Fannie Mae Launches Distressed Borrower Education Site

August 9, 2010

 

Fannie Mae launches a borrower-facing outreach site designed to educate distressed homeowners on potential retention strategies and foreclosure alternatives.

The online education resource — available in both English and Spanish — offers calculators to demonstrate to borrowers the mechanics of refinance, repayment, forbearance, and modification options if the borrowers would like to keep their home. In addition, it covers information on Fannie’s Deed-For-Lease program, which allows borrowers to become renters in the same property after pursing deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

For borrowers who would like to leave their home, the online education resource offers possible options such as, a short sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure when you can no longer stay in your home but want to avoid foreclosure.

For borrowers who aren’t sure what the best option is for them, the Options Finder can assist you. By answering some questions, the Options Finder determines which option may be right based on your current situation.

When you need additional assistance, the Resources section offers the following and much more:

Fannie Mae Resources

Review what Fannie Mae is doing to assist homeowners and how they can help you.

Contact your Mortgage Company

Find and contact your mortgage company to discuss your situation.

Helpful Forms

Download forms to help you prepare for (and keep track of) working with your mortgage company or a housing counselor.

Calculators

Use the calculators to determine which scenario fits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Search for helpful answers to some of the most common questions regarding your options.

Take Action – What You Should Do Next

Once you ‘ve learned about options that may be available for your situation, it’s time to take action.

Step 1: Research

Be sure to bookmark the page and print the information on the option(s) that applies best to your situation. You will want to refer to this information when speaking with your mortgage company.

Step 2: Gather

Gather the information shown below. You’ll need this information handy so you can refer to it during your discussion with your mortgage company. Use the Financial Checklist to help get organized and prepared.

  • Your mortgage(s): Loan number, past due notices, monthly statement, etc. for your first mortgage and second mortgage or other liens (if applicable).
  • Your other debts: Copies of bills and monthly statements for all other debts such as credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, utilities, etc.
  • Your income: Paystubs, unemployment benefits letter, alimony, child support, etc. for all borrowers on the mortgage.
  • Your hardship: Explain your situation and any hardship that has affected your income or ability to make your payments, etc.

Step 3: Contact

Contact your mortgage company and ask them about the options that are available for your specific situation. Also ask for the name and/or employee number of the mortgage specialist who is helping you and be sure to give them your up-to-date contact information. Use the Contact Log to keep track of your conversations and follow-up items.

Step 4: Discuss

Make sure you are ready to discuss everything about your current situation—the more the mortgage company understands and the more accurate the information, the more they can help you find the right option.

Step 5: Confirm

Ask them to confirm your current situation to be certain there are no other issues. Make sure you understand the next steps involved and if there is anything you will need to complete for the specific option.

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Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP)

July 6, 2010

 

The Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP) is a supplemental program to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) which provides assistance to unemployed borrowers. The Unemployment Program grants qualified unemployed borrowers a forbearance period which reduces or suspends their monthly mortgage payment.

***Note:  UP is for first lien mortgage loans that are not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (Non Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) Mortgages) or insured or guaranteed by a federal agency, such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).***

The program is effective for participating HAMP servicers on July 1, 2010; however, servicers may begin to offer UP earlier.

Eligibility

Servicers are required to offer UP when the following criteria is met:

  • Loan is a first lien mortgage, originated on or before January 1, 2009, secured by a one- to four unit property, 1-unit of which is the borrower’s principal residence and the unpaid principal balance (UPB) is equal to or less than $729,750 on 1-unit properties (See Supplemental Directive 09-01 for amounts on 2 – 4 unit dwellings)
  • Loan has not been previously modified under HAMP and the borrower has not previously received a UP forbearance period
  • Borrower is unemployed at the date of the request for UP and is able to document that they will receive unemployment benefits or have been receiving unemployment benefits at commencement of the forbearance plan
  • Servicers have the discretion whether or not to require a borrower to have received unemployment benefits for up to 3 months before commencement of the forbearance plan
  • Borrower is either delinquent but has not missed more than 3 consecutive monthly payments or default is reasonably foreseeable

It is at the servicer’s discretion whether to offer UP if a borrower’s total monthly mortgage payment is less than 31% of the borrower’s monthly gross income.

Additional UP forbearance plan eligibility requirements include that the borrower:

  • Makes a request before the first mortgage lien is seriously delinquent (before 3 monthly payments are due and unpaid). A request for UP may be made by phone, mail or email. Within 10 business days, servicers must confirm the receipt of the request with the borrower via mail or return email.
  • Is unemployed at the date of the request for UP and is able to document that he or she will receive unemployment benefits in the month of the Forbearance Period Effective Date even if his or her unemployment benefit eligibility is scheduled to expire before the end of the UP forbearance period.

