In 2004, a Brentwood, CA couple purchased a new property from a builder for $690,000 and spent the next few years adding value to the home through interior and exterior improvements. When they later refinanced, the appraisal came in at $1,350,000, almost double the purchase price.

Fast forward a few years. The adjustable interest rate on that refinance kicked in and life intervened in other ways, as the couple decided to separate. Neither could afford the new loan payments alone, so they did what everyone recommended and called their lender to work something out. This led to 18 months of negotiations with their servicer, Bank of America, for a loan modification. They followed up monthly and were assured by the servicer that the process was moving forward, even though foreclosure notices were filed and the foreclosure sale was set and then postponed on multiple occasions.

A while back I wrote on Foreclosures and the Five Stages of Grief. If you map the grieving process to the foreclosure process, it seems to me that negotiating for a loan modification is the bargaining stage, the desperate attempt to restore better times.

Despite their efforts the owners recently got a phone call from BofA advising them that their home would go to trustee sale in ten days. The surprised owners asked why, especially given the recent announcements that BofA would soon be offering principal balance reductions. BofA responded that the decision was final, and that even if they qualified for the new program, BofA wasn’t willing to postpone the sale long enough to find out.

The couple’s home went to auction and was sold on the courthouse steps ten days later. That same afternoon, BofA called the owners at home in order to update it’s records on the owners pending loan modification, completely unaware the property had actually been sold on the courthouse steps earlier that day.

This story reminds me of the Peanuts™ cartoon where Lucy pulls the football from Charlie Brown as he tries to kick it. BofA led the couple to believe that a loan modification was on the way, then suddenly it pulled it out from under them. As a kid I always felt bad for poor Charlie Brown when Lucy pulled the football. Not this time. BofA did these folks a big favor, even if they don’t yet realize it yet.

Despite the fact that loan modifications should make sense for all involved, the truth is that most loan modifications available today are even worse than the mortgages they’re replacing. Despite the recent headlines about new loan modification programs featuring principal balance reductions, a simple look under the covers reveals these new programs still fail to adequately address the core problem – negative equity. Instead they simply put a band-aid on fatal wound, while telling onlookers everything will be ok.

Five years from now, as those “lucky” enough to get one of these toxic loan modification face the payment increases they agreed to, our Brentwood couple will have long since completed the grieving process, with worries of negative equity just a distant memory.

109 thoughts on “Loan modification denied? Don't worry, be happy!

    • Finally someone telling it like it is! This opinion should be published in every major newspaper and broadcast on the news. I am thankful they are delaying this foreclosures due to the selfish reason the I am selling my house right now! Banks and loan modifications are a way for banks to make money (monthly payments) on the less than bad loans they made. The banks knew that with the loans they were originating that the people would not be able to buy pizza for their family after they reset! Now people are trusting the banks to solve the problem they created. Please people don’t trust the banks, they are in the business to make money, not help people. It’s funny banks always had the nicest buildings in any town by charging 4 or 5% mortgages or let’s just say being fair and working with people and telling people not we can’t do that loan. I digress, I could go, on and on. I must say, I am very happy you are saying it as it is!

      • Eric Heller is an advisor specializing in matters regarding finance as well as negotiations of mortgages. I saw him speak at a conference in NY. I looked up his website US Home Advisors and gave him a call. Mr. Heller returned my call and was able to guild me down all my options with my jumbo loan. It took me about three months but Eric Heller did give me the knowledge I needed to save my property. I writing this because I also lost 3,500 to a Mod company before calling Eric Heller and was glad to see there are still good people out there.(Malibu, CA)

        • Mark, how long did your Mod process take with Mr. Heller and what were your final costs? and final rate? Was your loan reduced?

          • I took about 2 months or so I don t remember. He charged me in phases so I never had to pay him any fee in advance. It’s the only honest way to do business.

        • mark I’m in the same place as you were. I have just been “approved” but my intrest rate is the same, and my monthly payment is the same, but now I have a large payment at the end of the loan. The lady that I’m working with at BOA is very nice but they don’t really want to modify this loan. I just lost $3,000 with Hafar Loan Modification law firm, and still have almost 2 years I still do not have a modification. I have an adviser with the Keep Your Home California, but they donot answer my calls, or cannot anwer my calls. What do I do next? Who can help me?

          • Jeanie – there is no requirement for the bank to give you a modification. Sometimes you can use an attorney to strong arm the bank, which is more likely if there were major errors made by the bank when they made the loan. Still, we hear of VERY few success stories, and most are from folks like Mark, whose name links back to what now seems to be a defunct business (in other words it was just an ad). Did the law firm do a review of your loan? If so did they find any significant problems? If yes, do you think it is worth spending thousands more on legal help to try to lower your payment? If no, it seems like you simply need to decide whether to accept the loan modification you’ve been offered, or pursue a short sale or foreclosure.

    • Suppose all the homeowners who A) bought with nothing down and never took out any cash or B) bought a home with a down payment then saw GIGANTIC appreciation and refinanced it all out…just thought that homeownership could wait until another day and short sold their home and found a rental…and If no short sale goes through…the home gets foreclosed on and then find a rental.

      The byproduct of becoming a renter again and having a housing expense that is appropriate for a household is…a larger net income per month. That means…debt is paid off, savings can start growing, then investing can happen and then the US is on its way to recovery…

      Home ownership is a great thing…and not for everyone. If you bought with nothing down, like me, or bought and refied out large sums of cash before the crash…like me…then count your blessing…take your lumps and move on and into a rental that matches your current budget.

      for those of your who lost your large downpayment and are severely negatively impacted by the housing crash…my heart goes out to you. Sadly, the milk is spilt.

      Now, adjust your life back to proper income versus housing expenditure ratios.

  1. It’s really sad when the borrower contracts with a “Loan Modification Company” and the house goes to foreclosure. Guess who still wants to be paid for their work.

    • If you hire the right attorney, you can get a great loan mod. My cousin hired Family First Home Solutions and they got him a loan mod that saved him over $700 per month.

      • Note that in california the loan mod will probably be under the condition that you fire the attorney.

        I don’t know about Minnesota laws, but get as much paperwork together as you can, file it by date, and call an attorney.

        • M, you said, “Note that in california the loan mod will probably be under the condition that you fire the attorney.”

          Why is this?

