Mortgage Programs — Don’t Look Now, but…

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Democrats and Republicans Could Make 2020 Even Worse

The impasse between the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. and the White House may impact many homeowners and renters. Even with the 7.9% unemployment rate most homeowners and renters have been able to make monthly payments because of the funding agreed to by Congress and the White House in May of this year. There was increased funding for the unemployed by the federal government because of Covid-19. That extra money made it relatively easy for most households to continue to make all their payments. Unfortunately, the funding ran out a week ago and at this writing, there is little hope of a new agreement before the election. That means November mortgage and rent payments could become very difficult for many households.

The rest of this blog is about making mortgage payments. If you are a renter here in Washington State, there is protection from eviction for non-payment. Check this link for more information: https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-expands-eviction-moratorium-and-adds-additional-protections-residential-and-some

Talk to mortgage servicer and government agencies

What if you are unable to make mortgage payments? First thing if possible, prioritize your payments. Make food and Health #’s 1 & 2. Then put shelter toward the top of your list. If you are not able to make the mortgage payments, there is help. First, while we have the pandemic the CARES Act gives you an opportunity to request a “forbearance” if the hardship is due to COVID-19. A forbearance allows you not to make a payment but does not forgive the payment. You need to contact your loan servicer (the company where you make payments). Here are the steps to take:

  1. Call your servicer plus review your server’s webpage for COVID-19 mortgage relief options. Check the mortgage payment statements you have been receiving on how to contact your servicer.
  2. If you need help, then you can call the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions toll-free number 1-877-746-4334 or call Washington Homeownership Hotline at 1-877-894-4663 for assistance.
  3. You can also go to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau webpage on mortgage relief assistance at this link: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/mortgage-relief/#request-assistance This is a federal agency.

To understand what forbearance is and how the CARES Act works here is a link: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-is-forbearance-en-289/ .

Here is a link to Consumer Relief Guide for Forbearance and Foreclosure Protections: https://www.csbs.org/mortgage-relief-coronavirus.

Technically only Federally owned or back mortgages and mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are eligible for protection under the CARES Act. However, these are the majority of mortgages in the United States, but you should check. If your mortgage is FHA, V.A. or USDA, then it is a Federally owned or back mortgage. To find out if your home is Fannie Mae here is a link to check: https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup or if you want to check Freddie Mac here is their link: https://ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup/

Freddie Mac has a very good site for both homeowners that have a rental investment property and for their renters on obtaining help here is that link: https://myhome.freddiemac.com/renting/relief-for-landlords-and-renters.html.

If you have an FHA loan the federal Housing Administration has instructed servicers to:

A. Delay submitting Due and Payable requests for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages by six-months, with an additional six-month delay available with HUD approval
B. Extend any flexibility they may have under the Fair Credit Reporting Act relative to negative credit reporting actions.

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has site for HUD-approved housing counselors that can discuss options with Homeowners of FHA loans: https://www.csbs.org/mortgage-relief-coronavirus.

Washington State has an informational site for Washington Homeowners (including investors) with tips and guidance for finding your mortgage servicer and avoiding foreclosure; https://www.csbs.org/mortgage-relief-coronavirus. If your loan is not covered by the CARES ACT, chances are your servicer still has options for you that you should discuss with them.

A lot of time and effort is being spent by people, businesses, and the governments to help homeowners get through the Corona Virus pandemic. If you are feeling stressed and confused, you are not alone. Help is there, you just need to take the first step and ask. If you want to discuss options for selling your home or investment property, give me a call, 253.826.7500 or contact me by these other options. Home prices have continued to go up and even if you have missed some payments, your equity may have increased enough to cover it.

About the Author
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Washington Realty Group

Washington Realty Group is a small group of people who specialize in different aspects of a real estate transaction. Rather than one person trying to do everything, we have broken the process down into aspects that each of us does extremely well. While the main contact remains the same individual for most of our clients, many of the activities are completed by staff and real estate agents with as seamless a transition as possible. The ultimate goal is to provide clients and customers with the results that meet their requirements and exceed their expectations. We are a full-service real estate company serving south King, Pierce, and North Thurston Counties. Our years of experience and customer service are ready to complete your transaction.