Archive for November, 2009

A Nationwide Campaign Kick-Off starts today to help more struggling homeowners


The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today kick off a nationwide campaign to help borrowers who are currently in the trial phase of their modified mortgages under the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) convert to permanent modifications.

The modification program, which has helped over 650,000 borrowers, is part of the Administration’s broader commitment to stabilize housing markets and to provide relief to struggling homeowners and is a primary focus of financial stability efforts moving forward.

Roughly 375,000 of the borrowers who have begun trial modifications since the start of the program are scheduled to convert to permanent modifications by the end of the year. Through the efforts being announced today, Treasury and HUD will implement new outreach tools and borrower resources to help convert as many trial modifications as possible to permanent ones.

“We are encouraged by the pace at which trial modifications are now being made to provide immediate savings to struggling homeowners,” said the new Chief of Treasury’s Homeownership Preservation Office (HPO), Phyllis Caldwell. “We now must refocus our efforts on the conversion phase to ensure that borrowers and servicers know what their responsibilities are in converting trial modifications to permanent ones.”

In her new role, Caldwell will lead HPO’s conversion drive efforts. “Encouraging borrowers to move through the process of converting trial modifications to permanent modifications remains a top priority for HUD,” said HUD Assistant Secretary for Housing and FHA Commissioner David Stevens. “As a part of our continuing efforts to improve the execution of the HAMP program, HUD is committed to working with servicers, borrowers, housing counselors and others dedicated to homeownership preservation to improve the transition of distressed homeowners into affordable and sustainable mortgages.”

With tens of thousands of trial modifications being made each week, the Administration is now working to ensure that eligible borrowers have the information and the assistance needed to move from the trial to the permanent modification phase. (All mortgage modifications begin with a trial phase to allow borrowers to submit the necessary documentation and determine whether the modified monthly payment is sustainable for them.)

As the first round of modifications convert from the trial to permanent phase, the Administration has identified several strategies for addressing the challenges that borrowers confront in receiving permanent modifications.

In addition to the conversion drive that kicks off today, the Obama Administration has already taken several steps to make the transition from trial to permanent modification easier and more transparent by:

* Extending the period for trial modifications started on or before September 1st to give homeowners more time to submit required information;

*Streamlining the application process to minimize paperwork and simplify the submission process; meeting regularly with servicers to identify necessary improvement to borrower outreach and responsiveness;

* Developing operational metrics to hold servicers accountable for their performance, which will soon be reported publicly;

* Enhancing borrower resources on the website and the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline (888-995-HOPE) to provide direct access to tools and housing counselors.

Find out more about The Mortgage Modification Conversion Drive.


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Wishing You Blessings of Health, Happiness & Success

Happy Thanksgiving

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Hump Wednesday Funnies – For Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

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The Top 10 Questions About Loan Modification

save your home

The loan modification process can be overwhelming and confusing for many distressed homeowners.  Programs and guidelines are changing and it is getting much easier for homeowners to get the help they need.

To help you understand how the process works and what you can expect, here are the Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions and their Answers:

1. What exactly is a loan modification?
A loan modification is a permanent change in one or more terms of a borrower’s home loan, allows the loan to be reinstated, and results in a payment the homeowner can afford

2. Can the lender include late charges in the Loan Modification?
The federal plan mandates that the bank waive any administrative charges, late fees and penalties when offering a loan workout.

3. How will the new government programs help me get a loan modification?
The Federal government has allocated $75 billion dollars to subsidize lenders and servicers who offer a loan workout to their clients. Now, the banks will have a monetary incentive to offer help to qualified borrowers. In addition, homeowners who pay their new modified payments on time will be eligible up to $5000 credit to their loan balance.

4. How do I know if I will qualify for a loan modification?
The number 1 criteria your lender is looking at is your ability to make the new modified payment now and in the future. You need to supply the lender with proof of your income, along with a complete and accurate financial statement detailing your income and expenses to show them that if granted the modification, you will be able to afford the new, lower payment. You must also be able to demonstrate that you are facing a financial hardship-lower income or higher expenses for example.

