Should I hire someone to help modify my loan?

Generally, you should not hire someone to assist with a loan modification. Free help is available through HUD-Certified Housing Counseling agencies listed at www.HUD.gov.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, one of the state agencies helping protect Illinois consumers, mandates those providing modification services be properly licensed. More information is available here:

http://www.idfpr.com/Banks/RESFIN/mortloanmodscams.asp

Attorneys may also prey on homeowners in foreclosure or seeking a loan modification. Attorneys should not provide these services unless they have the proper license from IDFPR or are providing the service as part of legal representation. For example, an attorney might file a lawsuit against a lender for violating a law when the mortgage was made and include a modification as part of the settlement. However, an attorney should not generally accept money for doing nothing more than working on a loan modification.

I refer my clients to www.HUD.gov to choose a HUD-Certified Housing Counseling agency. It seems unprofessional and unfair to take money to do a service that someone else can do better and cheaper. I am no more a counselor than I am a cook or a housekeeper, and I certainly do not charge legal fees to cook and clean for my clients.

Attorneys who aggressively seek clients for loan modification seem to be missing the obvious: there are plenty of people who need the help of an attorney in court.

Those who have paid for a loan modification service should contact an attorney to ensure it was done in compliance with Illinois law. This includes a written contract and no payment until the service is complete. Homeowners who have paid for loan modification services may be able to bring a lawsuit and collect damanges.