Now that you understand the process and have collected your paperwork, it is time to contact your lender.
Your lender will probably have a variety of telephone numbers. Which should you call? The best place to start is with the correspondence you received from your lender when you first fell behind on your mortgage payments. This letter usually gives you the name of a department called loss mitigation, home retention, or homeowner assistance.
If you cannot find a specific phone number for one of these departments, then turn to your mortgage loan statement and look for the customer-service phone number. In this case, call the customer service number and either ask the attendant for the loss-mitigation or home-retention department or choose the most similar option from the automated voice menu. If the person on the other end of the line has no idea what you are talking about, explain that you are looking for help with a loan modification. Before the attendant transfers you, ask for the telephone number of the appropriate department so you can call directly next time.
Once you reach someone in the loss-mitigation or home-retention department, you will be asked to give your loan number and answer some questions to verify your identity. Once your identity has been established, explain that you wish to pursue a loan modification. Ask whether this can be done over the phone or if the lender needs to send you a hardship package.
If the application can be completed over the phone, you may be able to receive a preliminary answer immediately.
If the application cannot be done over the phone, a hardship package—that is, a paper application—will be mailed to you. You will receive the package approximately two to fourteen days after you request it. The hardship package will contain specific instructions and a checklist of items you MUST provide in order to be considered for a loan modification. Follow the directions very carefully, and pay attention to deadlines.
Once you complete the hardship package and have compiled all the documents you need to send, make a photocopy of everything, including the lender’s paperwork. That way, if your package gets lost, you can simply make another copy and resubmit it.
If your lender includes a return envelope, such as a FedEx package, use it. Make a note of the tracking number for your records. If the lender does not provide a return envelope with a tracking code, do yourself a favor and send your package using UPS or FedEx so you can track your package.
Some lenders will ask you to fax everything instead. If you have to fax your paperwork, print a confirmation page for your records and keep it with your copy of the documents.
Please note that regardless of how your loan-modification application is submitted, you must call your lender at least weekly for a status update. Although you have applied for a loan modification, all collection and foreclosure efforts will continue until the loan modification is approved and finalized. In other words, stay on top of your lender. It is in your best interest to be persistent.
Proceed to Step Five