4 things to do if your home isn’t selling

Confused couple checking their phones

In the wake of the hot housing market, it may seem a bit too soon for any home for sale to not attract buyers. But the market is transitioning, and we may start seeing homes sit on the market for longer than we’ve grown accustomed to.

Bloomberg’s Natalie Wong and Chris Fournier call it “the chill.” And, the cooling of the once national, red-hot single-family home market may be contemplating extending its icy fingers into our local market as well.

Chalk it up to higher borrowing costs if you like. The fact is home “Showing activity across the U.S. is down 8.8% from October,” according to research from the ShowingTime Showing Index®.

Don’t let this frighten you out of the market. Instead, as your real estate representative, we urge you to consider the following steps if your home seems to be languishing on the market.

1. Reduce the price

The most common reason that a home sits on the market is price. Homebuyers know when a home is overpriced, and their real estate agents certainly know. Consider the following:

  • Nearby homes, similar to yours, are priced lower than yours.
  • Showings of your home are few and far between.
  • You have received no offers in the first two to three weeks the home is on the market, or offers that you do receive are below your asking price.

These are all indications that your home is overpriced. There is no shame in a price reduction. In October of last year, “… homes unsold after more than 120 days saw prices reduced by an average of 15.8%,” according to Lucia Mutikani at Reuters.com, citing data from the National Association of REALTORS®.

To avoid such a hefty reduction in what you’ll walk away with, lower the price sooner, rather than later.

Real estate markets can change quickly, so we’ll check current conditions and advise you on a new price, if necessary. We often find that when a homeowner reduces the price, traffic picks up.

2. Make some cosmetic changes

Feedback from potential buyers who tour your home is invaluable both for you and for your agent. We actively solicit this feedback to help us determine if the condition of the home is keeping buyers from making offers.

The information helps the seller understand which changes to make, what to update, and what to spiff up.

Sometimes fresh paint will do the trick but don’t be surprised if buyers are turned off by something that’s more expensive to fix, such as flooring.

Before and after renovation

3. Beef up the marketing plan

Compelling advertising of a home is critical. As your listing agent, we will be considering what tweaks we can make to our marketing plan. If we feel that we’ve missed the mark on that point (which really rarely happens), we’ll look at additional ways to make your home stand out.

4. How’s your flexibility?

Yes, it’s challenging to have to keep your home model-perfect while it’s on the market and it’s easy to become annoyed when someone calls at the last minute, wanting to view the home.

The more people that come through that door, however, the quicker it will all be over. If you are putting restrictions on when the home can be shown, it may just sit on the market longer than you expected.

Sometimes, real estate markets experience a lull. If your home is in good condition, it’s priced right and you’re Gumby when it comes to flexibility, take a deep breath and relax. It will pick up again.

Easy spring home maintenance chores

Spring cleaning decorative image

Remember when you bought that house and all the “stuff” that comes along with owning it? I promised to be with you every step of the way, both before and after the sale, and here I am, nagging you to keep up your investment. You’ll thank me later.

Believe it or not, someday you will sell this home and my hope for you is that it’s in pristine condition so you get top dollar for it.

To that aim, take a look at some of these easy spring home maintenance chores that will help you keep your home in peak condition. Chip away at them over the course of the season and I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

Is it hot in here?

It will be soon, so change the filter in the HVAC system before firing up the air conditioner for the season. In fact, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors recommends that you have the system inspected once a year.

If you smoke, have pets or if you suffer from allergies, plan on changing the HVAC filters monthly.

Dirty HVAC filter

If it slides, lubricate it

Windows, sliding glass doors and anything on hinges can use a squirt of lubricant at least once a year. Get out the WD-40 or whatever else you have on hand and get going.

Be sure to clean the tracks and window frames before applying the lubricant. Wipe them down with a cloth to remove the loose gunk and then use the vacuum to get the rest.

A solution of vinegar and water (hot water is best) is good to clean up mildew or heavy grime buildup. Use a clean damp cloth to rinse of the solution and then a towel to dry everything.

Now you can spray the lubricant. If you have vinyl windows, be careful. Avoid getting the lubricant directly on the window because it may leave a mark.

You can not only get the interior of the house squeak-free and moving without struggle, but probably the shed and garage as well, in less than 20 minutes.

Gutters get really gross over the winter

Caked on gunk in the gutters can be hard to remove so water it down and use a trowel to scoop it out. Then, use the hose to run water through the gutters to ensure there aren’t any leaks and that the downspouts aren’t clogged.

