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FAQ about Loan Modification

1.) What does it mean when you modify a loan?

When you enter a loan modification agreement, you and your lender agree on changes to the terms of how you will repay it, typically by agreeing to lengthen the period of time you have to pay back the money you borrowed. For example, a 15-year loan might be turned into a 20-year loan. You still have to repay the same amount of money – plus interest – but you have more time to pay, meaning that each of your monthly payments will be smaller. Loan modifications are one way that financial institutions can make it easier for mortgage holders beset by financial difficulties to stay in their homes.

2) How does a homeowner benefit from loan modification?

Modification can reduce the size of your monthly mortgage payment. Obviously, that adjustment can be crucial to your ability to keep your home if you lose your job or experience other financial distress. A typical restructuring gives you an additional five years to pay off your mortgage. It may also be possible to re-negotiate your borrowed advance to reduce your interest rate.

3) Is loan modification the same thing as refinancing?

No. When you refinance a loan, you are in essence retiring – paying off – your original loan with money you get by taking out a second loan. But when you modify it, you keep the original loan but change some of the repayment terms. Refinancing can help you save tens of thousands of dollars on the lifetime cost of your home, but you need a good credit record and reliable income to qualify for the second borrowed amount. Loan modification, by contrast, is an option for homeowners who are under financial duress and who would have difficulty qualifying for refinancing.

4) My credit score isn’t the best. What are my chances of getting a loan modification?

You can have a less-than-perfect credit history and still qualify for a loans modification, although you may have to work harder to get your lender to agree to it. The companies that broker the modification agreements will be looking at different things to decide whether you’re a good bet for a modification or not. These companies will certainly look at whether you’ve been paying your mortgage on time in the past. But they also understand that people may going through hard times for reasons that are beyond their control, such as losing a job or seeing their hours or compensation cut. You won’t necessarily get the same sympathy if you apply to refinance.

5) I ‘m falling behind on my mortgage payments and am terrified of losing my home. Can a loan modification prevent that?

Here, modifying might keep you from having to default on your mortgage by making your monthly payments smaller and easier to handle on a reduced income. It’s important to understand, though, that modifying a loan does not mean taking it off the books. You will still have to repay your lender the amount of money you borrowed, plus interest. You should make sure that you understand what your financial obligations would be under the terms of a loan modification before you agree to one.

6) Where can I find out more about getting a loan modification?

There are public agencies that help homeowners figure out whether a loan modification is the right option for them and advise them on how to secure modifications. There are also private companies that specialize in negotiating these type deals.