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My Bank is Stringing Me Alone to Modify My Mortgage in HARP. – Maryanne

“Dear Steve,

We have a fannie mae loan that is serviced by Bank of America. Last year when we realized we were not going to continue with payments we contacted the bank and filled out a modification form.

We were turned down because our loan was not imminent. We were then told by our customer service rep that we might qualify for HARP and to contact the finance department. According to the finance rep the only reason we did not qualify for HARP at that time was because we had been over 30 days late with the previous month’s mortgage.

We were advised to make payments for the next 6 months without being late and we would then get HARP. (By paying for the next 6 months on time we fell into the only one late payment in 12 months and none in the past 6 month category).

I borrowed money from my parents so I could continue to make the payments. In the meantime we started racking up credit card bills because of the mortgage. I called BoA in Nov to make sure their were no changes to the HARP program and that we would still qualify when we paid December’s mortgage (this would be the 6 months).

A woman told me to pay December’s mortgage and to call her back. I called the BoA rep in December and she told me to call back in January. She said I had to wait for December’s payment to be recorded (something like that) so that my credit report would show that I paid Dec’s mortgage.

I called back in January and she said that since I hadn’t paid January’s mortgage yet (I was not late) December’s payment still would not show up on my credit. She said that until the next payment was made the previous payment wouldn’t show on my credit report. In January she told me to call back in Feb and told me that according to th e HARP program the only reason I was not approved for HARP at that time was because I had been late June the previous year.

I called this same woman in February and left her a message. When I hadn’t heard from her I sent her an email. She responded back that she was changing business. She would be in training for the next week but call the BoA finance department and anyone can help me.

This opened up a new can of worms because suddenly I’m being told that BoA sold the loan and Green Tree was now the servicer. No one could confirm that I was sold or not. Everytime I spoke to someone at Boa (supervisors included I got a different answer. (In fact one evening the BoA rep who told me to keep paying and suddenly couldn’t help me with HARP once I qualified- left a message on my machine stating she was “confirming that I was no longer with BoA and to contact Green Tree for help.

Two days later I got a letter from BoA telling me they were my servicer.) I didn’t know who or what to believe. Green Tree was no help because they couldn’t find me in there system (and even if they could it wouldn’t help me because they are not licensed to loan money in the state of New York)

Finally after my calls went into “escalation” a manager at BoA called me-first he said I was a confirmed customer of BoA then got back on the phone with me and said he was running into the same problem I was running into because when he asked another rep that rep said that I had been sold. The manager called me back the next day said I was with BoA and he was going to see if I could get HARP and would call me in a few days.

While all this was going on I was calling other banks and programs to see if I could get a HARP. I ended up speaking with a family friend who is a mortgage broker. He told me this was not his area of expertise but after taking my financial details he told me I couldn’t get HARP because my credit card bills were to high.

He referred me to a close friend of his who is a BoA rep. After speaking to this gentleman I was told that I couldn’t get HARP because of the type of loan I had. Is that even an answer? He then told me to try for a modification. We were already turned down for that once. Anyway the manager who was suppose to call me back is suppose to be doing this tomorrow. I hold no hope.

Just a side note I called another company (RH Finance) and he told me I didn’t qualify for HARP because we didn’t make enough money. I’ve been told so many different things. The only thing they all agree on is that we don’t qualify for help. Each person has given us a different reason.

We have put a lot of money into our home. We made a lot of costly repairs that had to be done and prior to that we made a lot of cosmetic improvements. (We put in 19 new windows 2 years ago. I mean we spent a lot of money). We figured we were investing in our future. Our goal is to stay in our home.

My question is what can I do? Are there any programs out there for me? I forgot to mention that I have an upside down mortgage. (I also have been unemployed for almost 3 years). Do I need to get a real estate attorney? Can an attorney actually help me? My husband and I have just done the bills for the month and if we do not spend ANY money in the next 3 weeks and are able to scrounge up $300.00 we might make it another month.

Thank you

Maryanne”

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The Answer

My Bank is Stringing Me Alone to Modify My Mortgage in HARP.   Maryanne

Dear Maryanne,

Bank of America quite simply sucks at processing mortgage modifications. But that’s no secret.

The underlying problem here is that no bank os required to modify any mortgage. You can’t make them if you do not meet their qualification guidelines.

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (“HARP”) has some very specific guidelines.

You may be eligible for HARP if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
  • The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.
  • The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009.
  • The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%.
  • The borrower must be current on the mortgage at the time of the refinance, with a good payment history in the past 12 months.

If you want to confirm Fannie Mae owns the loan, click here.

I’m concerned about two issues here.

The first is your statement you started racking up credit card bills to stay current with your mortgage. That means you now have building debt and/or you really can’t afford the property.

