On March 4, President Obama's administration announced details of a comprehensive plan to help responsible homeowners avoid foreclosure by encouraging affordable and sustainable mortgage loans. Under the Making Home Affordable plan, eligible borrowers may seek either a loan modification or refinancing.
To be eligible for a loan modification, the homeowner must meet all of the following criteria:
Any modification will be temporary for three months. After three months, the loan modification can become permanent if the homeowner has made all payments on time and in full. Counseling will be required if the homeowner's total debt to income ratio is 55% of more of gross monthly income.
The loan modification program is now available and borrowers should call their servicer to determine if they are eligible. Borrowers do not have to be delinquent to qualify for this program.
Borrowers who are current on their mortgage, but have been unable to refinance because their house has decreased in value, may now have the opportunity to refinance into a 30-year, fixed rate loan. This program is for homeowners with mortgage loans owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac looking to improve their situation, such as moving from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate loan. Homeowners must be current on their current mortgage loan, meaning they have not been delinquent for the past 12 months.
To find out if your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, consumers can call toll-free (between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.), or reach them by email and/or the Internet:
o Email your name and address to: email@example.com
The U.S. Departments of Treasury, Housing and Urban Development and other federal agencies worked with lenders and nonprofit housing counselors to launch this program March 4, 2009. A detailed explanation of the plan is available at www.financialstability.gov. This site includes questions and answers that will help homeowners determine if they are eligible for a loan modification or refinancing assistance. It is our understanding that this site will be updated frequently as additional details are determined.
Borrowers who are delinquent and have not yet been in contact with their lender should call their servicer or a HUD-approved housing counselor immediately. The financialstability.gov Web site lists phone numbers for most lenders. Some organizations offering to provide help are not approved by HUD and often charge for their services. Please beware of any organization that attempts to charge a fee for housing counseling or modification of a delinquent loan, especially if they ask for money in advance.