Americans worried about foreclosure have loan modification options thanks to President Obama’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). HAMP allows borrowers to modify their current mortgage payments and bring them to a more affordable level. The program was introduced in March 2009 and has helped more than 495,898 homeowners stay in their homes. Thousands of homeowners continue to receive help through this program and a federal report, released last month reports that 28,000 permanent home loan modifications were conducted in September, only slightly down from the 33,000 in August.
Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ralph Bostic says that HAMP has save millions of families from foreclosure, however concedes that many more foreclosures still remain in the pipeline. “…It’s clear we have a hard road ahead,” he says.
To qualify for HAMP, homeowners must meet first specific requirements including:
- Mortgage modification must be for a primary residence
- Existing loan must be originated on or before January 1, 2009
- Your current home value must be at or below $729,750 for a single family home; higher for multi-units
- Existing monthly mortgage payments must be more than 31% of your gross income
- You must be able to prove financial hardships through documentation
Will I Qualify for HAMP?
Although you may fulfill the specific requirements for HAMP, many homeowners wonder if they will qualify. To determine qualification, refer to the Obama loan modification plan guidelines and calculate your targeted monthly payment. Next, examine your debt ratio to determine if you can meet that targeted payment and qualification requirements. If you miss the mark on your targeted payment schedule, make modifications to your budget to arrive at a reasonable amount of disposable income in addition to your targeted payment.
Another important consideration is paperwork completion. If your paperwork is not followed to the letter, according to your servicer’s guidelines, you may be denied for HAMP, possibly making you ineligible to reapply. Before you apply, contact your lender and request specific directions and possibly assistance to ensure all paperwork is completed and submitted correctly.
How to Apply for HAMP
When applying for HAMP borrowers are urged to scrutinize directions and include all required paperwork and documentation. Some lenders may ask for additional information, however most standard HAMP applications require:
- An Affidavit of Financial Hardship letter that lists reasons or events that contribute to your financial hardship
- Develop a financial breakdown of monthly income and expenses
- Obtain a borrower’s statement • Provide two copies of recent paystubs and one copy of recent income tax returns
- Last two months of bank statements
Denied for HAMP Modification? You Can Reapply!
If you’ve been denied for a home modification through HAMP you can reapply if your circumstances change or if the servicer has inaccurate information. Unfortunately, those who do not furnish proper paperwork or fail to make trial period modification payments cannot reapply. Some non-Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae may only get one shot since those lenders can develop their own guidelines.
It’s important to note that before the foreclosure process can commence, the servicer must prove that all other loan modification programs including short sale, proprietary sale and HAMP were attempted before proceeding with foreclosure. Chief of Treasury’s Homeownership Preservation Office, Phyllis Caldwell says that servicers are strictly prohibited from conducting a foreclosure without certified documentation that HAMP was first attempted.
If you are in a position to reapply for HAMP set yourself up for success by requesting all HAMP forms and information from your servicer. Additionally, you can download forms from the HAMP application package.
Alert your servicer that you are reapplying for HAMP and continue to make your trial period modification payments on time. After you’ve submitted your paperwork, contact your servicer every week until the servicer confirms that your package has been received and is being processed.
Don’t forget to document every phone call and conversation with your servicer so you have quick reference in the future. If you fax paperwork, call the servicer to confirm the fax was received and document who confirmed the receipt.