If you have a tree that loves to drop the leaves into the gutter every fall, consider covering said gutters with wire mesh. It just might save you from having to do the cleaning routine again next spring.

Dirty roof gutters on a home

How’s the deck looking?

If you spend a lot of time on the deck during summer, don’t neglect this tip. Take a minute or two to inspect the boards and if any are cracked or curling remove them and replace with new ones.

Then, go underneath the deck to check that the supports are in good shape and there aren’t any missing nails or screws. If you see signs of pest damage you’ll need to call a pest control professional to ensure the deck is still sound.

When was the last time you

Drained your water heater? I know, it’s a tedious and thankless job. But if you’ve ever had a water heater fail and leak all over the garage you’ll understand that these beasts need maintenance as well.

Sediment settles in the bottom of the tank. While one- or two-years’ worth may not be an issue, if you let it go for too long it will build up and can result in a loss of heat to the water and maybe even clog the drain line (therein lies the real danger).

You’ll find a handy video walk-through for the process online at Today’s Homeowner.

Step-by-step guide to a successful move

Want to see your friends get really busy real fast? Tell them you need help packing and moving – it’s amazing the assortment of “Oh-I’m-sorry-but-I-have-to’s” that will come up.

So, plan on minimal help, unless you hire someone. Even then, there’s a lot more to do than merely hiring a moving company, so sit down and create a timeline of events and tasks that need to be done within the two months before the move.

Yup, the moving process can be downright overwhelming, unless you use our handy Moving Checklist. This is part one so you’ll need to check back next week for the next installment.

Bins and purge

You don’t necessarily need to run out and purchase a bunch of bins for this part of the process; big boxes will suffice.

You’ll need three boxes, and if you have a lot of stuff, you’ll need three boxes for each room in the house. One box will be for items you want to donate to charity, another for items you want to sell and a final box for items to give away to family, friends or even strangers – anything not suited, for one reason or another, to give to charity.

What to do with all that stuff you won’t be keeping

The local chapters of VVA don’t pick up items; the pickup must be coordinated through the national chapter. Just follow the link above and you’ll get to the right place.

  • Sell: If you’ve decided a garage sale is just too much work but have items that you want to sell, consider Craigslist, ebay or Facebook Marketplace.
  • Give Away: Many people and places will take items you no longer need. Consider giving linens, such as blankets, sheets and towels to your local animal shelter or favorite rescue. Hospitals may take old books and magazines off your hands. Homeless shelters and food banks may take your unwanted food.

Place a “curb alert” ad on Craigslist.org. Typically listed in the “For Sale” category, in the “Free” sub-category, curb alerts let folks know that you’ve placed free items at your curb, to be picked up on a first-come, first-serve basis. TIP: Don’t list your phone number in your curb alert or you’ll have people phoning you to find out if the items are still on the curb.

And the stuff you’ll be taking with you?

Go through each closet in the home with an eye toward making it appear roomier. This might mean removing bulky winter clothing if winter has come and gone and anything large that you store in the clothes closets.

Box these items up for the move and stack the boxes neatly in the garage. Do the same for the linen closet, ridding it of bulky winter blankets and comforters. Don’t forget the bathrooms.

In the kitchen, box up items you seldom use but want to hang on to. This might include items you use when you entertain and seasonal items (Thanksgiving platters, etc.).

Anything that you can remove and store for the move will help make the storage options in the kitchen (pantry, cupboards and drawers) look roomier, which is appealing to homebuyers (if you’ll be selling the home).

Next time we’ll look at who will do the actual move: You, a moving company or a combination of both. See you then!

What you need to know about mortgage interest rates

Interest rates, especially mortgage interest rates, have become the stuff of headlines over the past year. Homebuyers with budgets that put them on the edge of affordability have been forced out of the market and those who are left can look forward to higher house payments than they had hoped.

If you’re new to buying a home, read on as we dive into the topic of mortgage rates and why they fluctuate so often.

The Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve System, known as “the Fed” for short, is considered our country’s central banking system. It is, however, independent of the federal government. In essence, the Fed controls the movement of money throughout the U.S. financial system.

The Federal Reserve System is comprised of a Board of Governors and 12 Federal Reserve Banks, spread throughout the country.

The seven members of the Board of Governors, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and four other reserve bank presidents serve on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the policy-making body that determines, among other things, the interest rate charged to commercial banks.

The FOMC controls inflation by tightening or loosening the country’s money supply. One way they do this is by raising interest rates to control inflation. When borrowing money costs more, consumers tend to shy away from taking out loans, hopefully leading to lower prices.