Terms

The UP forbearance period is 3 months or upon notification that the borrower has become re-employed; however, it can be extended in accordance with investor and regulatory guidelines.

The monthly payment MUST be reduced to 31% (or less) of the borrower’s gross monthly income. At the discretion of the servicer, monthly mortgage payments may be suspended in full.

Payment amount and due date, if any, is established by the servicer according to investor and regulatory guidelines.

Servicers are prohibited from:

  • Initiating foreclosure action or conducting a foreclosure sale while the borrower is being evaluated for UP
  • After the Foreclosure Plan Notice (FPN) is mailed
  • During the UP forbearance or extension while the borrower is being evaluated for or participating in HAMP or HAFA following, the UP forbearance period

A borrower in a permanent HAMP modification that becomes unemployed is not eligible for an UP forbearance plan.

A borrower who was previously determined to be ineligible for a HAMP modification may request consideration for an UP forbearance plan if the borrower meets all of the eligibility requirements.

If the servicer is requiring a reduced monthly payment, the borrower’s reduced payment MUST be received by the servicer on or before the last day of the month in which it is due.

If the borrower fails to make timely payments, the UP forbearance plan may be canceled and the borrower is not eligible for HAMP consideration.

Reporting Requirements

To Credit Bureaus:

The servicer should continue to report a “full-file” credit report to each major credit repository.


Fannie Mae Relaxes Waiting Period for Buying a New Home After a Short Sale

May 3, 2010

 

In Announcement SEL-2010-05, Fannie Mae updated several policies regarding the future eligibility of borrowers to obtain a new mortgage loan after experiencing a preforeclosure event (preforeclosure sale, short sale, or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure).

The “waiting period” – the amount of time that must elapse after the preforeclosure event – is changing and may be dependent on the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio for the transaction and whether extenuating circumstances contributed to the borrower’s financial hardship (for example, loss of employment). In addition, Fannie Mae is updating the requirements for determining that borrowers have re-established their credit after a significant derogatory credit event.

***Note:  The terms “short sale” and “preforeclosure sale” both referenced in the Announcement have the same meaning – the sale of a property in lieu of a foreclosure, resulting in a payoff of less than the total amount owed, which was pre-approved by the servicer.***

Waiting Period After a Preforeclosure Sale, Short Sale, or Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure

Fannie Mae is changing the required waiting period for a borrower to be eligible for a mortgage loan after a preforeclosure event. The waiting period commences on the completion date of the preforeclosure event, and may vary based on the maximum allowable LTV ratios.

Preforeclosure Event Current Waiting Period Requirements New Waiting Period Requirements(1)
 Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure 4 years  2 years – 80% maximum LTV ratios,  4 years – 90% maximum LTV ratios,  7 years – LTV ratios per the Eligibility Matrix
 Short Sale  2 years

 

Exceptions to Waiting Period for Extenuating Circumstances
Preforeclosure Event Current Waiting Period Requirements New Waiting Period Requirements (1)
 Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure 2 years      Additional requirements apply after 2 years up to 7 years  2 years – 90% maximum LTV ratios
 Short Sale  No exceptions are permitted to the 2-year waiting period

 (1) The maximum LTV ratios permitted are the lesser of the LTV ratios in this table or the maximum LTV ratios for the transaction per the Eligibility Matrix.

Bankruptcies

The multiple bankruptcy policy is being clarified to state that 2 or more borrowers with individual bankruptcies are not cumulative. For example, if the borrower has one bankruptcy and the co-borrower has one bankruptcy, this is not considered a multiple bankruptcy. The current waiting periods for bankruptcies remain unchanged.

Effective Date

This policy is effective for beginning July 1, 2010.

Requirements for Re-Establishing Credit

The requirements for borrowers to re-establish their credit after a significant derogatory event are also being updated. Fannie Mae is replacing the requirements related to the number of credit references and applicable payment histories with the waiting periods and other criteria.

After a bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or preforeclosure or short sale, the borrower’s credit will be considered re-established if all of the following are met:

  • The waiting period and the related requirements are met.
  • The loan meets the minimum credit score requirements based on the parameters of the loan and the established eligibility requirements.

The “Catch”?

