I left active duty in the Marine Corps about seven
months ago and got behind on my mortgage payments.
I found a new job and am able to make the payments
and some extra, but the mortgage company will
not accept partial payment. They sent me an agreement
stating I had to pay $1,400 by Oct. 18 and then
$1,900 for four more months until my regular mortgage
of $901 is caught up. They also stated all of
those payments have to be in full; even if the
total of partial payments are paid before the
due date, they will not accept them. Can they
do that? I do not understand why the money has
to be paid in one lump sum as long as they get
it before it is due.
I hear your frustration at the mortgage company's rigid requirements for catching up on your mortgage loan. Unfortunately, you are not the only one, by a long shot, who is trying to catch up with missed mortgage payments. But I'm happy to say that there are some new innovative solutions that are available.
One such program is called PHASES,
short for Preserving Homeownership and Savings
Education Strategy. Currently, this program can
give borrowers in California, Florida, Illinois,
Michigan, Nevada, New York and Ohio, who meet certain
criteria, a grant to catch up on their mortgages.
The program is administered by Money Management International,
the largest HUD-certified national nonprofit credit
counseling agency. The program combines an online
education program with counseling and the opportunity
for individuals to receive a grant for up to $5,000
to bring past-due mortgage payments current. They
may also be able to have other, nonmortgage debts,
such as vehicle loans, brought current (as car
repossession can put new pressure on a mortgage
and lead to renewed problems).
This kind of innovative response
to the mortgage crisis facing many families is
refreshing. The number of states involved has
grown, so if yours is not on the current list,
I'd check to see if it has been added. You can
get more information about this program at (888) 589-6959
or on the Money
Management International Web site.
For those of you who live in the
other states; I suggest you check for what programs
may be available in your area by contacting a
HUD-certified counseling agency. You can find
a list of approved agencies on the HUD
It sounds to me like you have the
money that is necessary to meet the agreement
to catch up on your loan; you would just like
some flexibility in making the payments. What
you have experienced so far is a variation on
business as usual: Often inflexible approaches
offered by mortgage lenders who are following
bureaucratic process and procedures laid down
by investors and regulators that need to be updated.
Let me caution you to be sure to make each payment exactly as scheduled and in the full amount. Mortgages are very different animals from other bills. Once you reach a certain point in delinquency, usually between 60 days and 90 days, the rules become very inflexible. A mistake at this time can lead to a fast train ride to foreclosure with no stops on the way.
If you rely on the discipline you
learned in the Marine Corps and stay with it,
you'll get caught up with your mortgage before
you know it.