If you are interested in modifying your loan because you have experienced some hardship, contact us online or call Scott Lanin, Esq. at (212) 764-7250 Ext.201. We offer a free phone consult to review and evaluate your situation or you can schedule an office consult.  Our firm routinely handles loan mod work.  We prepare all of the necessary papers and handle the communications with your lender so you don’t have to.  We attend the mandatory foreclosure settlement conferences in court.

Loan modification, called Loan Mod by many, is relatively new to the mortgage loan scene and it is not known how long it will last.  At its core, it is just a type of settlement between the borrower and the lender to resolve a default (missed payment).  Loan mods can result in lower monthly payments, deferment of interest, more time to reinstate arrears, and, in some cases, even forgiveness of principal.  It is not the only way to settle a default but in recent times it has become a popular choice.  Not every borrower gets approved.  Many try to do this on their own, like a DIY home repair.  It is often a mistake that results in denial of the application.  It is not so easy to deal with lenders and they frequently handle these applications very poorly.  Sometimes they ignore them and then ask for updated information over and over again. Other times, they do not follow the guidelines and issue an incorrect denial, forcing the homeowner to appeal.  It is almost always best to have an attorney representing the homeowner during this process.  Homeowners can also leverage their litigation counsel and assert defenses and counterclaims in a foreclosure action that may influence how the lender behaves.  It is worth the expense of one or two months’ mortgage payments to have experienced loan mod counsel on your side.  If a HAMP Loan Mod is not possible with your particular financial circumstances, there may still be other ways to settle with the lender.  That is where having legal counsel can make all the difference.
HAMP is designed specifically to help homeowners impacted by financial hardship. There are many types of hardships that homeowners experience, including job layoff, divorce, separation, personal injury, death in the family, and unanticipated increase in expenses.

With HAMP, your loan is modified to make your monthly mortgage payment no more than 31% of your gross (pre-tax) monthly income. If eligible, the modification permanently changes the original terms of your mortgage.

A modification may be an option if:

          • You are ineligible to refinance
          • You are facing a long-term hardship
          • You are behind on your mortgage payments or likely to fall behind soon
          • Your loan was originated on or before January 1, 2009 (i.e., the date you closed your loan)
          • Your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or is serviced by a participating mortgage company.  If you are not sure, contact us for assistance.

One thing to be on the watch for are scammers who try to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners.  Some of these scammers call themselves “consultants.”  There is no such thing.  A consultant is usually an unemployed mortgage broker who found a new way to earn income.  The problem is that these people are not regulated or subject to the ethical rules that govern attorneys.  Moreover, they make promises that they do not or can not keep. Some red flag warning signs are people who are located out of state.  I have heard from many clients about how they sent money to someone like this and never got the help they paid for.  That is not to say that results can be guaranteed in a load mod, but the person helping you should at least be able to try with their best efforts.  Loan mod consultants often cross the line and undertake what is called unauthorized practice of law, doing things that only licensed lawyers are permitted to do.  Unauthorized practice of law in New York is a misdemeanor. Sometimes, a clueless “consultant” will actually try to represent a homeowner in court only to be told by the judge to sit down and shut up.  They are simply not allowed to represent you in court.  Others will not even show up in court, and will just leave the homeowner hanging.

In the New York Supreme Court, there is now a requirement that all homeowners be given the option to participate in a mandatory foreclosure settlement conference.  It is therefore essential that your loan mod lawyer also be an experienced foreclosure lawyer.  If the loan mod is denied, the case is released from the settlement part of the court and then the lender’s attorneys will file a motion for summary judgment.  If the loan mod is granted, it is usually only on a temporary basis which hopefully will lead to a permanent modification agreement later.