Now to qualify after that 2 year period, the new regulations state that a minimum 20% down payment will be required; 10% for a down payment, the wait will revert to the 4 year minimum; less than 10% for a down payment, the wait could be even longer — UNLESS there are “extenuating circumstances” such as job loss, health problems, divorce, etc…

But doesn’t pretty much any short sale by default involve “extenuating circumstances”? Just show them the hardship letter you submitted with your short sale docs. Case closed.

Why This Matters?

So why does this matter, and how should you, as distressed homeowners, USE this information?

Well for starters, if you couple this with the Obama administration’s new short sale assistance program (where mortgage servicing companies are paid $1,000 to handle successful short sales and mortgage holders get $1,500 for signing over their property), you’ve now got more compelling reasons than ever to pursue a short sale rather than just throwing up your hands and “letting things go”.


Citi’s Deed-In-Lieu of Foreclosure Offers Borrowers 6 Months Free Rent

February 19, 2010

On February 11, 2010, Citigroup announced plans to introduce a pilot program that would let homeowners on the verge of foreclosure stay in their homes for six months, provided that they turn over the deed to the property; otherwise, known as a deed-in-lieu (DIL) of foreclosure.

Citi will begin the program, called Foreclosure Alternatives, this week in some states that have been particularly hard-hit by foreclosures: Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas. About 1,000 homeowners are expected to participate.

For homeowners in financial trouble, there are a few benefits to the program:

  • You get to stay in your home for an extra six months. While you still have to leave, getting the extra six months can help your kids finish their school year and give you time to pack and plan for your next move.
  • Mortgage payment not required. Citigroup won’t require you to make a mortgage payment while you live in the home. That should give you six months to sock away savings – cash you’ll need to pay moving expenses and perhaps to put down a security deposit on a new place to live.
  • A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure will hurt your credit history and credit score less than a straight out foreclosure. While your credit score will drop, it might not drop as much.
  • Citi will pay at least $1,000 in relocation costs and will consider helping with other expenses. It also will offer relocation counseling.

Borrowers in Citi’s program must still pay utility bills. Borrowers will be required to “maintain the property in its current condition,” the bank said.

Something formally needs to be done in addition to the modifications,” said Sanjiv Das, chief executive of CitiMortgage. “We are in a different stage of the housing cycle. Restructuring  mortgage payments was part one of the cycle, making sure that foreclosure glut doesn’t hit the industry is part two of the cycle. Citi is trying to stay ahead of it.”

Sanjiv also said the program is “less painful for our borrowers as well as for us.”


Credit After a Short Sale vs. Foreclosure

December 7, 2009

 

One of the most commonly asked questions about a short sale is how it will impact credit and the ability to purchase a home in the future. Whether you are a buyer, seller or investor, it’s imperative to educate yourself on this all important aspect of credit to become fully informed before making a final decision or in order to assist sellers in determining the right course of action for their financial future.

Here to help sort through the confusion is a quick primer on credit after a short sale vs. foreclosure. Remember, every situation is distinctive so these estimates represent the average experience of most individuals.

Note: Depending on the situation, circumstances may vary.

Average Time to Rebuild Credit to Purchase a Home

  • After a foreclosure: 5 – 7 years
  • After a foreclosure with extenuating circumstances such as, but not limited to: disability, death of a spouse, etc: 3 – 7 years
  • After a Deed in Lieu (DIL) of foreclosure: 4 – 7 years
  • After a Short Sale: 0 – 2 years

Other Alternatives

The above averages represent typical buying patterns for those using regular lenders to obtain a conventional loan or government backed loans; private investors are still viable options that enable many people to purchase another home immediately after any type of financial fiasco, including foreclosure. However, mortgage rates tend to be less favorable and requirements more stringent than ever. Just a few years ago it was quite easy to obtain a sub-prime mortgage for a relatively low rate above the preferred status, but today, much of that has changed. While it is still possible to obtain the equivalent of a sub-prime mortgage, be prepared to come up with a much larger down payment and higher overall rates.

Short Sales Win Hands Down

Sellers wishing to minimize damage to their financial future clearly come out ahead when using a short sale but it’s still possible to further decrease the downside by avoiding a 60-day late payment, working closely with the lender to achieve a quick price agreement, and setting aside as much funds as possible for a new loan. In fact, homeowners that maintain a solid payment history and work-out an agreeable short sale deal early may find it desirable to downsize to a new home by setting aside additional funds equal to 20% down. With Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and a reduced debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, sellers are finding it possible to take advantage of lowered property values to immediately purchase another home for a fraction of the cost (and debt burden). 

Conclusion: It’s a win-win for all involved but, only if you understand the benefits and work aggressively to seal the deal.

*This post has been adapted from Real Estate News & Commentary by Chris McLaughlin


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