The storm clouds are here. A few weeks ago, I would never have imagined that I would be discussing mortgage relief. Everybody seems to be affected by the COVID 19 virus is some way or another. Many are sick, laid off or have reduced hours and are facing some difficult decisions. I am concerned because during the Great Recession so many did not communicate with their banks and/or loan servicing companies due to fear and worry.
If you are having difficulties, please call your loan servicing company or your bank. My client called his servicer and was told that he qualified for a forbearance agreement. He can forgo his payment for up to three months on his home loan without any penalties. He was also told that it will not affect his credit score. His interest will still accrue and be added to the loan balance and he will have to resume making his regular payments at the end of 90 days. Each servicer will probably have different plans depending on the investor they service. Most loans are owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Here are links for more information regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.
HUD has also halted all new foreclosures and suspended ongoing foreclosures for 60 days. For tenants, HUD has suspended all evictions on FHA insured single family homes.
Just today, we received a letter from our local credit union, Golden One. This is what they are planning to do. They will waive all late fees. They will allow loan deferrals of up to three months on credit card debt, auto loans and home loans. They have also arranged for emergency loans of up to $5,000 for their members. Please ask lots of questions for details of each program.
If you have been impacted by our current situation with the COVID 19 virus and need help, call your servicer or your bank. If you are a tenant, call your landlord or property manager. I have advised family members to do the same. You all should get some kind of help.
On a more personal level, my property manager sent out a letter today. He mentioned several times that he is unsure what to do since he has never faced anything of this magnitude. He had a lot of ideas and was asking for our input for even better solutions. Good tenants may not be able to pay their full rent. Property owners still have to make repairs to air conditioning, heating, plumbing, roofs, health and safety issues, etc. All need to be done in a timely manner. I feel for the repairmen that go from home to home, apartment to apartment, building to building exposing themselves and their families, to make all the repairs. We are all being impacted in some way, but most people want to help. Great communication is the key. I have already contacted my tenants and offered help. I think others will do the same.
My real estate career began during the Great Recession and I learned very quickly that if you ignore an issue the issue gets worse. If you communicate quickly and courteously, a lot can be done. I am very impressed that our government, banks, lenders, landlords and so many everyday Americans are coming together so quickly to help. This is a true Act of God that needs to be treated with understanding and empathy. The storm clouds are no longer on the horizon. There is no one to blame. Let's try to help one another and, with God's help, we can get through this natural disaster.