Let's start by taking a look at the offical Government website which provides good outline of what loan modification is all about. FAQ Page.
In some cases, you are going to need legal representation. Each loan modification must be presented to the bank and when you have a lawyer backing you, it turns the tables when it comes to a lender turning your modification down. During the modification, any overdue balance existing as late payments are wiped, and 60 days following the modification are payment free. This allows you to afford the legal fees that saved your home, because your mortgage payment will be in-active. One of the services this website offers is a professional overview of your unique situation, multiple processes are applied to try to avoid a modification. If it comes down to a modification we have a firm specialized in loan modification cases that can defend your mod, which in the end saves your home.
The first thing you want to do is have a vast understanding of your FICO/credit report scores. This is something you want to do 6 months prior to getting a loan pre-approval. This way you have enough time to fix any problems you might find with your credit report. Getting your credit report can tell you the strong and weak points in your financial history that can help you when lenders are deciding if giving you a loan is appropriate.