Mortgage Modification Foreclosure Defenses

In difficult financial times it is common for homeowners to seek a “modification” of their existing home loan.  At Sadek and Cooper Law Offices we aim to provide our clients with the best options and strategies to make their homes affordable and avoid mortgage foreclosure.  A mortgage modification is available to a homeowner who may be struggling and provides a restructure of the existing loan.

A mortgage modification may include placing mortgage arrears, interest, delinquent taxes and/or insurance in the principal balance. Further, a mortgage modification may reduce the interest rate on the subject loan. Although a mortgage modification can lead to a reduced monthly mortgage expenses, generally it results in a lengthened mortgage repayment term.  There are several types of Mortgage Modifications available.  Below is a list of mortgage modification programs that Sadek and Cooper utilizes to assist our clients:

HARP: “Home Affordability Refinance Program” allows homeowners to refinance their existing mortgage even if the home is worth less than the mortgaged amount.  HARP is also known as the “Obama refinance program.” The main advantage of the HARP is the ability to refinance an otherwise “under water” home, but the requirements are more stringent and as follows:
a. The homeowner is current on their mortgage,
b. The home is a primary residence, second home or up to a 4 unit investment property,
c. The mortgage was originated before May 31, 2009,
d. The Mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and
e. The loan to value is 80% or more (meaning that $100,000.00 valued home has a mortgage of $80,000.00 or more).

How Can “HAMP” Help You Stay in Your Home?

HAMP: The “Home Affordable Modification Program” is the most common type of Mortgage Modification and is for homeowners who are in danger of facing foreclosure.  To qualify for HAMP you must have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage and may owe up to $729,750.00 on your primary mortgage.  Although it might be extended, HAMP is set to expire on December 31, 2016.

PRA is Another Foreclosure Defense Option

PRA: The Principal Reduction Alternative Program works with HAMP and encourages mortgage servicers to reduce the principal on mortgages not backed by the government.  To qualify for PRA you must have a home that is worth less than the mortgaged amount and have a mortgage payment greater than 31% of your gross income.  Also the mortgage borrower must prove that they are facing a financial hardship.  To qualify for a PRA the mortgaged amount limit is $729,750.00 and the loan must have been originated before 2009.

HAFA is Also Available

HAFA: The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives” is for those who are forced to transition out of homeownership.  Inside HAFA a homeowner may engage in a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure.  HAFA mortgage limits are also $729,759.00 and the subject mortgage must have originated on or before January 1, 2009.

The Up Program

UP: The Home Affordable Unemployment Program is for homeowners who are currently unemployed and are seeking a temporary mortgage payment reduction.  Under UP the government may reduce your payments up to 31% of your income or suspend your payments for up to 12 months.  To qualify for UP you must be eligible for unemployment benefits, have no previous HAMP modifications, owe no greater than $729,750 on your home and have a mortgage originated prior to 2009.

The 2MP Option

2MP: The Second Lien Modification Program is designed for homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments on a home equity loan, home equity line of credit.  To qualify the borrower must have missed at least 3 consecutive mortgage payments and have a home that is worth less than the total mortgaged amount and have a mortgage payment greater than 31% of your gross income.  Also the mortgage borrower must prove that they are facing a financial hardship.

At this time as our real estate economy is showing signs of approval it is not certain whether HAMP will be extended beyond December 31, 2016.  It is advised that you speak with an attorney to further discuss all of your options regarding a potential modification or other legal strategy.

To speak to an attorney regarding saving your home from foreclosure and the options available to you, please contact one of our offices.

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