What Does It Mean When Your Mortgage Company Hires a Field Inspector?

If you're behind on your mortgage payments, a field inspector might soon visit.

If you're behind on your mortgage payments, a field inspector might soon visit.

If your mortgage company has hired a field inspector, the odds are high that you're suffering financial troubles and are struggling to pay your mortgage bills each month. These inspectors verify that a home is occupied after its owners have missed mortgage payments. If you're still living in your home, the inspector won't perform an interior search. But if you've left your home behind, that inspector has the legal right to search inside your home to verify that you have indeed left the property.

The Inspector

If you've fallen behind on your monthly mortgage payments -- and you haven't been answering when your mortgage lender calls -- don't be surprised to see a field inspector show up one day. Mortgage companies hire these professionals to verify that you and your family haven't left your home. If the inspector determines that you are still living in the home, this professional will contact your mortgage lender with this information. Your lender can then either proceed with foreclosure -- evicting you and your family from your home -- or it can try to work out a payment system that you can afford. This latter option would keep you and your family in your home. If the inspector determines that you have abandoned the house, this professional has the legal right to enter your home and perform an interior inspection.

Fannie Mae

Lenders will vary on how or if they use field inspectors in missed payment cases. If your loan is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae, the field-inspector practice is far more regulated. In 2011, Fannie Mae revised its rules. Now, mortgage servicers working with Fannie Mae must order a property inspection within 45 days after homeowners miss a mortgage payment. The servicer is required to order property inspections every 30 days after this period until the homeowners pay up. Inspectors are required in Fannie Mae cases to conduct an interior inspection once they confirm that a home is abandoned.

Interior Inspection

The interior inspection is a key part of the field inspector's job. If you've lost your home to foreclosure, or abandoned it before the foreclosure process is complete, your lender will take over possession of your residence and sell it on the open market. Before doing this, though, your lender will need to determine its condition so that it can either make necessary repairs or price the property properly. The field inspector can tell lenders the exact problems that a home is facing.

Property Damage

Foreclosure isn't the only time that lenders rely on field inspectors. If your home was damaged by lightning, wind or another natural disaster and you filed a claim with your insurance company, your lender might send a field inspector out to make sure that your residence was repaired properly. This is one way that mortgage lenders protect their interest in your home; remember, they have to take it over if you default on your mortgage payments. Lenders want to make sure, then, that the home is repaired the right way after it is damaged.

 

About the Author

Don Rafner has been writing professionally since 1992, with work published in "The Washington Post," "Chicago Tribune," "Phoenix Magazine" and several trade magazines. He is also the managing editor of "Midwest Real Estate News." He specializes in writing about mortgage lending, personal finance, business and real-estate topics. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Illinois.

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