All types of debt could be weighing you down: credit card bills, medical payments, student loans and mortgage payments, to name a few. To avoid bankruptcy or to keep your house during bankruptcy, one option you might want to consider exploring is mortgage modifications. Are they relatively easy to get, or is being granted one a rarity?
The good news is that many people easily get a mortgage modification, but as with anything, such a move can come with downsides.
Pros and cons of a mortgage modification
The disadvantages of a mortgage modification include your mortgage possibly being reset for a 40-year period, meaning that if you had, say, 18 years’ worth of payments left, you may turn out to have 40 years’ worth at the end. Your credit score might also take a hit, although not as bad as a foreclosure mark.
The advantages include a lower monthly payment, especially for the first few years, and such a modification can help get you through a distressing time in your life. You can file for bankruptcy, and through this reorganized debt plan be able to stay in your house.
Ease of getting one
Now to the heart of the matter: Who can most easily get a modification? Generally, those who qualify show financial hardship yet demonstrate sufficient income to make the new payments. Hardship examples could be illness, death of a spouse or job loss. Applicants must be behind on their payments or about to become behind. If you are seeking a modification in bankruptcy, the fact that many of your debts are being eliminated or reorganized should show you have some increased capacity to make payments.
Some lenders have their own departments and programs for loan modification, so you can check online on your lender’s website or contact it to find out. Otherwise, there are programs such as Freddie Mac Flex Modification that may be able to help. Also, if you have no hardship to show to your lenders, they may offer you a refinance since you might not qualify for a modification.
For many people struggling under the weight of tremendous debt, bankruptcy makes good sense. For example, Chapter 7 can wipe out unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills. Chapter 13 reorganizes debt so it is more manageable to pay. However, there are some cases in which bankruptcy may not make sense, such as:
If all or most of the debt is not dischargeable
Not every type of debt is treated equally in bankruptcy. For one thing, it is possible for credit card bills to be wiped out, but most student loans and tax obligations must remain. So, if all your debt is due to IRS and student loan payments, bankruptcy may not make sense. Of course, it is possible you may be able to meet student loan undue hardship standards, so it never hurts to meet with a lawyer. There are also some exceptions to the IRS rule.
Other debts that remain in bankruptcy include child and spousal support payments and court-ordered payments from a criminal case.
When much of the debt is dischargeable
The good news is that many types of debt are dischargeable in a Mississippi bankruptcy, and you are able to keep assets such as retirement accounts. Your disability income and personal injury proceeds (up to $10,000 for the latter) are also protected. You are allowed to keep $10,000 worth of personal property, and for many people, that means being able to retain a car and all their savings. Equity in your house is protected, too, up to $75,000.
So, with a single bankruptcy filing, you can either wipe out or consolidate crippling credit card bills and medical bills. In such cases, bankruptcy can make a lot of sense.
If it does not make sense to file, or if you have some dischargeable debt mixed with non-dischargeable debts, it helps to be aware of bankruptcy alternatives. They include credit counseling and other types of debt consolidation.