If you think you may be eligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program,
please use these guidelines issued by the U.S. Treasury Department [PDF]
Empowering homeowners with tools to survive the national housing market crisis
My staff has done constituent casework for hundreds of families in our community trying to save their homes. Applying for federal and state government loan modification assistance may be challenging for homeowners, and dealing with the banks and mortgage lenders may be very frustrating.
While many homeowners have been assisted in retaining their homes, the strengths and weaknesses of these programs need to be understood to manage expectations and get the best possible results. The links provided below enable you to access federal and state home loan assistance programs. If you need further assistance call my office at 714-960-6483 and ask for my home loan casework coordinator.
Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
If you are not unemployed, but you’re still struggling to make your mortgage payments, and if you currently occupy your home as your primary residence, you may be eligible to lower your monthly mortgage payments through the HAMP program or conventional lender modification practices. To prepare for the application process you should go to www.makinghomeaffordable.gov and try to become familiar with program guidelines.
Starting June 1, 2012, the federal government has expanded HAMP to include a new modification program for loans on homes being rented by the homeowner, as well as loans for homeowners who previously did not qualify for HAMP because their debt-to-income ratio was 31% or lower, indicating no modification was needed. The new expanded HAMP also may help homeowners who previously received a HAMP trial period plan or permanent modification but defaulted in their payments. Banks and lenders servicing your home loan are required to advise you if they participate in federally subsidized loan modification programs, and determine your eligibility.
Veteran's Administration Home Affordable Modification (VA-HAMP)
If you have a loan that is insured or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you may be eligible for a modification through that government agency. Call the Veterans Affairs Regional Loan Center at (877) 827-3702, or visit HomeLoans.va.gov.
Principal Reduction Alternative (PRA)
If your home is currently worth significantly less than you owe on it, MHA's Principal Reduction Alternative (PRA) was designed to help you by encouraging mortgage servicers and investors to reduce the amount you owe on your home. Go to the HAMP link displayed above for more info.
Second Lien Modification Program (2MP)
If your first mortgage was permanently modified under HAMP and you have a second mortgage on the same property, you may be eligible for a modification or principal reduction on your second mortgage as well, through MHA's Second Lien Modification Program (2MP). If the servicer of your second mortgage is also participating in HAMP, they may evaluate you for a second lien modification.
FHA Home Affordable Modification Program (FHA-HAMP)
Like VA, FHA and USDA also offer mortgage modification programs for struggling homeowners designed to lower monthly mortgage payments. For information on FHA and participating servicers, call FHA's National Servicing Center at (877) 622-8525. USDA also offer programs for rural homeowners to lower their monthly mortgage payments. If you have a loan that is guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Section 502 Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program, you may be eligible for a program through that government agency. Contact your servicer for information.
Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
If you're not behind on your mortgage payments but have been unable to get traditional refinancing because the value of your home has declined, you may be eligible to refinance through MHA's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). HARP is designed to help you get a new, more affordable, more stable mortgage. HARP refinance loans require a loan application and underwriting process, and refinance fees will apply.
Get free advice about these loan modification programs from a housing expert. HUD-approved housing counselors work with you and your mortgage company on your behalf, and their expertise is available for free. Call 888-995-HOPE (4673) to speak with an expert about your individual situation.
Beware of Loan Modification and Foreclosure Rescue Scams!
Foreclosure rescue and mortgage modification scams are a growing problem that could cost you thousands of dollars – or even your home. Scammers make promises that they can't keep, such as guaranteeing to "save" your home or lower your mortgage, usually for a fee. The federal government provides the help you need for free! Just call 888-995-HOPE (4673) for information about The Making Home Affordable Program and to speak with a HUD-approved housing counselor. Assistance is available free, 24-7, in 160 languages.
To avoid scams beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for counseling services or the modification of a delinquent loan, or ask you to sign papers immediately, or sign or transfer over the deed to your house. Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt. Never make a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage company without their approval. If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, you should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistantor call 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357) for assistance in English or Spanish.
Banks are overwhelmed with loan default and loan modification cases, and many consumers report high levels of inefficiency and deficiency in management of loans, as well as practices that violate consumer rights and applicable lending laws. If you are a victim of improper practices by your loan servicer, you may file a complaint against most banks and many lenders at the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, PO Box 4503, Iowa City, IA 52244, or on line at www.consumerfinance.gov. The number to call CFPB is 855-411-2372.
If you believe you were harmed financially by misrepresentations or improper actions by your lender during a foreclosure proceeding in 2009 or 2010 you can access information about remedies that may be available to you at the following links:
Lenders reviewed for foreclosure abuses and errors: www.IndependentForeclosureReview.com or at www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/independent-foreclosure-review.htm. The deadline to request a foreclosure review is July 31, 2012. For more information, borrowers may call 888-952-9105 or visit www.IndependentForeclosureReview.com.
Federal Reserve Board's Media Center: http://www.federalreserve.gov/mediacenter/media.htm
Federal Reserve Board's YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/FedReserveBoard
Federal Reserve Board's Independent Review Page: http://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/independent-foreclosure-review.htm
California State Home Retention Assistance
The State of California Housing Finance Agency coordinates federal and state programs to help homeowners. These programs include temporary Unemployment Mortgage Assistance to see homeowners through loss of a job, Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance to help homeowners recover after getting behind on payments, Principal Reduction Program to adjust loan balance due to reduced value of home, and Transition Assistance for relocation to affordable housing after short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.
To find out if your loan servicer participates in federal or state prograsm to assist homeowners, and to learn about eligibility criteria to determine if you qualify for assistance, call CalHFA at 888-954-5337. You also may go on line at www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org. Participating lenders also will provide you with information on these programs.
Homeowners will never be asked to pay a fee for any Keep Your Home California program. If you are asked to pay a fee or suspect fraud or misrepresentation of a Keep Your Home California program or representative, you are encouraged to contact the federal mortgage regulation agencies mentioned above, or the United States Treasury's Antifraud Unit by email atOFS.AntifraudUnit@treasury.gov.
The California Department of Corporation regulates mortgage lenders and other providers of financial services to ensure compliance with applicable law. Homeowners who believe a lender has acted improperly may file a complaint to seek corrective and remedial intervention by contacting the Department of Corporations Consumer Services Office, Consumer Services Office, 1515 K Street, Suite 200, Sacramento CA 95814-4052. For more info go towww.corp.ca.gov or call 1-866-275-2677.