Medical expenses

A better relationship with your mortgage company could ease financial worries

By: Lena Foster

Having financial hardship? Finding it difficult to pay your mortgage on time? Or have you experienced a long-term or short-term unexpected difficulty or setback that has led you to needing to reframe your financial situation with your mortgage company? 

Developing a better and more in-depth relationship with your mortgage company gives you the opportunity to find solutions to help you still recuperate and thrive financially. 

Rulon Washington, one of the leaders within Wells Fargo’s mortgage sustainability group, has been involved in the mortgage space since 2010 and is responsible for everything after the mortgage closes. 

Washington focuses on helping mortgage customers understand the lifecycle of homeownership. According to Washington, customers’ excitement for homeownership must include a level of understanding about the 30-year journey that follows which involves stuff that comes with a lot of ebb and flow. 

He further explained how the way to maneuver through the process, especially during financial complications, involves a strong partnership between the customer and the mortgage company with reciprocity. 

“You do something, I do something. We meet halfway,” Washington said. “It’s an essential partnership.”

Customers are already put in an anticipative state throughout the process of closing their home and have to rely on the mortgage lenders to follow through with minimal effort on the customer’s part besides sending a couple of documents. However, once finished and the customer can now reside in their new home, a communicative relationship with the mortgage company can help customers in the long run. 

“If you’re in a jam or if you have a loss of income at work or if your child has an unexpected medical issue and you have to pay some medical expenses, it’s that time where you’d have to reciprocate that energy,” Washington said. “Call your mortgage servicer. Have that conversation: ‘Hey, I may be running late this month. What options do I have?’”

Typical financial hardships that customers have experienced include: loss of income, loss of employment, health-related issues, death of a main contributor and divorce. 

Customers should not be afraid to ask questions about who to reach out to, whether that be the insurance company or mortgage company, if something financially-threatening occurs.

Without asking, certain misconceptions could form such as: the belief that there’s immediate danger after admitting to late payment, not being able to shop for a new insurance if coverage is lost and needing to be 90 days late before asking the bank for help. 

Other beneficial questions to ask after stating your financial concerns would be: What are my options? 

Depending on the timeliness of a customer’s approach to their mortgage company, there are several options that can be offered. 

Wells Fargo offers solutions such as refinancing where customers can get a lower rate on their mortgage and take advantage of the value that they have accrued over years. Customers also have the option to identify how they can supplement missed months in the form of a repayment plan. 

Customers can also see about forbearance, which is where expected payment can be suspended to the end of the mortgage, and it won’t accrue any interest. Mortgage modification is an option where customers can adjust the terms of their mortgage to make it more affordable for them based on their current income. Another option customers could consider is a short sale where they are selling their home for less than what they owe to the bank. 

Customers can also go through their mortgage company if they are seeking money from the state. Wells Fargo partners with state and federal organizations to provide assistance through different programs from the federal government.

There are also free educational opportunities such as housing counseling, which is funded by the federal government and private funding institutions like Wells Fargo. 

Playing your part is all a part of learning about and engaging in these opportunities. 

“Being absent creates a lot of risk,” Washington said. 

All it takes is one call to initiate a long-term benefiting relationship with the mortgage company. 

“It’s important to communicate with your mortgage servicer, so that way you guys can have that dialogue about what support system is out there,” Washington said. 

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