1. Apply Now. Don’t wait as the process is anything but fast.
2. Improve your budget. Far too many people send in a budget showing they can only afford a monthly payment of $200 or less towards their mortgage. Do you really think the mortgage company is going to lower your payment to $200 a month? Give the mortgage company a reason to believe in you.
3. Create savings. If the mortgage company asks for an update of your bank account 6 months from now and you have less than $1,000, but also have not a made a mortgage payment in months, then why would they assume you will suddenly be able to start making mortgage payments if approved?
4. Make copies of your application. Expect your lender to “lose” pages 7, 13, and 15 of your application. That is why you need copies to re-send them.
5. Have your paperwork in order. Taxes, pay-stubs, W-2’s, bank statements etc…
6. Call, Call, Call. Don’t be patient. After you send in your paperwork call 3 times per week to verify the paperwork is received. Then call 3 times per week to make sure your application is complete as they often want new stuff they never told you about before. Then call three (3) times per week until they approve or deny your modification. Call them like they owe you money.
7. Expect the process to take a long time. When it does- add to your savings each month.
8. If Denied- Apply again and again. Increase your income and reduce expenses if possible.
9. Have a Plan B. The nightmare scenario is to be up against a foreclosure sale date when you are finally told your modification request is denied. Sometimes lenders will wait to tell you the day before the sale! Cash for keys may even be an option for relocation expenses.
10. Don’t give up. Getting a modification is usually tough, which is no accident. Jumping over all the hurdles the banks create is how you prove you are serious about keeping your house. Banks don’t want to "officially" deny you, they want to tell the regulators you did not complete the application or get them updated pay stubs and thus they were not able to evaluate your application. Don’t let them blame you! If the bank is going to deny your modification, force the bank to "officially" deny you. That way they may have to explain to the federal regulators why denied your modification.