Monday, August 21, 2017

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) Extended Through 12-31-18

This morning, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Freddie Mac's and Fannie Mae's regulator, announced that HARP (the Home Affordable Refinance Program) has been extended from September 30, 2017 through December 31,2018.

HARP is unique over any other refinance program in the industry.  The borrower can owe more (even much more) on the loan than the property is worth.

FHFA estimates there are still in excess of 143,000 homeowners across the country who can benefit from refinancing through HARP.   

Here is the eligibility criteria:

● Loan must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae;
● Loan must have been originated on or before May 31, 2009;
● Current loan-to-value ratio (LTV - outstanding mortgage balance/home value) must be greater than 80 percent. There is no LTV ceiling; 
● Borrower must be current on the mortgage payments at the time of the refinance; and 
● Payment history - borrower is allowed one late payment in the past 12 months, as long as it did not occur in the 6 months prior to the refinance.

Here's how you can determine if your loan is owned by either of the GSEs (Government Sponsored Enterprise):

If you need additional assistance, please feel free to  call me, Rod Williams 615-850-3453. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

"Moving the missed payment to the end of the note," update.

Borrowers with an FHA mortgage who face a hardship and get behind on their house payments, may be eligible for a workout called a "partial claim."  The way the homeowner thinks about it and the way the mortgage company my describe it is that the missed payments were "moved to the end of the note."  In reality what happens is that the mortgage company files a claim against the FHA mortgage insurance and  FHA makes a loan to the borrower to catch up the missed payments.  No interest is charged on the loan and no payments are required.  The loan does not become due until the first mortgage is paid off. If the homeowners income is insufficient to resume making the regular payment, the partial claim may be combined with a modification that results in a lower payment.

As a housing counselor I sometime encounter people who have already had one partial claim and then experienced a new hardship and got behind again.  At one time, the amount of partial claim available was only 12 months of payments. Now the program is more generous.  Here is the way to calculate the amount of partial claim available as described in MORTGAGEE LETTER 2016-14:
Partial Claim : The total amount available is the lesser of: ( 1) the unpaid principal balance as of the date of Default associated with the initial Partial Claim , if applicable , multiplied by 30%, less any previous Partial Claim (s) paid on this Mortgage; (2) if no previous Partial Claim(s), the unpaid principal balance as of the date of the current Default multiplied by 30%; or (3) the total amount required to meet the Target Payment. The Partial Claim amount may include: arrearages; legal fees and foreclosure costs related to a canceled foreclosure action; and principal deferment ...
Assume a homeowner is ten months past due and assume the monthly payment is only $508 a month but with legal expenses and other foreclosure cost it would take $7750  to reinstate the loan. Also assume the homeowner had had a previous partial claim of $3000. Assume the amount of the principle balance at the date of default the first time they got a partial claim was $56,000. To calculate if this homeowner would be eligible for a partial claim one would do this calculation: $56,000 x 30% = $16,800, the total amount available for a partial claim. $16,800 - the amount of the first partial claim of $3000= $13,800, the amount of partial claim still available. Since the homeowners current amount needed is reinstate the loan is $7750, the homeowner should be eligible for a partial claim assuming they meet the other requirements.

Don't worry about knowing how to do this, that's my job.  If you are in default on your mortgage, there may be other solutions also.  If you live in the middle Tennessee area and are in default or are having trouble making your house payment, call me for a free consultation. Rod Williams 615-850-3453.

New program to help homeowners save their home from foreclosure.

The following is from the THDA website

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s (THDA) Principal Reduction Recast Program with Lien Extinguishment (PRRPLE) will lower monthly mortgage payments to affordable levels for eligible homeowners by providing (1) a reduction in the principal balance of their first mortgage loan, combined with a loan recast, modification, refinance or (2) principal reduction which results in a full lien extinguishment.

This program is available to qualifying homeowners who are facing a financial hardship, through no fault of their own, which resulted in a loss of income due to the death of a spouse, divorce, or underemployment.

The goal of the program is to reduce delinquencies and foreclosures by lowering mortgage payments to affordable levels for homeowners who have encountered a financial burden due to an eligible hardship, including but not limited to homeowners who are living on social security, long-term disability or other fixed income source.

If you have questions or need assistance with the PRRPLE application please call (855) 890-8073 or email
This is a great program and may save your home if you meet the criteria and if you can successfully apply.  The program expects a consumer to be able to answer questions they may not understand and assumes they know terminology they may not know.  To apply, you must scan and upload documents.  If you are a loan processor or a legal secretary it should be easy to make application by yourself; anyone else may have difficulty.

It you want help completing an application, call me.  There is no charge for my services.  I will evaluate you and see if you are eligible and if you are I will help you make application.  I can scan document for you and notarize documents and help you write letters you may need to write.  You can apply without help but your chances of successfully applying are greatly enhanced if someone who knows what they are doing helps you. I am a counselor with a HUD-approved housing counseling agency and have over 20 years of experience as a housing counselor and am good at what I do.  The agency is Woodbine Community Organization. Call me, Rod Williams, 615-850-3453.

