1. You can request detailed information about your home mortgage and your mortgage company HAS to give it to you. Check out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website. http://www.consumerfinance.gov/
2. Are you paying additional principal on your mortgage every month in the hopes it is paying down the balance faster? Maybe you shouldn’t. Payments are applied in a waterfall: principal, escrow, fees, then the additional principal. Your mortgage company may be charging you extra fees you are not aware of. Then, your principal is not being paid down faster. The money is just going to costs and fees.
3. Was your mortgage just transferred to a new servicer? For example, Seterus was your servicer and now Greentree is servicing the mortgage. At the time of transfer, servicers secretly load up your mortgage with fees and costs. I can see what these are and get them corrected for you.
4. When a mortgage is transferred from one servicer to another, it creates an opportunity to submit for a new mortgage modification.
5. When the owner of your mortgage note (the owner is NOT the same as the servicer) is transferred, chances are you now have unnecessary fees and costs on your loan. And, there may be new opportunities for a modification.
6. Reach out the moment you are struggling with your mortgage, even if you are current with your payment. It is far better to be in an offensive position when dealing with your mortgage company than on the defensive staring down a sheriff’s sale.
8. If your loan is not owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you can find out who owns it here: https://www.mers-servicerid.org/sis/index.jsp
9. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA loans are known as Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) (GSE loans). These loans have very strict government guidelines for mortgage modifications. Do not expect a principal reduction. Do expect the underwriters working on your mortgage modification to make mistakes calculating your payment though. Let a qualified attorney work on this and you will get the best mod you can qualify for.
10. Privately owned loans are known as Non-GSEs. At the moment, Non-GSE lenders are sending out mortgage modifications without you requesting one right now. These are called “streamline” or “blind mods”. Expect more of them in the coming months, and especially after January of 2016. Sometimes, these mods are great deals. You are getting one without income verification. Always get a lawyer to review your streamline mod to see that it was calculated correctly and whether it is a good deal or if you can get a better mod.
11. Do you have a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or adjustable rate second mortgage. Many HELOCs are resetting this year at much higher interest rates. When does your HELOC reset? And what are you planning to do about it?
12. If you stopped paying your mortgage and all you want to do is keep your home, start sending your mortgage company payments via check every month. Keep copies of the checks. If the checks are sent back to you every month, put the money in a separate savings account and do not touch it. Continue to send mortgage payments and deposit the returned funds. This demonstrates your willingness and ability to make your mortgage payment.