Monday, August 4, 2008

HOPE for Homeowners

I have been getting calls from sellers with rising mortgage bills or from those who have lost income or jobs, to find out if they are eligible for the favorable refinance benefits recently passed in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Following is quoted directly from the Senate Banking Committee. To find out if you qualify, you should call your mortgage lender.


Summary of the "HOPE for Homeowners Act of 2008"

The "HOPE for Homeowners Act of 2008" creates a new, temporary, voluntary program within FHA to back FHA-insured mortgages to distressed borrowers. The new mortgages offered by FHA-approved lenders will refinance distressed loans at a significant discount for owner-occupants at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. In exchange, homeowners will share future appreciation with FHA.

The program is built on five principles:
1. Long-term affordability. The program is built on the idea, expressed by Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, that creating new equity for troubled homeowners is likely to be a more effective way to avoid foreclosures. New loans will be based on a family's ability to repay the loan, ensuring affordability and sustainable homeownership.
2. No investor or lender bailout. Investors and/or lenders will have to take significant losses in order to benefit from the proceeds of the loans refinanced with government insurance. However, these losses would be less than the losses associated with foreclosure.
3. No windfall for borrowers. Borrowers will share their new equity and future appreciation equally with FHA. Borrowers will pay for the FHA insurance.
4. Voluntary participation. This will be a voluntary program. No lenders, servicers, or investors will be compelled to participate.
5. Restore confidence, liquidity, and transparency. Credit markets are fearful and frozen in part because banks and other financial institutions do not know what their subprime mortgages and related securities are worth. The uncertainty is forcing lenders to hoard capital and stop the lending necessary for economic growth. This program will help restore confidence and get markets flowing again.

Eligible Borrowers. Only owner-occupants who are unable to afford their mortgage payments are eligible for the program. No investors or investor properties will qualify. Homeowners must certify, under penalty of law, that they have not intentionally defaulted on their loan to qualify for the program and must have a mortgage debt to income ratio greater than 31 percent as of March 1, 2008. Lenders must document and verify borrowers' income with the IRS.

New Loan Amount. The size of the new FHA-insured loan will be lesser of the amount the borrower can afford to repay, as determined by the current affordability requirements of FHA; or, 90% of the current value of the home. Loans must be 30-year, fixed rate loans.

Equity & Appreciation Sharing. In order to avoid a windfall to the borrower created by the new 90% loan-to-value FHA-insured mortgage, the borrower must share the newly-created equity and future appreciation equally with FHA. This obligation will continue until the borrower sells the home or refinances the FHA-insured mortgage. Moreover, the homeowner's access to the newly created equity will be phased-in over 5 years.

Existing Subordinate Liens. Before participating in this program, all subordinate liens must be extinguished. This will have to be done through negotiation with the first lien holder.

Program Sunset. The program will begin October 1, 2008 and sunset on September 30, 2011.
The complete summary is on the Senate Banking Committee website.

It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, CRP, CRS, GRI, ABR Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Specializing in Emerald Coast of Florida: Destin Florida real estate, Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Dune Allen, Blue Mountain Beach, Freeport, Rosemary Beach, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field.Call toll-free 1-877-ITS-WNDY (1-877-487-9639) or local 850-650-7883 ext 204

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Copyright © 2008 By Wendy Rulnick. All Rights Reserved. *HOPE for Homeowners * Contact Wendy Rulnick regarding Destin Florida real estate and vicinity.

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