MORE..Mortgage Modification Options

Are you two or more years late on your mortgage payments?

If so, you could get another opportunity  to save your home with the recent changes in loan modification rules by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced the elimination of an eligibility cap that forbid loan modifications to homeowners with delinquencies of 720 days or more. This change was made to the “streamlined modification” program which was created in 2013 and touted as an automatic route to lower mortgage payments because no paperwork or application is required. According to the FHFA it is estimated that nearly half of borrowers nationwide would be eligible now under these new guidelines and all lenders must comply with the cap elimination by April 1, 2015 and all are encouraged  to make the change immediately. All borrowers who were previously denied a modification must be reevaluated.

We’ve had multiple clients receive approvals under this program,” said Paul Baltrun, director of corporate development for the Law Office of Paul A. Krasker in West Palm Beach. “It’s very little paperwork, mostly just phone conversations with the lender, and the turn time is quicker.” If the borrower agrees and makes three on-time payments, the modification becomes permanent. Baltrun said it’s hard to gauge how many people the change will affect. Although the worst of the foreclosure crisis is over, he said a significant number of homeowners are still looking for modifications because they have lost jobs, or have used up their savings trying to stay in their home.”I think it will help a small number of people in specific circumstances,” said Baltrun, who believes removing the cap is a good change. “Why would someone who is 721 days late be declined when someone who is 719 days late is approved?

Also, borrowers are encouraged to apply for other loan modification plans, such as Home Affordable Modification Program, which could offer a better deal. About 3% of Florida homeowners with mortgages were 90 days late or more on payments during the second quarter of 2014 and nearly 10% were either 90 days delinquent, or in foreclosure. That puts Florida only second behind New Jersey with the highest foreclosure and delinquency rate in the nation, but a far improvement from the near 18% back in 2011. IN Florida streamlining this process is crucial because the foreclosure process is moving quicker and quicker through the process which mean less time for negotiating with the bank before foreclosure judgement is issued.

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Source: and Copyright © 2014 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.), Kimberly Miller. Distributed by MCT Information Services.