There are many federal programs in place to help home owners faced with foreclosure, an issue that has been at the forefront of the housing crisis in this decade.
Information about these resources can be found all in one place on the government’s Homeowner Help page.
First, download the Mortgage Assistance Guide from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
If you are confused about what to do and you can’t get help from your mortgage servicer (the company that you make the payments to), you can talk to a housing counselor by visiting www.hopenow.com or calling 888-995-HOPE (4673).
These counselors, who are part of a HUD-approved program, have the training and background necessary to help you understand your choices and what steps you can take to keep your home.
Please note borrowers should never have to pay anyone to help them file their claim. Eligible families can receive free assistance by contacting a HUD-approved housing counselor.
NORTH CAROLINA RESOURCES
The N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund™
Many North Carolina homeowners are struggling now to make their mortgage payments due to job loss or reduction of income through no fault of their own or because of an unforeseen temporary financial hardship, such as a divorce, serious illness or death of a co-signer. The Fund also assists veterans who are seeking work or in long-term job retraining after being honorably discharged. If you are searching for help, be assured that you are not alone. The N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund is here to help you avoid foreclosure.
The Mortgage Payment Program offers zero-interest loans of up to $36,000 to pay your mortgage and other related expenses for up to 36 months. The loan can also be used to bring mortgage payments current.
The Second Mortgage Refinance Program may help you refinance a high-cost second mortgage and reduce your monthly payments to an affordable level.
Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Project
Legal services may be available to represent a borrower facing foreclosure through the Foreclosure Defense Project. Eligibility is limited to households earning 200% of the federal poverty level. The Foreclosure Defense Project is a joint project of six non-profit legal service agencies in North Carolina: Legal Aid of NC, Land Loss Prevention Project, Pisgah Legal Services, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Financial Protection Law Center and the NC Justice Center. Pro bono attorneys have also agreed to donate legal services as part of this effort. The borrower will be referred to an available attorney through the project. When calling, tell them that you are facing foreclosure.
Click here for more information or call 866-219-5262.
Are you worried about how you will make your next mortgage payment? The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, also known as HAMP, is designed to help home owners who are in default or in danger of defaulting on their mortgages.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Your mortgage may have been purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, two agencies that often buy mortgages from the banks that have contracted with home buyers. The Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, is intended for borrowers with these loans – as long as your mortgage is more than 80% of what your home is worth and you are current on your payments. Fannie Mae has produced an interactive video to help you understand how to avoid foreclosure as well as the consequences of the choices you make.
- First, find out if your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
- If Fannie or Freddie own your loan, it is unlikely that you will be eligible for a principal reduction – meaning that these agencies can’t reduce the amount of money you owe on your home. However, you may be able to get a lower interest rate or have the terms of your mortgage extended by working with your servicer.
FHA. If you have an FHA loan, you may be eligible for the Streamline Refinance program if your original home loan is in good standing and the refinance will lower your monthly interest payments.
Multistate/Federal Mortgage Servicer Settlement
The attorneys general from 49 states and the District of Columbia recently reached a settlement with five mortgage servicers that requires them to help borrowers in distress. Find out if you can be helped under the terms of the agreement.
In addition to the direct financial assistance to home owners, each state received a lump-sum payment, and many have flexibility in deciding how to use the money to help home owners. Find out how much your state received. Please contact your state Attorney General office to encourage your state to use this money to improve housing in your community.
Even if you have already been through the foreclosure process, you may still be eligible for assistance.
Funds from the Mortgage Servicer Settlement were set aside for borrowers who were incorrectly foreclosed on between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011. If you believe you are eligible for relief under this settlement, please contact your state attorney general’s or the National Settlement Monitor’s office (866-430-8358) for more information.
The government is on the lookout for any violations or problems experienced by borrowers trying to obtain compensation, and the Monitor’s office has set aside a dedicated online form to report issues here.
REO Properties. The terms of the settlement include incentives for the five servicers to donate lender-owned, or REO property, to nonprofits, government agencies, or disabled service members or their relatives. Servicers are making applications available to nonprofits and veterans’ organizations and outlining the process to apply. If you are interested, please contact the banks directly:
- Ally/GMAC: Dana Dillard, 214-874-2269
- Bank of America: PropertyDonation@BankofAmerica.com
- Citibank: Lisa English, 972-653-4588 and/or Bryan Bolton 636-261-4448
- JP Morgan Chase : 866-803-9844, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wells Fargo : REOdonationprogram@wellsfargo.com
- Payments to Foreclosed Borrowers
The Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reached a separate settlement with 13 mortgages servicers that provides $3.6 billion in cash to borrowers whose homes were in any stage of the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010 and whose mortgages were serviced by one of the following companies, their affiliates, or subsidiaries: Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo.
Payments to 4.2 million borrowers are scheduled to begin April 12. More than 3.9 million borrowers will receive payments ranging from $300 up to $125,000 depending on their status of foreclosure or modification. In most cases, borrowers will receive a letter with an enclosed check from the paying agent: Rust Consulting, Inc. Borrowers can call Rust at 888-952-9105 to update their contact information or to verify if they are covered by the agreement.
Watch out for scams. Beware of anyone who asks you to call a different phone number than the number above or to pay a fee to receive a payment under the agreement.
Download the printable document: Foreclosure Resources