Free Making Home Affordable Housing Counselors

by Julie R. in Livermore, California

Ask Kate about using free Making Home Affordable Housing Counselors to escalate HAMP mortgage loan modification help: Hi Kate, My HAMP terms are adversely affected because they claim I make too much money. But this is because they are grossing up my non-employment, non-taxable income by 125%.


Julie continues... I have a FNMA mortgage and was disabled at age 50 in 2007. Thank you.

Kate Answers: Making Home Affordable Housing Counselors

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Dear Julie,

I've recently heard from several homeowners like you who do not qualify to modify their mortgages under Making Home Affordable's HAMP plan because they make too much money.

It's especially hard to swallow when their income is being artificially increased to meet guidelines.

Calculating Debt Ratios with Non-Employment Non-Taxable Income

Now why would lenders increase income? For many disabled and retired people, their income is not taxed by the government. Yet the mortgage approval process calculates debt ratios based on pre-tax dollars (except for the self-employed).

So to be fair and equal to non-taxed borrowers, lenders add an equivalent sum to their income, had it been taxed. This is called grossing-up. In fact, many disabled people or retirees have qualified for mortgages expressly due to the grossing-up of non-taxable income.

Of course, their income is not actually increased. This is merely an on-paper action used to calculate debt ratios consistently among taxed and non-taxed borrowers alike.

But for mortgage programs such as HAMP with income limitations, the same guideline, originally created out of fairness, becomes a noose around the neck of borrowers with non-taxable income. Many in this category are assigned higher monthly house payments. Others are turned down altogether for HAMP.

So what is the recourse for these borrowers who have hit a brick wall?

Contact Free Making Home Affordable Housing Counselors

If the loan servicer is getting nowhere fast on your HAMP modification, here is how to escalate your case and get personalized help! Place a free call to Making Home Affordable Housing Counselors at 888-995-HOPE (4673) and be sure to mention MHA.

Yes, you can now call 888-995-HOPE (4673) around-the-clock with individual eligibility questions about the Making Home Affordable Program. That means 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year!

This will be your opportunity to discuss what is standing in your way of getting an affordable HAMP modification. In addition to reporting what you might feel is unfair, ask for alternate solutions.

Before Calling the Live Housing Experts

But to make the most of your phone call with a Making Home Affordable Housing Counselor, gather the following information and paperwork from all borrowers on your mortgage, as applicable:
  • Mortgage statements for your home.

  • Mortgage statements for other financed real estate.

  • Last 2 pay stubs.

  • Last 2 years W2s and 1099s.

  • Last 2 years tax returns.

  • Year-to-date profit and loss statement, if self-employed.

  • Current alimony, child support, and social security award letters.

  • Unemployment insurance letter.

  • Last 2 bank statements for checking, savings, and other asset accounts.

  • Utility bill showing your name and home address.

  • Balances and minimum payments of credit card accounts.

  • A letter describing job loss, divorce, illness, or other hardship.
Feel uneasy about making the call? Give it a try. You can expect promptly-answered calls from live housing experts. By the way, help is available in over 160 languages.

Good luck and best wishes,


Ask Kate about Your Mortgage

Anyone can ask Kate a question or add a comment. (To comment, look for the link at the bottom of this page.)

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Comments for Free Making Home Affordable Housing Counselors.

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Optimum Advocacy Center
by: Maria R. in Havertown, PA

Is the Optimum Advocacy Center a scam or is it a legitimate Making Home Affordable Government Program?

Hi Maria, Kate here...

I'm not familiar with the various agencies but if they are asking for money from you, that's a warning sign, for sure!

I recommend calling the Making Home Affordable (MHA) hotline at 888-995-HOPE to ask if Optimum Advocacy Center is one of the approved MHA experts.

Thanks for writing.

Best wishes, Kate

Chase did me the same way
by: Stacy W.

I am a Chase mortgage holders also and they did me the same way as the previous person. Can nothing be done? I filed bankruptcy thinking it would help me and seems like it only hurt.

Hi Stacy, Kate here...

I hope you will report your experience to and ask for help from the sources I have listed below.

Sincerely, Kate

I'd Never Been Late on a Mortgage Payment and Now Chase is Going to Foreclose
by: Paul

While I was in bankruptcy back in 2010, I called Chase to tell them I wanted to try to keep my home. I was told since I never fell behind or was late on a payment, they were willing to work with me.

When I called Chase back to reaffirm my debt, I was told the best way with my hardship was to do a loan modification. I started this in Jan 2011.

But I was told that I needed to go behind 3 payments. I didn’t want to but was told that this was the only way to do this with my bankruptcy.

So I did what they told me and after 3 months I called them back to see what was going on. I was told that she had no record of being told to do this.

I then was told that if my modification didn’t go thru that Chase was going to foreclose on me anyway.

Is there any programs that can help get in another home because they are going to foreclose on me. They just will not help me.

So for the last 30 months, all I have been doing is faxing documents. And after doing what they told me and them telling me not to make anymore payments, I am 32 months behind. After never being late on a payment.

Hi Paul, Kate here...

It's terrible what has happened to you. You are not alone in your story but your story must be told.

I want you to send this letter to Washington DC, that is to President Obama and Congress. Additionally, please forward it to your local state officials and the Better Business Bureau.

Here is how to find the addresses for President Obama, Senate, House of Representatives, your local state government, and Better Business Bureau.

Then you must call the HOPE hotline to speak personally with a free Making Home Affordable Housing Counselor. This hotline is set up to help homeowners burdened with botched mortgage modifications.

Go to the top of this page to read about the free counseling, including the phone number.

Ask the counselors to get involved, how to force Chase to make this right since you were only following their instructions, and what your next step should be.

Sincerely, Kate

I am underwater. My home value is at $91,000 and I owe $142,000.
by: Joan in DeLand, Florida

I cannot afford attorney fees to get help with one month behind on my underwater property. I am on social security disability income of $1400 per month.

My Bank of America mortgage is currently modified since 2/2011 at 2% freeze until 2016 and then it goes adjustable upward to $750.

I am now paying $604.00 monthly. I foresee myself heading into a disaster zone.

I do not want to leave my home. This is my shelter. Please reply. Thank you, Joan

Hello Joan, Kate here.

You are right to be looking ahead. Waiting until the last moment only increases the stress.

Please call a free Making Home Affordable Counselor for personalized direction at 888-995-HOPE (4673) or for hearing impaired, 877-304-9709.

You can read more about these housing experts earlier on this same page.

I wish you the very best, Kate

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