I’ve spent countless hours listening to frustrated homeowners who are seeking loan modification assistance from their lenders, but more often Bank of America is the name that always rears its ugly head. You may or may not have heard B of A (Bank of America) took over Countrywide one of the top lenders in the County. Due to acquisition of that company it has increased their consumer portfolio, causing a shortage of qualified individuals to work on home assistance requests. Not only do general phone calls get transferred overseas, half the time the representatives in those countries do not even have the right information.
One thing I have learned when dealing with the Bank of America (B of A) loan modification department or any servicing lender is always double check and recheck the information you are being told about the status of your loan modification. The Bank of America (B of A) loan modification and home retention department has OVER 10 different call centers in the US alone and supposedly they operate the same, unfortunately they don’t (big surprise!). This leaves distressed homeowners with incorrect and inaccurate information. Sometimes causing them to lose their home!
So here are some tips on what to ask your lender. Although this would most likely apply to other lenders also this is Bank of America specific.
1) Do your homework! If you are applying for the government program HAMP, MHA (making home affordable) go to their site and check out their Q & A (question & answer section). www.makinghomeaffordable.gov. freeHAMPreport.com also has some great resources and analysis tools (all free!)
2) Check your #’s!: Review your financial information (income vs. expenses) if you are underwater every month more than $200.00 you usually will not qualify for assistance. Lenders like to see you can afford your mortgage even though you maybe behind. Any user of freeHAMPreport.com has unlimited access to their financial analysis tool.
3) Check Lender Website: Check out the lender’s website and review the types of options they have available to struggling homeowners. Do this BEFORE calling them! Once they get you on phone, anything you say WILL AND CAN be used against you!
4) Double Check Phone #: Make sure you are calling the right department usually home retention! Yes, I know frustrating. It is almost like they are toying with you as they send you around the country to different departments!
5) Submit and then FOLLOW UP: Once you submit your application call and check that the lender has everything they need! Most often homeowners do not fill out lender forms correctly (Request of Modification Affidavit) RMA, or do not send in correct supporting documents (income & bank statements). Something as simple as missing a signature can set you back months! freeHAMPreport.com offers some great and free checklists and warning tips so you get it right the first time.
6) Keep them on Phone! Once you have confirmed the lender has everything ask questions, lots of questions. For example: What is the next step? When will I hear something?, How long does this process take? Bank of America takes up to 7 months to process applications from start to finish! You got them on the phone, so take advantage!
Remember contact is key to making sure your application doesn’t get derailed and closed out because you are not in contact with your lender.