It seems that banks are continuing to be extremely slow and difficult to deal with on modifications, even though the HAMP guidelines were published almost 9 months ago. I see many clients come in that may have tried a modification on their own or through a company, only to obtain no real relief. Many banks will give a denial, but then tell the homeowner to resubmit the exact same paperwork to be re-reviewed. This is only going to result in yet another denial unless something has changed in terms of financial ratios and the homeowner is kept is more months of frustration and delays.
The problem, as discussed in my do it yourself guide, is that homeowners often do not give the banks what they want to see. The other problem is that many homeowners are in over their heads and the terms a bank might give them will still not help, even if they can actually get approved.
In many cases, homeowners can keep their home through a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy filing. This also helps the homeowner reduce other debts at the same time. The homeowner can still keep certain property and vehicles, so unless the homeowner was planning on buying a major item in the next 2 years, a bankruptcy filing can be the most effective way to get a fresh start.
A short sale (where the bank allows you to sell your home for less than what is owed) is also a good alternative. The banks will take tremendous losses in the process and the homeowner is no longer liable for a huge mortgage. It will take a few years to get bank into a position to purchase, but with the large number of vacant properties available for rent at a reasonable price, it shouldn’t be that much of a concern.
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