There is never any guarantee the lender will approve a loan modification–though it does seem to be getting a bit easier lately.
HLA is a law firm and, as such, is not subject to laws regarding upfront payment for foreclosure rescue services.
Early on in this real estate crisis, this firm adopted a very dim view of loan modifications. They were very difficult to accomplish—tedious, time-consuming, and frustrating—and seldom offered any meaningful relief to clients.
I’ll be very honest. You might pay me to work on a modification that (i) may never get approved, or (ii) might turn out not to be a very good deal. That could happen. ~ J. Harrington
At HLA, we will not make any false promises, we will not candy-coat the truth, and we will not recommend that you spend good money on a service that doesn’t make any sense to us.
Now, that said, recently things have gotten somewhat better. The approval process has become more bearable, and the quality of the modifications has improved.
We find that loan modification makes good economic sense to a certain percentage of the population, and we also find that a somewhat larger percentage of the population is determined to try it anyway. So, we do offer the service.
Better us than someone who may “embellish the truth” just to take your money. Besides, being a law firm carries more weight in lender negotiations and, if things don’t work out, you have support of an attorney who can give you other options.~ J. Harrington
So, for those of you that want to give loan modification a shot, here is some free advice.
Please feel free to work with your lender directly if you have not already tried. As a lot of people know, the experience tends to be frustrating and unproductive. Banks lose money when they modify a loan—a lot of money. You should not expect them to make that process easy for you. Also, be aware that if you do not know the parameters and other criteria the bank is looking for, your request will either be denied or the bank will offer a modification that makes no sense—sometimes the modified payments are higher than the original payments!
Just be careful because, besides wasting time, making mistakes with the modification submissions can make it difficult for a professional to fix later.
Unfortunately, some lenders will not entertain new discussions once an initial determination has been made, or they may require a certain length of time to pass before re-negotiating. The bigger issue is disclosure. Not knowing the parameters and other criteria, you may send information that could put you at a disadvantage later. Once the cat is out of the bag . . .
Second, because modification is time-consuming and tedious, the service is usually pretty expensive. If it is not, you have to be worried about a scam. Some agencies have set up free services, do-it-yourself clinics, and the like. We applaud their efforts. They tend to be good people with good intentions and, no doubt, they bring about good results for a few homeowners. However, budgets being what they are, it seems unlikely that this option is really all that viable for most people.
Modifying a loan is hard work. Good professionals cannot afford to do it for free, and the agencies that offer free services are flooded. So, your file will likely languish and/or you will receive less than optimum results. The same is true with free foreclosure defense services.
So, if you want to try a loan modification, we recommend you do it with a law firm like HLA. We will provide an honest assessment of your financial situation and set realistic expectations. We will accomplish the best possible result—without exposing you to problems later—and we will be there to protect you against foreclosure if the modification does not come through as hoped. (Loan modification companies cannot represent you in a lawsuit).