Common Mortgage Servicer Violations in Loan Modifications, mortgage modifications.#Mortgage #modifications

Common Mortgage Servicer Violations in Loan Modifications

Mortgage servicers handle loan modification applications from homeowners. Unfortunately, mortgage servicers sometimes make serious errors when processing loan modification requests. This can cause a number of problems for a homeowner, such as missing out on getting a modification or even a wrongful foreclosure.

Read on to learn about the most common mortgage servicer violations when it comes to loan modifications and find out what to do if any of these things has happened to you.

Understanding the Parties in Mortgage Transactions

To fully understand the errors that can occur in the mortgage servicing industry, you must first understand the players involved in a residential mortgage loan transaction.

Mortgagor. The mortgagor is the individual (the homeowner) who borrows money and pledges the home as security to the lender for the loan.

Mortgagee. The mortgagee is the lender. The mortgagee gives the loan to the mortgagor.

Mortgage Investor. An investor buys loans from lenders. By purchasing mortgage loans from lenders, the mortgage investor provides the lender with funds to use to make additional loans.

Mortgage servicer. Mortgage servicers manage loan accounts on behalf of the mortgagee or investor. The servicer typically:

  • sends the monthly mortgage statement to the homeowner
  • collects and processes payments
  • tracks account balances
  • manages the escrow account
  • reviews loan modification applications, and
  • pursues foreclosure when the mortgagor stops making payments.

Basically, a servicer acts as the agent of the owner of the loan (the mortgagee or investor).

Understanding Loan Modifications

A loan modification is a permanent change to the loan terms to reduce the monthly payments in order to make the loan more affordable for the borrower. In a loan modification, the lender may agree to do one of more of the following:

  • reduce the interest rate
  • convert from a variable interest rate to a fixed interest rate, or
  • extend of the length of the term of the loan.

Common Violations in Loan Modifications

Below are some common problems that mortgage servicers perpetrate in the loan modification process.

Failing to Process the Application in a Timely Manner

Many homeowners have experienced lengthy delays when waiting for the servicer to make a decision on whether or not to grant a loan modification. In some cases, the servicer doesn’t tell the homeowners that they are missing documents necessary for the loan modification decision. In others, the servicer simply doesn’t get around to reviewing the request in a timely manner.

Federal mortgage servicing rules, effective January 10, 2014, aim to reduce these delays. Under these rules, when a mortgage servicer receives a loan modification application from a homeowner 45 days or more before a foreclosure sale, it must:

  • review the application
  • determine if the application is complete or incomplete, and
  • notify the borrower within five days stating that the application is complete or incomplete. (If incomplete, the servicer must describe the information needed to complete the application.)

If the servicer receives a complete application more than 37 days before a foreclosure sale, it must review the application and determine if the borrower qualifies for a loan modification within 30 days. (Learn more about New Federal Rules Protecting Homeowners With Mortgages.)

Telling Homeowners They Have To Be In Default

During the foreclosure crisis, it was commonplace for mortgage servicers to tell homeowners that they couldn’t get a modification unless they were late in payments. Sometimes but not very often servicers still make this statement. However, it is not usually true. For most modification programs, you may be either behind in payments or simply in danger of falling behind on your mortgage payments.

Requiring a Homeowner to Resubmit Information

In some cases, servicers ask homeowners to submit and then resubmit information when applying for a loan modification. This is especially true in the case of income verification documents (such as paystubs and profit and loss statements), which can quickly become outdated in the eyes of the servicer.

In addition, servicers may also sometimes ask borrowers to resubmit documentation when the paperwork gets lost.

If this happens to you, you should resubmit any duplicate information that the servicer requests, but be sure to keep a record of when you sent it, who you sent it to, and send it by some method that you can track.

Using Incorrect Income Information In Processing the NPV (Net Present Value)

When a servicer evaluates a borrower for a loan modification, it looks at financial information about the borrower, the loan, and the property (such as the borrower s income, the unpaid principal balance on the loan, the property s fair market value, etc.). It then sometimes makes a comparison between

  • the estimated cash flow the investor will receive if the loan is modified, and
  • the investor s cash flow if the loan is foreclosed.

