Best New York Mortgage Rates – New York Mortgage Loans – Mortgage 101 #how #to


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New York Mortgage Rates

About Mortgage Rates in New York

Home buyers all over New York, from Manhattan to Rochester, are searching for the best deal on a mortgage rate. In recent years, New York s real estate market has become saturated with over 7 million housing units that are 53% owner occupied. Prices have come down from historic peaks. Competing banks and endless borrowing opportunities greatly benefit buyers searching for an ideal mortgage package featuring: the lowest interest rate, lowest payment, lowest interest expenses, or lowest closing costs.

We are confident in our access to New York s best mortgage deals and tools to secure packages for all cases such as new home buyers, refinancing or a second mortgage. Allow Mortgage 101 to help you today.

Mortgage Refinancing in New York

In some instances, refinancing your current mortgage loan can help you lower your mortgage payment. Borrowers can borrow against the equity built up in their home at a lower cost than they can from other sources. Like most mortgage interest, another benefit to mortgage refinancing is that if you pay off credit cards, the interest you pay will now be tax deductible.

The 5/5 5/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage

This mortgage type offers a stable payment and interest rate for the first five years. In the sixth year the interest rates, and therefore the payments, are adjusted every five years for the 5/5 arm and every year for the 5/1 arm.
Fixed Rate Mortgage

Fixed Rate Mortgages in New York

This is your parent’s mortgage loan. The mortgage interest rate will remain the same on these mortgages throughout the term of the mortgage for the original borrower.

Other Mortgage Terms

Origination Fee – The fee charged by a lender to prepare loan documents make credit checks inspect and sometimes appraise a property; usually computed as a percentage of the face value of the loan.

Closing Costs – Expenses over and above the price of the property that are incurred by buyers and sellers when transferring ownership of a property. Closing costs normally include an origination fee property taxes charges for title insurance and escrow costs appraisal fees etc. Closing costs will vary according to the area country and the lenders used.


How Much House Can I Afford? New House Calculator #regions #mortgage


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How Much House Can I Afford?

Home Buyer Resources

How much house can you buy?

Mortgage lenders calculate affordability based on your personal information, including income, debt expenses and size of down payment. The mortgage calculator uses similar criteria.

Here are some of the factors that lenders consider.

Debt-to-income ratios

Lenders will calculate how much of your monthly income goes toward debt payments. This calculation is called a debt-to-income ratio.

Debt-to-income ratio

Percentage of monthly income that is spent on debt payments, including mortgages, student loans, auto loans, minimum credit card payments and child support.

Debt payments / income

For example: Jessie and Pat together earn $10,000 a month. Their total debt payments are $3,800 a month. Their debt-to-income ratio is 38 percent.

$3,800 / $10,000 = 0.38

Front-end ratio

A standard rule for lenders is that your monthly housing payment (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) should not take up more than 28 percent of your income before taxes. This debt-to-income ratio is called the housing ratio or front-end ratio.

Back-end ratio

Lenders also calculate the back-end ratio. It includes all debt commitments, including car loan, student loan and minimum credit card payments, together with your house payment. Lenders prefer a back-end ratio of 36 percent or less.

Ratios aren’t carved in stone

Those recommended ratios (28 percent front-end and 36 percent back-end) aren’t ironclad. In many cases, lenders approve applicants with higher debt-to-income ratios. Under the qualified mortgage rule, federal regulations give legal protection to well-documented mortgages with back-end ratios (all debts, including house payments) up to 43 percent.

That’s been one of the bigger drivers (of affordability) because that is basically drawing a box around what’s a qualified mortgage, says Tim Skinner, home lending sales and service manager for Huntington Bank in Columbus, Ohio. A large portion of the lending community has decided to stay in that box.

Credit history

If you have a good credit history, you are likely to get a lower interest rate, which means you could take on a bigger loan. The best rates tend to go to borrowers with credit scores of 740 or higher.

Down payment

With a larger down payment, you will likely need to take on a smaller loan and can afford to buy a higher-priced house.

Down payment

Money from your savings that you give to the home’s seller. A mortgage pays the rest of the purchase price. It’s usually expressed as a percentage: On a $100,000 home, a $13,000 down payment would be 13 percent.

You don’t need to have a perfect credit score or a 20 percent down payment to qualify for a mortgage. Some lenders will accept down payments as small as 3 percent. Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages have a minimum down payment of 3.5 percent.

