HUNTINGTON WOODS, MI – For homeowners facing mortgage troubles there is a sea of conflicting information through which to wade in order to find real assistance.
In an April 6th AP story, U.S. Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, said he is cracking down on fraudulent companies that claim to be able to help homeowners in mortgage trouble. These companies take on names that sound official in an effort to lead the homeowner to believe they are working with the government. They charge a high up-front fee, and then do nothing to help – basically feeding of the fear of the homeowner. And there are dozens of companies like this springing up all over the country.
Conversely, in an April 3rd AP story, it was reported that not all homeowners qualify for government bailout assistance and that about 25% of loan modifications in the fourth quarter of 2008 resulted in increased monthly payments. Further, about 10% of homeowners that received loan modifications fell back into default.
Homeowners need to know that there are reputable, honest businesses out there that can provide relief. Not all homeowners will qualify for assistance, and not all Loan Modification specialists will charge a fee if they can’t help.
“With everything that’s being said and reported about the depressed housing market and mortgage troubles day after day, it’s hard for homeowners to comprehend what type of assistance is out there, what’s best for them, and if they even qualify for assistance, whether through the Government or through companies like ours,” says Mike Schira, partner in Michigan Home Retention. “Despite the trillions of dollars being poured into the U.S. backed bailout plan, not everyone is going to qualify.”
“Our typical customer is an individual or couple that is delinquent by one or two months on their mortgage payments,” says Schira. “We meet with the client to pre-qualify them. If we find that the client qualifies for Government assistance we send them in that direction. If they don’t and we are able to help them, then and only then do we charge a nominal fee. The main difference between us and Government programs, is that the homeowner doesn’t have to be Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae approved to get our assistance. We have long-standing relationships with banks and financial institutions.”
Michigan Home Retention, LLC is led by a group of five attorneys, each one having knowledge in the mortgage and real estate industry. The Huntington Woods, Michigan-based company is able to provide services throughout the U.S.. Schira provides some tips and things to avoid when looking for assistance:
Tips for success
• Investigate the company thoroughly to get a comfort level that the representatives are forthright and honest
• Use a firm that have knowledgeable and professional service representatives on staff – e.g. law degrees, licenses)
• Keep apprised of developments made on your file
• Know what the total fees that are being charged and make sure there are no hidden fees
• Be proactive about your situation (contact your lender; follow-up – keep accurate records)
Things to avoid
• Using an out-of-state company without verifying whether it is viable/legitimate
• Working with a company that has no flexibility for payment options – e.g. the companies who want all fees paid up-front
• Using a company run by failed mortgage brokers
• Not being kept “in the loop” regarding progress being made with your loan modification request
• Accepting promises that sound too good to be true
• Be leery about any promises regarding principle forgiveness
Michigan Home Retention, LLC is located at 26657 Woodward Ave., Suite 100, in Huntington Woods. For more information about the company and interviews with Mike Schira, please call 248/399-4747 or visit www.michiganhomeretention.com.