By the same token, lower interest rates encourage consumers to borrow and spend, which in turn boosts the economy. Overall, the fluctuations in mortgage interest rates reflect an attempt to keep a balance in the economy and to prevent inflation without bringing the economy into a recession.

Mortgage investors

The Federal Reserve is not the only player affecting mortgage rates. To create more money to lend, banks often sell their loans on the secondary market, now controlled by the federal government.

Banks and other mortgage lenders sell mortgage-backed securities to investors. The return on investment for these investors is generated by interest paid by mortgage holders on their loans. For the investors to realize a return, banks must charge a higher interest rate.

Homebuyers (mortgage loan borrowers) naturally want low-interest rates on their mortgages. This force drives interest rates back down. In addition, when investors know rates are going to drop, they purchase these securities, increasing demand and eventually sending interest rates back down. Banks must balance these two opposing forces, and the resulting push-and-pull drives mortgage interest rates.

The impact of fluctuating rates on loans

“Your mortgage rate isn’t guaranteed until it’s locked,” cautions Denny Ceizyk at LendingTree.com. And locking in your rate is critical if you hope to protect yourself from fluctuating mortgage rates.

“Even minor changes to mortgage rates can impact the amount you pay when you refinance or close on your home loan,” suggests Victoria Araj at RocketMortgage.com.

You can lock your rate anytime from loan approval to five days prior to closing on the loan. According to Araj.

“Some lenders may even lock your rate at the same time they send you the loan estimate,” she continues.

“However, your rate lock will have an expiration date, after which your interest rate will start to increase or decrease even if you haven’t completed your refinance or home purchase,” Araj warns.

While all of this may seem complicated to the average homebuyer, an awareness of what drives interest rate changes can help you know when the ideal time has arrived to apply for a loan.

We are not mortgage specialists or financial professionals so we urge you to contact either for more information about how fluctuating mortgage rates can impact your loan.


Planning on selling in spring? Remember what they say about the early bird

It’s right around the corner. As mercurial as the current housing market is, many homeowners are itching to get into the spring market. I understand why spring represents this magical time to so many real estate consumers. It’s the best time to sell a home.

If you’ve followed the news lately you know that interest rates have risen and will rise again throughout the year. These hikes and potential hikes have created a new sense of urgency among homebuyers. If you’ll be buying another home after selling your current home, you, too, should be feeling some urgency. After all, you’ll be a buyer when your house sells.

Of course, we have no way of knowing when the next interest rate increase will come, which is why I’m urging my clients who hope to sell in spring to get the home on the market as early in spring as possible to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

What you’ll need to do

Let’s get a market analysis done now. Yes, it’s a bit early, but we just need a ballpark figure for you to take to a lender. He or she can then present options for buying the next home.

The worst thing you can do is sell your home before being pre-approved for a loan for your next home so speak with the lender about what you need to do, financially, to ensure mortgage approval.

Spring officially arrives on March 20, 2023, and lasts until June 21. Starting your preparations to sell right now gives you plenty of time to get the home ready for the market. Sure, there’s not much you can do to the exterior with the ever-changing weather we’re having, but if you have repairs to be made inside, spend some time during the weekends to get those knocked out.

Then we’ll come up with a staging plan if needed. Not all homes require staging but if yours does, let’s get together and discuss how you can show off your home to its fullest advantage.

Again, don’t wait

“When interest rates are moving up, waiting to sell could end up costing more than selling sooner and locking in today’s rates. Waiting to sell could also mean having to wait to buy when there are even fewer homes available,” warns Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com.

He goes on to suggest that the market is in flux. “As rates continue to rise, higher financing costs will eventually dampen demand.”

If you don’t want your house numbered among a glut of them when demand dries up, get it on the market before rates rise again. Spring, and even summer, is the perfect time to sell.

It’s almost spring – let’s add some color to your landscape

Whether you have seeds starting indoors or you plan on buying starts from the nursery, your flowerbed awaits – so let’s get those plants into the ground.

Choose the right spot for the right plants


Beginner gardeners typically make the mistake of not scoping out the perfect spot in the yard in which to plant a flower garden. The “perfect” spot is the one that gets the amount of sunlight that your plants will require.

Keep notes of the location of the sun as it moves across the yard. Then, choose a spot where your flowers will get the entire amount required for their growth. You can learn about plant requirements on gardening websites online.

Then, make a list of those that you want to grow.

