You did not mention which bank is holding the note. If it is Chase Mortgage (which is also formerly WAMU) they have a Home Loan Assistance Center in downtown Santa Ana where your cousin can meet with a modification specialist in person. I have had sucess in working through Chase at this location, but not through their 800 #. Your cousin will need to provide proof of income, hardship and expenses. Unfortunately if the monthly income is less than the current monthly mortgage payment and there are high other monthly expenses, they probably will not qualify for a loan modification. They have underwriters on-staff in Santa Ana and files get reviewed fairly quickly.
I have been helping my distressed clients Pro bono for last couple of years. Also there is a Government Program available to all called The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, they can assist your cousin for free. They even assign a caseworker for him and walk him through the process. He can also visit naca.com to learn more. As of October 09, it is illegal to charge any upfront fee for this purpose. But they can charge you upon completion. I am a CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) Mortgage and Real Estate Broker with over 15 years experience in Mortgage Industry. Your cousin can call me and i will be happy to help him at no charge. I believe more home we save from foreclosure the faster we get our market recovered.
The resources provided below all sound like excellent options to look into. One other excellent resource is the U.S. Department if Housing and Urban Development. They provide not only tips on how to avoid foreclosure, but provide resources as well should a homeowner in default (or on the brink of default) wish to negotiate with their existing lender.
The money paid to any for-profit company (sometimes equaling up to three months worth of mortgage payments) is better spent being applied to the mortgage, in good faith. To be quite honest, I feel that any consumer can negotiate their own modification without the help of a loan mod company. It's not a difficult process, but much like a short sale, it's both a timely and emotional process. They just need to remain open but firm, and be steadfast in what it is they are attempting to accomplish (so long as it is realistic and feasibly pencils out for all parties). More often than not, emotions kick into overdrive, thus kicking all logic and sensibility out. Iâ€™m almost convinced that banks â€œbankâ€ on that when dealing with a consumer/borrower.
He may want to consider the short sale process as well. Too many times, borrowers focus solely on the modification and when that attempt falls short and the banks reject the work out, the "window of opportunity" to attempt to short sale the property has been reduces greatly. (I had one client who was given a week and a half to move out after the bank rejected her work out package.)
I guess what I am saying is, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Be open to Plan B, or better yet work both Plan A and Plan B simultaneously. Ultimately, your cousin needs to look out for himself and protect his interests, not the banks.
Below is the link to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development page which give tips and resources for this very situation.
Hope this helps. It sounds like he is in good hands though with your help and advice. Just keep reminding him that he is not alone and there is help out there, at no cost!
All My Best,
Audra M. Smith
Pacific Coast Properties
There are a number of non-profit organizations that help people get loan modifications. The best known organization is NACA ( the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America ). They assign you a caseworker and then stick with you through the process. Their website is naca.com .
Please also refer your cousin to the law in the State of California. "Pursuant to Senate Bill 94, as of October 11, 2009 it is ILLEGAL in California for any person, including lawyers, real estate brokers, real estate salespersons, corporations, companies, partnerships, or any other licensed or unlicensed person or party, to demand, charge, or collect any advance, up-front, or retainer fees, or any other type of pre-payment compensation, for loan modification work or services, or any other form of mortgage loan forebearance." If you would like a copy of the California Department of Real Estate Consumer Alert, from which I took this quote, please contact me directly.
I would be happy to review your cousin's situation, free of charge, and discuss his options. He may be surprised at what he can do, at no cost. Dare to Dream.
Shel-lee Davis, CDPE, SFR, QSC
Your Real Estate Consultant for Life
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
Pro bono is legalese means free. No lawyers work for free, in most circumstances. I just Googled "free loan modification help " and got 4,650,000 results. Obviously most of them are scam artists who will take your cousin's money, and do zilch, nada, squat diddley.
He should get in touch with HOPE now ( http://www.hopenow.com/ ) and start there. Also, the Fair Housing Council in Santa Ana is a County program which offers solid, experienced assistance.
If neither of those sound good, try, try, try, to get a law firm to take on the job, with payment along the way, based on results. ( Good luck on that.)
Here are some websites to check out: http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/borrower-faqs.html#19
Good luck finding solutions.
I can give your cousin a great referral though. For the most part though,the banks don't want to do modifications, they'd rather bleed you dry and then approve a short sale. They will not reduce principal on 1st liens which is why there are so many short sales & foreclosures out there. If your cousin owes 25-30% plus, of what the house is worth, he should get out with a short sale and, if he hasn't missed any payments could purchase again IMMEDIATELY & build his equity back up from the bottom of the market.
If he's missed a couple of payments, and then does a short sale, he only has to wait 12mos before rebuilding equity from the bottom.
Feel free to email me directly should you have any questions, I won't respond to this same thread in Trulia.