Monday, November 28, 2016

What is HAMP? Last chance to apply.

 The HAMP program ends December 30th, 2016.  That does not mean that there may not still be other option for mortgage assistance, but nothing as good as the HAMP.  If you are interested you must apply now! All applications and documentation must be complete and in the hands of your mortgage company by Dec. 30 to be considered.

HAMP stands for “Home Affordable Modification Program.” Banks who received TARP funding from the government during the bailout are required to review homeowners facing foreclosure for a loan modification through the HAMP program. Also, Homeowners with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed loans are eligible for the HAMP program.

A HAMP modification can:

  1. Reduce your monthly mortgage payment to 31% of your gross monthly income.
  2. Reduce your interest rate to as low as 2% for the first 5 years.
  3. Extend your amortization period to stretch out loan payments.
  4. Give you $5,000 toward your principle loan balance if you make all the new monthly payments on time for the first five years.
In order to receive a permanent loan modification under HAMP, you will have to make payments during a three-month trial period plan.

To be eligible for a HAMP:
  • You are ineligible to refinance
  • You are facing a long-term hardship
  • You are behind on your mortgage payments or likely to fall behind soon
  • Your loan was originated on or before January 1, 2009 (i.e., the date you closed your loan)
  • Your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac –or is serviced by a participating mortgage company.    You can click the links to look up your loan and see if you are eligible.
There is also a FHA version of HAMP.  FHA, VA and USDA all offer mortgage modification programs for struggling homeowners designed to lower monthly mortgage payment to no more than 31 percent of the homeowner's verified monthly gross (pre-tax) income — making monthly mortgage payments much more affordable. If you have a loan that is insured or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), you may be eligible for a program offered through that government agency.

For more information on a HAMP modification, call Rod Williams at 615-850-3453.  Rod Williams is the Senior Housing Counselor with the Woodbine Community Organization, a HUD-approved Housing Counseling agency.  

HAMP modificatiion program ends December 30, 2016

There is still time, but very little time for homeowners to be considered fro a HAMP modification.  To be considered for a HAMP modification homeowners must apply and submit all documentations no later than December 30, 2016.

To schedule an appointment or for a phone consultation about your options for avoiding foreclosure, in the middle Tennessee area,  call Rod Williams at 615-850-3453.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New Streamlined Refinance Offering for High LTV Borrowers: HARP Extended through September 2017

Press release, Washington, D.C. – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), at FHFA's direction, will implement a new refinance offering aimed at borrowers with high loan-to-value (LTV) ratios.  The new refinance offering will provide much-needed liquidity for borrowers who are current on their mortgage but are unable to refinance through traditional programs because their LTV ratio exceeds the Enterprises' maximum limits. 
"Providing a sustainable refinance opportunity for high LTV borrowers who have demonstrated responsibility by remaining current on their mortgage makes financial sense both for borrowers and for the Enterprises," said FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt.  "This new offering will give borrowers the opportunity to refinance when rates are low, making their mortgages more affordable and thus reducing credit risk exposure for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."

In order to qualify for the new offering, borrowers: (1) must not have missed any mortgage payments in the previous six months; (2) must not have missed more than one payment in the previous 12 months; (3) must have a source of income; and (4) must receive a benefit from the refinance such as a reduction in their monthly mortgage payment.  Full details will be available in the coming months through the Enterprises, but the offering will make use of the lessons learned from the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and its streamlined approach to refinancing.
The new high LTV streamlined refinance offering is more targeted than HARP but as with HARP, eligible borrowers are not subject to a minimum credit score, there is no maximum debt-to-income ratio or maximum LTV, and an appraisal often will not be required.  However, unlike HARP, there are no eligibility cut-off dates connected with the new offering, and borrowers will be able to use it more than once to refinance their mortgage.  Borrowers with existing HARP loans are not eligible for the new offering unless they have refinanced out of HARP using one of the Enterprises traditional refinance products.

HARP Extended into 2017
The new high LTV streamlined refinance offering will not be available to borrowers until October 2017.  To ensure that high LTV borrowers who are eligible for HARP will not be without a refinance option while the new refinance offering is being implemented, FHFA is creating a bridge to this future program by also directing the Enterprises to extend HARP through September 30, 2017.  HARP continues to be one of the most successful crisis-era programs with more than 3.4 million homeowners already having refinanced their mortgage.  More than 300,000 U.S. homeowners could still refinance through HARP.  Visit and follow @FHFA on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube for more information.

