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  • Do you know what a mortgage servicer is? Many borrowers do not know that the company which receives their monthly payments and sends nasty letters when they are behind on their payments is often not the company or investor that sold them the mortgage in the first place or even the current investor. In the mortgage industry there are three main players, mortgage originators, mortgage servicers and mortgage investors. Mortgage investors put forward the money for the loan, mortgage servicers handle the payments and communication with the borrowers and mortgage originators sell the mortgage. In some cases, all three roles are played by the same company but often these roles are split between specialized companies.

    Of course, throughout the life of your mortgage fees are paid to the companies that manage your mortgage. The origination fee you pay when you sign for a mortgage is part of the payment mortgage originators receive. Every month interest is paid to the mortgage lender and a portion of the interest and mortgage fees goes to the company that manages your payments. These fees do not stop when you are behind in your payments and you are applying for a mortgage modification.

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    Mortgage modifications are paperwork intensive procedures which require a lot of research and communication between borrowers, mortgage servicers and mortgage lenders. This may help you understand why mortgage modifications often take so long to get processed even when borrowers clearly qualify for them. Mortgage servicers receive a fee for their work during mortgage modifications. However, the rules that regulate how much they receive have just been changed.

    Fannie May requires mortgage servicers to only charge a fee, if the loan modification is approved. That has been the case for some time now. However, how much mortgage servicers can charge has recently changed. Why? Fannie Mae states recent simplifications in the mortgage modification process as a basis for the reduction in fees charged by servicers under the government sponsored mortgage assistance programs. The current limit is 0.25 percent of the mortgage amount or whatever the mortgage servicer received before the loan modification.

    The maximum allowed servicing fee for mortgage modifications is not the only change announced by Fannie Mae. Mortgage investors and mortgage servicers must also adapt to changes in foreclosure time frames and rules on mortgage delinquency management. Now, if mortgage servicers exceed the allowed time frame to assess a loan modification, Fannie Mae will impose penalties so servicers remediate the problem and improve their performance.

    The series of storms, tornadoes and flooding that have hit Alabama have caused thousands of families to lose their homes and increased the number that face foreclosure due to the financial and employment consequences of these disasters. The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has reacted by announcing disaster assistance to victims. On April 29, 2011, Shaun Donovan, Secretary of HUD, stated he would speed the processing of federal disaster assistance to people affected by the storms in Alabama. This relief will come in the form of foreclosure assistance, Mortgage Help and other forms of financial assistance to families in the area. This article will look at some of the avenues HUD is using to allocate resources where they are needed the most.

    Foreclosure Relief

    Families affected by the storms will receive an immediate 90-day respite from any foreclosure and broader forbearance on mortgages with the FHA under foreclosure. This will grant homeowners a chance to arrange their finances and save their home from foreclosure.

    Mortgage Insurance

    Victims of natural disasters will also receive 100 percent mortgage insurance on loans they apply for to rebuild their homes or buy a new one. Banks and other lenders can apply to the FHA for up to 100 percent insurance on the loan’s balance including closing costs. The purpose, of course, is to stimulate the investment of money in the disaster area and help homeowners with the daunting task of rebuilding their home or finding a new one.

    Home Rehabilitation and Mortgages

    HUD also provides victims with mortgage insurance so they can finance their mortgage and the rehabilitation of their damaged home with a single mortgage. Effectively, HUD is covering the lender’s risk so that banks and other lending institutions are willing to offer loans to families who would otherwise not qualify for credit.

    Relocation of State and Federal Funds

    HUD provides states with Development Block Grants and HOME programs which are used for a variety of purposes. Communities and institutions in Alabama have been authorized to redirect these funds to cover the cost of emergencies and critical needs. The same institutions have also been granted with special authority to expedite the allocating of funds to speed up the repair and replacement of damaged homes.

    These are only some of the programs and aid resources available to victims of natural disasters. If you want to find out more about what programs you can apply for if you have been affected by the Alabama storms, tornadoes and flooding, click here. Programs you will find in this section include the Disaster Housing Assistance, the Reprogramming of Public Housing funds and Assistance from Ginnie Mae.

    If you are a regular reader of our website, you will have heard of Wyoming’s Community Development Authority and its Home Again program. This program combines the characteristics of a first-time buyer program with a rehabilitation program. Of course, if you are interested in buying a home in Wyoming but you already own one, this wont be of much help to you. So what if you already own a home but would like to benefit from investing in foreclosure properties? The WCDA’s answer to you is the Wyoming Rehabilitation and Acquisition Program, also known as the WRAP program. This article provides basic information on the features of this program and what you can do to use this program to finance your investment in foreclosure properties.

