What is Mortgage Modification?

Mortgage modifications are arrangements agreed to by the lender that are outside of the contractual mortgage agreement, in instances where the borrower experiences unique circumstances or hardship.

An example of a mortgage modification is a loan forbearance, which is when a lender agrees to let the borrower temporarily stop payments for an agreed-upon span of time, before resuming payments with an added repayment stipulation for the time spent not paying.

Through Fannie Mae, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) seeks to reduce a mortgager’s monthly payments to 31% of his or her gross monthly income. HAMPs are available to lower-income households. Somewhere between 31% and 41% tends to be the range for modifications allowed by banks. Borrowers may have to provide letter and documentation proving a hardship.

Modifications are generally more short-term, temporary changes as opposed to a fully refinanced arrangement, which would have a new contract. Refinancing arrangements might lower monthly payments and extend the term of the loan out to 40 years. Modifications might lower the payment for a period of time and extend the length of the term by a year or two.

What is a Mortgage Forbearance Agreement?
What is Mortgage Refinancing?