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Worried About Losing Your Home? Ask A Lawyer

I am having trouble paying my mortgage and heard the President has a mortgage modification plan. Can I apply for it?

Last February, President Obama announced the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) to help eligible families modify their mortgages to avoid foreclosure.   To qualify you must live in the home as your principal residence and not change ownership of the home.  Not all loans or borrowers will qualify for the HAMP program. 

To determine if you qualify, contact your mortgage company directly or contact a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counselor. The HUD-approved housing counselors can help you evaluate your income and expenses and understand your options. This counseling is FREE.

To speak to a housing counselor, call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673). For information on HAMP, you can also look online. 

As always, be careful of scams by people offering to help save your home. Unscrupulous companies will sometimes reference government plans to gain your trust or claim they can modify your mortgage for a fee. You should NOT pay any fees to a company who offers to help you get a loan modification.  That assistance is available for free from a HUD-approved housing counselor at the number above.  

If your mortgage company is a HAMP participant, you should be evaluated for a HAMP modification before your loan goes into foreclosure.  If you get a foreclosure notice and you have not been evaluated for a HAMP modification, you should contact your mortgage company and the foreclosure attorney immediately to request your HAMP review and to stop the foreclosure sale. Some mortgage companies have their own modification programs for borrowers whose loans are not eligible for the HAMP program or for borrowers whose loans cannot be modified under that program.  Be sure to ask your mortgage company about all of your modification options.  It is important to follow carefully ALL of the instructions your mortgage company gives you about applying for the programs, and be sure to provide the company will all documentation they request.  

If you are a DC resident age 60 and older, you may be eligible for legal assistance from AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE). Call the LCE legal advice hot line at 202-434-2120.