About Loan Modifications — and You Shouldn't Always Believe What the Lender Tells You
If you are unable to meet your mortgage payments and worry that foreclosure is upon you, it may be time to explore your options for loan modification. Loan modifications do not stop foreclosure, but instead, the loan modification process can proceed at the same time that foreclosure is proceeding. But if you are able to obtain a loan modification before the foreclosure case is over, then the modification can stop the foreclosure proceeding. Often loan modification changes your original loan agreement in order relieve your financial stress, allowing you to remain or become current on your payments, sometimes avoid default, or sometimes starting over after a default. Loan modifications work by either restructuring your debt or extending the period of time over which you pay off your loan. Additionally, you may be able to obtain a loan modification from your lender or from the U.S. Government.
Usually, in order to obtain a loan modification, you must demonstrate your own financial hardship.
Your Lawyer is Your Ally
It is important to recognize that applying for a loan modification does not guarantee that you will avoid foreclosure. Also, applying for a loan modification does NOT stop a foreclosure proceeding from going forward. Sometimes the lender's customer service employees or loan modification office employees will tell you that you don't need to hire a lawyer to help you with the foreclosure proceeding, if you are applying for a loan modification. DO NOT BELIEVE THEM! If you have been served with foreclosure papers or any court papers about your home, you must protect your legal rights and consult with an attorney. If you miss deadlines in the foreclosure case, you could compromise your ability to have sufficient time to get a loan modification, and the house could be sold before you are through with the modification process.
A loan modification can provide you more opportunities to keep your house or remain there longer — particularly if you consult an attorney...but do not make the mistake of ignoring the court proceedings because you are applying for a loan modification. Some of the ways in which a lawyer can provide support include the following:
- Explaining your legal rights
- Representing you in the foreclosure case
- Negotiating with your lender on your behalf regarding loan modifications, as well as other options in the foreclosure case
- Helping you consider other options, such as filing for bankruptcy, if you otherwise qualify to file for same
The longer you delay in seeking help from an attorney, however, the more difficult it is for the attorney to provide the help you need, especially if you have already missed court deadlines in a foreclosure case. So...if you are served with foreclosure papers, seek the advice of an attorney promptly!
This post was composed by Florida bankruptcy and foreclosure defense attorney Steven Combs with contributions from attorney Robert Jeffrey. For more information on loan modifications, contact a lawyer.