Category Archives: Loan Modifications

A Guide to Loan Modification Do’s and Dont’s

Don’t Believe Guarantees

Even if you qualify and are eligible for a modification of your home loan, lenders are not required to offer you a modification. All of the modification programs are voluntary. So be very, very suspicious of anyone who promises or guarantees he can get you a modification.


Be Diligent

After you’ve submitted your loan modification documents, be diligent. Check in with your lender often through mail, e-mail or phone (Keep notes and copies, as explained below). Loan modifications do take time to process, but the lenders also have a history of delaying and dragging out the process.

Get it in Writing

It’s possible a representative over the phone will tell you that your foreclosure sale will be postponed while the lender is evaluating you for a modification. If you don’t have that promise in writing, do not believe it and do not rely on it. Usually, you won’t get that statement in writing until AFTER you’ve been approved for, accepted, and starting making a payment on a trial modification. Check online or call the agency handling the foreclosure to see when the latest sale date is.

Keep Copies

Lenders are notorious for “losing” or “misplacing” documents you send to them. It’s not uncommon to be asked to re-send documents 3 or 4 times before they’re finally received and processed. Be prepared by keeping paper or electronic copies of everything you get from or send to the lenders.

Take Notes

Often you’ll be talking to lenders over the phone to find out about the status of your modification or to get information or ask for an explanation. Take notes in the form of a journal or log where you write down: 1) The Date, 2) The Time,  3) The Name of the Person you’re talking to, 4) The Extension of ID# of the person you’re talking to, 5) Detailed Notes about your conversation, 6) Any Followup  Actions you took. This information can be important in your negotiation process but also will make it more likely that an attorney or other agency will take your case seriously if the lender later goes back on any promises it made you.

Example:

  • 03/06/12 9:00 a.m.
  • Shelly at  ext. 9999
  • Called to ask about status of loan modification. Shelly said she didn’t see any loan modification application in my file and asked me to re-send it. I told her I sent it back on February 10 and have a confirmation slip from the post-office saying someone at the bank signed for it. She said she “found” most of the application but asked me to resend my hardship letter anyway. I mailed it the same day with delivery confirmation.

Watch Out for Scams

Since July 2010, it has been illegal for anyone other than a licensed attorney to charge you an upfront fee for a modification or modification services. Lawyers can charge you upfront fees under the idea that if the lender lies to the lawyer, the lawyer can sue on your behalf. Loan modification companies that you hear on the radio, or see ads for should not be charging you any fees upfront. Your best bet is to talk directly with your lender, with someone at Southern Arizona Legal Aid, with a free HUD approved counselor, or with a licensed attorney with an Arizona Bar number. If you encounter a scam, contact the Attorney General’s Office and a licensed attorney you can trust.

 Don’t Wait till the Last Minute!!!!!

In Arizona, it is incredibly difficult and often impossible to undo a foreclosure sale after it happens. That’s because Arizona law assumes that a sale was valid after it’s completed. Make sure you get help from a trusted source (HUD, Legal Aid, an Attorney) as early on as possible. DO NOT WAIT until the last few days leading up to your sale to try to stop it. Give the people who want to help you as much time as possible, at least a few weeks, to see what they can do. DO NOT WAIT until the last minute!!

Posted by Alexandra Tracy-Ramirez

http://www.brorexlaw.com

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March 7, 2012 · 4:50 pm

FORECLOSURE RESCUE SCAMS

By Alexx, Staff Attorney and Mike, Law Clerk

LOAN MODIFICATIONS GUARANTEED!

WE’LL GET YOU A GOVERNMENT APPROVED LOAN MODIFICATION!

REFINANCING AT 2% INTEREST RATES!

STOP FORECLOSURES TODAY!

Signs and radio ads like these are all over town promising struggling homeowners immediate results and immediate relief.

If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not legal.

Since last summer, it has been ILLEGAL for anyone other than a licensed attorney to charge up-front fees in exchange for the promise of a loan modification. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a loan modification or foreclosure rescue scam, report it to the Attorney General’s office and then call a licensed attorney for a consultation.

The AG’s office will make a note of your complaint and may investigate, but the chances of them suing on your behalf are small.

It’s important to also have an attorney who can go after the modification company and its owners to get your money back and help undo the damage the company caused.