Next, do some research about each plant as to its eventual size (height and width) and take note of this information. You will need it to determine how far about to plant each plant.

Prepare the soil

Give those young, tender plants all the help you can to get them off to a healthy start. Begin by removing any debris that winter swept into the planting area.

  • Next, pull weeds and dispose of them. Yes, you can also compost them. Follow the instructions you’ll find online at EpicGardening.com.
  • Sift through the top few inches of soil and remove any rocks or other items that you find.
  • Amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure. Use about 2 inches and mix it into the top 6 inches of the soil.
  • Finally, water the soil slowly and deeply.

Harden off your plants

Another beginning gardener mistake is not allowing your new plants to acclimate to their new environment.

This process is known as “hardening off.” Begin the process two weeks before you want to plant them into the flower bed.

Find a shady spot outdoors, that’s protected from the wind. Leave the plants outdoors in the chosen spot for an hour on the first day. Gradually increase the length of time they spend outdoors over the next week to two weeks.

During this period, if temperatures dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, bring the plants indoors.

You’ll also want to cut back on watering, but don’t allow the soil to completely dry. If you notice any wilting, water immediately.

Visit almanac.com for a video walk-through of the hardening-off process.

Let’s get planting

Dig the planting holes to the same depth as the pot in which the plants are growing, but two times the width.

It’s important not to damage the main stem when you remove the plant from its pot. Place your hand under the foliage, but over the top of the pot, and then turn the pot over. The plant should slide right out but if it doesn’t, press gently around the sides of the pot and then tap on the bottom.

Place the roots of the plant into the hole and backfill it with the soil you removed when digging. Finally, water slowly. This helps remove air pockets in the soil and settle it.

Don’t forget the mulch

Mulch is the workhorse of every garden. It helps regulate the soil’s temperature, helps the soil retain water, and discourages weed growth.

Organic mulches, such as shredded leaves, grass clippings, shredded bark, or wood chips are ideal. These materials break down over time, adding nutrients to the soil.

Whichever type of mulch you decide to use, you’ll need at least a 2-inch layer (more is better), spread around each plant. Avoid rot by ensuring that the mulch is at least 6 inches from the base of each plant, spread to the dripline

There you go – your new spring flower bed. As long as you keep an eye on the moisture in the soil (don’t under or over-water), you’ll have a blanket of color to last all season long.

The key to understanding the housing market: There is no such thing as a stupid question

If you’re planning on buying a home this year, you aren’t alone. A new NerdWallet survey finds that “… about 28 million Americans” have plans to buy a home in 2023.

That’s the happy news.

According to the same survey, these would-be homebuyers think that they will spend $269,200 on the home. That’s not-so-happy news.

In fact, that figure, according to NerdWallet.com’s Elizabeth Renter, illustrates “… an unrealistic optimism.”


Because the nationwide median price of a home in January (the latest figure available at the time of this writing), was $359,000, according to housing market experts at NAR.realtor.

In reality, the median home price hasn’t been as low as the figure dancing through potential buyers’ heads since 2013, claims Renter, citing Federal Reserve statistics.

While this is good news for home sellers (because this figure represents a month-over-month price increase) it shows that most home buyers, and most likely home sellers as well, have a lack of understanding of the current housing market.

Home price activity in our market. Yes, the national housing market is a product of the economy overall, but to understand the local market you’ll need to follow home prices here, at home. Remember, all real estate is local, and not every market is faring the same.

For instance, Holden Lewis with NerdWallet.com claims that “Home prices already have been falling, especially on the West Coast, and prices will fall in some cities in 2023,”

That “some cities” claim is more proof that not all real estate markets are reacting similarly. Thus, again, it the importance of understanding what’s happening in our market.

Keep an eye on mortgage rates


Did you know that, over the past 50 years, the average 30-year mortgage rate was 7.75%? (NerdWallet.com).

Put in that context, our current rates, albeit frequently fluctuating, are far below the historic average. As of February 23, weekly averages sat at 6.5% for a 30-year mortgage and 5.76% for a 15-year mortgage, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey®. Economists expect them to decline further if inflation eases.

So, there are two additional things to keep your eye on:

  • Inflation news
  • Current mortgage rates are realistically evaluated against the average over the past 50 years.


Mortgage rates change daily. If your aim is to buy a home sooner rather than later and you have an idea of an interest rate you can tolerate, check rates online as often as possible. This allows you to follow and “… understand the trends and make sure you’re getting the best rate,” suggests Ben Luthi at Bankrate.com.

