A new F word has been kicking around since the recession hit. It’s called foreclosure.
But there is a way to beat it. It’s called a mortgage modification. It can work as long as you have the patience, stamina – and somewhere to live in case the whole mess backfires. And the modification process can be a mess indeed.
It all starts simply enough. You stop paying your mortgage. You can do this out of experimentation, spite or because a Realtor friend advised it over a cup of coffee one Saturday afternoon.
“Just stop paying it, ” she says, as if ignoring bills is as natural as breathing. “Trust me. The bank does not want another foreclosure. It’ll offer a modification.”
It’s not like I had much of a choice. A change of jobs and reduction in income made it impossible to meet the hefty monthly mortgage payments. Well, maybe I could have kept up with them if I had given up food, water, gas, the Internet, electricity, and chose to subsist on dryer lint.
So I researched the modification thing and did everything by the book. Instead of a monthly payment, I sent my lenders an application packet and a letter.
“Dear bank people: I am now broke and can no longer afford my mortgage payments. Please reduce them so I don’t have to eat dryer lint.”