Lifestyle factors

While the lender’s guidelines are a good place to start, consider how your lifestyle affects how much of a mortgage you can take on. For instance, if you send your children to a private school, that is a major expense that lenders don’t typically account for. Or maybe you like to spend a lot on dining out or clothes. And if you live in a city with good public transportation, such as San Francisco or New York, and are able to rely on public transportation, you can likely afford to spend more on housing.

Consider all your options

Look into various state government programs that provide certain concessions, especially for first-time homebuyers. There also are programs that you might qualify for based on your income or occupation. You may be able to get assistance with your down payment so you can take on a smaller loan.

Nikitra Bailey, executive vice president for the Center for Responsible Lending in Durham, North Carolina, says, A lot of creditworthy borrowers have been unable to secure mortgages in the tighter mortgage environment. We are hopeful that these efforts will open up credit for borrowers who are deserving so that we will see an increase in first-time homebuyers going forward.

Don’t overload yourself

Be careful. It’s wise to give yourself breathing room financially. You don’t have to deplete your savings, and you don’t have to make the maximum monthly payment that you qualify for.

Why is it wise to spend less than you can afford? As a homeowner, you will face unexpected expenses, such as a leaky roof or a failed water heater. You will have to pay for maintenance. You might even face a job loss.

When gas prices started to go up (during the housing downturn) and people were maxed out on their homes, that’s when we started seeing a lot of the defaults happen, says Kathy Cummings, homeownership solutions and education executive for Bank of America. There were a lot of other economic factors going into it, but if you are maxing yourself out on your home, you can’t absorb some of those impacts.

HOME BUYER TIPS


New Florida Foreclosure Law #mortgage #calculator #taxes #insurance


#mortgage foreclosure

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New Florida Foreclosure Law

Florida has the biggest inventory of backlogged foreclosures of any state. Compounding this issue, the state has one of the longest foreclosure timelines in the country. with the average foreclosure taking 893 days. To speed up the foreclosure process and clear out some of the backlog, Florida’s governor Rick Scott signed a new foreclosure bill into law on June 7, 2013.

The law expands Florida’s expedited foreclosure process, makes recovering a home after foreclosure impossible in certain circumstances, requires the lender to produce the note with its complaint, and limits deficiency judgments. Read on to learn more about the new law and how it could affect you if you are a Florida homeowner facing foreclosure.

(For more articles on foreclosure in Florida, including programs to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, visit our Florida Foreclosure Law Center .)

House Bill 87 Changes Florida Foreclosures

In Florida, foreclosures are judicial, which means the lender must file a lawsuit in state court. The lender initiates the foreclosure by filing a complaint with the court and having it served to the borrower, along with a summons. If you lose the case, the court will enter a judgment of foreclosure and the property will be sold to satisfy the debt.

(To learn more about the difference between judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure, and the procedures for each, see Will Your Foreclosure Take Place In or Out of Court? )

House Bill 87, sometimes called the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act, makes several substantive changes to how foreclosures must be conducted in the state. Most provisions of the new law go into effect immediately, though a few only apply to cases filed on or after July 1, 2013.

While any law that aims to unclog the overloaded Florida court system might sound like a good plan, just how fair is the new law to distressed homeowners? In actuality, the law is both harmful and beneficial to homeowners.

How the Law Hurts Homeowners

Since the overriding goal of the law is to speed up the foreclosure process, it can be detrimental to homeowners.

Expedited Foreclosure Process Expanded

Florida law already provided for a procedure designed to speed up the foreclosure process in uncontested cases or in cases where the homeowner does not have a legitimate defense. Previously, after the foreclosure complaint has been filed, the mortgagee (the lender) could request an order to show cause why the foreclosure should not proceed. If the defendant homeowner waives the right to be heard (by failing to file a response, by filing a response that does not contest the foreclosure, or by not showing up at the hearing) or loses at the hearing, the court can enter a final judgment of foreclosure and order the clerk of the court to conduct a foreclosure sale.

(To learn more about this process and Florida foreclosure procedures in general, see Florida Foreclosure Laws and Procedures .)

Now, any lienholder (including homeowners’ associations and condo associations) may make the request to route foreclosures through the expedited process rather than through a typical court proceeding. This means that homeowners could have less time to:

To get information about options to avoid foreclosure, see our Alternatives to Foreclosure area.