“Just keep in mind that your specific rate could be lower or higher than the average rate, depending on your financial profile, down payment and other factors,” he concludes.

If you are brand new to the world of real estate and economics, we suggest that you check out the Congressional Research Service’s Introduction to U.S. Economy: Housing Market. It’s a quick, informative read.

The most important thing to do while waiting to sell or buy a home is to learn as much about the market and the process as possible. We are always willing to share our knowledge of the market with you and point you to financial experts if you have questions about the mortgage process and mortgage rates.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question, so ask away!

3 Things to know about the home appraisal

One aspect of a home sale that impacts both seller and buyer equally is the appraisal. A low appraisal can literally bring the transaction to a halt.

No matter how carefully the seller’s agent researched the current market, no matter how much the buyer is willing to spend on the home, the fact remains that the lender relies solely on the appraiser’s estimate of value.

Let’s take a look at the process and three things you should know about it.

1. The appraiser 

When we reference “the appraiser” in a real estate deal, we’re typically talking about a specialist hired by the buyer’s lender to determine a property’s current market value.

Appraisers who specialize in residential real estate use a number of methods to determine a particular property’s value. First, they measure the property and will compare what they come up with to the legal descriptions of the property held by the city or county.

They will also evaluate the neighborhood in which the home is located. They’ll use city or county sources, along with MLS statistics, to obtain information on recent sales in the area. They may draw land diagrams and they always write a written report for the lender and the buyer.

2. Why the appraisal may be low

Real estate agents that have been in the business for some time, who have listed many homes, and who know the area well, typically come up with the same value for a property as the appraiser.

That said, there are homeowners who refuse to take their agent’s advice and overprice the home. This is one reason an appraisal may come in lower than the agreed-upon price, and there are others. These include:

  • A shift in the local economy impacts the housing market. If a whole bunch of foreclosures hit the market quickly, surrounding home values decline.
  • The agent and/or the homeowner may undervalue certain improvements made to the home. In this case, the appraisal may come in higher than expected.
  • The appraiser may feel the home’s location or another problem drags down its value more than the agent and homeowner did.

3. Your options when the appraisal is low

Let’s face it, a low appraisal is scary. Buyers and sellers do, however, have a few choices to remedy the situation.

  • The seller can lower the price to meet the appraised value. I know – this is not an attractive option for most sellers. The truth is, you’ll be faced with this same dilemma with the next buyer, the next buyer and the one after that.
  • The buyer can come up with more cash. For instance, if the appraised value is $5,000 less than the buyer offered on the home the buyer can somehow come up with $5,000 to add to the down payment. This brings the loan amount to a point where it’s right in line with the appraisal. The problem for the buyer is that he or she is paying more for a home than it’s worth.
  • The buyer and seller can meet halfway. The seller can lower the price and the buyer can bring in more cash.
  • Challenge the appraisal. This isn’t as easy as it may sound. The seller will need to get involved by verifying the accuracy of the report. Appraisers are human and they sometimes get things wrong. Some of these include square footage, the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, and the age of the home and these errors may be on the subject property or the comparables used by the appraiser.

Sometimes sellers have knowledge about the conditions of a particular sale in the neighborhood that the appraiser isn’t privy to. Perhaps your neighbor got a job offer in another state and to get there quickly, took a low offer.

At any rate, if you find inaccuracies you should challenge the appraisal and request a new one from the lender. Questions about selling your home? Feel free to contact us.


What to do when the power goes out


Rolling blackouts, cars hitting transformers, hurricanes; there are numerous causes for power outages. What they have in common is that you’ll have company in your misery because, aside from the non-payment of the power bill, they typically don’t affect just one home.

How long you’ll be without power depends on the original problem, where you live, and a few other factors. When you’ve been without power for an hour or more, the answer to the “how long?” question may seem like an eternity.

A power outage, if it lasts long enough, can impact you in several ways, including finances and safety.


A power outage can hit you in the bank account

The financial impact of a medium-to-long-term power outage shouldn’t be underestimated and should be planned for. What will you do if you’re facing:

  • The lack of air-conditioning, heat, safe running water, and a working toilet?
  • An inoperable refrigerator/freezer full of perishable food?
  • An inoperable home security system?
  • Transportation and shelter expenses if you need to leave your home?

Power outages can be quite dangerous

When indoor temperatures drop during a winter power outage, they typically do so rapidly. “This can increase the risk of freezing pipes which can cause them to crack and burst,” cautions Ben Suiskind, CEO of All Dry USA.

Outages can also cause food to spoil and water contamination.

