The following are additional resources that homeowners may turn to for assistance and information on mortgage loan modifications and related issues.
Legal Aid and Referral Sources
Reduced or free legal aid may be available in some states. Borrowers who would like to have an attorney help them with their loan modification, but may be unable to afford one, should call either their local state bar association or their local HUD-approved counseling agencies for a referral.
Housing counselors can provide personal assistance and advice to guide a homeowner through the loan modification process and help them make good decisions. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsors numerous nonprofit agencies that offer housing counseling for consumers around the country. At least one of them likely has an office in your community or nearby. To search for a local HUD approved counseling agency, visit:
State Attorney General’s Office/Consumer Protection
The state attorney general’s office is typically a good resource for consumers who are seeking information on how to protect themselves from loan modification scams. Many state attorneys general maintain consumer protection divisions or post consumer information on their web site. The state attorney general’s office is also one of the first places consumers should turn to when they wish to file a complaint about a loan modification fraud. Many jurisdictions, in the face of all of the mortgage loan modifications that are taking place, are aggressively addressing fraud. Consumers who wish to keep up to date with developments can do so by checking the website of their state attorney general periodically.
With information on loan modifications, as well as home financing in general, changing on a daily basis, using the Internet to find current information is almost a necessity. In addition to finding information on the web such as names people to contact in the course of completing a loan modification, as in a counseling agency, the web is a great resource to use to stay current on issues relating to loan modifications. Borrowers who do not have Internet service at home can normally use the Internet at their public library at no cost. Many email services are available at no cost to the consumer, allowing users to subscribe to e-newsletters of agencies that they would like to receive information from.
A word of caution: while using Google or other search engines can turn up a great deal of useful information on loan modifications, they can also lead consumers to for-profit operations that may provide little of value in return for the fees they charge. Buyer beware.
Books are always a great resource when seeking a loan modification. One reason is that readers can absorb the material at their own pace, in the comfort of their own home. Another is that books are typically available free of charge at public and university libraries. Websites such as Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble have a network of used book sellers that they work with. These booksellers compete with one another for customer orders, and books can often be had for a small fraction of what they would cost new, either online, or in a brick and mortar store.
To do an online search of all government publications, including those relating to loan modifications, visit the website of the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications:
While few borrowers who are in a position where they could potentially lose their homes to foreclosure are telling everyone they know, consulting with a trusted family member might be a good idea. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that this person can help shed some perspective on the situation. That person might also be able to suggest some options based on what they know about the borrower or their circumstances, or suggest other avenues for help. Family members can sometimes provide financial assistance as well, either directly, by consigning a loan or by posting collateral to help guarantee a loan. A banker or other financial advisor can assist in identifying options that may make sense in a given situation. However, discretion should always be used when mixing family/friends and financial matters, given the potential for discord should the borrower not be able to repay the funds advanced.