5. Do I have to be currently delinquent on my payments to get a loan modification?
President Obama has included a special incentive under the Home Affordable Modification Plan that will pay lenders an extra bonus for reaching out to homeowners not yet delinquent but at risk in the future. The goal is to help borrowers before they fall into default.

6. What is an acceptable Hardship situation?
Each homeowner has a unique set of circumstances that caused them to fall behind on their home loan, but generally the lenders consider divorce/separation, loss of income, death of spouse, co borrower or family member, illness, job relocation, military service to be acceptable reasons to consider a loan modification. A compelling hardship letter included in your application is a very important part of a successful application.

7. Will a loan modification help me stop foreclosure?
Yes, that is the goal-by working with your lender to find a loan workout solution, your loan is brought current and the foreclosure process is halted.

8. Can my missed payments be added back into my new loan modification?
Yes, the arrears can be added to the new loan balance and spread out over the term to allow the loan to be brought current.

9. Can I do a loan modification myself or should I pay someone to represent me?
That is entirely up to you and your comfort level with dealing with your lender. The Treasury Department is strongly discouraging the payment of any fee to a third party to represent you in a loan workout. Regardless of what you decide, the first thing you should do is learn all you can about the process, your legal rights, and what it takes to get your application approved. An informed homeowner is harder to take advantage of and will have a much greater chance of success.

10. So how do I get started to modify my loan?

Before contacting your bank’s loss mitigation department or a loan mod company, do your homework-learn as much as you can about the loan modification process so you can make informed decisions.


For additional assistance and information, visit for a complete list of resources and to get in touch with a representative.


Source:  Susan Gregory

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How to Get the Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit

home buyer tax credit

When you decide to purchase a home and take advantage of the Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit, you must follow the guidelines below:

1. Close on your home purchase between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010, or have a binding written contract by April 30, 2010 and close by July 1, 2010.

2. Decide whether to:
* apply the credit to your 2009 tax return, filed on or before April 15, 2010;
* file an amended 2009 return; or,
* apply the credit on your 2010 return, filed on or before April 15, 2011.

3. Attach documentation of purchase to your return.

Documentation of Purchase
Details concerning the precise documents required to confirm your purchase have not yet been released. When this information becomes available, we will include instructions and links to the appropriate forms.

When to Apply the Credit

Buyers purchasing homes on or before December 31, 2009 may claim the credit on their 2009 tax returns.

Buyers purchasing in 2010 will have the option to:

* Claim the credit on their 2009 return, even if the purchase is completed after December 31, 2009;
* File an amended return for 2009 if their purchase is completed after April 15, 2010; or,
* Claim the credit on their 2010 tax returns.

If you purchased a home between January 1, 2009 and November 6, 2009, please see: How to Get the 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit.

Applying the Credit to Your 2009 Taxes

You will need to do three things to claim the credit on your 2009 tax return:

1. Fill out Form 5405 to determine the amount of your available credit;
2. Apply the credit when you file your 2009 tax return or file an amended return;
3. Attach documentation of purchase to your return or amended return.

More Useful Links:

Applying the Home Buyers Tax Credit to your 2009 Tax Returns

Bridge Loans: Using the Home Buyers Tax Credit Up-Front

Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR)

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A Morning Cup of Inspiration – Nov. 20, 2009

A True North Star

– John C. Maxwell

Over the years as I have watched and listened to successful people, I have discovered a common thread: They know why they’re here. Knowing their purpose in life gives them stability. And when others around them start abandoning their causes and jumping ship when life gets tough, these people use this assurance to steady the boat, to ride out the storm because they have a true North Star. It becomes an anchor in their life—a confidence based upon knowledge of purpose.

Someone once said there are two great days in life—the day you are born and the day you discover why. I’m here to tell you, highly successful people have discovered why.

I think there are two paths we can take to discover our purpose. The first is passion. What are you passionate about? What do you really care about? What would you live for? What would you die for?

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Hump Wednesday Funnies

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