If the investor would be better off if the servicer forecloses on the loan, rather than modifies the loan (this is called NPV or net present value negative), then the servicer doesn’t have to modify the loan. Sometimes servicers make a mistake when calculating the NPV. (The NPV model is complicated, however the website simplifies the analysis by allowing users to input their own information and receive an immediate NPV assessment.)

Failing to Convert a Trial Modification into a Permanent Modification

Many loan modifications start with a three-month trial period plan. So long as you make three on-time payments during this period, the modification is supposed to become permanent (assuming you still meet the eligibility criteria).

When a servicer promises to modify an eligible loan, homeowners who live up to their end of the bargain expect the servicer to keep that promise. However, many homeowners who have successfully made their trial mortgage modification payments have been unable to get the servicer to make the modifications permanent.

Servicing Transfers in the Middle of a Modification

Servicing transfers are common in the mortgage industry. In some cases, the new servicer fails to honor the modification agreement with the previous servicer.

To address this, recent mortgage servicing rules require the old servicer to send the new servicer:

  • any information showing the current status of discussions with a borrower regarding a loan modification, and
  • any loan modification agreements entered into with the borrower.

Under the federal rules, the new servicer must also have policies and procedures in place to ensure that it honors existing loan modification agreements.

When You Should Hire an Attorney

Mortgage servicers that commit any of the violations mentioned in this article could cause you to (among other things):

  • incur increased fees and costs in order to avoid foreclosure
  • lose your savings in a fruitless attempt to get a loan modification
  • be wrongfully foreclosed upon, and/or
  • miss out on the opportunity to pursue other alternatives to foreclosure, such as a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure. (Learn more about alternatives to foreclosure.)

If your mortgage servicer has committed any of the violations mentioned in this article or is otherwise improperly handling your loan modification, you should speak to a qualified attorney who can advise you what to do in your particular situation.

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Historical 5-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates From 1973 – Today

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The ‘5’ in a 5-year mortgage rate represents the term of the mortgage, not to be confused with the amortization period. The term is the length of time you lock in the current mortgage rate, while the amortization period is the amount of time it will take you to pay off your mortgage. The term acts like a reset button on your mortgage, at which point you must renew the mortgage at a rate available at the end of the term. So, for example, a typical mortgage has a 5-year term and a 25-year amortization period.

When the mortgage rate is ‘fixed’ it means that the rate (%) is set for the duration of the term, whereas with a variable mortgage rate, the rate fluctuates with the market interest rate, known as the ‘prime rate’. So, for example, if the 5-year fixed mortgage rate is 4%, then you will pay 4% interest throughout the term of the mortgage.

An interesting feature of the 5-year fixed mortgage rate is that all borrowers must meet its standards of approval even if they choose a mortgage with a lower interest rate and shorter term. This benchmark is applied not only to reduce risk for the lender, but to give the borrower some breathing room.

Popularity of 5-year fixed mortgage rates

A 5-year mortgage term, at 66% of all mortgages, is by far the most common duration. It sits right in the middle of available mortgage term lengths, between one and 10 years, and, thus, its popularity reflects a risk-neutral average.

A further breakdown of mortgage terms shows that an additional 8% of mortgages have terms exceeding five years, while 26% of mortgages have shorter terms, including 6% with one year or less and 20% with terms from one year to less than four years.

Fixed rates are also most common, representing 66% of total mortgages as well. In terms of age dispersion, fixed rate mortgages are slightly more common for the youngest age groups, and older age groups are more likely to choose variable rate mortgages.

Buying Down Your Interest Rate, The Truth About, interest rate mortgage.#Interest #rate #mortgage

Buying Down Your Interest Rate

Many borrowers and prospective homeowners out there are looking for the lowest possible interest rate, even if it means pulling money out of their own pocket at the time of financing.

Though most borrowers usually opt for a higher mortgage rate to avoid paying closing costs when buying a home or refinancing, some savvy homeowners will pay the one-time fees and take a lower interest rate to save money over the long term.

Of course, this strategy only really makes sense if you plan to stay with the mortgage for a long period of time, as associated savings aren t usually realized for several years.

Buying Down the Rate

If you re working with a bank or mortgage broker, you can easily buy down your interest rate by asking for a series of different rates and associated costs. This is known as buying down the rate, and is common practice in the mortgage industry.

