No matter how a company or lawyer tries to justify some up front fee to help with a loan modification, whether they call it a progress payment, or break up their "services" into sections, it still is going to get them into legal hot water.
The law is very clear and was intended to make sure homeowners do not pay anything until the service has been performed. Many people charge a large fee to do a forensic loan audit or compile documents and review possible qualification for modification programs. They then claim they will do the loan modification for free or low cost (to avoid being guilty of Civil Code Section 2944.7, subjecting them to up to 6 months in jail).
Do not pay large fees for a loan audit or other alleged services or education about modification/foreclosure. The claims that they have some special knowledge or that they will find legal violations that will make the lender roll over and give you what you want are completely false!
The process is not that complicated and there are free services through HUD and others that can help guide a homeowner through the process. Our firm put together a do it yourself guide for $99 that can help homeowners try to save their home through a modification without huge fees.
There are times when certain laws are violated or homeowners have legal rights and claims against lenders and servicing companies; however, this requires a licensed attorney to review and without an actual lawsuit pending, most lenders will pay no attention to claiming they violated TILA, RESPA, or any other laws.
For more information on our do it yourself loan modification 101 guide, visit our website.