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Help Me Pay My Mortgage

A central feature of the American Dream is the idea of homeownership, but for many that dream has disappeared with the collapse of the housing market during the Great Recession. While foreclosure rates may be slowing across the country, many Americans are still dealing with the aftershocks of foreclosure and many more are struggling just to maintain mortgages on houses that have lost significant value.  The good news is that several debt and mortgage relief options are available to help.

In recent years, several federal laws, programs, and settlements have been established to lessen the effect of high rate mortgages on struggling consumers. For example:

  • The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 allows those who have been forced to foreclose on their homes or those who have had their mortgage debt cancelled or forgiven, to exclude that debt as taxable income on their annual tax return.
  • The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was one of the first programs established to help lessen the affect of the collapse of the housing market. It was expanded in 2012 to allow more Americans to qualify for assistance.
  • The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is an additional federal program aimed at helping homeowners who are considered “underwater” on their high interest rate mortgages, and owe more than their house is currently worth. These consumers are sometimes excluded from the opportunity to refinance their homes to lower interest rates because they don’t have sufficient equity. HARP allows these owners to refinance to a more affordable and stable rate.
  • A National Mortgage Settlement was reached with the nation’s largest five banks to repay Americans who were affected by fraudulent foreclosure tactics. Learn more about how the settlement works and if you’re eligible for benefits.

In addition, there are also many online resources sponsored by the government to help consumers access crucial information that could help them stay in their homes.

  • MakingHomeAffordable.gov is a website sponsored by the Departments of the Treasury and Housing and Urban Development. The site addresses unique concerns like what to do if your house value has fallen, how to maintain your home if you’re unemployed or if you’re a member of the armed services. The site will also help connect you to mortgage experts who can directly address your situation and identify which program or option might be right for you.
  •  A Consumer’s Guide to Mortgage Refinancing is also available through the Federal Reserve to help homeowners understand how refinancing works and how they could benefit from it regardless of whether or not they are currently “underwater”.

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    Before the housing bubble burst, many people achieved the American dream of home ownership. However, the way in which these dreams became a reality wasn’t always ideal, as unknowing consumers accepted risky mortgage structures or even mortgages they ultimately couldn’t afford. So when the economy tumbled and millions watched their home values similarly plummet, many people missed making their mortgage payments or simply struggled to find the money needed to make those payments on time.

  • Adjustable Rate Mortgage May Be Perfect For You

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  • The Power of Pre-Approval

    If you are thinking of buying a house, gain some bargaining power before you start house hunting by first getting pre-approved by a mortgage lender.

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