You may have seen mortgage advertisements for no point mortgages or zero point mortgages, and may be quick to jump on them. And though these no cost loans could serve you well to leverage your money, for borrowers who have decent asset reserves and plan to pay off their loan, buying down the interest rate may be a better idea.

Should you buy down your rate?

Deciding whether or not to buy down your interest rate can be tricky, but if you get your hands on a rate sheet, you can make the decision quite easily. Most mortgage programs have a system where you ll pay a certain amount in fee for a specified change in interest rate.

For example, if your interest rate at the par rate is 6.25%, but you d like a rate of 6%, you ll need to buy down that rate by paying mortgage discount points.

Mortgage discount points are a form of prepaid interest that can lower your mortgage rate if you so desire.

A rate sheet may look something like this:

Each rate has a corresponding price, which is simply displayed as a percentage of the loan amount. In the example above, the par rate would be 6.25%, as it has an associated price of zero.

How much does 1 point lower your interest rate?

If you look at the buy-down ratio for each rate, it isn t exactly a perfect science. Well, at least not to us non-bankers. Usually as the interest rate goes lower, the price to buy down goes higher, often disproportionately. This actually makes sense because it gets increasingly expensive to go well below typical market rates.

As you can see, someone could pay one point for a rate of 5.875%, but be asked to pay nearly double that to get the rate down another eighth to 5.75%. That probably wouldn t make much sense.

This is why it s important to decide on a pricing threshold where it makes sense to buy it down instead of chasing a certain rate.

For some reason, homeowners seem to have a specific interest rate in mind that they must have. It s foolish to go after a precise rate, especially when the cost associated may eclipse the actual savings you d accrue over time with the slightly lower rate.

Even if you have your heart set on X rate, you may want to see what the lender is offering, then compare your mortgage payment at different rates and consider the associated costs for buying down to those rates.

Note: There may be a limit to how many mortgage points you can buy based on the new QM rules, along with how low the lender is willing to go. It also gets to a point where it no longer makes sense to keep going lower because the cost becomes excessive.

Look at a comparison of interest-only mortgage payments on a $500,000 loan amount

Interest rate of 6.25% with a price of 0.00 Monthly payment: $2604.17

Interest rate of 5.875% with a price of 1.00 Monthly payment: $2447.92

Total monthly savings: $156.25

Total cost to buy down rate to 5.875%: $5,000.00

It would take roughly 32 months to realize the savings associated with the lower rate of 5.875%. It may be worth it if you plan on staying in your home over a long period of time, but if not, it might be wise to stick with a slightly higher interest rate at no cost.

Do the math to figure out which rate makes the best sense to buy down based on your long term plan with the associated property. Buying down your interest rate can be a great decision, but also a foolish one if you pick up and go after a year or less.

And remember, don t focus on an exact interest rate. It simply isn t worth it sometimes, especially when the price doubles to drop the interest rate a mere eighth or quarter percentage point.

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Beginning a month prior to opening you may make an appointment with a Community Sales Agent. The agent will review the steps to purchase and give you a link to the Seller’s Designated Lender on-line application.

You will need to complete all the information in the application (for you and your spouse if purchasing together). If you are considering a purchase with someone other than your spouse, you will need to fill out two separate applications (one for each of you).

PLEASE NOTE: Earnest money deposit is $10,000. If you have chosen to use CrossCountry Mortgage to finance your new home the earnest money deposit is discounted to $5,000. You always have the option of using your choice of lenders to finance your new home.


You will need to email the following documents to CrossCountry Mortgage:

  • Official Bank statements for each account you have for the prior 2 months (all pages)
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  • W-2s from the prior 2 years
  • Loan Worksheet Questionnaire (provided by sales agent)
  • Buyer’s Certification and Authorization (provided by sales agent)


You will also need to complete the Buyer’s Profile Form and email it to the sales office. Upon receipt of all your documents the pre-qualification will commence and you will be kept updated on the progress.

PLEASE NOTE: Earnest money deposit is $10,000. If you have chosen to use CrossCountry Mortgage to finance your new home the earnest money deposit is discounted to $5,000. You always have the option of using your choice of lenders to finance your new home.

