Series: Modify or Refinance? Get your sh…. paperwork together

In days of olde, when knights were bold
And foreclosures weren’t invented
You’d phone the bank
It wasn’t a prank
And the real estate sign would read “sold!”

I bought a joke book from Scholastic Books when I was in elementary school.  I can picture the cover even now if I close my eyes.  The “days of olde” was a limerick, which of course didn’t read quite the way I’ve posted for you.

Back when I purchased the book, back when we didn’t have the current housing crisis, back when [insert your time criteria here]…….. you could almost do a refinance over the phone. In fact, you could call the loan officer you worked with regularly and put in your order for a refinance. You could do a no-cost refinance without providing much in the way of proof of earnings, or account statements or copies of tax returns. The forms would be delivered to your home, and then you’d sign them and send them in.

Today, you are out of luck, Chuck. Assemble your

  • W-2,
  • your 2 most recent paychecks,
  • copies of your last two federal and state tax returns,
  • 2 most recent bank statements,
  • retirement accounts,
  • investments and other assets.

Thus girded, you may now make your way to the bank.  Yes, you can go in empty handed and plead your case, or whine if you feel it will do more good (it won’t), but regardless of your story, the bank’s underwriters will not look at either a modification or a refinance without documentation.  Suck it up and you’ll have an easier process.

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