The news is filled with talk about loan modification and President Obama’s Making Home Affordable plan, and in a nation where over 3 million people are past due on their mortgage payments, a solution to their woes is something worth talking about. Loan modification is being pitched as a way to help troubled homeowners reverse their progression toward a short sale or foreclosure.
While loan modification may be a perfect recourse for some, it should be noted that not all homeowners will qualify for a loan modification and even then, some who do would be better served pursuing a different option.
In order to qualify for a loan modification your mortgage must have originated before January 1, 2009, you must live in the home, your monthly mortgage payment must be more than 31% of your pretax income, you must prove financial hardship, and the amount you owe on your home cannot exceed $729,750. If you do qualify for loan modification, your loan servicer will reduce the interest rate on your mortgage until your monthly payments drop below the 31% threshold. This new interest rate can go as low as 2% but if that is not enough to get below 31% they may extend the life of the loan or offer to defer a portion of the amount you owe until the loan matures.