You can’t take ‘no? as an answer

In the dating scene, ‘no? means no. When it comes to asking your mortgage provider to work with you on changing your mortgage, it’s a different story.
‘I hear it repeatedly,? says attorney Jim Porritt, Jr., when describing what area residents tell him after first calling their lender. ‘They say, ‘All I hear is no.? They’ve just reached the first stage. Those people are trained to say ‘no? and that you’re not eligible for a modification.?
A quick call to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department (they post foreclosure notices) reveals since 2007, 22,063 homes went into foreclosure in the county — 4,419 since the beginning of this year.
Porritt, and his son Jake, also an attorney who specializes in debtor’s relief remedies, both say there are answers for homeowners other than ‘no.? But, all options mean homeowners need to take some action.
‘Don’t ignore notices or phone calls. Be active, reach out for help,? Jake says.
According to the Porritts, legislation to assist homeowners in Michigan is in a state of flux. One of the latest actions from Lansing allows borrowers to initiate loan modifications and provides homeowners can receive help from nonprofit agencies. These agencies, like Lighthouse North, Greenpath and Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency, provide help from certified counselors.
Jake says there are five things homeowners in crisis need to remember.
1. Don’t take ‘no? for an answer.
2. There is going to be credit damage.
3. Answer the phone! When your lender calls, answer. You can be 60 days into the process and if you don’t answer the phone they can close the file, and you’re be right back to the start.
4. You do NOT need to be in default to get a loan modification.
5. Don’t stop calling the lender to check on your case status. If they are missing just one piece of information, the case can stall. They won’t call you. The Porritts suggest calling every two to three days until the process is complete.
If you find yourself in a hard place — somewhere between defaulting on payments and foreclosure — some soul-searching is needed. Do you want to, and can you, keep your home, or is it best to let it go?
If keeping your home is what you want to do, mortgage lenders have a number of options they can provide: modify the loan (like extending the terms); reduce interest rate; or reduce the principal.
If you cannot keep your home, the lenders may allow a short sale — allowing someone to purchase the home at a price less than the amount owed. You can deed the property back to the lender.
Whatever you do — work with the lender yourself, work with a third party counselor or attorney or declare bankruptcy — both Porritts urge folks to be cautious.
‘If you research on-line, be careful,? Jake says. ‘There is a lot of random information out there that may or may not be true — that’s how myths are propagated. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of predators out there.?
Be wary of ‘official? looking mail from the government and don’t fall for mailers that claim they can reduce your payments.
Deciding whether or not you can keep your home is an emotional, stressful time. Be smart. Be active. Reach out for help.
For more information, call Jim or Jake Porritt at 248-693-6245.

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