CrossCountry Mortgage is the designated lender of Cornerstone Communities. The relationship with CrossCountry Mortgage allows Cornerstone to offer home buyers numerous benefits and favorable financing solutions. Learn more about CrossCountry Mortgage here.

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The average cost of financing a new or used car or truck has stayed low over the past year, making auto loans a bargain by any historical measure. And buyers with reasonably good credit can always take advantage of the discount loans automakers are offering on many models.

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It’s not enough to find a good location at an affordable price. Condo buyers must consider lots of extra costs, from association fees and special assessments to how well the building is maintained and how strictly it enforces rules on everything from noise to pets.

November 10th 2017

You’ve scouted out the best mortgage rate and fought hard to get the best price on your new home. But your bargaining shouldn’t stop there. Here’s how you can save on everything from settlement fees to title insurance.

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Home Depot Shoppers on Spending Spree Despite Rising Mortgage Rates, Fox Business, atlanta mortgage rates.#Atlanta

Home Depot Shoppers on Spending Spree Despite Rising Mortgage Rates

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A Home Depot store is pictured in Daly City, California, February 21, 2012. ( Reuters )

Home Depot (HD) says home-improvement spending is hot and will continue to drive sales growth in 2017, shrugging off the impact that rising mortgage rates could have on the housing market.

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Homeowners are pouring money into do-it-yourself projects, and construction activity showed strong gains through the end of last year. Home Depot has reaped the benefits. The retailer reported higher fourth-quarter earnings and revenue than Wall Street expected, driven by sales to both consumers and contractors.

Sales momentum will continue into 2017, Home Depot projected. Carol Tome, the company’s chief financial officer, said there’s a “long way to go” before higher mortgage rates cause any concern.

“Overall GDP growth and the strength in the U.S. housing market should continue to support growth in our business,” CEO Craig Menear said Tuesday during a conference call with analysts.

Home Depot’s outlook calls for a 4.6% increase in both same-store sales and overall sales in 2017. Tome noted that early comparable sales in February were positive compared to last year.

Even if mortgage rates continue to rise, they will likely remain below historical norms and continue to provide a catalyst for housing activity, Tome added.

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Interest rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage jumped after President Donald Trump’s win in November. The average 30-year rate was 4.18% as of Friday, compared to a 52-week low of 3.34%, according to Mortgage News Daily.

Homebuilding moved at a fast pace in December, when U.S. housing starts, a sign of future activity, grew 11.3%. Meanwhile, sales of existing homes hit their highest level since 2006 last year, and new home sales rose to their best mark since 2007.

Even so, a severe shortage of homes on the market has prevented sales from taking off. The National Association of Realtors said the supply of previously owned homes for sale fell to a 17-year low in December. Homebuilders say a lack of skilled workers has curbed the construction of new dwellings.

Strong Appliance, Tool Sales

Menear noted growth in the do-it-yourself market, which has grown significantly in recent years as higher home values encourage homeowners to spend on upgrades.

However, Pro sales grew at a faster rate. Fencing, decking, electrical wiring and interior doors were among the most popular purchases for Home Depot’s Pro customers in the fourth quarter. The retailer also saw robust consumer demand for laminate flooring and storage, while power tools and appliances were hot items during the holiday season. Home Depot said its Black Friday and Cyber Week results hit new records.

Customer transactions over $900, which account for roughly 20% of Home Depot’s sales, surged 11.6%.

Home Depot is gearing up for the busy spring season with plans to offer specials on outdoor power equipment for its “Spring Black Friday” promotion. The retailer also began offering customizable patio sets. Before the spring, Home Depot has hired about 80,000 workers in each of the last four years.

Profit Gains

Home Depot reported a fourth-quarter profit of $1.74 billion, or $1.44 per share, up from $1.47 billion in the same period a year earlier. Sales climbed 5.8% to $22.21 billion.

In the wake of a strong 2016, Home Depot announced a $15 billion stock buyback and lifted its dividend by 29% to 89 cents per share.

The Atlanta-based retailer also expects to invest approximately $2 billion in its stores, customer experience and other strategic plans.

Home Depot rival Lowe’s (LOW), which announced about 2,400 layoffs in January, will report quarterly earnings March 1.