Mortgage Help: To Pay or Not to Pay?

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If you're one of the millions of Americans who needs mortgage help, the good news is that there's plenty out there. The bad news is getting the right help isn't easy.

There hasn’t been this many Americans in mortgage trouble since the Great Depression. But unlike those days, today there’s lots of help available from banks, the government… and hundreds of companies, both non-profit and for-profit. In the second installment of his special series, we show you where to turn for help to clean up a mortgage mess.

“The mortgage was just escalating. We tried to call the lender on our own because I thought I could just rollover into a fixed and I was told I didn’t qualify.”
-Lois Overstreet, Homeowner

But the Overstreets didn’t give up. Instead they paid a pro named Michael Sichenzia to get their mortgage modified. The cost? $750. But it turned out to be money well spent.

“When Michael was done we went from 14.5 percent to 3.25 percent for the life of the loan.”
-Lois Overstreet, Homeowner

These days mortgage modification is a booming business with non-profit services competing head-to-head with for-profits. How do you find the right help?

Since the non-profits are often cheap or free, they’re a good place to start. You can find a list on HUD’s website. And they’ll tell you they’re the better than the for-profits.

“Always remember people that want the sale, they just want the sale. People who are really here to assist have all the time in the world to answer questions because it doesn’t benefit them monetarily.”
-Carlos Franco, Consumer Credit Counseling Service

But there are quality for-profit companies. And not surprisingly, many of them claim the upper hand.

“Most of the the people who work for non-profit’s as well intentioned as they are, have little or no experience negotiating with lenders and this is NOT a situation where you’re losing your house where you want to have a tea party with the bank.”
-Michael Sichenzia, Dynamic Consulting Enterprises

So how do you pick your pro? Start off by interviewing counselors over the phone. Explain your situation and ask what they can do. Be sure to ask about pricing: avoid up-front fees. And especially important: experience.

“The average time it takes from day we meet a client to time they have success — is roughly 4 months. So if you been in business 6 months, the question I ask is how many have you done?”
-Michael Sichenzia, Dynamic Consulting Enterprises

Bottom line? Pick your pro carefully. Because who you pick can mean the difference between a forbearance and a foreclosure.

Stacy Johnson

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