All of the major lenders are really getting up to speed with the Making Home Affordable (MHA) loan modification program. This is essentially a “Cash for Clunkers” program for distressed homeowners. If you think that you may qualify to trade in that clunker subprime loan or perhaps are facing future interest rate adjustments on a prime loan then the time to act is now.
This is an incredibly generous government program that can help homeowners adjust their mortgage payments to their financial situation rather than market conditions. A new home buyer with perfect credit, a large down payment and plenty of income might qualify for 5.5% on a 30 year fixed mortgage whereas a current homeowner with terrible credit, no equity and reduced income can qualify for as low as 2%. Hey, no one said life is fair.
There are many people who can benefit for the MHA program. Have you experienced a reduction in income? Has your mortgage rate adjusted up? Have you gotten so far behind that you can't catch up but could make future payments at a lower rate if your loan was reset? Are you just in a really lousy subprime loan and would like something better? It is possible to seek a loan modification on your own directly with your lender or through a government counseling center. That should be easier to do but the fact is that it isn't.
Many of my clients have tried to do it on their own and were frustrated. By all means don't even consider paying anyone a large upfront fee to seek a loan modification on your behalf however, I do recommend that you consider using a real estate attorney that requires only a small retainer and charges for obtaining loan modifications and not just for applying for them. You can get a free online evaluation at Whichever route you choose, the lenders for Making Home Affordable all have the same guidelines and will need to review the same documents.
Gather your 2008 federal tax return, last 30 days paystubs, last two months bank statements, be able to express your hardship in continuing your current mortgage payments. If you are self employed then the 2007 tax return may also be needed and a year to date profit & loss.
The website referred to above has a H&R tax preparer registered with the IRS on staff (In addition to a Real Estate Attorney) so preparing past due returns and a current profit & loss can be done quickly.