Where Do I Turn For Help With My Mortgage?

Reader Mike is in a “challenging mortgage situation” and wants to know where he should turn for help.

Mike asks:

What’s the typical mortgagee’s point of contact to find out how all this bailout stuff affects them? If I have a challenging mortgage situation and want to see if I qualify for relief, what do I do? Call my mortgager? Write my congressman?

It sounds like you need some professional guidance. The FTC recommends contacting a housing counseling agency. Here is how they recommend finding one:

Call the local office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (www.hud.gov) or the housing authority in your state, city, or county for help in finding a legitimate housing counseling agency nearby. Or consider contacting the NeighborWorks® Center for Foreclosure Solutions at 888-995-HOPE or http://www.nw.org. The Center is an initiative of NeighborWorks America.

Here’s NeighborWorks America’s Foreclosure Resource page, and here’s a Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure from HUD.

We hope that helps you, Mike. Good luck.

Mortgage Payments Sending You Reeling? Here’s What to Do
Foreclosure Resources [NeighborWorks America]
Guide To Avoiding Foreclosure [HUD]
(Photo: Groovnick )


Edit Your Comment

  1. qcgallus says:

    If you have a local ACORN Housing Corp turn there too. Otherwise FNMA should have a list of counselors:

    Have a face to face meeting, and bring as much paperwork with you as possible. Bills, W2s, pay stubs, everything you can. It helps them make a budget for a possible loan modification (if need be).

  2. Anonymous says:

    As a former employee of HUD I can say that your best bet is to contact your local housing authority. You can probably find a link on the miserable-to-navigate HUD website

  3. Maglet says:

    A challenging mortgage situation? Like what? Whoever your mortgage is with, they may be able to help you. I’d call the mortgager first.

    Good luck!

  4. MooseOfReason says:

    I can’t imagine why he thought writing his congressman would be a good idea.

    They never actually answer your e-mails. They have a bunch of pre-written letters they’ll send you in the mail – letters that are about the topic you e-mailed them about, but don’t actually answer any questions you asked.

    • pal003 says:

      @MooseOfReason: Not Write your congressperson – but CALL their offices. I know people who did get assistance from congressional office staff – especially if you got no help from HOPE-NOW, or your Mortgage company.

      Contact your State Housing Dept or Consumer Dept – I actually got great help from a State Consumer Rep once before. If you’re in an Urban area – contact your city housing dept.

      The above mentioned websites are good too. Good Luck.


  5. MadMo says:

    I’ve been in the mortgage industry since 92, if you have mortgage insurance on your loan, contact the mortgage insurance carrier. They will often be willing to give you more & better options than your mortgage company.

  6. violettefay says:

    Call the HOPE line and they will put you in touch with a local Neighborworks organization and the counselors there. All NW counselors are well-trained in all of this stuff (I work at a NW org, and our counselors are on conference calls and online trainings at least once a week for this). They can either help you take advantage of the homebuyer bill or help you work out your “difficult” situation directly with your lender. Good luck!

  7. bohemian says:

    If the loan has a guarantor like VA or a state housing agency sometimes they will intervene and try to help work things out.

  8. snowburnt says:

    you could contact NACA also, they have a lot of connected lawyers…problem is they’re really overworked right now

  9. Anonymous says:

    Last year my husband and I bought our first house, and have never been late on a payment. A few months ago we both got inklings that our offices might start layoffs, so I proactively called our mortgage co. to get some guidance on what to do if that happened. The confusion on the other end of the line was shocking–it was like the concept of planning ahead just in case was so foreign they didn’t know who I should talk to, so I ended up at loss mitigation. But because I had never been late, even they had no ideas (other than encouraging me to skip a payment and then call back). Just in time for the holidays we got word last week that my husband will indeed be laid off Dec. 31. The idea of skipping a payment to get help is ridiculous, but perhaps some of this new mortgage assistance will help if we need it.

  10. el-brazo-onofre says:

    The specific link you’ll want is [www.hud.gov] – select “Hope for Homeowners Program”. The qualifying process is rigorous and funds are limited, so start now. Good luck.

  11. jefino says:

    Call your mortgage company and ask to see what options they have. Most likely they will do a modification depending on your specific situation and who the investor is on the loan. Also call hud, but in my opinion they are useless. Def call hope. The act bush signed deals with refinancing through an FHA loan. Some of the restrictions were relaxed, but comes with what i call penalities, like profit sharing if you ever sell or refinance your home, ever. So its a trade off. And if your loan is through FF or NP, let me know since i work for them and can give you more specific help.

  12. Marshfield says:

    I’m thinking this is a field ripe for opportunity for scammers.

    “Federal government assistance is here – click this link to get your share of the pie” — after filling out your name, address, ssn, and some other private information.

  13. JosephineinDetroit says:

    On a totally unrelated note, I used to live very close to the pictured house. It was in Brush Park in Detroit. It has since self-imploded. I believe it was Albert Khan’s home at one time.

  14. Hobart007 says:

    The ‘bailout’ that people keep mentioning is for the financial institutions… not the borrowers. They are given to organizations on the brink of collapse to keep them afloat… not to pass out to everyone with a mortgage problem. The media has been truly irresponsible in portraying these bailouts as anything which is aimed to or will help consumers.

    As to the earlier poster who mentioned contacting the PMI company for mortgage assistance, this is simply untrue. No organization which does not hold the note on the mortgage has the power to modify that note or any of its terms. I am in charge of loss mitigation for a small financial institution and though we seek approval for hardship assistance or short sales to ensure that we do not jeopardize our ability to be paid on a claim I have yet to ever see a request for modifications to our notes from a PMI company. I’ve gone as far as to contact the 4 PMI companies I work with and they all say that they do not have and have never heard of any PMI-based hardship assistance for notes still held by the lender.

    The first stop for hardship assistance should be the one who holds the debt as they are the only ones who have the authority to modify your note. Lenders would rather modify a note than foreclose with the market being as it is but the thing to remember is that when evaluating a potential modification the first concern is whether or not it will actually help rather than delay the inevitable. A modification does no good for anyone if it just delays foreclosure by a few months and I have plenty of that going on right now as we generally err on the side of helping out when members are seeking assistance.

  15. johnnya2 says:

    DO NOT CALL YOUR MORTGAGE COMPANY. Speak to a lawyer or other agency. Anythign you may agree to or sign with the mortgage company could legally tie your hands, and they know it and use it to their advantage