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Have You Heard of This New Refinance Option?

by Dean Kessler

Are you a homeowner who has an adjustable rate mortgage, or a high interest rate mortgage, or a mortgage balance larger than the value of your home? Nationally, 1 in 4 homeowners is upside down in their home loan. California is even more troubling with 1 in 3 homeowners upside down in their home loan.

If your mortgage is owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, you need to know about their Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). Administered by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae homeowners can refinance to a new loan and lock in at today’s lower fixed interest rates. And their may also be a principal reduction.

To qualify, you need to be a homeowner who is current on your loan payments, and your loan balance is 80% to 125% of your property’s current value. A majority of home owners who purchased in the past 5 years will meet this requirement.

This refinance program was ready to expire June 30, 2011 and has recently been extended one year thru June 30, 2012.

Now you won’t know Freddie or Fannie is your lender by who you’re sending mortgage payment to every month. The Wells Fargo’s, Bank of America’s, Chase’s, etc, brand name lenders may just be “servicing” the loan on behalf of Freddie or Fannie. To find out if you have a Freddie Mac loan, visit www.freddiemac.com. For a Fannie Mae loan visit www.fanniemae.com.

HARP is intended to pull borrowers “above water” and help them get out from under plummeting property values and/or increasing interest rates. Nationally 621,803 homeowners have taken advantage of this program. Yet this represents only 10% of annual home sales nationally so it’s clear many homeowners are not aware of this program. If you have questions, both Freddie and Fannie’s websites have excellent examples, one of which may fit your scenario. Additional questions should be directed to your favored Eureka area loan officer or mortgage broker who knows how to speak HARP.

3 Reasons the Term “Strategic Default” Is Misleading

by Dean Kessler

3 Reasons the Term “Strategic Default” Is Misleading

In a recent study, the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index found that a full 36% of Americans would consider “strategic default”—another term for walking away from your mortgage—if they were underwater (owed more on their home than what it was worth).

Now that more than one in four American homeowners is “underwater,” I feel that it’s important for the community to know the truth about strategic default.

The truth is the foreclosure process carries with it credit issues, current and future employment challenges, issues with security clearance and possible debt collections.

That’s why it is vital to explain the 3 reasons why the term “strategic default” is misleading:

  1. There’s nothing strategic about defaulting on purpose, especially when you have options like short sales, mortgage modifications, and refinance (just to name a few) that may keep you from foreclosure.
  2. The waiting periods to apply for a new mortgage loan are at least five years less in a short sale vs. a foreclosure.
  3. A foreclosure will show up on your credit report every time you apply for a home loan, car loan, new job, etc., and will affect your financial situation for many years to come.

If you are underwater and can no longer afford your mortgage payments, you need to create a genuine strategy to avoid foreclosure, helping to provide stability for you and our community.

If you have any questions about what steps you or someone you care about should take next, contact me today!

IMPORTANT GOVERNMENT DISCLOSURE: You may stop doing business with us at any time. You may accept or reject the offer of mortgage assistance we obtain from your lender (or servicer). If you reject the offer, you will not have to pay us for our services. The above brokerage is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan.

 

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