Foreclosure Judgments are Final

Additionally, the new law makes foreclosure judgments final. Any action to set aside, invalidate, or challenge the validity of a final judgment of foreclosure is limited to monetary damages when the lender meets certain conditions. This means that a victim of a fraudulent foreclosure will not get the home back if:

  • the homeowner was properly served in the foreclosure lawsuit
  • the final judgment of foreclosure was entered
  • the appeals periods have run (with no appeals having been taken or, if an appeal was taken, it has been resolved), and
  • the property has been bought by a person not affiliated with the foreclosing lender or the foreclosed owner.

With this provision, the new law strengthens the finality of foreclosure judgments once the lender transfers the foreclosed property to a new owner. The former owner can continue to pursue money damages against the lender, but cannot regain title to the property.

How the Law Helps Homeowners

On the other hand, the new law does provide a few consumer protections.

Lender Must Produce the Note

When you took out your loan, you signed both a mortgage and a promissory note. The promissory note is what establishes your liability to pay your mortgage loan. The mortgage creates a lien on the property. The holder of the note is the only party that has the right to foreclose on the property. (Learn more about promissory notes .)

Starting July 1, 2013, the plaintiff (the owner of the loan) must prove its right to foreclose by filing additional items along with the foreclosure complaint, including:

  • a certification that the plaintiff is in possession of the original promissory note, or
  • if the note has been lost, a lost note affidavit with a clear chain of all endorsements, transfers, or assignments of the promissory note. (Learn more about endorsements and assignments .)

This helps to ensure that an improper party is not pursuing the foreclosure.

Deficiency Judgment Statute of Limitations Reduced

When a lender forecloses on a mortgage, the total debt owed by the borrower to the lender frequently exceeds the foreclosure sale price. The difference between the sale price and the total debt is called a “deficiency.” In some states, the lender can seek a personal judgment against the debtor to recover the deficiency. Generally, once the lender gets a deficiency judgment, the lender may collect this amount from the borrower. (Learn about methods that creditors can use to collect judgments .)

Effective July 1, 2013, the period of time in which the lender may seek a deficiency judgment is reduced from five years to one year for residential properties with no more than four dwelling units.

Additionally, the deficiency judgment cannot exceed the difference between the judgment amount and the fair market value as of the date of sale if the property is:

Deficiency judgments for short sales involving owner-occupied residential properties are limited to the difference between the outstanding debt and the fair market value.

Faster Foreclosure Law Unintentionally Slows Down Filings in the State

The new law, which took effect July 1, 2013, has caused foreclosures to get further backlogged in Florida as banks struggle to comply with the law and prove they own the loans. This makes sense since any time new regulations are put into place, lenders and their attorneys must take time to revise procedures and learn the new law. Florida already had one of the slowest foreclosure timelines in the country and the new law is adding to that timetable. (Learn more in Nolo’s article States With Long Foreclosure Timelines.)

For More Information

To learn more about House Bill 87 and read the text of the new law, go to www.myfloridahouse.gov and click on “Bills.” Then choose the button for “House,” “Regular Session 2013” in the drop-down menu, and enter “87” to run the search.

To learn more about foreclosure in general, ways to defend against foreclosure, and programs to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure, visit our Foreclosure Law Center .


CENTURY 21 New Millennium #commercial #mortgage #loans


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Mortgage Information

We offer experience, expertise and professionalism that translates to highly competitive financing.

Professional and distinguished leader in the industry

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Provide professional assistance seven days a week

Guarantee to design a loan program suited to the client’s desires

We provide an exciting array of financing options, designed to fit your pocket book, lifestyle, dreams and financial goals:

VA, FHA and Rural Development loans

First time homebuyer programs

Loan programs to accommodate any loan amount

Click the image below to visit our website:

CENTURY 21 New Millennium First County Mortgage. Your best path home!

The services provided by Mortgage are not provided by, affiliated with or related to Century Real Estate Corporation
(or its affiliates) or the CENTURY 21 System.


New Mortgage Solutions – We make mortgages easy #mortgage #calculator #free


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We make mortgages easy

Get a better deal

Let us handle it all

Stress-free process

Thank you so much for helping us get our first home. We didn’t really know where to start but you made the process simple and stress-free. Before coming to New Mortgage Solutions we’d been struggling to get a mortgage as we were contractors and had been living overseas for a few years, but you found us a great mortgage and took all the hard work out of our hands. You also made us realize how important it was to get the right insurance and organized it all for us, giving us peace of mind. Thanks for all your help!

