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Getting Help with Mortgage Loans

Many homeowners who have trouble making mortgage payments turn to savings and investment accounts for funds. But some financial experts recommend that homeowners seek help from mortgage loan modification or refinance programs before depleting their savings or ending up in foreclosure, according to a Consumer Reports article. 

Keeping money in a savings account can allow you to have access to cash in the event of an emergency. Here are some things to remember about getting help with your home loan.

Mortgage Loan Modifications

The government’s Making Home Affordable program has helped about 650,000 homeowners modify mortgages since February. That’s about 20% of the people who are eligible for help through the program.

If you are struggling to stay current with mortgage payments or are already behind on payments, you could qualify for a home loan modification. You also must:

  • Have a first lien that originated on or before Jan. 1, 2009
  • Have monthly mortgage payments (including taxes and insurance) greater than 31% of of your monthly gross income
  • Be able to document that you are having trouble making mortgage payments because of a financial hardship

Even if you don’t have a mortgage loan guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you could qualify for assistance. Contact your mortgage loan service to find out if you qualify for help. Mortgage modifications last for a three-month trial period, but are supposed to be extended for five years if you make the payments on time.

Refinance to Lower Mortgage Rate

Mortgage rates are very competitive right now if you want to refinance. Even if you’re home has lost some value during the housing crunch, a mortgage refinance isn’t impossible.  You may qualify for a refinance if:

  • Your home loan is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
  • You are current on your mortgage payments
  • The amount you owe on your first lien doesn’t exceed 125% of the current market value of your property
  • You have income to make payments after mortgage refinancing

Lowering Monthly Payments

Even if there is a second lien on your home, you could qualify for a refinance. If you currently have a high mortgage rate, refinancing should lower your monthly payments. However, if you currently have an interest-only loan and refinance into a fixed-rate mortgage, your monthly payments may not decrease. But refinancing should result in an overall savings over the life of the mortgage loan.

When seeking help with a mortgage loan it’s always best to contact your loan servicer directly. Avoid using companies that offer to modify your mortgage for a fee that is paid upfront.

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One Response to “Getting Help with Mortgage Loans”

  1. Mortgage Loan Modifications Fall Short of Goals | LoanBlog Says:

    […] recently wrote about how more than 650,000 home mortgages had been modified this year through October because of the government’s foreclosure […]

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