the property at closing but instead rented it out.
The $50,000 difference lined the pockets of somebody – could be the mortgage broker, the appraiser, the seller, the buyer or all parties involved. The buyer collected rent and never made one mortgage payment on his 100%-financed loans totaling $600,000. This was easy to figure out because a November closing meant the first mortgage payment was payable in January. Lenders typically wait two to three months after borrowers default before filing the Notice of Default.

In March, a Notice of Default was filed, and the home was foreclosed upon in June. The lender evicted the tenants and put the home on the market in July. New buyers purchased this home in August for about $400,000.

If You Suspect Mortgage Fraud

If you are approached by a real estate professional who asks you to be part of a mortgage fraud scheme, report the perpetrators to the FBI. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is likely a scam. Moreover, know that mortgage fraud is a prosecutable crime and against the law. If you suspect that you are being asked to break the law, at the very least, talk to a reputable real estate lawyer or the licensing authority in your state before moving forward with your plans.

Are you facing Foreclosure? You can Stop Foreclosure Today!

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Tips For Avoiding Foreclosure

February 5, 2009

foreclosures1Are you having trouble keeping up with your mortgage payments? Have you received a notice from your lender asking you to contact them?

If you are unable to make your mortgage payment:

1. Don’t ignore the problem.  The further behind you become, the harder it will be to reinstate your loan and the more likely that you will lose your house.
2. Contact your lender as soon as you realize that you have a problem. Lenders do not want your house. They have options to help borrowers through difficult financial times.
3. Open and respond to all mail from your lender.  The first notices you receive will offer good information about foreclosure prevention options that can help you weather financial problems. Later mail may include important notice of pending legal action.  Your failure to open the mail will not be an excuse in foreclosure court.
4. Know your mortgage rights. Find your loan documents and read them so you know what your lender may do if you can’t make your payments.  Learn about the foreclosure laws and timeframes in your state (as every state is different) by contacting the State Government Housing Office.
5. Prioritize your spending. After healthcare, keeping your house should be your first priority.  Review your finances and see where you can cut spending in order to make your mortgage payment.  Look for optional expenses – cable TV, memberships, entertainment that you can eliminate. Delay payments on credit cards and other “unsecured” debt until you have paid your mortgage.
6. Use your assets. Do you have assets – a second car, jewelry, a whole life insurance policy that you can sell for cash to help reinstate your loan? Can anyone in your household get an extra job to bring in additional income?  Even if these efforts don’t significantly increase your available cash or your income, they demonstrate to your lender that you are willing to make sacrifices to keep your home.

If You Are Facing Foreclosure You Can Save Your Home And Stop The Foreclosure Process Today

Contact Foreclosure Shield Today. We can help you:

• Lower Your Interest Rate
• Extend Your Loan Terms
• Eliminate Fees And Penalties