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Help for Home Owners Who Have a Mortgage
Lower the Monthly Payments:
Home owners have been able to obtain lower mortgage payments and realize significant savings each month via Making Homes Affordable (MHA) modifications. There are several options for assistance for home owners who have seen their home value drop.
Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP):
If you are not unemployed, but you are still struggling to make your mortgage payments, you may be eligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). HAMP is designed to provide deep and meaningful savings for home owners devastated by unaffordable increases in expenses or reductions in income. Many mortgage companies, including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Ocwen, participate in MHA Programs. If your mortgage is owned, insured, or guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veteran Affairs, or the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), then ask your mortgage company which solution will work best for you.
Home owners may be eligible for a Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) if you meet the following criteria:
- Financial hardship, you are struggling to make your mortgage payments.
- Delinquency or in danger of falling behind on your mortgage.
- Mortgages obtained prior to January 1, 2009.
- Property has not been condemned.
- Owe up to $729,750 on your primary residence or one-to-four-unit rental property (loan limits are higher for two-to-four-unit properties).
- You have not been convicted within the last 10 years of a crime in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction.
Eligibility criteria are for guidance only. Contact your participating mortgage
Company to find out if you are able to begin your HAMP evaluation process.
Steps to apply for the HAMP:
Gather what you will need to complete the application for mortgage help (to assist you, the housing expert will need to gather some information from you). Have as many of the following documents on hand as possible:
- Monthly mortgage statement
- Information about other mortgages on your home, if applicable
- Two most recent pay stubs for all household members who contribute to the mortgage payment
- Last two years of tax returns If self-employed, the most recent quarterly or year-to-date profit and loss statement
- Documentation of income you receive from other sources (alimony, child support, social security, etc.)
- Two most recent bank statements
- A utility bill showing home owner name and property address
- Unemployment insurance letter, if applicable
- Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all your credit cards
- Information about your savings and other assets
- It may also be helpful to have a letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to be reduced or any expenses to be increased (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.)
In addition, you need to complete the following forms:
- Request for Mortgage Assistance (RMA) Form. Get your forms at the following website: www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/requestfor. For mortgage assistancescroll down to PDF request for mortgage assistance-making home affordableIRS Form 4506T-EZ or 4506T.
- Get your forms at the following website: www.IRS.gov/4506EZ 0r 4506T scroll down to PDF Form 4506-T-EZ-Internal Revenue Service income Verification. Speak with a housing expert to better understand your options. The Making Home Affordable line is free, and counselors are there around the clock to help answer questions. The MHA line number is 1-888-995-4673.
Maintain good standing in HAMP:
Applying for a HAMP modification is a very important first step in getting to a more affordable mortgage, but getting a modification is just the beginning. It is important that you take the necessary steps to maintain your good standing in order to fully benefit from the advantages of HAMP. Fully understand the terms of your mortgage. If you are in need of help, call the Making Home Affordable line: 1-888-995-4673. Housing counselors are available around the clock to answer all of your questions and remember that this is a free service. Make your modification payments fully and on time by preparing now for future payment changes to improve your financial health for long-term success.
Understanding the Trial Period
If you are eligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), your mortgage company will usually put you on a three-month trial plan to let you demonstrate your ability to make timely payments at the new monthly payment level. If you successfully make all required payments during your trial period, your mortgage company will execute an official modification agreement. You will be required to sign the modification and attest to all the information that you are providing your mortgage company is true and accurate. (If you are in an active chapter 13 bankruptcy and you are determined to be eligible for HAMP, you might not have to complete the trial period). Consult with your attorney. If you do not have one, consult with your bankruptcy trustee.
Important Notice for Borrowers Who Receive a Trial Period Plan
Home owners must make sure that their mortgage company receives all of the forms and documents they need to verify eligibility and offer a permanent Making Home Affordable modification before the Trial Period Plan expires. The trial period plan notice will indicate your document due date. Double check the Request a Modification page and send any missing documents to your mortgage company right away. If you believe that you have sent all your documents, contact your mortgage company to confirm that they need to make a decision. If you have trouble reaching your mortgage company, or you need help completing the necessary documentation, then call the Making Home Affordable line and ask to speak with an MHA counselor, 1-888-995- 4673.
USDA’s Special Loan Servicing
FHA, VA, and USDA all offer programs for rural home owners to lower their monthly mortgage payments to no more than 31 percent of their verified monthly gross (pre-tax) income, making monthly mortgage payments more affordable. If you have a loan that is guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Section 502 Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program, you may be eligible for a program through that government agency. Contact your servicer for information.
Principal Reduction Alternative (PRA)
If your home is currently worth sufficiently less than you owe on it, Making Home Affordable (MHA) Principal Reduction Alternative (PRA) was designed to help you by encouraging mortgage companies and investors to reduce the amount you owe on your home.
PRA eligibility requirements:
- Mortgage is not owned or guaranteed by Fanny Mae or Freddie Mac.
- Home owner owes more than the home is worth.
- Occupied house is the primary residence.
- Mortgage was obtained prior to January 1, 2009.
- Mortgage payment is more than 31 percent of your gross (per-tax) monthly income.
- Maximum owed is $729,750 or less on your first mortgage.
- Financial hardship and are either delinquent or in danger of falling behind.
- Sufficiently documented income to support the modified payment.
- Home owners must not have been within the last 10 years convicted of a felony, larceny, theft, fraud, forgery, money laundering or tax evasion, in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction.
Eligibility criteria are for guidance only. Contact your mortgage company to see if you are eligible for PRA. More than 100 mortgage companies participate in Home Affordable Modification Programs (HAMP). The largest companies include Bank of America, CitiMortgage, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. If you have additional questions about getting mortgage help, contact a housing expert at Making Home Affordable (MHA) 1-888-995-4673. These approved housing counselors will help you understand your options and design a plan to suit your individual situation. Again, there is no cost to use this valuable service, and they speak more than 170 languages.