      • Thank you Homeowner. I have done the same. It is hard work and, at the end of the day, we probably don’t make minimum wage but, hearing a story like yours warms my heart. It is possible if you do your homework, hire the right attorney and then stay in the game. But, like everything else, there will always be someone that complains. That is usually the person that started the modification not because they had a hardship but because they wanted a lower payment. Those people are always shocked when things don’t work out for them. Of course they forget how long they lived in the home without paying. Free rent.

    • Guess who still did their work? There were modification companies in the beginning that took people’s money and didnt stay around to finish the job. The companies you see today are saddled with files they have worked on for 6 months to a year because YOUR lender doesn’t have a procedure in place to do it efficiently. Anyone who complains about their modification company doesn’t know the first thing about doing a modification. You should have done it yourself first. They you would know what these companies are up against. I never take a case that the client hasn’t at least tried to work with their lender. Guess what…..I don’t have one client that doesn’t absolutely love me. This whole system is sad. Stop blaming the people that try to help and take some responsibility. If your modification company didn’t do anything for you, you weren’t doing YOUR job. You should have done your homework before you hired them then demanded updates and talked to your lender if you didn’t get them.


    The dominoes have not even fallen yet, 7 Million mortgages 90 days plus behind. And then millions that are 30-60 following suit… Banks have screwed themselves once the American people who tried to do the right thing, is done playing this game!!!!!

  3. Wow. So this where we have come to now. And the banks have no one to blame but themselves, of course. This IS the common man’s bailout so why the hell not? All the old standards of pride of ownership are out the window as far as part of that being doing everything you can to never miss a mortgage payment. All I can say is that these “bankstas” better continue to staff, staff and staff their short sale departments.

    We WILL survive but I can’t help but to now despise banks and the wall street investors that caused it all. They bet AGAINST the success of the people they were supposed to have served and there’s now not a person in the world that it hasn’t affected.

    Thanks for the opportunity to vent a bit. Shame on them and God help us all. (-;

    Realtor, T.H.

  4. Domenic Castanon says:

    It’s a shame. All this mortgage game will definitely be felt for many years to come. Unfortunely the big banks that created this rip-off will be and continue to be backed by our tax money, which is controlled by a federal government that is not any smarter than a fifth grader. FAILURE IS AN OPTION! IT’S THE AMERICAN WAY!


      Once everyone finally see’s that they purposely give false hope to home owners long enough to exhaust the efforts to modify or short sale in most cases, 99% of all modifications have been denied. The gov feeds the banks tax payers monies, So they can insure the banks on their loss, which is really a gain $ in their pockets, So in reality the tax payers/Homeowners are supporting and paying for their own foreclosure, This is the message that people need to know.
      This is all a Rip off scam to the American Home Owners/tax payers.
      A Realtor, That tells it the way it is. Dare to be Bold.

      • Jennifer – You’re exactly right. Years ago, I knew a very rich man who lent hard money for mortgage loans. He only liked to do firsts because then there was nothing between him and the house – and he told the borrower right up front…I collect houses. It’s up to you to pay me (and these were kneecap rates). He had no heart about it, no concience. Strictly business you might say. I see the banks as no different, no matter how they’re dressed up.

        We as buyers, we paid once with a BS price (that was during the run up)
        As taxpayers, we paid again with TARP, TBTF and the rest
        As borrowers, we are told there will be bank “help” because of all the “help” we gave during the crisis – yet the house is taken. Is it all coincidence? Is it all just one hand didn’t know what the other one was doing?

        Tons of houses were wholesaled to real estate groups, equity groups, realtors instead of a “resolution trust” as what happened during the S&L crisis of the 80s. Now, the same people are marking up the wholesaled properties and keeping prices artificially high – so THEY make the money. The buyer or saver never really sees the benefit of low prices brought by high supply/low demand. That’s because there *is* a lot of demand at a low price, but the money cartels control it – as they always have. There are always fire sales, bubbles and such and the big money just waits. Yes, the large banks have to “eat” the artificially high valuations of houses eventually, but they have already made it up because aside from TARP/TBTF, they get money for free and sell it to us for 4.7% or higher (credit card rates). Is it a scam? Well, call it business. So again, is it a coincidence? Don’t think so. I remember my friend who liked to collect houses.

        • Jenniffer Quinn says:

          Mary, you mention in your comment below,
          “Is it a scam? Well, call it business. So again, is it a coincidence? Don’t think so. I remember my friend who liked to collect houses ”

          Mary, It is not a scam if all being done is disclosed to the public, But when these servicing companies and banks saying one thing and doing another with the American tax monies and giving flase hope to home owners long enough to foreclose, it then falls under the government allowing LEGALIZED CRIMINAL ACTIVITY that they dont see or pretend not to see these banks doing, or are a part of, or maybe like you say coincidence!!!

  5. HousingCounselor says:

    Hi Sean,
    I could not find the original comment page but I think this was the article we were chatting on. I work for the treasury’s mha help team, helping people fill out documents and conference with lenders when they get conflicting information. It seems none of these people are in the mha process on your site, so i guess this is for your info. Check out page 5. Thankfully, I do believe the program will get so much better when they don’t allow unemployment as income starting July 1. MHA Public 051710 FINAL.pdf

    • Welcome back housing counselor… the post you originally were commenting on is here:

      I’ve seen the reports on the Making Home Affordable program. In fact the back end debt-to-income ratios of 64.3% after modification is one of the things that made it very clear to me how bad HAMP really is. Not even the worse subprime lenders allowed DTI’s that high – well at least not without having the applicant lie about their income. Add on top of that loan-to-value ratios of 120%-200% or more, and HAMP mods are the most exotic mortgage EVER offered. I think most homeowners that sign up for this madness will regret it over time, as they once again face default a few years from now.

      • HousingCounselor says:

        Ok. So, by ‘back up’, you mean 5.0% fixed for the life of the loan after 5-8 years is high? FYI, no one is calling in for help with an ARM rate under 5%, or under 7 for that matter.

        • Rate really doesn’t matter. Payment as a percentage of income matters, and loan to value matters.

          The biggest problem is that these loans were not affordable at ANY interest rate for the majority of borrowers as clearly evidenced by the DTI data from the HAMP report. The combination of stated income and negative amortization pushed home prices far above supportable levels. The only things that fix that are foreclosures, short sales, deeds-in-lieu, or significant principal balance reduction (which isn’t happening).

