"Servicers are moving slow, but moving slow because they have a high volume," says Michelle McKiver, an education manger with Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore Inc. "We as counselors have a high volume."
Marylanders seeking modifications are sometimes many months behind on payments while others are current but anticipate having trouble keeping up.
"The largest growing segment of the people we are providing services to now are prime borrowers. That's being caused by a loss of income or complete loss of jobs," Godfrey says.
If you are having trouble making mortgage payments, contact your servicer or lender immediately to see if a modification or other solution can be worked out. You also can find a free government-approved housing counselor to help you weigh your options or submit a modification application by calling 888-995-4673.
"We have clients who don't know how far behind they are because they quit opening their mail," McKiver says. "Don't bury your head in the sand. Reach out. There's a lot of free help out there."
Beware of modification schemes that prey on desperate homeowners. Counseling clients get bombarded by letters and e-mails from companies promising a modification in 30 days for a steep upfront fee, Godfrey says. "We have heard $6,000 or $8,000 or as high as $10,000," he says.
No one can guarantee a modification.
* You must occupy the residence, and the unpaid principal can't exceed $729,750 for a single-family home.
* Mortgage must have been taken out on or before Jan. 1 of this year.
* Monthly payment - including taxes and insurance - must exceed 31 percent of gross monthly pay.
* You must document a financial hardship.