This is such a frightening time for thousands of people faced with losing their homes to foreclosure. The minute you get a publicly-recorded default notice the whole world takes note and begins a barrage of phone calls and mail from people who want to "help you."
There are plenty of nonprofit loan counseling firms out there who can act as a go-between with you and your lender. When people call me with a tale of trouble I almost always send them to one of these places and say: "It's no cost, they won't try to sell you anything, this is what they do."
So it's interesting to me that for the first time in this housing downturn somebody left me a card in the door telling me "Loan Modification is the Answer." Obviously, this company, ShortRefiNow.com of Roseville is blanketing hard hit suburban areas now, offering help.
It's citing something called the Emergency Loan Modification Act of 2008, which appears to me to be a bill that's been introduced in Congress, but not passed.
A day or two later I get a call from the Sacramento branch of the Mortgage Modification Center, looking for publicity. I asked what it charges people who get a loan modification through them and the rep said $3,995. It doesn't charge if it can't get the deal done.
Frankly, I do not know if these businesses are helpful or even very legitimate, considering that nonprofits constantly stress that they do this for free. And frankly, I still keep hearing, despite all the claims to the contrary that lenders are doing as few loan modifications as possible - and that foreclosure is still the leading outcome of a mortgage default.
Anyone have thoughts on these for-hire modification businesses? I confess to some skepticism here. Maybe it's unwarranted. Anyone have experience with these places?
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