          HAMP does nothing constructive to address the negative equity problem and simply kicks the can down the road. The coming “principal balance” enhancements in HAMP2 will fair a little better, but over time will likely end up failing too, as 115%+ LTVs and 60%+ DTI’s simply aren’t sustainable.

          • HousingCounselor says:

            Well, if they can set the front end DTI at 31%, then it doesn’t matter how much equity the family has, as they get to stay in the home. As far as the payment going back up after 5 years, it certainly does not go all the way back up as it will be fixed at 5%, which is much much lower than most rates applying for help. They’re are disqualifying people like crazy who can’t afford the new payments.

          • Problem is that front end DTI just doesn’t matter, its the back end that counts and at an average back end DTI of >60% it appears very few of the “successful” loan mods are truly viable. Heck, not even the most aggressive subprime lenders of years past allowed a >60% back end DTI.

            You say equity doesn’t matter if the payment is affordable. I disagree. Those folks are still stuck in a prison of debt, and for all intents renters rather than owners. Except that at 31% front end DTI they are likely spending more than they would on rent. For what? There’s no upside for them beyond not having to move, or perhaps getting to stay in a nicer house than they could otherwise afford. In the end though, it is little more than indentured servitude to a bank and I think you’ll find that most people figure this out sooner or later, dooming HAMP to fail.

          • HousingCounselor says:

            65% is the standard max DTI for american general, but that’s not the point, over 55% is too high by Treasury guidelines. I’m not sure why you keep bringing up LTV, and you assume everyone redefaults after 5 years, you’re also assuming home values won’t go up at all? Also, $5k is knocked off the principal by treasury for staying current over 5 years on hamp.

            I’ll state from the inside what seems to be the main problems for me: 1. Reps at the bank. I conference call with all major servicers all day long, and it’s a twilight zone trying to get the correct information on the file, thank god we have special numbers for lenders. 2. Transparency – Treasury and servicers don’t want to release the specifics of some parts of the program, because people tweek their budget to qualify. But, people don’t know important stuff like: A. your credit score will decrease 100 points each month on the trial period, and lenders are not reporting borrowers who start the trial current that way, they report it delinquent and go back and fix it if they get in the permanent. B. clients need to call their servicer once a week, they will likely NOT contact you if they need something, and about 1/3 of the reps give the WRONG info/updates. C. you MUST write the hardship letter on the back of page 3 for the RMA form, but most people are faxing the docs; if you’re lucky, the lenders will send you 4 pages where the 4th is technically the back of page 3.

          • HousingCounselor – Thanks for the great insights on what is going on inside.

            LTV is critical because having equity or not determines whether you feel like an owner or a prisoner. The reality is that for an owner with negative equity, their home is a liability, not an asset (both technically and emotionally). From limited historical experience, we know that being a little underwater may not result in widespread defaults, but the reality is that most delinquent homeowners are significantly underwater on their home, and significantly over-indebted even WITH a HAMP modification. It’s not sustainable, and a $5k principal reduction after 5 years is meaningless when you are $200k upside down on a home worth $265k (the averages on CA foreclosures). At this point most people realize that there is ZERO chance of $200k in appreciation in the next 5 years, and perhaps not even in 10 or 15 years.

          • HousingCounselor says:

            Sean – no problem, thank you for taking the time. I just got off the worst conference call with Chase where a homeowner has been paying his HAMP trial Jan 1 – Mar 1 and kept paying April and May, following up weekly. We just found out he was denied in February and they can’t tell us why, just resubmit financials to try to requalify – nightmare. We spoke with Loss Mit, Homeownership preservation office [our third party line], and Collections.

            The biggest thing is not denying someone the permanent whose situation has not changed since qualifying for the trial, it literally ruins lives, whether or not they were current/ past due when they started. If that didn’t happen so darn often, which it shouldn’t with new regulations, then the homeowners who love their home can decide if they can afford the offer or not. If their IR went below 5%, then they need to be in a better situation 5 years from now, true, but they should, and it’s nothing compared to an ARM or int-only.

          • Hi Sean,

            In my case, rate makes all the difference since I have a temporary hardship.

            A temporary interest rate reduction would be a band-aid until my spouse finds employment. If I could get B of A to change me to the current 30 yr fixed rate, I could catch up and be on time with my payments.

            As one who made a 20% down payment, and I love my home, I’ve chosen to give up living as a “normal consumer” just so I can make my payments, albeit a little late. (About a month behind).

            Is it sustainable for more than 5 years, probably not, but I’ve already done it for almost a year now – it’s possible if you don’t mind having holes in your socks.

            Good luck to all.

    • Why not? it is income. Any thing helps or not? I think you are a discriminatory person. I am a Realtor and no one has more fault that homeowners are in hot water with their houses that that own lenders and people with out remords putting them in mortgages that they could affort and with penalties, ARM loans etc. Yes the lenders think they are the victims, I don’t think so. How about the consumers? I pray to God to not be one of those hungry Realtors and continue to help homeowners to try to fix their problems, even I don’t get pay an off.

      • i have a mortage in NY thats underwater, pass due almoat 8mths, most of which was waiting for chase to respond to my mod appication, ist applied in mar 2011 wheni knew loss of one income was on the way, they denied stating i have being good with ontime payments therefore im not qualified. finally lost the one income in june 2011 and applied in august ’11 for mod. Had no response till mar ’12 saying its denied due to low income. Contacted home concellors in bx who applied for me and again its being denied. im so confused and worried now. Chase staff has given me the options of short sale or foreclosure. I have seen a lawtyer yet, not sure if that will help either. Can somene advice please.?

  6. HousingCounselor says:

    Copy that whole line to get to the link, I couldn’t manage the displayed text and it copied wrong.


      If your neigbors short saled their home 2 years ago, And you kept your home that is $300,000 underwater because you wanted to do the right thing especially with the banks promissory they would reduce your payment the same 2 years ago, but instead kept losing your paper work for 2 years straight saying they never got it, and never reducing.
      Then the same neighbors who shortsaled 2 years ago now buy a home in the same neighborhood for $300,000 less than your homes loan,
      This is what the American home owners are wising up to.