The second is if you are even qualified for HARP at all. I would urge you to contact a free HUD Housing Counselor to talk to them about your specific situation and they can assist you with the process if you qualify, for free.

However, if your debt is now out of control, you might want to consider a chapter 13 bankruptcy to keep your home, make your regular mortgage payment and discharge your other debt.

You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney and talk to them for free about your specific situation. Get the facts and then you can make an informed and educated decision if bankruptcy is right for you.

Bonus Video Answer

Mortgage Help

Be sure to first read How Not to Get Scammed by a Mortgage Loan Modification Company.

Debt-to-Income Calculator

First you’ll need to determine your current debt-to-income ratio. The target debt-to-income ratio under the Home Affordable Modification program is 31%. Use this free online DTI calculator.

Mortgage Modification Calculator

The mortgage modification eligibility calculator will ask you several questions and then show you which programs you may be eligible for.

The free mortgage modification calculator can be found here.

Free Mortgage Modification Help and Counseling

If you have questions about the process or eligibility you can call 888-995-4673 and get connected with an mortgage modification adviser for free. This help is provided by government subsidized HUD Housing Counselors and they can be a big help in navigating the modification process.

In order to assist you, the housing expert will need to gather some information from you. Have the following documents handy:

  • Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement.
  • Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on the house.
  • Information about the monthly gross (before tax) income of all household members contributing to pay the mortgage, including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources.
  • Information about your savings and other assets.
  • Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards.
  • Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans and car loans.
  • Your most recent income tax return.
  • It may also be helpful to have: A letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to be reduced or expenses to be increased (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.), if applicable.

You can also get free help and housing counseling from a local HUD approved counselor. You can find your local free housing counselor, here.

Contact Your Mortgage Company

Not sure if your mortgage company offers modification programs? Not all do. You can contact your mortgage company to ask them about mortgage modification programs you might be eligible for. Click here to find your mortgage company.

NPV Calculator

Want to know the net present value (NPV) of your home for the mortgage modification process? No problem, use the free NPV calculator to find out. The NPV calculator is right here.

The calculator can be used by homeowners who have been denied a HAMP modification because of their NPV result or can also be used by homeowners prior to applying for a HAMP modification to help them better understand the NPV evaluation.

No Advance Fees

The Federal Trade Commission has a Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule which prohibits advance fees for mortgage rescue services or mortgage modification help.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Big Hug!

My Bank is Stringing Me Alone to Modify My Mortgage in HARP.   Maryanne
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If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask just use the online form. I’m happy to help you totally for free.

Update March 7, 2013

Here is a PDF copy of all of the loan workout options from FannieMae.

My Bank is Stringing Me Alone to Modify My Mortgage in HARP. - Maryanne by

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

    Posted new link in article in update section. It’s the FannieMae guide to workout options and eligibility.

  • Tina

    Maryanne, I’ve been going through a similar nightmare with applying for a loan modification with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. I have been working with a HUD counselor and first applied for my HAMP in November 2011 before I fell behind on my mortgage payments because I was struggling with not enough income to afford it all and because I was socked with an unexpected IRS tax bill. It’s now March 2013 and I’m still sitting here waiting for my 3rd HAMP application to even be looked at by their underwriters.I submitted that application in December 2012. I’ve been turned down twice by WFHM, once for “not being available to the home preservation specialist” (when it was the customer service rep who never returned my calls) and the other time because the “investor” denied my loan mod. Have no clue who this “investor” is but found out it was Ginnie Mae. Like you, every time I call the lender to get a status of my HAMP, I get the same runaround where I’m told different things by different reps on why my application is not being processed. Paperwork is outdated and needs to be sent back to them because it’s too old or a number not matching up to the dollar on my monthly expense worksheet. In the meantime, I have fallen behind on my mortgage payments to the tune of $23,000 because Wells Fargo won’t let me even make one payment and the only way for me to get current again is to cough up the
    total arrears, which I don’t have. I live in fear every day that I’ll come home to find a notice from the Sheriff that my condo is up for sale. Fortunately I live in Washington State where we have the Foreclosure Fairness Act so if that does happen, I legally have a month to get out of my condo. I also believe that because I have a condo and not a house in a very down housing market has afforded me some time. Another issue I have is that I have
    an aggressive HOA that is nipping at my heels because I also fell behind
    on my HOA dues so they took me to court and my wages are currently
    being garnished by them as well.

    How I”m going to stop the bleeding? I’m filing for bankruptcy and letting go of this sore that is killing me financially. Between excessive HOA dues to the insane run around I’ve been getting from my lender, I’m letting go of my dream of home ownership.

    Hang in there and seriously consider Steve’s advice about talking to a bankruptcy attorney and good luck to you! – Tina

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Tina, don’t forget that letting go of the home now and seeking protection under bankruptcy does not eliminate you from buying another home in a couple of years.