One in 10 Long Islanders was behind 90 days in...

One in 10 Long Islanders was behind 90 days in mortgage payments in January, according to a new report from CoreLogic, which tracks existing loans. Credit: IStock

My wife and I are 72. We are seriously upside down on our house. We need to get the bank to help us. So far it will not. I am told one has to be in serious default to even get them to look at you.

I have heard from a friend about an organization that apparently agrees to buy your property from the bank and rent it back to you at a lower monthly cost because they buy it for so much less. In three, five or seven years, you can buy it back for a discounted rate. Is this too good to be true?

 This sounds very much like a scam. I don't know anything about the company you listed in your email (I have not reprinted the name in the column), but I do know that you do not have to be upside down on your loan to qualify for the Making Home Affordable (HAMP) loan modification program.

On the other hand, almost no one qualifies for HAMP. This is a voluntary program, and the federal government does not require lenders to either forgive your debt or provide you with a lower interest rate on your existing loan.

If you can no longer afford your home, then you need to talk to the lender about what it can do, or is willing to do, for you. If the bank if not willing to do anything for you and you are running out of money, then you should consider your options: A strategic default (where you stop paying anything to the lender and wait to be thrown out), a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

While these three options will be detrimental to your credit, they are better than filing for bankruptcy.

If you want to give it one last try, some homeowners have had more luck by contacting HUD-certified counselors through the Hope For Homeowners program (888-995-HOPE).

(Ilyce R. Glink's latest book is "Buy, Close, Move In!" If you have questions, you can call her radio show toll-free (800-972-8255) any Sunday, from 11a-1p EST. Contact Ilyce through her Web site, www.thinkglink.com.)

(c) 2011 ILYCE R. GLINK and Samuel J. Tamkin. distriBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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