I am a local realtor, and your neighbor; I am interested in doing what is best for my neighbors. In many cases, that may NOT be for them to sell their home. If you, my neighbors, do decide to sell, I want you to get the most you can for your home. Why is this? Not because my paycheck will be bigger, but because it helps the value of my home in addition to the fact that I have a fiduciary duty to protect my buyers and sellers and I like to sleep at night.
So what is my first step in helping you? Education. I would guess that many people purchased their homes with little understanding of the market and real estate.
So here is your first step in understanding what has/is happening for this. I have two websites I would like you to visit. First, Chris Martenson , an economist. This site is a long watch (about an hour) but you will have more of an understanding than many college graduates and most real estate professionals. The second web site is housing data via DQNews. This is a great tool in knowing when to buy, and when not to if you are purchasing for investment, or to see if the current market is a "bubble". Now, you have a basic idea of what has happened and what may happen.
In many cases it may not be in your best interest to stay in your home. However, if you want to do a loan modification, it is best to do that with a professional who can help you with the best ways to accomplish your goal. If the loan modification does not happen, you will be set to short sale the home. It is illegal for anyone to charge up front for a loan modification (excluding a lawyer) Please do not pay anyone for that service!
Having done the Loan Modification process with a professional, preferably one who is HAFA certified, you will be able to take advantage of the many benefits of the HAFA short sale. Please do not go late on your mortgage to get the banks attention! This will disqualify you from the HAFA program!