Yes, Indiana homeowner Lisa Stuart almost lost her home because she didn't know about an unwritten HAMP rule. She was put into a trial modified mortgage and set her account up to automatically make the payment on the 25th of the month. She was concerned that if she set it up to transfer on the 1st, when payment was due, that it wouldn't be credited because one of the trial payment due dates fell on New Year's Day. But GMAC mortgage wasn't impressed by her responsible attitude. Their collection department called her to tell her that she owed them $4,000 of would be foreclosed on, and that she has been kicked out of HAMP for making her payment too early. And that's not the only secret rule that can get you kicked out of the program.

Featured Home Equity Loan Provider
    • Get your Free Quote in Minutes!
    • Lenders Compete for your Business
    • Lock in a Low Fixed Rate Before Rates Increase!
    • Do you have the Lowest Rate Possible? Find Out Instantly!

Take your current housing payment -- principal, interest, taxes, insurance, HOA dues, and mortgage insurance -- and multiply it by three. If you have $1 more than that amount in your bank accounts, your trial modification will not be made permanent and the collection department will call. When one lender, Aurora Loan Services, was asked by a homeowner I know, "Well, you say we have $8,000 too much to get a modification, but the collection people want $9,000 from us. If we pay that, we won't have too much money. So can we then get a modification?" The representative answered profoundly, "I don't know."

A quick search on the Internet shows that many people are under the mistaken impression that "reserves" means the amount needed to pay all of your debts. But mortgage lenders don't care about your other debts, and they have no problem with you being unable to repay your other creditors, as long as you can pay your mortgage. reserves, for the purpose of mortgage modification qualification, is only amounts needed to pay your for housing for three months.

So my advice is that if you have too much money to qualify for a modification, consider using the excess to pay off other debt and get yourself some breathing room. It will make it easier for you to get your mortgage modification, and easier for you to honor your modified mortgage obligation in the future.