I Do Not Live In The House That Secures The Mortgage I'd Like To Modify. Is This Mortgage Eligible for a Mortgage Modification Under HAMP?
No. If you own a house that you use as a vacation home or that you rent out to tenants, the mortgage on that house is not eligible to be modified.
If you used to live in the home but you moved out, the mortgage is not eligible. Only the mortgage on your primary residence is eligible.
Is There a Financial Incentive for Homeowners?
Yes. Homeowners who make timely payments on their modified loans will receive success incentives. For every month you make a payment on time, you will accrue an incentive that reduces the principal balance on your loan.
The incentive will be applied directly to your loan balance annually-$1,000 each year-and over five years the total principal reduction could add up to $5,000. If your loan ceases to be in good standing (three monthly payments are due and unpaid on the last day of the third month), no further success payments will be paid.
What if I am Facing Foreclosure?
Contact your lender immediately and ask to be considered for HAMP. Servicers participating in the HAMP program are not allowed to proceed with a foreclosure sale until you have been evaluated for a modification under HAMP, and, if eligible, offer you a trial modification.
Participating servicers must use reasonable efforts to contact homeowners facing foreclosure to determine their eligibility, including in-person contacts at the servicer's discretion. Foreclosure sales may not be conducted while your loan is being considered for a modification or during the trial period. Additionally, once you have entered into a trial period plan by submitting the first trial period payment, the lender may not take legal action to initiate a new foreclosure.
I am Unable to Make Payments During My HAMP Trial Period am I Still Eligible?
No. Homeowners who are unable to make the required payments by the end of the trial period are not eligible for a permanent mortgage modification under HAMP. However, you may be eligible for other foreclosure prevention options offered by your lender.
I Am Unemployed. Can I Still Get a Mortgage Modification?
No. However, if you are unemployed, you may be eligible for consideration through the Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP).
If you are currently in a HAMP trial period and just lost your job, you may request to be considered for UP as long as you entered the trial period plan before missing three full consecutive mortgage payments.
If you are unemployed and were previously determined ineligible for a HAMP modification, you may be eligible for UP.
Am I Still Eligible For A Loan Modification Under HAMP Even if I Don't Currently Have An Escrow Account On My Mortgage.
Yes, you are still eligible to apply for a modification under HAMP. Should you qualify for a modification and make all trial payments on time, your modification agreement with your lender will require the lender to set aside a portion of your new monthly payment in an escrow account for payment of your property taxes and insurance premiums.
How Long Should I Expect it to Take?
The process of a mortgage loan modification is very long and tedious due to the amount of information requested by the lender and the amount of time they take to analyze it. A good rule of thumb is 6 months to a year although it can take longer.
The banks are inundated with requests. Your lender could be handling a large volume of inquiries about the program and it may take some time before they are ready to process your application. Please be patient yet persistent or have someone acting for you who is.
Why Should I Act Now? When Does HAMP Expire?
HAMP expires on December 31, 2012. Your trial modification must be in place by that date.
Are There Benefits to Legal Representation?
Again it depends. Along with the factors above, the rules are tricky. Even if you don't qualify for HAMP you may qualify for HAMP for UP. Even if you qualify for neither help may still be available through other government programs. So your comfort level in negotiating your way through the qualifications and regulations should also be a consideration. Using an attorney to assist you with modifying your existing mortgage can save your home and save you thousands every year.
Remember. The only person licensed to practice foreclosure law in Massachusetts is a lawyer licensed in Massachusetts. A lawyer can talk to you about the history of your mortgage servicing, examine your mortgage for errors and use these in negotiations,. A lawyer or company in another state does not have any legal authority in Massachusetts (this is called "unauthorized practice of law).