Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mortgages, Mortgages, Everywhere, Yet Not A Drop For Me

We finally have the basics of the Mortgage Bailout for Homeowners -at least for some homeowners. The Administration crafted a plan, touted in the mainstream media as "Plan Could Aid 1 in 9 Homeowners". This program is designed to help people who might face foreclosure, keep their homes. This is great news! With inertia being the strongest force in the universe (at least ours), a step forward is truly a huge one. There is at least one significant gap however. BUT FIRST, the good news -PLAN BASICS:

1. Plan applies ONLY to primary residence
2. Mortgage balances cannot exceed $ 729, 750.00 - (this doesn't affect my clients)
3. You will only qualify if your total monthly mortgage payment (principal, interest, taxes, insurance) is more than 31% of your PRE-TAX monthly income. Example - you (and spouse if married) take home $750 every week, but your wages BEFORE TAXES are $900 every week, Using the BEFORE TAX figure of $900-

a. multiply it by 52 (number of pays in the year), which equals $46,800 (yearly PRE-TAX income;
b. divide that by 12 (months in the year) to get the monthly PRE-TAX income amount, here equaling $3,900;
c. multiply that figure, $3,900 by 31% (.31) = $1,209

If your total monthly mortgage payment is more than $1,209 , you would be eligible for the program. It does not matter if you are current in payments or behind, but you cannot have a large stash of cash in the bank or under the mattress.

Income WILL BE VERIFIED - Borrowers will have to sign a form allowing the Servicer/Lender to get a copy of the Borrower(s)' federal tax transcript (Form 4506-T) AND, if you are employed you will need 2 months of pay stubs; If self-employed then third-party proof of earnings in addition to the tax information. Everyone will be on the lookout for fake income figures and other FRAUD.

The concept behind this approach is to have the Lender reduce the monthly payment to an amount of not more than 38% of BEFORE TAX income, with the Treasury sharing the cost of reducing the payments to not more than 31% of BEFORE TAX monthly income.

Here is the bad news: While Borrowers with loans through FHA, VA or owned by FannieMae (FNMA) or FreddieMac (FHMC), will have no problem if the otherwise qualify (above guidelines), IF YOUR LOAN IS IN A MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITY, and if there is a Servicer, the modification can be done only if the agreement( called the Pooling and Servicing Agreement or "PSA") among the investors, lenders, servicers, trustees, etc. allows the changes. Keep in mind, that as explained in earlier posts, no one expected this collapse, so most of the PSAs are not written to allow much in the way of modifications. Also, participation is voluntary. The majority of the Adjustable Rate Mortgages made to so-called sub-prime borrowers are in this category.

The full details of the plan, the "HOME AFFORDABLE MODIFICATION PROGRAM GUIDELINES", are available at which is the official Treasury website. It is 19 pages, most of which gets fairly technical. At the same site there is a Summary of Guidelines called "MAKING HOME AFFORDABLE".

If you are in trouble with your loan, or soon will be, call the company that sends you the monthly statements. If they are of no help, call the "Hope Hotline" at 1-888-995-4673, or contact my office.

Author's Copyright by Richard I. Isacoff, Esq - March, 2009

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