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How To Find Legitimate Help With Mortgage Debt Restructuring

By Spodek Law Group | February 20, 2024

How To Find Legitimate Help With Mortgage Debt Restructuring

Dealing with mortgage debt can be really stressful and overwhelming. I totally get it if you’re feeling like you don’t know where to turn or who to trust. But there are legitimate options out there that can help – you just gotta know where to look.

Get Free Advice From Nonprofits

There are some great nonprofits that provide free financial counseling to help people in tough situations figure out their options. I’d start out by checking out organizations like NeighborWorks America or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

The counselors at these places can walk you through stuff like:

  • Getting on a budget and tracking expenses
  • Prioritizing which debts to pay off first
  • Renegotiating the terms of your mortgage
  • Understanding different debt relief programs

The best part is they won’t charge you a dime. I mean hey, it can’t hurt to start there before paying some rando company or lawyer, ya know?

Research Loan Modification Companies

If you need more hands-on help actually getting your mortgage modified, there are companies that specifically focus on that. But fair warning – some of them kinda suck, ngl.

Before hiring anyone, you gotta do your homework and vet them out. Here’s what to check:

  • Search online reviews – See what other people are saying on sites like TrustpilotBetter Business Bureau, or Yelp. Look out for red flags like a lot of complaints.
  • Ask about success rates – Legit companies should give hard numbers on how many mortgage modifications they successfully arrange. Like at least 60-70% or more.
  • Get fee details in writing – They should clearly explain their full fees in a written contract before you sign anything. Watch out for sketchy hidden costs.
  • Check credentials – See if they employ lawyers, CPAs, certified financial planners, or other accredited experts. That’s reassuring.

I’d check out companies like New Era Debt Solutions or Pacific Debt. From what I can tell they seem pretty transparent and get decent reviews.

Consider Hiring A Real Estate Attorney

If you want legal firepower in your corner, it may be worth hiring a real estate attorney who specializes in stuff like mortgage modifications, foreclosure defense, and bankruptcy.

The nice thing is you can often find ones who offer free consultations, so you can pick their brain before shelling out. Places to search include:

  • Avvo.com – Huge directory where you can read lawyer profiles, see client reviews, and even do free Q&As with attorneys.
  • NOLO.com – Another big directory with ways to filter by location, rates, practice areas, and more.
  • State bar associations – Most states have their own bar directories to look up licensed lawyers in your area.

I might start out by checking if there are real estate lawyers on Avvo or NOLO that service your neighborhood. But the state bar is always a safe bet too.

Explore Government-Sponsored Programs

So get this – the government actually has programs in place to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. Who knew?

Two big ones are:

  • FHA-HAMP – For people with FHA-insured loans. It can lower your monthly payment to 31% of your gross income.
  • HARP – For people with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. It can refinance your mortgage to lower interest rates.

The first step is to contact your mortgage lender or loan servicer directly to ask about applying. I’d also talk with a nonprofit credit counselor or real estate attorney to get help navigating everything.

Some key things the programs look at are:

  • Your income and debts
  • Why you fell behind on payments
  • Whether the home is your primary residence
  • Your credit history and score

Assuming you meet the eligibility criteria, they can reduce or suspend your mortgage payments for a while to help you get back on track. Pretty sweet deal honestly!

Don’t Get Scammed!

As you’re researching options, be super wary of mortgage relief scams. They totally take advantage of vulnerable homeowners.

🚩Red flags include:

  • Charging big upfront fees before providing any services
  • Guaranteeing they can stop the foreclosure or modify your loan
  • Telling you to stop paying your mortgage company
  • Saying they can cut your principal balance or interest rate way more than seems logical
  • Using fake government affiliations as a selling tactic

If anything seems fishy, trust your gut! And remember, there are legitimate ways to deal with mortgage debt without being scammed.

Recap Of Next Steps

Just to recap, here are some solid first steps to take in finding legitimate help:

  • Get free advice from HUD-approved nonprofit housing counselors
  • Research mortgage modification companies thoroughly; vet them out
  • Consult with accredited real estate attorneys, especially those offering free case reviews
  • Look into FHA-HAMP and HARP through your mortgage lender

And above all – steer clear of anything that smells like a mortgage relief scam! There are real solutions out there. Stay hopeful and keep plugging away. You got this!

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