      • Patricia Reed says:

        This is called “STRATEGIC DEFAULT” and the the banks are wising up to it as well as the home owners. It is not illegal now, but it will be. This is a moral hazard when families have little children, have good credit and are up side down on their mortgages. It is especially prevalent in Phoenix.
        Pat Reed
        Huntington Beach, CA

        • “STRATEGIC DEFAULT” Is when a Home owner has done all they can and has been lied to by so many different people at the servicing companies and goes through a trial mod only to be denied regardless if they qualify for a short sale or mod, Because its in the Banks best interest to foreclose after being placed on a trial mod payment after being told they will receive help, Only to be told OH Denied sorry … And all that tax payers bail out monies then pays the bank for the full loss of the underwater loan instead of the shortage that would help the people, The banks tell me all the time they still can choose not to modify after all why would they if the Gov just gave billions of Dollars to the banks to use the monies to insure them on the full loss, If i did business like that i would be in jail. My point in all this is their has been no Disclosure to the American Home Owners or Tax payers that say. ( Even if you fax and give us all your info and we put you on a trial mod and even if we say dont worry everything is fine, But if we are insured its better to foreclose so we can use your tax money and throw you out on the streets, so we can get insured by you the Home owner/ tax payer ) Its called Disclosure other wise its Legalized Criminal activity if its not disclosed to the people) And then they now want to blame the Home Owner / tax Payers who just paid the banks to foreclose on themselves… “STRATEGIC DEFAULT” is to be Blamed on the one who let the Bill go through without closing the windows in the bail out contract, whom supposedly represent the American People.

        • Hi Patricia,

          I have a comment/question. I assume the bank I have my checking and savings with, and Bank of America (my mortgage servicer) COULD and probably would talk to each other if necessary.

          I need to maintain a few thousand dollars in the bank to pay my other bills (utilities, HOA, etc) and still need to have an emergency cushion (meaning if I was foreclosed on, I would have a few thousand to move the contents of my house and secure a rental).

          So, how are banks going to categorize a strategic default vs someone who is trying to pay their mortgage, but will not let their bank account go to zero balance?

          Thanks so much,
          PS – I live in Orange County just south of you

          • Patricia Reed says:

            Hi Theresa,
            Regarding your obtaining a loan at a lower rate: Put yourself in the shoes of the bank and ask yourself if you would risk a loan to this person and you will have answered the question “why can’t I get a refi at a lower rate”?
            A person comes to you and says “will you loan me $300,000 and I will pay you 4.5% for that?”. How do you respond?
            What would you want to know before taking a risk on this loan?
            What is your credit score?
            Show me the proof you and the co-borrower have been working at the same job for at least two years.
            Show me your last two years taxes.
            Show me your last two months pay stubs.
            Show me verification of funds for a down payment if this is a new loan.
            Show me comparables for properties in the area that have sold for as much or more than you want to borrow (appraisal).
            Now, would you give this person the loan?
            In other words, Theresa, all refinances are being treated like a completely new loan. All the rules have changed.
            There is no more stated income. Everything has to be verified.
            We are back to where we really should have been all along.
            I believe you would be good for the loan, but the bank doesn’t know. The bank has to package your loan and sell it to a pool of investors who are now very cautious about the mortgage-backed securites they invest in.
            Your husband has got to get back to work. NOW. Hang in there. Rates are going to stay low for a LONG time. Try to keep treading water. I have lived in Calif all my life and I have seen the up and down cycles come and go. Try to hang on to your house unless you are more than 20% underwater on your mortgage and it would cost less to rent than to own.
            More millionaires wre made during the great depression than at any other time in history. Some panicked and lost everything. Of those, some dug in and came back stronger than before. Others fell by the wayside. Still others said “I see opportunity” and grew wealthy from others losses.
            You are not alone in your anxiety and uncertainty. There are many. Be strong. Set a goal. Keep trying. I’ll be rooting for you.
            Patricia Reed

        • Patricia Reed says:

          It is deemed reasonable and wise to keep a few thousand dollars in the bank for the costs of everyday living and for emergencies. Banks are working with customers to keep them in their homes via loan mods. If a loan mod fails, it is because it is determined by the bank the owner does not have the income, credit or ability to make the payments. Therefore, the bank will usually agree to a short sale. If you have money in the bank, it is VERY UNLIKELY the bank will go after it on a short sale unless the short sale owner has excessive funds, a good job, and has CHOSEN not to make the payments. I only had one case where the seller short sold the house, a rental, not owner occupied, and had to give back money to the bank in return for the bank to agree to a short sale. The way it was structured, a payment plan was set up for the seller to pay back the bank $15,000 by making payments of $250.00 per month until the debt was paid. Remember…this was NOT her primary residence. It was a RENTAL that was underwater on the mortgage. If your home is owner-occupied, you will not be hit with a deficiency judgement like this even with money in the bank. Once your short sale is approved, your credit will be dinged and you can conveivably be in a position credit-wise to purchase another home in about 2 years.
          Please remember that banks are still merging and aquiring other banks right now and department members are being moved around and replaced constantly. So your bank does not keep tabs on your specific accounts. Go forward with confidence.
          Pat Reed

          • Hi Patricia,

            Thank so much for responding, and I greatly appreciate all of the information you are providing for distressed home owners.

            Unfortunately, banks / mortgage servicers are not making any provisions for those who made a 20% or more down payment (like I did). I have the intention of remaining in my home, even with my negative equity investment. I love this area and love this house.

            If I could lower my interest rate to the current 30 yr fixed rate, and then I wouldn’t have any problems being on time with my payments. Why don’t banks realize this and try to work with folks like me?

            B of A says I don’t qualify for HAMP – which may be a blessing in disguise. We’ve been paying about a month late every month since May 2010, and we’ll catch up soon after my husband finds a job (sans the late fees). (I’m just late on July now).

            I was reading the Countrywide / Attorney General Brown settlement- Case No. LC083076. I’m wondering if I’d have any recourse on mortgage late fees through this settlement.

            Thanks again.

          • Thanks again Patricia,
            In response to your post: July 10, 2010 at 5:40 pm

            Yes, that makes sense.
            I will continue to tread water as you’re recommending, and my husband is actively job searching. I know you are offering the best advice I’ve heard yet. I could show my income tax records from 2006 verse 2009 to prove my situation – I wouldn’t expect anyone to believe “stated” income.

