In an effort to help homeowners who owe more on their homes than they're currently worth, the government will initiate its "short refinance" program on Tuesday, September 7, 2010.
According to an August 6 Mortgagee Letter released by HUD (click here to download the entire letter), the program will allow "borrowers who are current on their mortgage to qualify for an FHA refinance loan provided that the lender or investor writes off the unpaid principal balance of the original first lien mortgage by at least 10 percent."
While lender consent is required and program participation voluntary, the FHA has stated the program could modify between 500,000 and 1.5 million upside-down mortgages.
Following are a few of the eligibility requirements detailed in the Mortgagee Letter:
- Homeowner must have negative equity, be current on the existing mortgage, and have a FICO score greater than or equal to 500
- It must be for the homeowner's primary residence
- Existing loan can't be FHA-insured
- First lien holder must write off at least 10 percent of the unpaid principal balance
- Refinanced mortgage must have a loan-to-value ratio (LTV) no greater than 97.75 percent
- Second liens must be re-subordinated so the new loan does not exceed a combined LTV of 115 percent
Because of this last requirement, this program may have difficulty when confronted with situations involving second lien holders.