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ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: Loan modification


ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: Loan modification

While the economy for some is on the upswing, others are still suffering. Part of the suffering includes the inability to pay bills on time. The most important bill outside of the automobile is the mortgage. We all need a roof over our head. However, the roof can be seriously jeopardized when the mortgage is late. Aside from bankruptcy, options exist that can prevent foreclosure for failure to pay the mortgage in a timely fashion. Loan modification is a viable option that may be available. 

Mortgage company discretion

Under very few circumstances is the mortgage company obligated to approve a modification.  Modifications are made solely at the discretion of the lender. The lender may be motivated to adjust the current mortgage because the expectation is that the continued return even through a modification will be greater than the proceeds received as a result of a foreclosure sale. Additionally, the state and federal government may provide incentives for the lenders to offer modifications.

Types of modification

Modifications can take on various forms. The modification can be a reduction in the interest rate or going from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. Sometimes it can consist of a reduction in the principal amount owed or a reduction in penalties or late fees. At other times the modification can extend the loan term, which frequently results in a lower monthly mortgage payment.

Financial hardship

Although the mortgage companies often look for the applicants requesting the loan modification to have experienced some sort of financial difficulty such as the loss of a job or missing payments, there is still the expectation that the applicant is still able to pay a mortgage. In most circumstances, the applicant will not be allowed to remain in the property without some form of established monthly payment approved by the mortgage company.

Loan modification companies

Unfortunately, many loan modification companies have been found to have unscrupulous behavior in an effort to gain profits. Many have been known to make guarantees of modification or saving your home when they have no way to guarantee a result. While the process can be complete without the services of a third party, there are some free services that can assist as well as some law firms that concentrate in the area of loan modifications. They can help guide you through the process and ensure that your submission is completed properly.

Document Submission

Upon a request, the mortgage company will forward to the applicant a loan modification packet.  The homeowner will need to submit copies of paychecks, income and expenses, as well as other documents to determine the eligibility of the applicant. There will probably be a tax return release form, which gives the lender the authority to obtain the returns directly from the Internal Revenue Service. 

This packet needs to be completed in full and returned to the mortgage company for consideration.  Ideally, the applicant will have all documents submitted at the same time due to the fact that the mortgage companies receive an overwhelming amount of documents daily. When the requested documents are not submitted at the same time, it may delay the process. Partial submissions are usually not processed in a timely fashion.

After submission, it is best to follow up frequently with the mortgage company to check on the status of the application. Applicants may be asked to submit additional documents even if a completed file has already been sent. Do not get irritated or lose your calm, simply resubmit the requested documents and continue to follow up.


The Federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was created to provide standard loan modification guidelines to serve as industry standard practices for lenders when analyzing modification applicants. Well over 100 lenders have signed up to participate in the HAMP.

Some homeowners may be eligible for HAMP if the following is met:

  1. The mortgage was obtained prior to Jan. 1, 2009.
  2. The mortgage is delinquent or may be at risk of falling behind.
  3. The property is habitable.
  4. The mortgage is less than $729,750.
  5. The applicant has not been convicted of a crime related to real estate within 10 years.

Keep My Tennessee Home

For those situations where the homeowner has lost his or her job or is underemployed, Keep My Tennessee Home is a program administered by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) that lends a hand. According to the website www.KeepMyTNHome.org, the program will provide the homeowners’ payments on their mortgage and mortgage related expenses such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, homeowner association dues that have accumulated during the period of unemployment. The maximum assistance available is $40,000 over a 36-month period. The funds are sent directly to the lender. If the applicant does not have access to the Internet, they may call 1-855-890-8073 for assistance.

The best part of the Keep My Tennessee Home program is that the loan has 0 percent interest. It is forgivable at a rate of 20 percent per year. Last but not least, if you keep your home for 5 years, the loan does not have to be paid back at all.

A few of the criteria to be eligible include household income of less than $92,680 and a total unpaid principal balance on the first mortgage of $275,000 or less.

In sum, even in dire circumstances, programs are available to aid.  

