Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling in the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti MI area - Contact directly.
Address: 315 East Eisenhower Ste. 206, Ann Arbor MI 48108
Making home affordable offers help to homeowners with:
Many homeowners pay their mortgages on time but are not able to refinance to take advantage of today’s lower mortgage rates perhaps due to a decrease in the value of their home.
Many homeowners are struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments perhaps because their interest rate has increased or they have less income.
Find a list of HUD-approved housing counceling agencies to provide you with information and assistance you need to avoid forecosure. Foreclosure prevention counseling services are provided free of charge by nonprofit housing counseling agencies working in partnership with the Federal Government. These agencies are funded, in part, by HUD and NeighborWorks® America. There is no need to pay a private company for these services.
Making Home Affordable frequently Asked Questions - available as a PDF download here and reprinted from the making home affordable.gov website.
BORROWER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
UPDATED MARCH 18, 2009
What is “Making Home Affordable" all about?
Making Home Affordable is part of President Obama's comprehensive strategy to get
the housing market back on track. Through the Making Home Affordable Program,
up to 9 million American families may be eligible to refinance or modify their loans
to a payment that is affordable now and into the future.
HOME AFFORDABLE REFINANCE
1. I'm current on my mortgage. Will the Home Affordable Refinance help me?
Eligible borrowers who are current on their mortgages but have been unable to take
advantage of today's lower interest rates because their homes have decreased in value,
may now have the opportunity to refinance. Through the Home Affordable
Refinance Program, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow the refinancing of
mortgage loans that they own or that they placed in mortgage backed securities.
2. How do I know if I am eligible?
You may be eligible if:
• You are the owner occupant of a one to four unit home,
• The loan on your property is owned or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie
Mac (Don't know? See below),
• At the time you apply, you are current on your mortgage payments (current
means that you haven’t been more than 30-days late on your mortgage
payment in the last 12 months or, if you have had the loan for less than 12
months, you have never missed a payment),
• You believe that the amount you owe on your first mortgage is about the same
or slightly less than the current value of your house,
• You have income sufficient to support the new mortgage payments, and
• The refinance improves the long term affordability or stability of your loan.
3. How do I know if the refinance will improve the long term affordability or
stability of my loan?
Your lender will give you a “Good Faith Estimate” that includes your new interest rate,
mortgage payment and the amount you will pay over the life of the loan. Compare this to
your current loan terms. If it is not an improvement, refinancing may not be right for
you. Also consider that refinancing from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate loan or
eliminating higher risk loan terms such as interest only payments or balloon payments
may also provide long term stability.
4. How do I know if my loan is owned or has been securitized by Fannie Mae or
You should call your mortgage lender or servicer (the organization to whom you
make your monthly mortgage payments) and ask about the program.
Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have established toll-free telephone numbers and
web submission processes to make this data available. Borrowers will provide or
enter information to determine if either agency owns or securitized the loan. This
information is not a guarantee of eligibility for the refinance program, as other
qualifying criteria must also be met.
• For Fannie Mae,
o 1-800-7FANNIE (8am to 8pm EST).
• Freddie Mac
o 1-800-FREDDIE (8am to 8pm EST)
5. I owe more than my property is worth. Do I still qualify to refinance under
the Making Home Affordable Program?
Eligible loans will include those where the first mortgage will not exceed 105% of the
current market value of the property. For example, if your property is worth $200,000
but you owe $210,000 or less on your first mortgage you may qualify. The current
value of your property will be determined after you apply to refinance.
6. I have both a first and a second mortgage. Do I still qualify to refinance
under Making Home Affordable?
As long as the amount due on the first mortgage is less than 105% of the value of the
property, borrowers with more than one mortgage may be eligible for a Home
Affordable Refinance. Your eligibility will depend, in part, on agreement by the
lender that has your second mortgage remain in a second position, and on your ability
to meet the new payment terms on the first mortgage.
7. Will refinancing lower my payments?
The objective of the Home Affordable Refinance is to provide creditworthy
borrowers who have shown a commitment to paying their mortgage, the opportunity
to get into a mortgage with payments that are affordable today and sustainable for the
life of the loan. Borrowers whose mortgage interest rates are much higher than the
current market rate should see an immediate reduction in their payments.
Borrowers who are paying interest only, or who have a low introductory rate that will
increase in the future, may not see their current payment go down if they refinance to
a fixed rate and payment. These borrowers, however, could save a great deal over the
life of the loan by avoiding future mortgage payment increases. When you submit a
loan application, your lender will give you a "Good Faith Estimate" that includes your
new interest rate, mortgage payment and the amount that you will pay over the life of
the loan. Compare this to your current loan terms. If it is not an improvement, a
refinancing may not be right for you.
8. What are the interest rate and other terms of this refinance offer?
The rate will be based on market rates in effect at the time of the refinance and any
associated points and fees quoted by the lender. Interest rates may vary across
lenders and over time as market rates adjust. The refinanced loans will have no
prepayment penalties or balloon payments.
9. Will refinancing reduce the amount that I owe on my loan?
No. The objective of the Home Affordable Refinance is to help borrowers get into
more affordable loans. Refinancing will not reduce the principal amount you owe to
the first mortgage holder or any other debt you owe. However, refinancing should
save you money by reducing the amount of interest that you pay over the life of the
10. Can I get cash out to pay other debts?
No. However, borrowers whose loans are owned or securitized by Fannie Mae may
be eligible to finance all closing costs and obtain a small amount of cash (2% of the
mortgage amount not to exceed $2,000) through the refinance if there is sufficient
equity. For borrowers whose loans are owned or securitized by Freddie Mac,
transaction costs (not to exceed $2,500) such as the cost of an appraisal or title report,
may be included in the refinanced amount.
