Real Estate Conditions 6 - Mortgage & First Time Home Buyer Dec08 Loss Mitigation Department
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Part 6 (Excerpt)
How many lives have to be wrecked by the mortgage companies loss mitigation departments?
I always tell people when I was dealing with them, with their bankruptcy situation or foreclosures or whatever especially when someone would call me and they would say, I want to file a chapter 13 to save my house and I would say, You dont even think about doing that without an attorney and I would give them an attorneys name and it would work out for them because I think the numbers were like 95% of all chapter 13s filed by the home owner themselves failed.
And I think that is the kind of numbers were going to see in loan modifications, we saw numbers the other day that came out from the government saying that over 50% of the loan modifications are failing. I would suspect that 95% of those were not negotiated by an attorney.
Youre absolutely right, the other thing is people think theyre getting a loan modification because their lender told them that but theyre going to increase their payment over the next X number of months to make up for the back payments. That is not a loan modification by my standards, that is called a forbearance agreement and the majority of people who have failed its because they were put into a plan that was designed to fail.
For gods sakes if your lender is going to increase your mortgage payment by 50% how on earth are you going to pay it when you couldnt pay it when it was right? To me its just mind boggling, theyre out of their minds in these loss mitigation departments. They're not looking out for you, theyre mitigating the loss for the banks, you need someone who is going to fight for you. And that is what we do.
Well those guys are employed by the bank and they have a vested interest in seeing the bank do well. And they have huge, huge, huge, hundreds of millions and billions in losses that they need to make up. Its kind of a no-brainer, plus, you can't discount the psychological element in this. If youre in a stressful situation and youre emotionally tied to what if, what if, what is this going to look like in six months? You cannot objectively negotiate your own case with the lender it's just not psychologically feasible to consider that. Even if you have the time and could figure it out.
And one thing, to take it back to a personal level, there were many times when I was working with people who were in foreclosure and got the phone call the night before the foreclosure sale. They would ask me, can you help me?, and I would say yes, here is what you want to do. You want to go down to the bankruptcy court first thing tomorrow morning and file a chapter 13 by yourself. Now I am not saying go through the chapter 13 by yourself, because I would give them the attorneys number, but they have to be there in line by nine oclock to get it filed and then go get an attorney to work with.
But why did they end up in that situation? In many cases they would tell me that they have been working to get what they called a loan modification, more accurately a forbearance agreement, that is what they were working on with their lender, they would send in all the paperwork that the lender asked for and they would call the lender back after 30 days. And the lender would say, oh well we lost it and so they would get it all together again, and they would send it in and it would be another 30 days, oh well we lost it. Or this, or that, or they would ask for more paperwork and eventually what it came down to is a couple of days before the actual foreclosure sale date the lender would call up and say No, we decided to not do your forbearance agreement for you. And then they're calling me looking for help. Now if you were working with an attorney, I guarantee that lender is not going to lose your paperwork.
So I have this young lady of 50 years old call me today her husband had just passed away two months ago. Sad, sad situation, very difficult to talk with her because it just felt so horrible this was just unexpected. I probably should not say the name of the servicer, but she's dealing with someone who would be considered a subprime lender, their loss mitigation department is in India. India doesn't really have the same rules and guidelines, there is a huge language barrier between her and the person she is talking to try with to save her home.