(Contact Carlee McCullough, Esq., at 5308 Cottonwood Road, Suite 1A, Memphis, TN 38118, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

Grizz GM tackles ‘The Talent Puzzle’


When Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace started as the general manager for the Boston Celtics in 1997, head coach Rick Pitino sent him and other staff members a sternly worded letter with a clear demand:

“We can not expect for players to be in world class physical condition when on a daily basis they encounter members of our staff who are overweight and out of shape. This is your target weight. If you do not reach your target weight by the expected date, feel free to seek employment with someone else.”

Do you still need life insurance?

Money Matteres
Older people generally have a better understanding of life insurance than younger people. But even if you fully understand the costs and potential benefits of life insurance, you may wonder whether you still need it as you age and your children become self-supporting. Here are some ideas to consider.

Protection for your spouse

Even though your children may not need financial support, your spouse might depend on your income, especially if you are still working and/or have debts such as a mortgage, car payment, or student loan, which could be paid off with a life insurance benefit. Losing one spouse’s Social Security benefit could also make it more difficult for the survivor, even with survivor benefits. Widows and widowers aged 55 and older are more likely to live in poverty than married people in the same age group (see chart).

After retirement


After the desk is cleaned out, pictures removed and the party is over, the reality of retirement begins to settle in. Some may travel, play golf, rest at home or pick up a hobby to pass the time away. But others are not so ready to put their working years behind them. A few retirees are interested in supplementing their retirement savings by launching a startup business.

Although it is not uncommon for folks to start a business while working, retirees are free to concentrate all of their efforts on the new business venture. Armed with a wealth of experience and plenty of time to share it, retirees will find certain businesses a tailor-made fit. The number of self-employed folks over 55 years of age is growing annually. So let’s consider a few of the options.

Passing your business on to the next generation

When business owners fail to consider the possibility that federal or state estate taxes could be due upon their passing, the cash needed to pay the bill may not be available, and heirs may have no choice but to liquidate the family’s business.

Even if your business valuation falls well below the current federal estate tax exemption level ($5.34 million in 2014), you might not be entirely out of the woods, especially if you live in a state that has an estate tax and/or an inheritance tax with a lower exemption amount.

One refurbished computer at a time

On Wealthy

As computers continue to sink deeper roots into society, many folks still cannot afford to purchase a new one. Others – due to the rapidly changing technology – choose to procure only refurbished computers in much the same way one would choose to acquire a pre-owned Mercedes Benz. Into the pre-owned computer market has stepped Dr. Edmund Ford Jr. and E&J Computer Services and Repair.

Carlee McCullough: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Edmund Ford Jr.: I am 35 years old. I have a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University (TSU) with a major in mathematics (and) a minor in computer science. I continued my education by earning my master’s degree in the same field, performing two years of doctoral work at Vanderbilt University in Leadership and Policy Studies, and earning an educational doctorate degree in Higher Education Administration and Supervision from TSU. I have taught mathematics in Tennessee for 11 years, and this year I obtained my affiliate broker real estate license.  

Providing food and services to the incarcerated


Across the country, attention is focused on economics and crime. Too many times the two are intertwined and the result is incarceration. From Los Angeles to New York, Chicago to Detroit, Atlanta to Memphis, crime is an area of discussion and focus. From prevention to budget, the subject matter always gets its fair share of attention.

But what only a few entrepreneurs focus on is the opportunity to provide goods and services to the incarcerated population. Unfortunately the prison population is not decreasing. It is increasing steadily.  With the increase comes the need for goods and services. While no one is encouraging the increase in the population behind bars, the need and opportunity to service the occupants is real. Someone is currently serving the prisoners, so why should other business owners not consider the opportunity to provide goods and services.

Small-business owners deserve a vacation

Money Matters

Less than half of small-business owners said they would take a summer vacation lasting at least one week in 2013. Many self-employed individuals are reluctant to take time off because they worry about disappointing clients, missing opportunities, or losing income while they are away.

Unfortunately, working too hard and waiting too long between vacations may not be good for your health or the future of your business. One long-term cardiovascular study reported a link between frequent vacations and longer, healthier lives, and another found that men who skipped vacations for several years were 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks than those who took at least one week off from work each year.