First person: A loan modification got me my ocean-front dream

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First person: A loan modification got me my ocean-front dream
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Inside our condo with the Pacific out our window.

I purchased my home in May 2007. (Yes, that was terrible timing.) I secured a loan from my bank at an annual rate of 6 percent. Not fantastic, but it was considered pretty good at the time. Shortly after closing on the loan, both home prices and interest rates went into a free fall.

There were countless ads on the radio and Internet trumpeting low mortgage rates. I immediately looked for opportunities to refinance, but I was informed by the banks and brokers that they were unable to assist me because I owed more on the house than it was worth.

Instead of being defeated, I contacted my current lender. At first they said they couldn't help me, but they did remind me that if rates dropped more than a point and a quarter under my current rate I would be eligible to request a onetime reduction over the course of the loan.

When the rates dropped to 4.625 percent in September 2010, I jumped at the opportunity and refinanced. My monthly savings were $985. More importantly, this meant I could rent the property and not have negative cash flow.

Being set free from the monthly payment by my new tenant I chose to move. I had to downsize, but I found a condominium on the beach and secured a lease. Now, each morning I awake to the sound of the surf and am treated to amazing sunsets off of my balcony in the evening. I certainly wish I had waited as interest rates continued to slide; they are still at astounding lows. However, I'm not unhappy, as I lowered my rate and am now living my ocean-front dream.

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