mortgage

5 steps to a successful loan modification

Have realistic expectations
Have realistic expectations

Sometimes, borrowers have unrealistic expectations. That's a big mistake.

"We're looking for 'fair and reasonable' on both ends," Jones says. "We're looking for the servicer to be fair and reasonable, and we're looking for the homeowner to understand what their situation is, and expect something fair and reasonable."

In other words, counselors sometimes find themselves telling borrowers not to expect a generous handout.

Under the federal government's guidelines for the Home Affordable Modification Plan, a mortgage is presumed sustainable if the monthly payment is 31 percent of the monthly before-tax income.

Given his druthers, Jones would prefer that number to be 28 percent. But he says 31 percent is fair and reasonable.

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