Obama's Federal Loan Modification Or Refinance: What Are Your Options?

By: Lindsy Emery

In Home Affordable, President Obama's new federal program designed to help struggling homeowners with their mortgage payments, there are two basic options. The first option offers a streamlined refinance program, and the other is a standardized loan modification plan. One of these may provide a good fit with your situation, but which?

The Home Affordable Refinance Plan is for homeowners who have kept up with their mortgage, yet cannot refinance due to their home's reduced value. This government subsidized refinance program provides 15 year or 30 years terms and is subject to current market rates and related closing costs. To qualify, you need to meet the following requirements:

1.Over the past 12 months, you cannot have been more than 30 days delinquent in your payment.
2.The home must be your primary residence.
3.The loan must be controlled or owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
4.You must owe your lender no more than 105% of the current value of your home.
5.You must provide proof of income in support of the renegotiated mortgage payment.
6.This program only applies to first trust deeds. If there is a second, the secondary lender must agree to subordinate payment behind the revised loan agreement on your first.

Note that if your current mortgage has a negative amortization option at a very low rate, or if your payments do not apply at all toward your principal (in other words, interest-only), the new payment could actually be higher! This program's goal is to offer homeowners a fixed rate loan.

Next, let's consider option number two, the Home Affordable Loan Modification Plan, and its conditions for approval. Your mortgage need not be serviced by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, but there are other conditions to meet:

1.The home must be your primary residence.
2.For a one-unit dwelling, your principal balance must be below $729,750. The limit is higher for two to four unit dwellings.
3.Your loan must have originated before January 1, 2009.
4.Including all taxes, homeowners to use, and insurance, your current payment must be greater than 31% of your gross monthly income.
5.You must demonstrate that a financial hardship exists.

You may be a good candidate for this program if you can answer yes to all five items. Lenders will be more motivated by this second program, since for every qualified loan that they approve, they will get a Treasury Department incentive payment. While you do not need to be delinquent on your mortgage to apply, you will need to demonstrate that an imminent hardship is likely to cause future payment delinquency.

Under this program, you will complete an application and provide financial documentation. Filling out the forms completely and correctly helps to ensure quick processing. Take the time to do it correctly, since your lender will base its decision primarily on your provided documentation. This federal loan modification program could provide you with the chance you need to keep your home.

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For essential tips and facts about how to get approved for a Loan Modification - visit my simple, no nonsense loan modification guide and resource: Home-Loan-Modifications.info

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