Virtually all of my modification clients tried it on their own and were turned down. Servicers will turn a borrower down and not tell them why.
There are many tricks and techniques which we have learned with are not commonly known.
It is to the advantage of servicers for modification to fail. Servicers get paid more if there is a foreclosure, while the home owner and the investor are the losers.
Yes, many borrowers do succeed with their modifications, however, many just get the run around. The non-attorneys have for the most part been put out of the modification business because they cannot charge up-front fees, and that is good. Modifying a mortgage is the practice of law. Non-attorneys should never have been doing modifications in the first place.
If you hire an attorney, it should be an in-state attorney.
It is important to look at all sides of a borrower’s situation, including the first and second mortgages and other debt. Maybe the second can be discharged in a Chapter 13. Maybe it can be negotiated away for a greatly reduced payoff.
Bankruptcy attorneys are not always the best qualified to handle modifications. They often focus only on bankruptcy as an option, and maybe bankruptcy is not necessary.
The goal is to help the borrower get the 2% rate with a 40-year amortization. If that can be accomplished, it is worthwhile to keep the house even if it is underwater.
There are now numerous attorneys in Washington doing modifications, and the attorney fee is typically less than the cost of a refinance. Most borrowers do not have the time to figure out all the technical rules, so hiring legal counsel can be a wise move. Attorneys generally do not want to take on a modification unless the numbers look right and the modification can be done. Some people do not qualify because income is too high or too low, and these people should apply for short sale.
My point is that just because a lucky few can do their own modifications for free does not mean that everyone should avoid hiring an attorney who has worked on hundreds of these.
You get what you pay for.