Simple letter can solve mortgage woes

"It's an excellent idea for any borrower to pay attention" to that escrow statement, Sullivan says. "If you don't get one, demand it. Make certain your servicer is paying your property taxes and home insurance premiums on time. They are required to." And if you feel that you're not getting answers, push for them with a qualified written request.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development website provides tips on writing these letters:

  • State that, under Section 6 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, you understand the loan servicer is required to acknowledge the request within 20 business days and must attempt to resolve the issue within 60 business days.
  • Send this letter separately to the loan servicer or lender's customer service address. Don't send it with your mortgage payment. Continue to make your mortgage and escrow payments until the request is resolved.
  • Clearly define the problem, ask questions and explain what action you think your loan servicer should take.
  • Include copies of related written materials with your letter, such as older letters to the loan servicer, copies of canceled checks and copies of letters the servicer sent you.
  • When you speak to any employee at the loan servicing company, keep a log of whom you spoke with along with the date and time. In the letter, briefly describe these conversations.
  • Describe previous steps you have taken or your attempts to resolve the issue.
  • Send the letter through certified mail and keep a copy of the receipt of acceptance.
  • Provide contact information for yourself.

If the loan servicer or bank doesn't follow proper procedure, the homeowner can take legal action or file a complaint with HUD. Although the housing implosion affected everyone from the large bank to the consumer, it shouldn't be difficult to hold your loan servicer accountable.

The solution could begin with a simple pen and paper.

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