Mr and Mrs M

We wanted to say a huge thank you for your help with our move. We know that you have really gone above and beyond what is expected and we can’t thank you enough for everything you have done on our behalf. I believe, without any doubt, that we wouldn’t have been successful in securing the house if we hadn’t had your help. Thank you for all your efforts!

Mr E and Mrs P

Thanks so much for helping make our first house a reality! We are thrilled to be in and you helped make the process so smooth and less stressful for us newbies! We will recommend you to our friends. Many thanks again.

Mr and Mrs S

We just wanted to say a big Thank You for everything you did in order for us to buy our 1st home! We are moving in this Friday and are so excited! We really appreciate all of your help and for always available when we needed questions answered.

Mr C and Miss T

It’s been a few months since we moved to our new house and we have just had confirmation that our son can go to the school we wanted so thank you for your part in helping us get him get there.

Mr and Mrs C

Just a quick message to say a huge thank you for arranging our mortgage and insurance. I’m pleased to say we are settled in our new home and love it! We are so grateful to you and Lorna for all the help and advice you gave us along the way. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Mr B and Miss H

Thank you to Andrew and everyone at New Mortgage Solutions for making our move a reality. We couldn’t believe that we would be able to keep our flat and still be able to buy our dream house so thank you so much for showing us options we hadn’t thought about. I’m happy to say we are now settled in our new home and really pleased we have the flat as an investment. We will definitely recommend you to everyone we know. Many thanks!

Mr H and Mrs V

We re just back from holiday and wanted to say a big thank you for getting our remortgage finalised so quickly and efficiently. We ve dealt with a couple of mortgage advisors in the past and can quite honestly say that the service we ve received from you was by far the best. I set great store to good communication and you kept us in the loop the whole time. It is a rare thing, I can tell you, and very much appreciated. Your advice was pro-active and the timeline amazing. We will very happily recommend you to friends and family. And use you again in the near future! Thanks again.

Mr and Mrs O

Mortgage Brokers and Insurance Brokers NZ – New Zealand Mortgage Finance #calculate #home #loan


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Welcome to New Zealand Mortgage Finance

First time home buyer, property investors, refinancing, self employed with no proof of income, declined loans, second mortgages, credit problems, mortgage arrears and home equity release are all areas of expertise.

We can help with commercial and property development loans too. Let us maximise your cash flow opportunities now. We can also arrange no deposit loans for owner occupied, investment loans, business finance, bridging finance, development and land banking.

Our promise to you is to see the bigger picture and to make your home loan experience easy, quick and headache free. We are specialists in making home loans work where other brokers can’t! If you’ve been told ‘no’ by your bank or broker for your home loan then speak to us now we love turning a ‘no’ into a ‘YES’!

Why an NZMF broker? Because we are brokers with a difference! We have the added advantage of our own in-house home loan funding and finance company. We work directly with the people who can approve your loan for a quick yes! Plus we work with the major banks, non-bank lenders and niche lenders who are all available at our fingertips too.

So, if we can’t find the best home loan for you then nobody can!

Apply online now! Click here. then fill in a simple form and our professional mortgage brokers will respond to your query immediately.

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Best New York Mortgage Rates – New York Mortgage Loans – Mortgage 101 #self #employed


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New York Mortgage Rates

About Mortgage Rates in New York

Home buyers all over New York, from Manhattan to Rochester, are searching for the best deal on a mortgage rate. In recent years, New York s real estate market has become saturated with over 7 million housing units that are 53% owner occupied. Prices have come down from historic peaks. Competing banks and endless borrowing opportunities greatly benefit buyers searching for an ideal mortgage package featuring: the lowest interest rate, lowest payment, lowest interest expenses, or lowest closing costs.

We are confident in our access to New York s best mortgage deals and tools to secure packages for all cases such as new home buyers, refinancing or a second mortgage. Allow Mortgage 101 to help you today.

Mortgage Refinancing in New York

In some instances, refinancing your current mortgage loan can help you lower your mortgage payment. Borrowers can borrow against the equity built up in their home at a lower cost than they can from other sources. Like most mortgage interest, another benefit to mortgage refinancing is that if you pay off credit cards, the interest you pay will now be tax deductible.

The 5/5 5/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage

This mortgage type offers a stable payment and interest rate for the first five years. In the sixth year the interest rates, and therefore the payments, are adjusted every five years for the 5/5 arm and every year for the 5/1 arm.
Fixed Rate Mortgage

Fixed Rate Mortgages in New York

This is your parent’s mortgage loan. The mortgage interest rate will remain the same on these mortgages throughout the term of the mortgage for the original borrower.

