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Act Now to Prevent Foreclosure
February 15th, 2009 2:11 AM


             Act Now to Prevent Foreclosure

New Program Announced
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, recently announced a new Streamlined Modification Program that is designed to help struggling borrowers avoid foreclosure by having Fannie Mae work with mortgage servicers to modify loans into more affordable terms.

You may qualify if all of the following are true:

  • Your mortgage loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
  • Your mortgage loan is 90 or more days past due.
  • You occupy the property as your primary residence.
  • You are not in bankruptcy.

To achieve a more affordable mortgage payment, your loan servicer may:

  • extend the term of your loan to as much as 40 years
  • reduce your mortgage interest rate for a period of time
  • defer payment of part of your principal, or
  • offer a combination of all three.

What You Can Do Today
If you are about to fall behind, or have fallen behind on your mortgage payments, or if your loan has been referred to an attorney, the most important step you can take is to get help early from your mortgage lender, servicer, or housing counselor.

Here are important steps to take immediately:

  • Call your lender or loan servicer to talk about your situation. You can find the contact information on your monthly mortgage statement or coupon book.
  • If you can't reach your lender or servicer or you do not receive help, contact the Homeownership Preservation Foundation at 1-888-995-HOPE. Experienced counselors can help you develop the best plan for your personal financial situation. This counseling is free.
  • Gather the information you will need. You will be asked to provide:
    • letters or communications from your lender,
    • foreclosure notices,
    • recent mortgage statements showing your loan number,
    • homeowner's insurance policy,
    • last two pay stubs and most recent tax return for all borrowers named on the mortgage,
    • proof of other income, such as child support, alimony, Social Security, or pension,
    • bank account statements, and
    • list of major monthly bills, including child care, utilities, credit cards, and cell phone.
  • Understand your options. Depending on your situation, you may have several options to discuss with your servicer or counselor. They could include:
    • Repayment Plan -- You may be able to catch up on missed payments by creating a schedule for repaying the past-due amount.
    • Advance -- If your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae (your servicer has this information), and your missed payments are due to a temporary financial hardship, you may be eligible for an unsecured personal loan, such as HomeSaver Advance™, that is available from your servicer to help you get current with your payments.
    • Modification -- In some cases, mortgage loan terms can be changed on a temporary or permanent basis to make the payment more affordable.
  • Avoid foreclosure rescue scams. Don't become a victim. Foreclosure scams seek to take advantage of your situation.
  • Your financial situation may have changed significantly since you qualified for your home due to unemployment, divorce, job change/relocation, or medical issues. You may want or need to sell your home as a result of this change. There are options for borrowers who are worried about possible foreclosure:
    • Pre-foreclosure or Short-Sale -- Servicers work with borrowers to sell their home and use the proceeds to pay off the loan even if the proceeds are not enough to settle the entire balance.
    • Deed-in-lieu -- Borrowers sign over title to the property to Fannie Mae without the expense of foreclosure.

You have more options if you act quickly. Now is the time to ask for help!

Originally Published: August 16, 2008
Last Revised: December 16, 2008

Posted in:General
Posted by Bill Bici on February 15th, 2009 2:11 AMPost a Comment

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