So what’s up with the government’s mortgage rescue plan? So far about 200,000 mortgage loans have been modified under the Making Home Affordable program, which means that millions of homeowners are still waiting for help. What’s keeping so many homeowners from getting the help they need?
Right after the program was announced in March, many homeowners immediately contacted their lenders to get help. But homeowners, housing counselors, and even President Barack Obama have said the rescue plan has been problematic. “Our mortgage program has actually helped to modify mortgages for a lot of people, but it hasn’t been keeping pace with all the foreclosures that are taking place,” Obama said at a press briefing last month.
Apparently many loan servicers weren’t prepared to handle the volume of calls about the government’s rescue plan. In some cases, borrowers have said that loan servicers have given out inaccurate or confusing information about the requirements for getting approval to refinance or modify mortgage loans. Other people say they never had their phone calls returned or that their paperwork was lost.
The Obama administration is working to improve the program, and recently expanded the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio to 125% for loans that are refinanced. That means that a person who has a home valued at $300,000 but owes up to $375,000 on their mortgage could qualify to refinance through the rescue plan if they meet other eligibility requirements.
Unfortunately, the wait for assistance means that some homeowners who could have been helped by having a loan modified or refinanced may find themselves dealing with a foreclosure. The foreclosure rate rose 18% in May of this year, compared with a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac.
“May foreclosure activity was the third highest month on record, and marked the third straight month where the total number of properties with foreclosure filings exceeded 300,000— a first in the history of our report,” James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said in a statement.
Let’s hope that the Making Home Affordable program works out the kinks soon so that more Americans won’t be put out of their homes. Even if you don’t qualify for aid through the government’s plan, it may be worth your while to investigate refinancing options by contacting your lender or using the mortgage quote form.