Negotiating With Your Lender
If the foundations of your financial world are crumbling inwardly, and the black words ‘foreclosure’ and ‘short sale’ are hanging heavy in your heart, you are not alone. ‘Hope Now’ and ‘Project Lifeline’ are newly formed organizations that may be able to help you.
Foreclosure feels like financial ruin, and even though you are out of energy, you must try everything you can to avoid it. This way, if foreclosure comes, you can at least know that it was inevitable.
Before you start down this dark track, have you tried to approach your Lender? He probably has no idea that you may be floundering. The Lender who paid for your property, be it a regular bank or a private Lender, will not want to take your house back. If there is a way for him to work out a deal with you, he may be glad of the opportunity.
The Lender does not want to take your house away; he wants to make his interest on your loan. He also knows that we now have a buyer’s market, which makes it more difficult for Lenders to sell properties.
The Lender would like you to keep the property and carry on with your part of the deal – which was to make monthly payments to him. If you go into a foreclosure or sell by a short sale, the Lender stands to lose money.
Therefore, whether you are financed through a bank or a mortgage company, your first move is to make an appointment with your Lender to talk things over. Perhaps you can negotiate for some extra help.
For instance, do you think that if you were allowed to miss three months mortgage payments (and tack them onto the end of the amortization period), then you would be able to keep up the current payments? Sometimes just being in arrears is a vicious circle and if once caught up to date, is easier to manage.
In some cases, the Lender may offer to help you to re-finance your mortgage, and make the payments smaller for a time. There is also a government backed organization out there that is offering to help people on the verge of foreclosure. One of their conditions is that you must contact them before the procedure begins; they are found on line at ‘HopeNow.com’.
You can also get in touch with ‘Project Lifeline’, a newly developed helping agency. They are proving effective in staving off foreclosures for all types of mortgages including sub prime, equity and second liens. They can help almost anyone, other than home owners with a foreclosure coming up before mid-March.
One of their strategies is to ‘pause’ everything while they investigate your own personal scenario. If you do not know how to contact them using the Internet, ask your local librarian to help you.
Your Lender may be willing to help you to apply to these organizations for help; he may know the procedures better than you. Refinanced mortgages with fixed rates are available now for homeowners struggling with sub-prime mortgages.
At the moment HopeNow is looking at the most serious cases, as its mandate is to avoid as many foreclosures as possible. This will be an ongoing process because many mortgage holders could face even more increases in their mortgages in the next two years.
This means that when you write to them, you need to state your case clearly, and do not feel shy about writing out your worst financial problems and the amount of money that you will lose, and how many children you have that will be homeless.
In some cases the help from HopeNow can come in the form of an interest rate freeze, rather than a complete change in mortgage plan, but this freeze will serve to tide mortgage holders over until they can re-finance without the panic of foreclosure over their heads.
HopeNow has been created by lenders in the mortgage services field who represent 90% of the sub prime market. There are at least 2 milllion sub prime mortgage holders. This outreach program often contacts lenders before they get to foreclosures and offers to help them. Visit their web site.
This help is a blessing for the nation as well as the individual people in distress; once the foreclosure problem is faced and dealt with by a system that has government backing, the property market will not have a glut and prices will be re-established and sales will continue at a more normal pace.
If you feel that foreclosure is inevitable, then think about negotiating for a short sale. This will at least save your credit rating. Not all Lenders will agree to it and not all properties qualify for it. It also leaves you with a tax bill, but that is not an immediate concern.
You will need to send a hardship letter to the Lender, or more specifically, the person who can make the decision. Do not hold back on this letter. You also need to send a list of assets and proof of income. The list must show that you have no money, savings or anything that can be liquidated.
If this list of assets indicates that you ‘stretched the truth’ when applying for the mortgage, you will have to be extra humble! Remember, this Lender is going to lose his money too; you need him to be on your side, so try to understand his point of view.
You also need a current market evaluation from your real estate agent. If you have an interested buyer – that is even better. However, there is lots of negotiation involved with short sales, even if initially agreed upon, and both sides must have endless patience. Only tread this path if you cannot get help from either ‘HopeNow’ or ‘Project Lifeline’.