Sadly, most of us know someone who is in a stressed mortgage situation! The sheer numbers of files landing on bank negotiator's tables is astounding. Here's an update.
NEWS: Making Home Affordable Released March 4, 2009
FIRST:To qualify for the Obama Plan, Making Home Affordable, first, find out if Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae holds your loan: Call your lender or loan servicer (number on your mortgage statement) and ask them if ...or contact Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae directly
- 1-800-FREDDIE (8am to 8pm EST)
- 1-800-7FANNIE (8am to 8pm EST)
NEXT: Qualifying for "Making Home Affordable": If you have a Fannie or Freddie loan and wish to investigate this program, here is a link to the Treasury summary: http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/guidelines_summary.pdf
This program only applies to the 60% of loans held by Fannie/Freddie. Many are insured by AIG, so all three Government Sponsored Enterprises are receiving TARP and Bailout funds to assist in modifying 'troubled assets'. The government programs are meant for homeowners in financial distress. They are not designed to rescue the financially irresponsible or those who can afford traditional means. You must be able to demonstrate an ability to pay the new terms. Expect lenders to resist lower interest rates. To date many of the bank negotiated modifications have already failed. You are essentially negotiating on your own. We understand banks are hiring commissioned staff with incentives to maintain higher terms.
Making Home Affordable Plan in 2 Parts:
1. Refinances:It is not clear how his part of the program will be implemented or enhanced by the Plan. Supposedly the banks will use their incentives to train and hire staff? Lenders are already overwhelmed by the sheer number of requests. It is scheduled to end June 1, 2009 (the short window looks ominous here).
2. Modifications must be completed by December 2012 under this section of the plan; if indeed you have a Fannie or Freddie. The basic requirement is that you can meet their 31% maximum debt to income ratio and you can document income to fall within that range. It seems ironic that this plan does not apply to non conventional loans since they have the highest default rate. AH...I forgot: AIG didn't insure any non conventional mortgages and we MUST help out AIG!
Not a Fannie or Freddie? If your mortgage does not fall into this camp, contact a HUD approved counseling organization for guidance. They will put you in touch with the right person at your lender, after which you are on your own to negotiate.
- Hope Alliance: 800 449 9392 www.995hope.org
- Consumer Credit Counseling: 800 308 2227
OR: Ask your local mortgage professional to refer you to a private loan modification resource in your state. It's important that this person is licensed and bonded and any fee they request is put into a trust account pending your outcome. You can certainly hire an attorney. We know of folks trying all options and neither timing nor results are predictable.
BEWARE of Scams! Be wary of callers or email offering to eliminate your debt or modify your loan for a hefty upfront fee. If you have concerns, call your State Attorney General or Consumer Protection Agency. If you are in the modification process now, you are ahead of the wave. Some lenders are receiving 3,000 files per day requesting modification. It remains to be seen how well this will meet the needs of as many as 9 million borrowers anticipated to be in or very near distress.
Three years ago I was told I was crazy to suggest that banks could choose to fix their rates rather than have the ARM rates re-set and put so many people in distress. For more about the Loan Modification process, visit my blog: www.equitytalks.blogspot.com Note the updates in red at the bottom...I will update my blog as news becomes available. I am following several cases now to see which approach nets the best result. Be prepared to be proactive and patient.
Happy Spring Equinox! (this Friday)
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