            BAC says my loan is called a “Non-conforming, 6-30 (or 630) i/o Fast and Easy”. I know I / O is interest only – the rest, I have no idea. They also told me, it’s not labeled as subprime. (I had good credit in 2006 – was around 750)

            Would you have knowledge on this:

            California ($699.6 million)

            * California will provide assistance to reduce principal with earned principal forgiveness.

            * The state will also target funds to address delinquent loan arrearages.

            * California will offer a mortgage payment subsidy to unemployed families.

            * Provide funds to assist families that have executed a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transition to a stable housing situation.

            California’s website:

            *The Treasury approved CalHFA’s programs on June 23, 2010, however the programs are under development and will not be available until November 1, 2010

            I guess there’s no way BAC would sell my loan to the gov at this point? Maybe with a balance of 551,000, it’s a jumbo loan, and the FHA loans are overflowing with trouble. (?)

            I was under the impression the negotiation for a lower interest rate would be with the current investor who holds the note on my loan. Probably another bank, perhaps overseas?

            I am aware the mortgage backed securities market has dried up. (I watched the C-SPAN Financial Crisis hearing AIG / Joesph Cassano- former AIG FP VP stated this happened, even before 2007). I guess this is why it’s more difficult to get a mortgage now, even with a good credit score.

            I don’t know much about the financial world – but from my perspective, it seems like AIG paid out on these insured securities (to investment firms like Goldman-Sachs), and then the US gov gave them TARP bailout monies because they couldn’t afford to make good on these AA rated deals that went sour or were risky to begin with.

            As you know, the American tax payer is angry, and especially folks like me, because our tax dollars went to these financial firms, and yet they do nothing to help make the situation better (for us tax payers), but seem only concerned with their investors. (I’m sorry, my understanding is limited).

            I am so grateful for intelligent, logical people like yourself who give good advice. There are so many scams, especially in CA.

            Thanks again Patricia. If I know of anyone in HB needing a Realtor, I will tell them to look you up.

  7. realtor in Block says:

    B of A Deni to provide original trust note from previous
    sub prim bank as they lost the paper trail. they pretend try to locate the note and just sent a letter saying that it will be come to you soon. what a great bank we trust. the request to provide the trust note over 9 months now. and not just one requested. three requested so far still no answer from B of A
    Please advice what should I tell B of A.


    • Patricia Reed says:

      B of A is one of the the most difficult banks to work with on a short sale. They have a communication website called “EQUATOR” (866-880-1232) which is available to the listing agent and escrow company in a short sale transaction. Although I have 100% short sale closing success, the B of A transaction is the most frustrating of all because of their automatic default system that overrides communication attempts that will block you for 7 days each time a third attempt is made . Good Luck on this. Pat

    • Patricia Reed says:

      The magic words when you contact B of A are “MANUAL REVIEW”! You want a manual review otherwise you will be blocked out of the EQUATER system for 7 days and required to submit again.
      Pat Reed
      Short sale specialist

  8. Been making our trial Loan Modification payments since about November of 2009….. every trial payment on time… follow up calls every 2 weeks, we are always told its still under review, no documents are needed at this time. call once again weeks later to check the status, told it is being reviewed by an underwriter. Today we received a letter saying we were denied because we did not provide them with the documents requested…. Called CHASE, kinda got the run around, were told by one we had been moved to another Loan Modification program???? orginally in Making Home Affordable Modification… called back, were told they needed more docs. HONESTLY called back for the 3 time today and were told were still under review. please anyone with some guidance in to what may be happening? or what to do? THANKS

    • HousingCounselor says:

      Reed, they’re prolly shifting you to an in-house mod., maybe because it was actually denied, as a lot of times the loss mit reps can’t see the negotiators’ notes in the system. However, they can probably ‘escalate’ it to a manager to see why it was denied, and get it reopened for HAMP. Thirdly, they often send ‘mistake’ denial letters for docs, but don’t count on it. Did you get a letter over 30 days before stating a specific doc. was the problem? Call 888995HOPE, ask for the mha help team, to help you conference with your lender if necessary.

    • Patricia Reed says:

      Be sure to make your payments on time. With Chase Bank, the mod department does not know that a forclosure is imminent and visa versa. I have had home owners tell me they were in the process of obtaining a loan mod when the sheriff comes to the door to notify the home owner that the house has been sold or repossessed. This is because the loss-mitigation department and the loan mod department do not communicate. If you can qualify for a new loan, you will qualify for a loan mod. This means FICO scor above 720, income, 2-year job with steady income and taxes for the last 2 years to prove it. If you have been turned down for a loan mod, your only other option other than foreclosure is a short sale. By avoiding foreclosure your credit scores will be dinged but not destroyed. Pat Reed

      • Patricia are you kidding me? the Sheriff comes to the door
        and you want to lecture the home owner for what they did right, And condone the bank for foreclosing on the home owner, due to their supposedly negligence which i call fraud, Not to mention when chase tells the home owners they cant help you unless your behind in payments and then wants to know why you can pay the credit card and car payment, so the home owners gets behind in those to thinking they will then receive the help because that is what they tell then, I don’t know you but it sure sounds like ur looking for a commission, By acting like the servicing companies / banks have rights to deceive the American home Owners on their dime.

        • Patricia Reed says:

          In California, when a payment on a loan is not received and is late the bank can then record a “NOD” Notice of Default. After 90 days the bank can then issue a “NOT” Notice of Trustee sale. After 21 days, the house CAN go to the courthouse steps to be auctoned off. The homeowner has 5 days prior to the sale to reinstate the loan. Most banks do NOT want to foreclose because it is far more expensive than a short sale. Many of the banks have been holding houses off from going to trustees sale, allowing the owner to remain in the house for months without paying a payment. Some that come up on a date of auction sale are postponed because the house may be #1 in a short sale negotiation or #2 a loan mod is being attempted or #3 the bank does not want to flood the market with REOs because prices will plummet when inventory is high.
          The last time I went to observe the sale at the courthouse steps there were 85 houses on the docket. All but 2 were postponed due to “beneficiarys request”, “mutual agreement” or ” trustes discretion”. Of the 2 that were not postponed, one was sold for a bargain and the other went back to the bank because it was priced too high and there were no bidders for it. People often ask: “why don’t the banks release the houses to auction? The banks are not getting their payments and don’t they need the money?”
          Interest rates are so low right now, banks don’t want to lend. 4.5% on a 30 year fixed? Rather, the banks can buy treasury bonds and receive 3% dividends on their investments. That is a profit of 300 percent. This is one reason many homeowners are rolling the dice and betting the banks do not foreclose on them because they can stay in their house for free for a long time. So people are paying their credit cards, HOA fees and letting the mortgage payments slide. Remember, the postponement of the auction sale is at the banks discretion. Some are going to auction, but many are not. These are the facts in Orange County, CA. Read everything you can. Go to the auctions, take economic classes. Do whatever it takes to gain knowledge. Knowledge is power.
          Pat Reed

