Well now that is interesting 5 real estate attorneys don't know what they are talking about:(
The simple answer is no in general . HELOC's are about as week as they come and the easiest to negotiate in my world, but they do not follow the Non-recourse laws that govern the 1st lien position.
That is one way to go about it. YES there are some unique circumstances and I hardly ever see them come up, but that web link will explain it, or else I can answer it personally. I also co-authored a book that talks about the subject.
By the way you might not be able to do a loan modification but you can certainly do a short sale. Check out Fannie Mae's website http://knowyouroptions.com/
Ever since this website came live I have referred to it time and time again. Your social security earnings mean nothing you don't pay me a dime to help you. And quite honestly if you have a true hardship you probably won't have to pay your lenders anything either.
I don't know much about your situation, but considering your financial circumstances a short sale could be your best option at this point. Best to talk to me directly if you would like more information on that.
I am sure someone will badger me for giving "legal" advice, which usually happens. Just so you know, I specialize in this area and have negotiated with enough banks to know what I am talking about. You can't effectively negotiate with lenders if you don't even know what is or is not part of MN's non-foreclosure laws now can you!?
I don't consider this legal advice since it should be put in Short Sale negotiation territory but hey YOU CAN CONTACT ME DIRECTLY AND TALK TO MY REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY if you want.
Sorry you had to spend so much time on this question pretty easy to answer!