Q: I own a rental property and am trying to go through a modification program for that property. After spending a year on this, I got rejected and my house is in foreclosure this week.
The lender told me that I can reapply for another loan modification program, but it takes 24 hours to remove the house from the foreclosure stream.
Now, I’m being told there is nothing I can do. Can you help me? What are my options?
A: You can always file for bankruptcy, which would stop the foreclosure, but if you are hours away from a foreclosure sale on the courthouse steps your time may be running out.
If you file for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy will stop the foreclosure until the lender appears before the bankruptcy judge to get permission to move forward on the foreclosure. You should consult immediately with a real estate attorney or bankruptcy attorney to assess your legal options and to figure out whether you can find a way to make this work out for you.
These days there are plenty of people going though your situation and many of them have started to put up a fight against the banks. If you have some legal justification to go up against your lender, you can have an attorney appear before the judge handling the foreclosure hearing and try to prevent the sale, or at least stop it to give you time to defend yourself in the foreclosure proceedings.
If you feel you were unfairly denied a modification, you can file a complaint with the regulatory agencies. If it’s a nationally-chartered bank (such as Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, or Chase), go to www.helpwithmybank.gov, which is a website run by the Office of Comptroller of the Currency. However, you should know that most home borrowers failed to get loan modifications the last several years. Some borrowers were lucky and received loan modifications, but most others that applied ended up worse off than they were when they started the process with the banks.
It seems that people that came forward to apply for loan modifications found out that most banks gave them “trial” modifications, then many of those same banks proceeded to report those borrowers as delinquent or as having paid less than what they were supposed to on their loans. These borrowers’ credit scores and credit histories were damaged by their attempt to modify their loans.
Some borrowers found that they could only apply for a loan modification if they stopped paying their mortgages. Still others found out that they would not qualify for a permanent loan modification months and months after applying only to find out that their lender now wanted them to repay their loans in full or make up any reduction in their payments while they were in the trial period.
While you can complain about not getting a loan modification, you’ll need some reason why you feel that the bank was required to give you a loan modification and didn’t.
I hope this works out for you.