Vail Valley Voices: Help for home troubles |

Vail Valley Voices: Help for home troubles

Jack Bergey
Vail, CO Colorado

The purpose of this article is to give people hope. A wise man once said, “Hope – it costs nothing to give but is always appreciated”.

After over 20 years in mortgage originations, for the past two years I have been working for Fannie Mae as a loss mitigation contractor. I started at Lehman Brothers’ loan servicing company, Aurora Loan Service, the day after Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy.

I am worried about the declining property values and all of the people struggling to make their mortgage payments. The administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program has fallen far short of its goal to help 4 million distressed homeowners. But don’t let that stop you from trying. Call your lender or go to

If you don’t qualify for a loan modification, you may qualify for special forbearance payments. This is a temporary reduction in your mortgage payment for up to six months (or even longer with investor approval) to give you time to overcome your hardship. You will have to make up the payment shortage with larger future payments or a loan modification.

If you know you just can’t afford your home and are not willing or able to make anymore payments, you can try selling your home through a short sale or applying to your lender to accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure. A short sale is when you sell your property for less than what you owe on it and a deed in lieu is when your give your home back to your lender to avoid the foreclosure process. Usually a lender will only accept a deed in lieu if you have clear title – no second mortgages or judgments.

If you are current on your loan, you have probably already refinanced or attempted to refinance, and, trust me, I know what a nightmare that probably was. There is still a program you may qualify for called “HAMP imminent default.” To qualify for this, your hardship must be: death of a borrower or co-borrower, long-term or permanent illness or disability, or divorce or legally documented separation of borrower or co-borrower.

What makes this process so daunting is that there are so many different rules. Is your loan a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or FHA, or is it a non-GSE loan? Each of these investors has different rules.

If you are having trouble making your mortgage payment, call your lender, go to your lender’s website, explain your situation, provide the proper paperwork, ask for a supervisor, write letters to the mortgage company.

It may be frustrating, but this your home we are talking about. Don’t give up – after all you have to live somewhere.

Jack Bergey is a Vail resident

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