Other Mortgage Terms

Origination Fee – The fee charged by a lender to prepare loan documents make credit checks inspect and sometimes appraise a property; usually computed as a percentage of the face value of the loan.

Closing Costs – Expenses over and above the price of the property that are incurred by buyers and sellers when transferring ownership of a property. Closing costs normally include an origination fee property taxes charges for title insurance and escrow costs appraisal fees etc. Closing costs will vary according to the area country and the lenders used.


How much will a new mortgage cost? Calculate and compare mortgage payments online with the


#www.mortgage calculator

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Basic Mortgage Calculator

How much will a new mortgage cost? Calculate and compare mortgage payments online with the mortgage calculator. Simply manipulate any of the variables including loan amount, interest rate, down payment and term to calculate different scenarios.

It’s very important to remember that the total cost of home ownership is never just the mortgage payment however. From property taxes, home insurance to general maintenance the actual cost of owning a home can often be 50% or more on top of your mortgage payment. Learn more about buying a home and how to save money on your next mortgage by reading the topics below.

How much does to cost to buy a home?

Many first time home buyers believe the cost of buying a home is simply the down payment and some closing cost fees and while they may be technically right the true cost of home ownership is far greater. Buying a home is quite possibly the biggest financial responsibility most families take on and before committing to a mortgage loan for 30 years! It would be a very good idea to consider the full cost of owning a home. Home ownership is not just about paying a mortgage but also about maintaining the home, furnishing the home, paying property taxes, utilities and more.

Property Taxes

Homeowners in America are obligated to pay an annual property tax according to a percentage of the assessed value of the home. This is vastly different than some countries where you simply pay a one-time tax upon title transfer. Depending on where you live property taxes can equal up to 2% or more of your property value. This may not sound like much but it certainly is. For example, in some Florida counties, if your property value is $500,000 then you have to pay almost $10,000 annually just in real estate tax. That’s over $800 a month – before you even make a mortgage payment!

Home Insurance

Homeowners insurance is widely available but even with such a competitive market this doesn’t mean it’s cheap. There are different types of home insurance including flood insurance, hazard insurance and more. While many homeowners simply have a general house insurance policy some are obligated to purchase special types of insurance depending where the property is located. What happens if you don’t want it? The mortgage company will often buy it on your behalf and then bill you up to 3 times the cost or more, citing they had to buy it from some kind of unique provider which they probably own. Home insurance is not optional if you have a mortgage so it’s important to include this in your budget.

Cable, Utilities and Stuff

Those little things which make life easier add up pretty quick once you become a homeowner. Living with your parents or renting an apartment can have its advantages and one of those is often the inclusion of such bills. When you grow up and live on your own there is no imaginary credit card that pays these bills.

Home Furnishings

Buying your first home is a great feeling but as soon as you open the door it’s easy to become overwhelmed. For some people all their prior belongings can fit in the spare bedroom which means you have a big empty to space to buy stuff for. Shopping at IKEA and Home Depot will actually end up being exciting but this is the time when you will need cash. Stretching every last dollar to just buy the home and make the mortgage payment doesn’t do a lot for your lifestyle unless you think eating dinner on the floor is cool.

There are ups and downs to every real estate transaction and buying a home is certainly a great investment long term but you do need to have a sound financial plan in place. No one wants to end up being house poor; it just is never as fun.


New rules for reverse mortgages #mortgage #rates #seattle


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Mortgages Blog

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    Senior homeowners who want to cash out equity with a reverse mortgage will have to play by new rules when applying for a loan after the end of this month.

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development has tightened the requirements on reverse mortgage loans backed the Federal Housing Administration to help to strengthen the financial stability of the program. The FHA will reduce the amount of equity that homeowners can access when they get a reverse mortgage and limit the amount of money they can take out during the first year.

    Reverse mortgages allow homeowners 62 years or older to get a loan backed the equity in their home without having to make monthly payments on the loan. With a reverse mortgage, the lender doesn’t get paid back until the house is sold.

    The main changes

    The amount of money you can borrow with a reverse mortgage depends on your age, how much equity you have and the interest rate on the loan. With the new rules, seniors will be able to cash out about 10 percent to 15 percent less of their equity than HUD currently allows.

    “Most of the rules basically help protect the borrowers from themselves,” says Robert Stammers, director of investor education at the CFA Institute.

