Your income is down. Your expenses are up. You'd like a mortgage modification but your property is a rental. Or your loan is too large. Or you got into a trial mortgage modification but were not given a permanent one. Are you destined for foreclosure? Probably not.

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Mortgage servicers reported to HUD that between April 2009 and the end of April 2010, 2.8 million homeowners have received mortgage modifications. Guess how many of these were completed through the HAMP program? Just 346,000!
So if you don't qualify for HAMP, there's HOPE. As in HOPE NOW, the alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers, and non-profit counselors that attempts to offer private-sector solutions to the mortgage foreclosure problem.

Better Late than Never

HOPE NOW's members didn't do such a great job at first. I mean, consider that the effort was put together by the same folks who largely caused the problem in the first place, right? Early restructurings did not usually mean better terms for the borrowers; lenders favored putting delinquent borrowers into higher payments to make up missed amounts. So those who couldn't afford their mortgage payments before being "helped" were somehow expected to miraculously pay more each month. Duh.

HOPE NOW Not Hopeless

Today, the effort can be considered a moderate success. if you want to try for a non-HAMP modification, you do need to show that reasonable concessions (the average modification drops the payment by $500) will allow you to stay in your home and keep the payments coming. So there has to be sufficient income. Note that income from members of your household who are NOT on the mortgage can still be counted. If your other, non-mortgage debts are keeping you from paying your home loan, and you don't see any possibility for improvement, consider bankruptcy. Many lenders will allow modifications in conjunction with a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy as long as the bankruptcy trustee or judge approves it. And if you were initially denied a HAMP loan mod but your circumstances have changed, you are allowed to reapply.