Rewriting a home mortgage is a cooperative process between you and the lender. It's changing the terms and conditions, from the interest rate to the amount and length of the loan. You can't rewrite the mortgage on your own, nor can the lender. In a few cases, involving foreclosure or other legal actions, a court can order a mortgage rewritten, but it's always best to revise or modify a mortgage when you want to, without any legal intervention. Most lenders will work with you on a rewrite, especially if it's to avoid slow payments or a default.
Know What You Want
Decide what you want to accomplish with a rewrite of your mortgage. You can revise a loan to reduce monthly payments if you're having trouble keeping up, to increase the amount of the loan by taking more money out or to keep payments about the same but reduce the time until the mortgage is paid off. Read your present mortgage carefully and know exactly what your goals are in a rewrite.
Ask Your Lender
Approach your current lender first. Start this process well ahead of the time when you hope to complete the rewrite, because it may take several weeks or months to complete all the paperwork. Explain to your loan representative why you want to rewrite the mortgage and exactly what revisions you need. You'll have to make your case clearly unless your current mortgage has a provision for rewriting.
Check Your Options
Know what your options are. Check other mortgage lenders to get competitive rates or other conditions. Investigate different types of loans, such as adjustable rates or deferred payments,or those that allow you to pay only interest for a time. Use the Internet to find loan calculation programs where you can test various options to find a modification that fits your needs.
If you're rewriting to avoid financial problems, look into special programs to help homeowners. If you've lost your job or some income or been hit with unexpected expenses such as major medical bills, you may qualify for some special assistance. In some cases you may be able to get a new federally insured loan with better terms and conditions.
Take Your Time
Be honest and patient. Don't fudge on your income or expenses. Keep your payments up while you're negotiating. Understand that a rewrite will take some time to investigate your credit score, possibly have an inspection of your home and other time-consuming details. If you're rewriting to cut the time until the mortgage is paid, keep any extra money you want to put down safely invested until you have to pay it.
Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.