    Once the changes go into effect, a 62-year-old getting a loan with a 5 percent interest will be able to borrow up to 52.6 percent of the home’s appraised value, including loan fees, the Federal Housing Administration says. That’s down from the current 61.9 percent the same homeowner is currently allowed to withdraw.

    A 90-year-old homeowner with that same interest can get up to 66 percent of the home’s value. A higher interest rate results in a lower cap.

    Limits on how much you can borrow during the first year

    Under the new rules, homeowners won’t be able to cash out all of their allowable equity as soon as they get the mortgage. The FHA will limit the disbursements in the first year to no more than 60 percent of whatever the homeowner is allowed to borrow. There are exceptions for certain homeowners, including those with delinquent federal debt.

    Starting next year, homeowners will also have to show they have sufficient income to cover expenses such as property taxes and homeowners insurance.

    “Before, they didn’t do income verification because you don’t have to pay the loan until you move from the house,” Stammers says. “But they are putting in some safeguards to make sure borrowers have enough money to cover their mandatory expenses on the property.”

    Get real-time rate quotes with Bankrate’s Mortgage app .

    Please make sure you have a financial institution that is truly knowledgable about the process. My house was appraised at a much lower rate because several forclosed houses were used in my appraisal. Plus you are required to make repairs on older homes which uses alot of your equity.


    New mortgage program offers lower payments #current #home #loan #rates


    #mortgage modification program

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    New mortgage program offers lower payments

    When the housing bubble burst, it set off a wave of foreclosures. (Photo: Don Ryan, AP)

    Story Highlights

    • Mortgage servicers will be required to offer modifications to eligible borrowers
    • Borrowers loans must be owned or backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
    • Borrowers must be at least 90 days delinquent

    The federal government on Wednesday announced a new loan modification program designed to help many more struggling homeowners than previous initiatives by requiring no documentation of income or financial hardship.

    Under the Streamlined Modification Initiative, borrowers with loans backed by mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must be at least 90 days delinquent on their mortgages and and make three trial payments on time. The initiative is being launched by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie and Freddie.

    “This new option gives delinquent borrowers another path to avoid foreclosure,” says FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco.

    Other programs to aid struggling homeowners, such as the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), required borrowers to provide financial, income and hardship documentation. That created bureaucratic bottlenecks for many mortgage servicers, which limited the effectiveness of the programs.

    The new initiative will begin July 1, 2013, and end Aug 1, 2015. By July 1, mortgage servicers must identify delinquent borrowers and send them a letter offering the modification.

    To reduce their monthly payments, borrowers will get a new interest rate that’s equal to or below their current rates, based on the average of 30-year fixed mortgages, and the term will be extended to 40 years. Also, borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth will pay no interest on up to 30% of their unpaid balance. Borrowers, on average, are expected to reduce their monthly payments by 30%.

    FHFA notes that in most cases, borrowers who provide proof of income and financial hardship can receive a more affordable monthly payment through the HAMP program.

    To be eligible for the new program, homeowners must be 90 days to 24 months delinquent on their loans. They also must have a first-lien mortgage that’s at least 12 months old, and the amount they owe on their mortgages must be at least 80% of their home value.

    FHFA says it has screening measures in place to ensure that the new program isn’t exploited by strategic defaulters — people who stop paying their loans to get a modification.

    FHFA officials have not estimated the number of borrowers they expect to participate. But in a pilot program, 70% of those offered the opportunity took part in the trial, and 50% of the latter group received a permanent loan modification.

    Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, says the program “is not a bad idea” because it addresses mortgage servicers’ paperwork snafus.

    “It’s a solution for some people who just want a roof over their head and don’t want to lose their home,” he says.

    But it will not be the best option for homeowners who could save more money through other programs that require documentation, Rheingold says.

    More critically, he says, the program doesn’t lower the principal owed by borrowers to give them more equity in their homes. FHFA has been unwilling to do that.

    About one in five homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. That’s been an impediment to the revival of the housing market and the economy.

    “Unless they address principal reduction, it’s not good enough,” Rheingold says.

    Fannie and Freddie helped 130,000 homeowners avoid foreclosure in the fourth quarter, pushing their total such successes last year to 540,000, according to FHFA. Since 2008, they have helped 2.7 million borrowers avoid foreclosure, including 1.3 million through loan modifications and the remainder through repayment and forbearance plans, short sales and other strategies.

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