Have you had problems trying to get a mortgage loan modification? Many people have found that home loan lenders to be less than willing to make loan modifications. They lose paperwork, fail to follow through on promises, act rude and engage in other forms of bureaucratic obstruction. Why is this becoming a more common tale from those facing foreclosure and trying to negotiate a loan modification?
The traditional advice given by financial experts is for a troubled homeowner to contact their lender as soon as they begin to fall behind on their mortgage. After all, it’s assumed that the lender wants to do everything they can to avoid an expensive foreclosure. Does this assumption still hold true in today’s real estate market? The experiences of many troubled homeowners seems to indicate that this is no longer the case. They’ve found the path to obtaining a lower interest rate or more manageable payment to be very frustrating.
The cause for this is really rather simple, there’s no financial incentive for a lender to offer a loan modification to most homeowners. As it turns out, many lenders aren’t really lenders at all. What they actually are is a loan servicer. This means that they essentially take the mortgage payments and distribute these payments to the actual investors.
Most home loans over the past 10 years have been bundled and sold as an investment instrument. This has created a market for loan servicers, companies or divisions at banks, which simply manage the accounts and are paid a commission for doing so. They don’t have the legal authority to modify conditions of the loan. All they can negotiate are repayment in full plans or forbearance plans.
The actual owners of the home loan are the hundreds or even thousands of investors who own a part of many loans. They would all have to agree to change the terms of a mortgage contract and this is unlikely to happen. Thus, the loan servicer has a strong incentive to stall or delay any kind of loan modification. Why? Because they get paid a commission to do it. They get paid by the investors for their collection efforts up until the actual sale or foreclosure. However, they will not profit if a loan is modified.
The first step to avoiding frustration in the loan modification process is to determine who your mortgage holder really is. If your mortgage has been sold as part of a security, the chances of you being able to get a loan modification is rather low. In this case, you should prepare yourself for other options, such as a short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure or a foreclosure, or find a way to bring your mortgage current and continue to keep it current.
There could be changes in the law that would remove the financial incentive for mortgage loan servicers. Several have been proposed in Congress, the Obama administration and the SEC. However, until the law is changed troubled homeowners, their communities and the actual mortgage investors will continue to have a no-win situation on their hands when it comes to mortgage loan modifications.