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(TNS)—Q: I have fallen behind on my mortgage payments due to illness. Things are better now, and I am back at work, but my home is heading to foreclosure. I heard that loan modifications are no longer available. Is there any hope for me?

A: Yes, there is. The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program stopped taking new applications at the end of 2016, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t options available.

The HAMP program helped many distressed homeowners save their homes, and it will be harder to get modifications now that the program ended. Fortunately, lenders still are offering other modification programs to assist you. Plus, a new Flex Modification government program by loan giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is set to be released this year. That will give you another option to save your home.

As soon as you start falling behind on your payments, you will receive many offers from loan modification companies. Most people can successfully get a modification without any outside help. Beware of scammers. Avoid any company that promises a result or claims to have some special process or insider contact. There are no simple solutions. If your lender sues you for foreclosure during the process, you should take it seriously and hire an attorney experienced in foreclosure matters. A loan modification company can’t stop the foreclosure lawsuit. You need to be properly represented in court or the lawyers that your lender hired will quickly have their way.

While the tools may have changed, the process for getting a mortgage modification remains substantially the same. If you start to fall behind on payments, reach out to your lender. The process will be exasperating, and there will be many hoops for you to jump through to get it done. But it’s a must if you want to save your home. Send the same form three times, if necessary. Send in pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns, and completely fill out the many forms the lender puts in front of you. It’s important that you keep a detailed log of all activity, so write down everything you do and everything that is said.

When your lender asks for another document to be sent, get it in before the deadline or you will end up starting over. It may take several tries; remember that this is your home you are fighting for, and don’t give up.

©2017 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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