A majority of people who have requested mortgage assistance or forbearance on their monthly bill have been successful, according to a new survey from LendingTree.
Around 91% of coronavirus-impacted homeowners who asked their mortgage lender for a break were granted one, according to LendingTree.
"Reaching out to your lender and asking for help is absolutely, positively worth your time," said LendingTree Chief Credit Analyst Matt Schulz. "You may have to endure long hold times, and ultimately, there's no guarantee you'll get your way, but our survey results show that the vast majority of folks who take the time to reach out are getting some help. For folks struggling financially in the wake of this outbreak, that's a big deal. Make the call."
Among generational groups, millennials were most likely to ask for mortgage relief, while Gen-Xers had the highest success rate when asking for breaks on mortgages.
However, only a few people have asked for assistance. Almost one in five (18%) people who didn't ask for help with their mortgage payments said they were unaware of the option.
Aside from government-mandated forbearance mortgage programs, lenders have so-called "hardship programs" that are implemented after natural disasters. These hardship programs offer short-term aid to affected customers in the form of reduced interest rates, higher credit limits, waived fees, or delayed reporting of late payments to credit bureaus, among other things.
Schulz emphasized the need for borrowers to understand that they have to make the first move to get that help.
"Lenders aren't likely to seek you out to offer you this help, so it's up to you to make sure you get it," Schulz said. "Whether you make a call, send a tweet, or write up an email, take the time to contact your lender and then be persistent. Nobody cares as much about your money as you do, so stay on the case until you get the help you're looking for. You'll be glad you did."