Federal Mortgage: What US Homeowners Can Do After Forbearance Ends
October 15 (Reuters) – The number of US homeowners exiting mortgage forbearance plans that allowed them to halt payments during the pandemic is expected to rise soon, as those who signed up at the start of the pandemic will reach the limit of 18 months of abstention.
Here are some steps homeowners can take as they near the end of their forbearance programs:
CONTACT YOUR MORTGAGE ASSISTANT
The first step for many will be to contact their mortgage agent, who processes their payments and distributes the money to investors, tax authorities and insurers.
Service agents have streamlined processes and increased staffing to deal with increasing inquiries from borrowers reaching the end of forbearance, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
FIND OUT WHO GUARANTEES YOUR MORTGAGE
The payment plans available to borrowers with loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae may be somewhat different from loans guaranteed by Freddie Mac or those held by private investors.
Borrowers can find out who owns their mortgage by contacting their service agent or searching online through tools on the Fannie Mae websites https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup or Freddie Mac https: // loanlookup.freddiemac.com/index .html.
CHOOSE A PAYMENT PLAN
Although options may vary, borrowers exiting forbearance should be able to choose between resuming their previous payments; receive a loan modification that lowers their monthly payments; or pay what they owe by selling their home or refinancing, options now more feasible due to the strength of the housing market.
The changes should require little or no documentation from homeowners, and many borrowers should be able to request that missed mortgage payments be postponed until the end of their loans, according to housing counselors.
FIND A HOUSING ADVISOR
Homeowners who are struggling to find an affordable payment plan or are unsure of where their mortgage is can seek help from a housing advisor who can help them navigate the process.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development https://www.hud.gov/i_want_to/talk_to_a_housing_counselor sponsors housing counseling agencies across the country that can help people avoid foreclosure or homelessness. Counselors can help borrowers contact their lenders or mortgage agents if they are having trouble switching to another payment plan.
Homeowners can also turn to mortgage guarantee agencies, such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, for more information on the help available.
(Reporting by Jonnelle Marte in New York; Editing by Andrea Ricci)