    The Program

    The WRAP program was created around the premise that when a house forecloses everybody loses. The owner loses because he or she no longer has a house, will lose any equity in the house or may even owe the balance between the loan and the foreclosure sale price. However, if the Government invests in a foreclosed home by buying it and remodeling it will not only open low-cost housing to buyers but will also increase the market values of surrounding homes in the neighborhood. This is because when a number of houses in a neighborhood forecloses the selling prices for those homes drop in price. As housing valuations are often based on the selling price of other homes in the area, a flood of foreclosures can cause the house prices of other homes to plummet.

    Eligibility Criteria

    To qualify for a WRAP home you must meet the following requirements:

    1) There must be no other families with a household income of half the area medium income interested in your property. This requirement is designed to provide low-income families a chance to enter the housing market while still allowing families with a higher income to benefit from the program.

    2) You must be a Wyoming resident and over 18 years of age.

    3) You must plan to live in the home you are purchasing through the WRAP program.

    4) You must have an income of 80 percent of your areas median income. Families with a higher median income will have to wait for a 50 percent set-aside is satisfied.

    5) The property price must be affordable for families with a 50 percent or less of the Area Median Income.

    The Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program is still in its infancy and is still not available for homeowners. However, the program promises to provide help to struggling homeowners in exciting and innovative ways. Our previous article provided detailed information on the purpose of the program and how the program will work.

    In a nutshell, the EHLP (acronym for Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program) will help homeowners who can’t afford to pay their mortgages due to a reduction (due to no fault of their own) of their income. The loan will help pay for the difference between the mortgage payment and 31 percent of the homeowners’ income for up to 24 months. The loan will also cover any late mortgage, tax and insurance payments. The maximum loan amount for any given borrower is $50,000.

    Who Will Qualify For EHLP’s Loan?

    – Income Reduction.

    To qualify your income must have suffered a reduction of at least 15 percent due to unemployment or a reduction of work hours. It is vital the reason for your separation from your employer is lack of work or some other reason where you are not at fault. If you lose your employment due to negligence or voluntarily, you will probably not qualify for the program.

    Income Maximum

    Only households who had an income of 120 percent (or less) than their Area Median Income before their income was reduces may qualify for a EHLP loan. The area median income is calculated by HUD for each region. By definition 50 percent of all households earn less than the AMI and 50 percent earn more than the AMI.

    Delinquency

    You must be at least three months behind in your mortgage payments to be eligible for a EHLP loan. This is one of the most controversial terms of the program because it may encourage homeowners to miss payments even if they have the savings to cover their mortgages in order to qualify for the program.

    Risk of Foreclosure

    Only homeowners who have been warned by the lender of their intention of foreclosing on the mortgage may qualify. In other words, this is a last resort program designed for those who are likely to lose their homes without mortgage assistance.

    Residence

    You must be living in the property at risk of foreclosure to qualify for a EHLP. This is not a program for rental and vacation homes. You will need to meet this requirement at the time of applying and for the duration of the program.

    Have you heard about the new federal mortgage help program? We are talking about the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP) managed by HUD. Although this program is still in the development stages, it could prove to be such a huge help for borrowers we feel you should know what information HUD has provided up to now about this exciting new program.

    Goal

    The goal of the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program is to to help homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages due to a drop in their income of at least 15 percent because of unemployment or underemployment due to no fault of their own. This means that unemployed workers who were laid off due to lack of work or whose hours were reduced may receive help with their mortgage payments.

    How Will The Program Work?

    The main tool the EHLP will use to assist homeowners is to grant eligible homeowners with a bridge loan of up to $50,000 to pay for up to 24 months of monthly payments, as well as delinquent mortgage, tax and insurance payments.

    Under this program, borrowers must use 31 percent of their income to pay for their mortgage and the EHLP will pay the balance. However, the minimum payment for any homeowner is $25. The program will cover for arrearages and monthly payments for up to 24 months or until the loan reaches $50,000, whatever happens first.

    Repayment

    The beauty of this program is you do not have to repay the 5-year term loan, just as long as you regularly pay your monthly mortgage payments. Every year the balance of the loan drops by 20 percent, so by the end of the five years the balance will be extinguished if the borrower has followed the mortgage payments schedule.