Fannie Fact Sheet link
Freddie Fact Sheet link

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Foreclosure Odds Drop 42% with THDA Homebuyer Ed

Press release, (August 24, 2016) – A first-of-its-kind study uses THDA home loan data to identify the impact of homebuyer education classes on default and foreclosure rates.
The new study shows the odds of foreclosure were 42 percent lower among participants in THDA’s down payment assistance program who completed a homebuyer education (HBE) class compared to participants who did not.
THDA began offering down payment assistance as part of its home loan program in January 2002 but did not start enforcing a requirement to attend an HBE class until July of that year. As a result, study author Scott Brown, a Ph.D. student in the Community Research and Action program at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, recognized a unique opportunity to compare two sets of otherwise identical homebuyers: down payment assistance recipients from the first half of the year who did not take an HBE class and those from the second half of the year who were required to take HBE.
“This is one of the first studies on the effectiveness of homebuyer education to provide evidence similar to an experiment with a control group,” said Brown.
“Because all of the homeowners in this study qualified for and received a home loan with down payment assistance from THDA in the same calendar year, their demographic, geographic, and financial characteristics are nearly identical. This is very helpful from a scientific perspective because it largely controls for factors other than homebuyer education when comparing one group to the other,” he explained.
Brown’s results were recently published in the prestigious Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. According to the study:
By the end of the seven-year study time period, only 10.6 percent of borrowers with HBE had foreclosed compared to 17.6 percent of those without HBE.
After adjusting for borrower, mortgage, and local economic differences, this amounted to 42 percent lower odds of foreclosure. (Please note, the odds of a foreclosure is not the same thing as the foreclosure rate.) Even after adjusting for differences in borrowers, mortgage loans, and local economies, borrowers who took HBE were still significantly less likely to have their mortgage end in foreclosure seven years later.
“There is a dramatic reduction in the likelihood of foreclosure. These classes make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Ralph M. Perrey, executive director of THDA. “It’s important that THDA does more than just provide families with the financing they need to get in the front door. We’re also preparing them to be successful homeowners for years to come.”
“Foreclosures are expensive and disruptive on all sides, including the borrower, the loan holder, and the mortgage guarantor, and this study shows that HBE classes are a relatively low-cost approach to preventing them in a significant percentage of cases,” said Brown.
The percentage of homeowners falling into default (being at least 90 days behind on payments at some point during the study) was not significantly different between the two groups: 32.6 percent for homeowners without HBE compared to 30.7 percent for those with HBE.
“Both program income limits and need for down payment assistance may have generated a pool of homeowners who are more vulnerable to disruption in their incomes. So these classes may have been more limited in being able to prevent program participants from ever falling a couple months behind on payments,” said Brown. “But HBE may still provide these homeowners with an understanding of how to adapt and be proactive when trouble hits, enabling them to prevent a default from escalating into a foreclosure.”
Another factor in the default data may be that homebuyers tend to participate in HBE classes near their loan closing date, long after a house is selected and an offer made. By this point, the opportunity to influence the price range of homes under consideration and down payment amount, and thus the size of the monthly home loan payment, has already passed.
“More research is needed into the timing of HBE classes and when in the buying process they have the strongest influence,” said Brown. “However, there are other approaches that can reduce the likelihood of default, even after the loan is closed. For example, a study by Stephanie Moulton and colleagues suggests that low-cost follow-ups with new homeowners, such as a quarterly call from a financial coach, could also help lower default rates by catching trouble early.”
Brown’s report cites research indicating, “Half of low-income first-time homebuyers face significant unplanned home repairs or major increases in utility costs, property taxes, or homeowner's insurance within the first two years of ownership.” When facing these or other hardships, homeowners who completed HBE appear to be significantly better prepared to recover and become current on their payments once again. Among borrowers defaulting for the first time, Brown found the odds of foreclosure was reduced 55 percent among those who took HBE compared to those who did not.
“The numbers in this study represent more than just dollars. These are Tennessee families of moderate-to-low income who are trying to make smart decisions about where to raise their kids and how to build up a safe nest egg for their future,” said Perrey.
Additional highlights from the study:
  • Among borrowers who defaulted, HBE was associated with both an increased probability of becoming current on payments again and of avoiding a later foreclosure. Policymakers should consider the timing and intensity of HBE programs needed to influence default risk and how HBE may promote sustainable homeownership by influencing borrowers’ help-seeking behavior and strategies for resolving defaults.
  • HBE appears to affect both the overall rates and timing of foreclosures. Though borrowers with and without HBE were defaulting at similar rates for the first four years after they received their mortgage, remarkably few foreclosures occurred in the HBE group during this time.
  • Borrower credit scores were strongly connected to whether they were ever 90 days or more late on their payments. HBE did not appear to be particularly helpful in avoiding default or foreclosure for those with the lowest credit scores compared to those with higher credit scores.
  • Only 16.7 percent of borrowers with HBE had their first default end in foreclosure compared to 37.8 percent of borrowers without HBE.
The full study as published in The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management is available online:
Scott Brown is currently a Ph.D. student in the Community Research and Action program at Vanderbilt University. He served as an intern in the Research & Planning division of THDA in 2009.

My Comment:  The agency I work for offers the Homebuyer Education referenced above.  If you know someone seeking to become a homeowner have them call 615-833-9580 for more information.  If you already own a home and are in default or facing default, call me and let me see if I can help you. Rod Williams, 615-850-3453.