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Introduction

By Alexx, staff attorney.

We at the office have been meaning to start a blog for several months and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Thanks to some fabulous donors who contribute to the National Consumer Law Center, I was able to attend a two day conference in Boston, MA called: Handling Mortgage Cases from A to Z. There were lawyers and legal advocates from every state sharing knowledge and strategies for helping homeowners in trouble.

I attended their annual Consumer Rights Litigation conference last November in Boston and hope to go to Chicago for this fall’s meeting. These conferences are wonderful and I have left both times feeling excited all over again to be working in the area of consumer law helping folks in Arizona.

Foreclosures are the top of everyone’s list of epic problems with mortgages and home loans these days so the conference dealt with those issues often and in depth. The presenters and trainers in the conference are doing amazing work.

They are lawyers working in legal aid, for other non-profits or for private firms. In addition to their attorney duties, many of them are also professors, scholars, and political advocates. They teach and train law students and other lawyers. They help influence reforms to existing laws. They help write new, more consumer-friendly laws. Some of them are also folks who were involved in a more hands-on way with the better aspects of Dodd-Frank.

In several sessions, the presenters gave examples of thorny issues and horrible practices they’ve seen in the cases they’ve worked on. They’ve seen it all– from incompetent procedures for dealing with loan modification requests to asinine excuses for “losing” documents (such as there’s only one fax machine in the entire loss mitigation department of the bank and it must have jammed) to lenders and other financial institutions flat out lying to consumers.

At lunch and during breaks the participants often swap stories of what consumer rights litigation is looking like in their hometowns and communities. Now while I want to spend some time talking about some of the topics we covered at the conference and the tips and tricks I picked up, I’d like to spend just little bit talking about that story-telling aspect of the conference.

A presenter was talking some about some of the horror stories of the run-around many consumers get when they call up the bank or loan servicer and try to get information on how to save their home from foreclosure.

In one example, The homeowner is told that he can’t qualify for a loan modification because he hasn’t fallen behind on his loan. A couple of months later he calls back and is told that he owes too much money in late fees and back payments and so the lender or investor isn’t interested in giving a loan modification but that he should apply anyway. He’s told five or six times to fax and mail the same information about his income and hardship. Meanwhile his marriage is suffering. He and his wife are stressed out and fighting and living in fear that their house will be taken away.

I looked around the room and dozens of attorneys were nodding their heads because they’ve seen it before.

I’ve seen it before (In fact, we’re litigating a case with just those facts right now).

I start talking to a few folks during a break and confirm that even though we’re from five different states, we’re all seeing the same run-around experiences from our clients. I start to feel glad that other attorneys are facing the same sorts of problems. It’s comforting to know our office isn’t alone in the fight we’re fighting for our clients.

But at the same time, I’m overwhelmed by the fact that we’re all seeing this kind of bad behavior from the lenders and servicers of home loans all across the country. And it’s only getting worse.

But again, it goes back to the fact that our office isn’t alone. We’re all in the conference together over these couple of days precisely because we are not unique. We are getting together, telling our stories, sharing information about strategies that have and have not worked, and working to make sure we get the best possible outcome for our clients but also to help shape the law so these kinds of abuses can be better dealt with.

That storytelling is important for consumers as well and carries many of the same benefits. Consumers, you are not alone in your fight for your rights to protect yourselves, your families, and your homes. And while the idea that the kind of situation you are facing is also happening to thousands and thousands of other consumers across the country is an awful thing to think about, sharing your stories can help everyone fight for their rights under existing laws and help influence the creation of new, better laws and policies.

And consumers are speaking up about the hell they’ve been put through.

They’re writing to their newspapers, to their state Attorney General’s Office, to their Congressional Offices. The Washington Post is just one publication that has been collecting stories over the last couple of years of the impacts of the foreclosure crises on homeowners and their families.

Facing foreclosure is a daunting, terrifying and incredibly difficult process.  Through this blog, we hope to be able to provide consumers and advocates with useful information and resources for dealing with foreclosure and other consumer rights issues.

If nothing else, we want to let you know that you are not alone in this. We’re constantly working to find new and better ways to deal with these issues and we are thankful to our clients and to our colleagues for sharing their stories with us and partnering with us to make a difference.

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Filed under Foreclosure, Loan Modifications