Finally, a power outage can be catastrophic to those who are dependent on medical equipment that runs on electricity.

Some thoughts about planning

Having a plan in place can help ease the danger and discomfort of a power outage. An emergency savings account will help with any related financial expenses. Disaster preparedness experts offer up a number of tips, depending on how long the disaster is expected to last.

For instance, “The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed,” according to the pros at FDA.gov.

Additional preparations for a short-term loss of power might include:

  • Purchase a home generator.
  • Freeze large plastic bottles of water and keep them in the freezer to help keep the temperature down when the power goes out.
  • Compile an emergency kit that includes flashlights or LED lights, batteries, a first-aid kit, water and non-perishable food, and a battery or crank-powered radio. Don’t forget pet items. Experts recommend that you keep these items in backpacks in case you need to ‘bug out.’
  • Make a family/friends emergency plan that details where you will all meet up during an emergency and each person’s contact information. Designate a person and a backup person who is charged with picking up young children from school.

Be safe

  • Don’t use a gas stove, oven, camping stove, charcoal grill or anything similar to heat your home. These items, used indoors, can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Generators are handy, but use them outdoors and keep them away from the home’s windows.
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics (computers, TVs, etc.) to avoid damage from electrical surges. When the power returns, plug these items back in, one at a time.
  • When the power returns, “Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture,” caution the experts at Ready.gov.

Find more tips and ideas online at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website.

What are the disadvantages of a home loan modification?

Home loan modifications are perhaps one of the most controversial topics of the last couple of years. It’s become more of a hot topic since the pandemic and, now, the economic downturn. Folks are having a hard time merely paying their bills and often, that money comes from their mortgage payments.

So, could a home loan modification be just what you need to save your home and help you to sleep at night – or is there any real upside at all?

Although they can be a boon to many homeowners, home loan modifications do have disadvantages, so let’s take a look at some of those.

Time is not on your side

One of the biggest frustrations borrowers have faced when it comes to home loan modifications is the endless delays and months that it can take to get any solid answers from their mortgage lenders and servicers.

Banks and lenders have often notoriously taken months on end to process loan modification applications, leaving homeowners in limbo, continuing to suffer sleepless nights.

As reported in the Palm Beach Post, laws were changed a few years back to force lenders to respond to homeowners within 10 days of a modification request and to deliver an answer within 30 days.

The loophole that remains, however, is that instead of approving or denying your request, they can rule your application incomplete, enabling them to stretch out the process just as long as before.

Will applying for a home loan modification stop foreclosure?

“Yes, but you must submit your application to the lender at least 45 days before the scheduled foreclosure sale of your home,” according to the attorneys with Amourgis & Associates.

Unfortunately, this time limit isn’t common knowledge among consumers, so many have found themselves being evicted while still waiting for their lenders to deliver a decision.

Note that for you to be able to explore your other options of filing for bankruptcy or selling as a short sale, you will still need to apply for a home loan modification, even if you don’t want one. Just don’t stop pursuing these other options in the hope of getting a modification before you get kicked out.

Loan modifications don’t always offer better terms

The government wants you to only deal directly with your lender or one of their preferred counselors for your home loan modification. However, loan modification companies will tell you that they are inundated with calls from borrowers who are being offered inferior modifications, which actually put them in a worse position.

While modifications are designed to lower a homeowner’s payments, what many don’t realize is that, depending on the type of loan product you chose, all of those months of back interest can be added back onto the loan.

Plus, those who have enjoyed lower monthly payments because they have been paying their taxes and insurance separately may end up with a higher payment than they expect when they are required to be paid monthly to their lenders.

These items may be balanced out by lenders extending loans for up to 40 years, which can feel great now but can mean paying thousands of dollars more over the life of the loan.

Mortgage loan modification is a one-shot deal

You only have one shot at applying for a home loan modification. Get it wrong and you may not like the choices left on the table. Get one approval that isn’t exactly what you hoped for, and you could be stuck with a worse deal in a home, still owing more on it than it is worth, for another five to 10 years.

This is why it is crucial to seek expert help and to educate yourself about the process as much as possible before applying.

The home loan modification process may not be all smooth sailing, but they are well worth pursuing. If you can dramatically lower your interest rate, stay in your dream home, and perhaps most importantly, continue to provide stability and peace of mind for your family, that is truly priceless.

For more information on mortgage loan modifications, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website.

We aren’t mortgage professionals and urge you to work with your accountant or other financial professionals when considering modifying your mortgage.