          • Patricia

            I was referring to the home owners that complied with the servicing companies / banks whom were in trial loan mods, and did everything right , only to be foreclosed on anyways, the banks say it in their best interest dollar wise to lead them on and foreclose anyways on these folks, since they are insured for the full lose on the back end. Ethically speaking that should be disclosed to the American Home Owners otherwise its called entrapment.
            Regardless of economic Knowledge.


    Sorry to here, but it only proves my upper messages on what the banks have been doing I call it Legalized Criminal Activity,
    They purposely give you the same ole song and dance, One thing you must Remember they are not your friends they represent the investor not you, even though they say they are their to help you, by placing sometimes nice front people to say nice things to you such as we have all your paper work your fine, and put you on a nice trial mod long enough for you to get so far behind that you couldn’t possibly make the house payments all up now, so they start the foreclosure process, I call this the intended denial entrapment, But the good news is the servicing company at the bank who just lied and cheated to you this whole time gets a fat pay check now on this file, (bonus) because they tried to help you, that’s within the new administrations guidelines proving they tried, (tried is the word)when really they did nothing for you the whole time probably didn’t even look at your paper work. Reed what i am seeing a lot lately is when a home owner is denied they then place the property for sale as a short sale even when an offer is accepted by the home owner to open an escrow, All of a sudden the bank is then offering you the home owner a modification, at which time you can accept if you choose to, you can also call the bank and tell them you want to re submit your financial s because you don’t agree with their outcome, so you would then resubmit your paper work once again and go through the process of them offering you a mod, Mean time save all you money,

  10. we’re into the second year of our modification w/ emc,
    our payment went from3700.00 per mo. to 2300.
    we were able to do most of the work our selves,and w/ the help of Consumer credit counseling we got the mod.
    I you are considering a mod. you need to contact these people,there services are absolutely free,yes free.
    this is a free service paid for by the joke ,no B.S.,
    no scam.It worked for us w/ the absolute worse servicer, judy @ C.C.C. in camarillo ca.

    • HousingCounselor says:

      nice work frank reed. Now, all you have to do is convince Sean that you’ll be able to afford the home in 5 years if you’re interest rate went below 5% and comes back to 5%heheh. Or is that an in-house mod.? That’s a monster permanent reduction!


      Hey housing councilor try addressing the Reed who posted the May 26th post.
      Not the gimmick Reed you posted on May 31st to make your self fraudulently look good . Ha HEEEEE Ya Right!!

      • HousingCounselor says:

        I did, on March 29.
        “Reed, they’re prolly shifting you to an in-house mod., maybe because it was actually denied, as a lot of times the loss mit reps can’t see the negotiators’ notes in the system. However, they can probably ‘escalate’ it to a manager to see why it was denied, and get it reopened for HAMP. Thirdly, they often send ‘mistake’ denial letters for docs, but don’t count on it. Did you get a letter over 30 days before stating a specific doc. was the problem? Call 888995HOPE, ask for the mha help team, to help you conference with your lender if necessary.”

        • HousingCounselor says:

          And the CCCS Frank worked with is probably not a scam as they’re non-profit hud certified and didn’t charge him a penny, just helped with conflicting information and family budgeting tools.

  11. Pingback: Was Your Loan Modification Denied? Consider Yourself Lucky — Your Los Angeles Short Sale Resource of Information

  12. This is why it was well worth hiring someone to help with
    Loan Modification, not ALL were crooks but all got shut down.
    Many loan mods were completed successfully, now most are
    using the big not for profit people and they aren’t doing so great
    either, think short sales is best for most homeowner’s today.

  13. Colleen Realtor says:

    I had the same thing happen to a client of mine but it was IndyMac (aka One West Bank) that pulled the rug out from under them. I cringe everytime I see their commercial claiming to be a community bank serving clients one person at a time. It should be stating destroying American families…one at a time!

  14. I am a Realtor in CA and I help people work with their loan modifications for free, I have been successful many times, but even at the end once the MODS are done and ready to go things happen and families cannot afford the payment on the modifications and end up having to Short Sale their home, is a sad thing I understand, but by the end once the whole burden of the debt is over, the person can finally live their life free!!
    Having a home is just like having a business at one point you dream that the investment you made in your home works out to your benefit, to pay your kids college or to be able to refi and re-invest and have a positive flow.
    But what happens when your business makes you lose money and all you are doing is just putting good money to the bad? , better to get rid of than to carry with the burden of it, don you agree.
    The home is the memories, the events the laughter, what we make it to be, the House is literally 4 walls and a business where we hope someday i brings dividends for us and our children. The rest can be taken to another place to another city, to another country!

    Its life and we have to do the best we can to live it!
    With gratitude to all

  15. There is no need to hire a lawyer in California to take care of a succesful Loan mod.
    Infact as long as you have a Realtor that knows what he/she is doing the can help you.

    • Jenniffer Quinn says:

      Hugo I have been a Realtor since 1989.. I started working 3 years ago with folks for Mods and short sales, Unfortunately I knew much more than the servicing companies who were losing the paper work going through their transitions to be trained since their were purposely no longer any intelligent folks working these services whom understood the process.. Here is the deal Hugo, Some of These service workers/ banks were being told by their superiors to not let the mods go through even if they qualify and not to approve the short sale, The banks were insured on the back end by letting it go to foreclosure.. That is throwing people out int the streets last time i looked, Not to mention none of this was disclosed to the American Home owner in fact they were flat out lied to and led a straid by these banks /servicers/and all those in charge of tax payers monies spent for this purpose, Why does every one seem to miss the point on this. And last time i looked the majority of folks re defaulting on loans or that are not accepting their loan mods, were being given a $20.00 deduction in their payment, Just enough for the banks to get a new Promissory Note in their hands since 99% of all banks lost and destroyed the original notes. Lets talk that case law folks.

