The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) outreach campaign is virtually a one-stop shopping center for anyone struggling with their mortgage.
Appearing to take a cue from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s quest for clarity in financial disclosures, the centerpiece of HUD’s effort is the “Mortgage Assistance Guide.” The guide distills information about virtually every available government mortgage relief program – including some lesser known programs – into a handy, downloadable, two-page document.
Programs listed include:
• Home Affordable Modification Program – HAMP is for employed borrowers with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans struggling to make payments. Mortgage modifications are designed to lower payments to 31 percent of a homeowner’s gross income. Second mortgages can qualify for a modification under HAMP. Modifications can include interest rate reductions, longer terms and principal reductions in a variety of combinations. Modifications are available from lenders outside the HAMP program.
• Home Affordable Refinance Program – HARP offers refinanced mortgages for working homeowners who are current on their mortgage but unable to qualify for a streamlined refinancing. Recent improvements have made more homeowners eligible for HARP loans.
• Federal Housing Administration Loans – FHA offers streamlined refinancing with lowered mortgage insurance premiums and without an appraisal requirement and other documentation. FHA Short Refinancing helps underwater homeowners. FHA also offers forbearance (agreements to reduce or suspend payments for several months or to repay a delinquency over a longer period), loan modifications with principal reductions, short sales, and deed in lieu of foreclosure programs.
• National Mortgage Settlement – NMS offers loan modifications with principal reduction and foreclosure alternatives.
• State Programs – The Federal “Hardest Hit Fund” empowers 18 states and Washington, D.C. to provide mortgage payment assistance for unemployed or underemployed homeowners; principal reductions; funding to reduce or eliminate homeowners’ second mortgages; and financial assistance for those making the transition from homeownership to affordable housing.
• Counseling – Any homeowner, regardless of their financial situation, is eligible for HUD-certified counseling.
• Decision Tree – The brochure also helps homeowners determine which program could be best for them based on job status, mortgage payment trouble, underwater status and desire to refinance. Working through the decision tree, the homeowner can find programs most viable for them and get directions to a relevant contact.
HUD’s outreach effort also includes a public service announcement video and HUD’s new “Homeowner Help” web page, which picks up where the brochure leaves off to provide extensive mortgage relief information.
Search for more real estate news that really hits home.