    Which States Will Qualify?

    The EHLP program will be exclusive for states with a high unemployment who are not benefiting from funds by the Treasury’s Innovation Fund for Hardest Hit Housing Markets. This includes the following 32 states:

    Alaska

    Arkansas

    Colorado

    Connecticut

    Delaware

    Hawaii

    Idaho

    Iowa

    Kansas

    Louisiana

    Maine

    Maryland

    Massachusetts

    Minnesota

    Missouri

    Montana

    Nebraska

    New Hampshire

    Mexico

    New York

    North Dakota

    Oklahoma

    Pennsylvania

    Puerto Rico

    South Dakota

    Texas

    Utah

    Vermont

    Virginia

    Washington

    West Virginia

    Wisconsin

    Wyoming

     

    Eligibility

    The next article will look into the eligibility criteria of the EHLP program as specified by HUD. Notice that this program is still in development and the program’s terms could change at any moment.

    The main state government housing agency in New Mexico is the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority. This Agency cares for all housing departments and programs, including state and federal housing programs. One of the goals of this Agency is to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and protect their homes.

    In these difficult financial times homeowners are struggling more than ever to make their mortgage payments. The MFA has provided specific advice for New Mexico households which includes a set of steps you can follow to avoid foreclosure. None of these steps are, sadly, fail-proof. In some cases, homeowners can no longer afford buying a home and must look into alternative ways of dealing with their mortgage and look for other sources of housing. The MFA can help whether you think can save your mortgage or whether you need help finding the most graceful and financially efficient way out of your mortgage.

    Step 1. The first think you should do is contact your lender. Your lender is ultimately the agency which will approve or deny a loan modification, refinance or other type of mortgage settlement. The sooner you contact your mortgage provider the more options you will have. Some mistakenly believe that talking to your lender will accelerate a foreclosure process. The opposite is true. Mortgage providers will start their foreclosure procedures as soon as you are late for your payments. If you contact them before this happens you may receive the help you need so you never have to fall behind in your mortgage payments.

    Step 2. Steps 2 and 3 work together. As soon as you have contacted your lender and explained your situation, the lender’s loss mitigation department will start to analyze your financial situation and what is the best option for you and the lender. You should do the same. Find out what programs you qualify for and what you need to qualify. The main federal program for the protection from foreclosure is the Making Home Affordable program.

    Step 3. Talk to a certified mortgage counseling agency. The federal government sponsors these agencies to provide free or low-cost advice to struggling householders. We include a list of the mortgage counseling agencies currently available , their service area and contact details. Notice that the MFA works with the United South Broadway Corporation and the ILRC Housing Division.

    PARTICIPATING HOMEOWNERSHIP COUNSELING ORGANIZATIONS
     
    Clovis Housing Authority 

    Curry County

    Waymon Dowdy

    575-769-7902

     

    Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico – 

    Las Cruces   

    Dona Ana, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna, Otero and Sierra Counties
    Shelly Almaguer

    Kena Carriere

    575-523-1639

     

    Eastern Plains Housing Development Corporation  

    Chaves, Curry, DeBaca, Eddy Guadalupe, Harding,  Lea, Quay, Roosevelt & Union Counties   

    Sandra Hidalgo

    Monica Moncada

    575-763-8335

     

    HOME New Mexico (MFA Helping Hand Loans)   

    Bernalillo, Sandoval and Valencia Counties – may also be able to serve other areas   

    Elena Gonzales

    Elaine Leal

    505-889-9486

     

    Homewise   

    Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Santa Fe and Taos Counties   

    Michele Lis

    505-983-6214

     

    Las Cruces Affordable Housing, Inc.   

    Dona Ana County– may also be able to serve other areas  

    Virginia Bell

    575-527-5648

     

    Navajo Partnership for Housing  

    Bernalillo, Cibola, McKinley and San Juan Counties   

    Lavera Thompson

    575-722-0551

     

    Southwest Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc.  

