Playing Catch Up

Sep 21, 2012, 4:22 PM | Updated: 5:22 pm

Question: Mike in New York lost his job about three years ago and fell eight months behind on his mortgage payment. He got another job and is trying to catch everything up. He sends full payments along with partial ones to make up for the amount that he’s behind, but the bank has been returning those. Now they are starting the foreclosure process. What should he do?

Answer: I would call them back and have this conversation: You have been trying to work this out and do not want to go through the modification process. You simply want to catch it up. You don’t have the $12,000 you need today.

You talked with your financial counselor, which is me, and he suggested a forbearance, which is a workout plan. Your proposal is to give them $6,000 today and then make double payments until the other $6,000 is caught up. I will bet that you can get them to do that.

What you could do while you’re messing with them and negotiating with them, you might be able to save up the other $6,000. Start the negotiation with forbearance, and then tell them your financial counselor said they should do this because you’re making $130,000 and you can show them that.

Tell them there’s a valid reason why this won’t reoccur. It was due to a drop in income from your layoff. The income has now returned and you were a good customer before and you’ll be a good one again. You are basically making a sale here.

You are convincing them that if they grant this one act of mercy, that it’s going to be good business for them. But if you talk to them about it for two months and mess with them, save up the money while you talk to them. Up until the foreclosure, you can completely catch them up. If they stop taking your regular payment, pile that up in that account as well because you’ll need to catch that part up as well.

Don’t let this slip away from you by any stretch of the imagination.

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Playing Catch Up