      • Jennifer Quinn, you are an idiot. You make Realtors look pretty stupid by dumb the things you say. Do us all a favor and get a job at Starbucks providing you know how to make coffee.

        • Steven tell your Mom Hello, I beleive in helping people not stealing from them, Steven and as a Realtor i do pretty good. you should try the Truth too. Have a Blessed Day.

          • Are you talking to me? I do pretty well as a Realtor, have always told the truth and have never stole from anyone? I just call things as I see them!

      • Jennifer:

        Hi there: I am looking for Jennifer Quinn who worked at California Financial Loan Services in San Diego. Would that be you? I’ll explain if it is.


  16. Sean, this is the best written article on the failure of loan modifications I’ve read yet! It’s sad as one of commentors here said. It is just giving homeowners false hope that they will be able to keep their home. If borrowers do agree to a loan mod, they will just be in the same boat (or worse)five years from now. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  17. Pingback: Link to a good article | The Foreclosure Whisperer

  18. Pingback: The Truth About the HAMP Program — Chino Hills Real Estate Resource Center

  19. No sorry Steven Kuhn, I was replying back to Bill Stevenson’s remark about calling me an idiot for saying it the way it is.
    You are right on with what your saying!!

  20. Hi all,
    I just found this wonderful website and am grateful for everyone’s comments.

    I have a Countrywide originated loan, from July 2006. I made a 20% down payment. I have a 10yr I/O at 6.75%. This is our primary and only residence and we have intentions of retaining the home for a minimum of 10 years. We had great credit in 2006.

    My husband has been unemployed since Dec 2009 (and not eligible for unemployment because he was a 1099 contracted worker). We live in southern California.

    The loan is only in my name and based on my salary, which we knew at the time was unsustainable – however, we never would have guessed that my spouse would be unemployed for an extended amount of time.

    We have paid this loan ON TIME 3-1/2 + years and had our first late / default in May 2010. We paid for May in June, and just made our June payment (without the late fees).

    According to B of A, we don’t qualify for any programs for temporary hardship. My loan is not a Fannie/Freddie or gov backed – I am in the process of obtaining the investor info.

    My biggest issue with B of A, and that I have stated for their records is that “their policies and guidelines do not address home retention, and there’s no provision for anyone who made a 20% or more down payment”. They will not lower my mortgage interest rate to the current 30 year fixed rate of 4.5% (I haven’t even asked for a Principal Reduction even though my home is worth between 80K and 100K less than my balance – that’s with 20% down).

    I have already contacted HUD. I’m wary of any loan mod offers because I’ve heard and read about so many nightmares.

    Does anyone know anything about the program for “Hardest Hit Housing Markets”? – California is included. Will this be through loan servicers?

    Good luck to everyone.

  21. Hi Everyone,

    My husband and I are in a temp loan modification limbo with BofA, so far last month we were told that it was in its final phase with the underwriter and after that if it got approved then it would go to the treasury dept. and that we would be receiving something in the mail. It is now a month and 7days later and nothing yet. Called BofA so far it is in review again, per MHA “there is no quarantee and that once it’s over collection process begins.” Last month the rep. that we spoke with said we were in the final stages and it got approved by the underwriter and it was then sent to the treasury dept. Today, the rep who I spoke with had a different tone without any news of it being over. This whole process is frustrating. Can anyone give me any input about this process?
    Good luck to anyone that has to deal with BofA.

    • Jenniffer Quinn says:

      According to my self and a few smart broker friends, If you have Lenders insurance on your loan then they have every intention most likely to keep telling you something different so they can place you in a situation of becoming so fare behind only then to receive a denial letter, so they can make the insurance monies off your loan otherwise they don’t get that insured amount of money from the loss of your home if they were to help you, They need to at least look as though their tying to help you, we call it premeditated legalized criminal activity. Maybe the housing console rs has some intelligent input on this ? rather than denial.

    • Thank you for that article Jennifer -

      We have a B of A mortgage (Countrywide). We were told we didn’t qualify for any programs for the past 2 years every time we’ve called B of A to explain our situation. We even asked HUD to help us – they said “it’s up to the servicer if they want to help you”.

      My husband has been out of work for 9 months (without unemployment benefits) and UNDERemployed for the past few years. We’ve had no choice but to pay our mortgage a few weeks to a month late since May 2010, now our bank account is 1/10 of what it was the year we bought our house. Scary.

      B of A send a letter to “Accelerate” a few weeks ago, even though we weren’t 60 consecutive days behind, but stated on the back of the letter that we now MAY qualify for a mod. I believe even if we get the temporary mod, that they would do the same thing to us as they did to this couple.

      My friend in San Diego had the exact same thing happen to him with Chase. He had a trial mod, made all the payments on time, then Chase kicked him out of the program (without explanation) and demanded all of the difference of his original payments to his modified amount, and they wanted the payment immediately or they would foreclose.

      He had no choice but to let them have the house.

      Why isn’t there more news about this? Why isn’t the government investigating?

      PS – We put 20% down and I have no problem saying that this foreclosure crisis is being multiplied by the BANKS that DO NOT want to MODIFY loans – even to the current 30 year fixed interest rate. We are about 100K underwater, even after 20% down.

      Unfortunately, many Americans who aren’t in a situation like mine think people like us are all deadbeats who got no money down payday loans.

      • Hi Theresa – The challenge for the banks is that for everyone that isn’t paying there are two more that are still paying on their underwater mortgage. If they do the right thing by you, they risk having the those other two wanting the same thing. Few banks would survive that situation. So while what you are saying makes perfect sense, the reality is that you likely won’t get a reasonable mod and you may be throwing good money after bad like your friends. That said, a few do get lucky and get a great mod. Have you read Foreclosure Roulette – a game of extend and pretend?

        • Hi Sean,

          Thank you – I think you’re spot on with what you wrote here:

          I didn’t want to face that truth a few months ago – and that I’ve lost my down payment of over $130,000.00
          and may become a renter again. But maybe that’s not a horrible fate.