    Bernalillo, Sandoval and Valencia Counties – may also be able to serve other areas   

    Robert Garcia

    505-243-5511

     

    Region VI Housing Authority

    Chaves, Eddy, Lea, Lincoln and Otero Counties   

    Kelly Leflar

    575-622-0881 ext. 25

     

    Santa Fe Community Housing Trust  

    Santa Fe County    

    Nellie Martinez

    Ron Chavez

    505-989-3960

     

    Tierra Del Sol Corporation   

    Dona Ana County   

    Art Marrujo

    575-541-0477

     

    United South Broadway Corporation 

    Bernalillo, Sandoval, and Valencia Counties   

    Tim Gardener

    505-764-8867

     

    YWCA – Consumer Credit Counseling Service  

    Dona Ana and Otero Counties   

    Dolores Rosell

    575-532-1222

    The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority is the main agency responsible of improving access to housing for low to moderate income households in New Mexico. Although not run directly by any government agency, it is an agency of its own which uses both taxes and alternative sources for its everyday management, it is responsible as the state’s official housing agency for over 35 programs, which provide help and assistance to homeowners, the homeless and families that need help finding their first mortgage.

    The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Agency was first created in 1975 by the state legislature as a tool to distribute affordable mortgages to low and moderate income families. The funds for these mortgages, or more accurately the insurance for these mortgages, was generated by the sale of tax-exempt bonds. However, since 1997, the New Mexico Mortgage Authority also became the state’s housing agency, which brought under the same roof all housing departments in New Mexico. Now the MFA is responsible for all housing programs including section 8 and other federal projects. The Agency continues to be managed without any funds from the state, although it does manage programs which rely on federal taxes for funding.

    The growth of the MFA from its humble beginnings in 1976 is noteworthy. When it started in 1976, the MFA had two employees, in 2008 it had 66. It started selling $20 million in bonds a year, now it sells over $214 million.

    The services offered by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority include:

    First-Time Home Buyers Loans.

    The Agency offered $221 million to over 1,700 first-time buyers in New Mexico in 2008. These loans allow low to moderate income households to qualify for loans to finance their first home.

    Down Payment Assistance

    The Agency also helps households find the funds to pay for down payments and other mortgage expenses. In 2008, the MFA distributed $4.6 million in down payment assistance and grants. The difference between a grant and assistance is grants do not have to be paid back as long as certain requirements are met by the borrower.

    Construction of Homes

    The MFA does not only provide funds for mortgages, it also gets involves in the construction of rental and homeownership homes. In 2008, the organization invested $53 million in the construction and maintenance of over 1,400 homes.

    Rent Programs

    Households who cannot at this time afford to buy a home can also receive help to pay for rental expenses. In 2008, the MFA granted over $22 million towards rental assistance programs in over 5,400 rental units.

     

    Pennsylvania Foreclosure Help

    The state of Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have approved counselors who can help you free of charge to access programs and services for homeowners in danger of foreclosure. Pennsylvania Foreclosure Help is not just something that is important to keep our People in their Home during this housing crisis.  The Pennsylvania Mortgage Help Hotline is 1-8669845108. This way you are sure that the counselors you choose can really provide the help you need to evaluate your financial situation, explain the available options and work with your lender to arrive at a viable solution. So don´t leave your home-stay and call the hotline for help without delay.

    The longer you wait and the further behind you fall in mortgage payments the harder it will be to catch up. If you don´t get up to date with mortgage payments your lender could be allowed to sell your house to pay off the debts and this is a situation that too many, who find themselves in financial crisis have to face.

    One of the programs is HEMAP Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program from which thousands of families have gained much needed help. This is the only program of its kind created by Act 91 of 1983 to prevent homelessness among the citizens of Pennsylvania and funded by state appropriations and repayment of existing HEMAP loans. The program assures regular mortgage payments making it possible for the house owners to look for employment or train for other work or receive needed education.

    This program is in fact a loan which must be repaid and it is not available for FHA Title II (purchase) mortgages. Those who are approved for HEMAP have the property in danger of foreclosure secured by a mortgage so creating a loan. There are two types available according to the financial situation of the owner. These are continuing mortgage assistance loans and non-continuing mortgage assistance loans. Those qualifying for a non-continuing mortgage loan have their mortgage brought up to date from which date the owner is responsible to keep up the payments to the lender as well as monthly repayment to HEMAP.

    It is possible that there may be an additional cash contribution toward the mortgage delinquency when the HEMAP loan closes. Those who are eligible for a continuing mortgage assistance loan have the mortgage payments brought up to date and then subsequent payments to the lender are subsidized. Both types of loans are limited to a maximum of 24 months from the date of the mortgage delinquency or a maximum of $60,000,00 whichever comes first. The homeowners benefitting from the loan are required to pay up to 40 percent of their income toward their housing expenses. $25,00 being the minimum monthly payment allowed by law. Thus the mortgage is paid and the family do not lose their home.

