Q: I have enough equity in my home for the bank to get back the full amount I owe if I'm forced to sell. Will this keep me from getting a Fannie Mae non-Hamp Modification? I have a medical hardship and reduced income. Thanks.
A: We're not aware of any "Fannie Mae non-HAMP" modifications. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-backed loans are all eligible for HAMP; any non-GSE loans would fall under what would be considered "private" modifications. If your loan is owned by Fannie or Freddie (find out at http://www.knowyouroptions.com or http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov) you may be eligible for HAMP on the basis of your reduced-income hardship.
If your loan isn't owned or backed by Fannie or Freddie, you'll need to get in touch with your loan's servicer. Most lenders now have in place forms of private modifications, often mimicking those found in the HAMP program. Should you decide to start a modification process, it will be a good idea to have a lawyer who can help negotiate the terms on your behalf and review paperwork before you sign it. This includes everything from the terms and periods offered to you, fees, and how the information is reported to any credit bureau.
A 25-year expert observer of the mortgage and consumer debt markets, Keith Gumbinger has been cited in thousands of articles covering a wide range of consumer finance and economic topics in outlets ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the Bottom Line newsletters. He has been a featured guest on national broadcasts for CNN, CNBC, ABC, CBS and NBC television networks and has been heard on NPR and other national and local radio programs. Keith is the primary researcher and writer for HSH.com's MarketTrends newsletter and has authored or co-authored a number of consumer guides on mortgages, home equity, refinancing and more.