          I wish I knew how much time I have before actual “foreclosure” – I have not received an official “Notice of Default” yet. The last mortgage payment was made in mid August – that’s was for July. BAC said a few weeks ago that they would send us paperwork for a trial modification which we haven’t received yet.

          I am in southern California. (BAC/Countrywide – purchase agreement July 2006).

          • I wouldn’t be surprised if you had a year or more before the foreclosure happened. One thing I would suggest… try a short sale. If you can find a knowledgeable Realtor and you are careful on the tax and recourse issues it is better for your credit and may get you back into home ownership much faster.

  22. This story sounds just like my experience with Wells Fargo, except for one major point: My house was NOT underwater, we were 23 years into a 30 year ARM that had almost always worked in our favor. We only owed $60K on a $110 loan (not sure why we still owed so much after so long) on a house worth $180K, but the stringing along with promises and the postponements was EXACTLY the same. My wife and I were separated when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was out of work, but she had a really good job teaching gifted and talented children. We were only 3 months behind when Wells Fargo offered us a chance at a workout rather than emptying our savings to catch up. We had the money to pay the entire amount of the default including the mounting attorneys fees, but they kept saying we should wait…we foolishly believed them until the day it went to the courthouse steps and sold for $90K to a lucky investor.

    Now, five months later, they refuse to give us the $30K that we “made” on the sale because 11 years ago we had to file chapter 13. We both had good jobs at the time, and our case was discharged within two years, with all debts paid at 100%, but the foreclosure attorneys say that they have to “make sure” that we owe no one else from that bankruptcy case and that it might take up to TWO YEARS before they can release the remaining funds to us!

    This is truly “adding insult to injury” or “pouring salt on the wound”. We really just wanted to keep the house that our children were raised in and leave it to them one day. Too sad for us…and too evil for them! I literally want to throw up every time I see a Wells Fargo commercial on television touting all they have done for people and the community!

    • Henry – that sounds like a load of baloney to me. The whole point of bankruptcy is a fresh start. Those creditors don’t continue to have a claim on the future appreciation of your home, or the equity created by your making payments the last 11 years. You should hire a competent attorney to contact the trustee and demand a release of the funds. Worst case they will “interplead” them to a court, but at a minimum you should be able to make the process move faster.

  23. Pingback: Loan Modification Denied? You May be One of The Lucky One’s! — Short Sale In Los Angeles

  24. Patricia Reed says:

    Anyone considering moving back into their house while a short sale is in progress during this moratorium on bank foreclosures is shooting themselves in the foot by thinking they can live for free for another 6 to 18 months for free. By directly sabotaging the short sale, anyone who commits this greivance error can be setting themselves up for fraud and for interfering in a contract by refusing to cooperate in a short sale. Other repercussions are a judicial lien via FBI investigation showing refusing to cooperate and defrauding a lender.
    Please, if you find yourself in a situation giving you a choice to do the right thing vs doing the cheap, greedy and easy thing, let your conscience be your guide.
    Also, if you have children, keep in mind that you are setting an example for them in how to handle their financial difficulties as they grow and learn.
    Patricia Reed, Realtor, huntington Beach, CA

  25. I’ve learned so much in the past few months about this issue, and I’ve hardly scraped the surface.

    According to California Civil Code 2923.6 which was enacted last July 2008, requires Lenders of residential loans in the State of California to accept loan modifications in most foreclosure situations. This applies to all residential loans made from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2007. Loan-modification solutions can include freezing or reducing interest rates, reducing the principal or extending the term of the loan.

    Remember homeowners – right now, only banks can get away with breaking the law, but we, unfortunately, are on our own.

    Good luck all.

    • Theresa – that is completely false. A state can’t impose a modification on a federally regulated lender even if they wanted to. The only thing that changed is that the lender must have an approved modification program in place to be exempt from a delay in posting a notice of trustee sale. Nothing in that says that they can’t deny modifications, nor that they can’t just delay the posting and not even have a loan mod program.

      • Hi Sean -

        It doesn’t say that lenders MUST offer modifications, but it does say it “requires Lenders of residential loans in the State of California to accept loan modifications in MOST foreclosure situations.”

        What I wrote is not false. I don’t make up California Civil Codes. The problem is banks are not following HAMP guidelines from the government or Califonia Civil Code (because they don’t HAVE to).

        • I actually goofed… I thought you were referring to AB7, my apologies. That said, 2923.6 still doesn’t change the fact that states can’t force lenders to forgive principal or modify loan terms. Neither can bankruptcy judges at this point (cram downs). Seems to me they got this passed by watering it down with “if such a modification or plan is consistent with its contractual or other authority”. Pretty easy for a servicer to say no to that.

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  38. About two months ago my husband and I were approved for a loan modification. The process of filing for it was a long drawn out headache but when we were approved and able to stay in our home we were so happy. Yesterday we received a personal note from a random person who stated they had just been the highest bidder and had bought our house at an auction a couple days ago. The past two months we have been in touch with our mortgage company and they had not mention any of the sort, yet continued to guide us on how and where to send our mortgage check. My husband and I are completely full of frustrated confusion. We have no idea what is going on.

    • Sounds like you may be able to have the sale overturned… assuming you’ve made every loan mod payment on time and as agreed with the lender. I’d suggest taking tomorrow off if you can and trying to call the trustee or lender first thing to straighten it out. Have any documentation of your loan mod on hand as well as proof of payments (check #, date it cleared your account, etc). Try the trustee first (number should be on notice of default or notice of trustee sale you received when the foreclosure first started). Often this happen because of miscommunication between departments. The trustee will be most knowledgable on an actual foreclosure sale.

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  41. I lost my home also ,but all I can say is gmac did not help me because the loan is not under my name,im on one year redemption how can i redeem my home if no body would help me refinance so I can put the loan into my name, I am from Michigan,shame on Gmac to put me through all those phone calls I make almost everyday, I have to talk to different rep from all over the country, the last person I talk to her name Kristen she one of the manager that I talk to she said sign everything that was on the packet for a loan mod and not to put my ex husband name send it back which I did that 3 weeks after I found out my home is been sold to federal mortgage association, and the Councellor that was assign to me did not help me at all. I am still hoping that I can still get my home back. I still need help from anybody who can give me a loan mod or refinancing my home.

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