    PHFA Mortgage Help Programs

    The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) has programs which offer help with closing costs when buying a home. PHFA Mortgage Help Programs are available to those in need in Pennsylvania.  Although there are certain requirements to qualify for these programs, the benefits you can receive far outweigh the time and effort you must invest. For example The Keystone Home Loan Program would make you eligible for a loan of up to $1,500 from the Keystone Assistance Loan Program at zero percent interest. Those who qualify for the Keystone Home Loan Plus Program could be eligible for up to $3,000, again at zero interest.

    Those who are in the “Homestead” program have the possibility of borrowing anything from $1,000 to $14,999 toward down payment and closing costs. People using the Access Modification Program have the Access Down payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program available.

    To be considered a First Time Homebuyer you must not own another house or even a mobile home if it is deeded and taxed and considered a real estate. The PHFA would reimburse you if you were called upon to pay recapture tax when you sell your home.
    This could only happen if you sold your home within 9 years, your income was more than the government limit and you made a profit on the sale of your home. This is for those who apply for a loan after January 1 2004. To give you confidence while looking
    for a home and a mortgage PHFA have a network of counseling agencies which provide information at no cost to you about the whole process of home buying. PHFA have many participating lenders throughout Pennsylvania who will guide you from start to
    finish. You can fill in an application form with a participating lender on line or by phone though applications directly with the PHFA can not be processed on line.

    There is a special program called The Access Home Modification Program which is offered with any PHFA first mortgage program, to help people with physical disabilities or who have family members who have physical disabilities and who need to make Accessibility modifications. It is a loan with deferred payment and with no interest. It is possible that those who are eligible for the Access Modification Funds could also qualify for the Access Down payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program. The Keystone Home Loan has the least restrictions and the highest purchase price and income limits. The Keystone Home Loan Plus has the lowest available rate and the income limits and purchase price are lower too. Down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of the Homestead Program has different income and purchase price limits.

    Getting a PHFA loan will not take any longer to process than any other mortgage. The length of time depends on many factors such as the condition of the property, the seller´s timeline, the lender, the real estate agent, the documentation supplied and so on. You
    can be sure that there will be a program for your needs and situation that will make it easier for you to become a homeowner, so please get in touch with the PHFA.

    The Delaware State Housing Authority does not only provide assistance to purchase and protect your home from foreclosure, it also helps homeowners maintain their homes in good repair and carry out necessary investments on their property. This assistance is provided through the Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program. This article, the second in our series on the mortgage assistance of the State of Delaware, provides detailed information on the Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program (HRLP).

    The Program

    The program offers low-interest (as low as 3 percent) loans of up to 35,000 dollars to low-income and medium-income homes who want to improve the safety and conditions of their home. The loans have a maximum term of 15 years.

    To apply for this program, you must also contact a housing counselor. Explain your circumstances and that of the house so the authority can assess the urgency of your case.

    How to Qualify

    To qualify for a HRLP you must approach one of the Delaware Local Administering agencies. These include the: Dept. of Real Estate and Housing in Wilmington, the NCC Community Development in New Castle, the Kent County Dept. of Planning and the Sussex County Housing Authority.

    The review board will assess your application and decide about your eligibility based on your income and local region. For instance, if you live in New Castle County, Kent and Sussex counties you income must not exceed $70,800 and $62 ,650 respectively.

    If you are a tenant and wish to qualify for an improvement law, you also have the option of investing in your home. The maximum income for tenants applying for this program is $62,650 for New Castle County and $55,840 if you live in New Castle County.

    Property Features

    For a property to qualify for a HLF loan it must require modifications to make it accessible to people with  disabilities or require repairs to meet the Delaware State Housing Code.

    If you have more questions about this program, click here or call 302.577.5001. A DSHA customer care officer will provide any extra information you need.

    The Delaware State Housing Authority has received numerous awards and recognitions due to their commitment to their community and achievements in the housing sector. These awards include the 2010 Agency Award for Leveraging the Delaware Housing Partnership to fund the Second Mortgage Assistance Loan Program and the 2010 Agency for Program Excellence for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS in 2003. In our next article we will look into these and other programs the DSHA has made available to the citizens of Delaware.

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