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mortgage_loan_modification_app(MCT)—QUESTION: I want to avoid foreclosure. I have applied for a loan modification with my bank and also applied for the Florida’s Hardest-Hit Fund Principal Reduction Program for relief. Now I am worried that I’ve hurt my chances for the loan modification. Did I mess up?

ANSWER: Probably not. When trying to save your home, it’s important to explore every avenue of relief available to you. While some programs are to the exclusion of others, I see no issue with applying to your lender and to the various agencies that are there to help.

But this advice comes with some warnings. Check that the program allows you to apply for other assistance. Don’t apply for the same assistance again until you get an official denial on your first application. Don’t be afraid to apply again after you have been denied, as criteria change from time to time. Be wary of anyone trying to get money from you upfront, because there are plenty of predators looking to take advantage in your time of need. When dealing with a third-party agency, make sure that it’s sanctioned by your lender or the government program to which you are applying. Make sure to fill out your application completely and to respond to the numerous requests made quickly and completely.

Have realistic expectations and expect realistic results. Most lenders do not offer principal reduction, but they will help you get to a payment you can afford. Most importantly, don’t give up. Keep trying even when the process becomes difficult and frustrating. It is no fun dealing with corporate policies and a bureaucratic maze, but for most people there is relief available.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar.

©2013 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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