11. How do I apply for a Home Affordable Refinance?
You should call your mortgage servicer or lender and ask about the Home Affordable
Refinance application process. The number is on your monthly mortgage bill or
coupon book. Please be patient. Lenders and servicers are implementing the
program now and it may take time before they are ready to process all applications.
In the meantime, it will help your lender and speed up the application process if you
gather some information and documents before you call.
Additionally, beginning April 4, 2009, borrowers whose loans are owned or
securitized by Fannie Mae may also apply through any Fannie Mae approved lender.
Nearly all major banks and mortgage brokers are approved to work with Fannie Me.
Ask the lender you choose if it is authorized to provide a Home Affordable
12. What documentation will I need?
It will help your lender if you gather some information and documents before you
call. You will need:
• Information about the monthly gross (before tax) income of all the borrowers
on your loan, including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation
of income you receive from other sources.
• Your most recent income tax return.
• Information about any second mortgage on the house.
• Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit
• Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as
student loans and car loans.
13. I am delinquent on my mortgage. Will I qualify for a Home Affordable
No. Borrowers who are currently delinquent or have been 30 days overdue more than
once during the past 12 months will not qualify. You should contact your servicer to
see if a Home Affordable Modification is an option for you.
14. Will I need mortgage insurance?
If your existing loan has private mortgage insurance, you will need the same amount
of insurance coverage for the refinanced loan. If your existing loan does not have
private mortgage insurance it will not be required as part of the Home Affordable
15. How long will the Home Affordable Refinance be available?
The program expires on June 10, 2010. Your refinance transaction must be closed and
funded on or before that date.
HOME AFFORDABLE MODIFICATIONS
1. Can Making Home Affordable help me if my loan is not owned or securitized by
Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?
Yes. Making Home Affordable offers help to borrowers who are struggling to keep their
loans current or who are already behind on their mortgage payments. By providing
mortgage servicers with financial incentives to modify existing first mortgages, the
Treasury hopes to help as many as 3 to 4 million homeowners avoid foreclosure
regardless of who owns or services the mortgage.
2. How do I know if I qualify for a Home Affordable Modification?
To apply for a Home Affordable Modification, you must:
• Be an owner-occupant in a one to four unit property,
• Have an unpaid principal balance that is equal to or less than $729,750 for one
unit properties (there is a higher limit for two to four unit properties - consult
• Have a loan that was originated on or before January 1, 2009,
• Have a mortgage payment (including taxes, insurance, and home owners
association dues) that is more than 31% of your gross (pre-tax) monthly
• Have a mortgage payment that is not affordable, perhaps because of a
significant change in income or expenses.
If you answered YES to all of these questions, you may be eligible to apply for a Home
Affordable Modification. Only your servicer will be able to tell you if you qualify.
3. Do I need to be behind on my mortgage payments to be eligible for a Home
No. Responsible borrowers who are struggling to remain current on their mortgage
payments are eligible if they are at risk of imminent default, for example, because their
mortgage payment has recently increased to a level that is not affordable. If you have
had or anticipate a significant increase in your mortgage payment or you have had a
significant reduction in income or have experienced some other hardship that makes you
unable to pay your mortgage, contact your servicer. You will be required to document
your income and expenses and provide evidence of the hardship or change in your
4. I have a second mortgage. Am I still eligible?
Yes, but only the first mortgage is eligible for a modification.
5. How do I know if my servicer is participating? Are all servicers required to
Servicer participation in the program is voluntary. However, the government is offering
substantial incentives to servicers and investors, and it is expected that most major
servicers will participate. Participating servicers will sign a contract with Treasury’s
financial agent, through which they agree to review every potentially eligible borrower
who calls or writes asking to be considered for the program.
As contracts are signed, a list of participating servicers will be available on the Internet at
6. What will my servicer do to determine if I qualify?
If you report a hardship, your servicer will:
• Determine whether your loan meets the minimum eligibility criteria (owner
occupied, originated on or before January 1, 2009, unpaid principal balance
equal to or less than $729,750). If yes
• Ask about current income, assets and expenses as well as the specific
circumstances relating to the hardship to determine if you will be unable to
make your mortgage payment. (Your servicer may initially accept verbal
information about your income and expenses, but eventually you will need to
provide proof in the form of tax returns, pay stubs and other evidence).
• Determine if your monthly first lien mortgage payment is more than 31%
(approximately 1/3) of your gross or pre-tax monthly income. If yes:
• Add past due charges (interest, taxes, insurance and costs that your lender
paid to other parties on your behalf – but not late fees, those must be waived)
to the loan balance.
• Determine how much of an interest rate reduction will be required to get your
first mortgage payment down to a point where it is no more than 31% of your
gross monthly income.
• Apply a value test to determine if the cost of the modification (including the
government’s incentive payments) is less costly for the investor than not
modifying the loan (loans held by borrowers who have a lot of equity or
whose incomes are very low in relation to the value of their homes probably
will not pass this value test). If yes:
• Put you on a trial modification for three months at the new interest rate and
• If you successfully make the payments and are current at the end of the trial
period, your servicer will execute a permanent modification agreement that
will lower your interest rate to a fixed rate for five years, and then capped at a
low rate for the remaining life of the loan.
NOTE: You will be required to sign the modification agreement and other documents
and attest that all of the information you provided to your servicer was true and accurate.
Misrepresenting any information required for the Home Affordable Modification is a
violation of Federal Law and has serious consequences.
7. What happens after five years?
If the modified interest rate is below the market rate, the modified rate will be fixed for a
minimum of five years as specified in your modification agreement. Beginning in year
six, the rate may increase no more than one percentage point per year until it reaches the
rate cap indicated in your modification agreement. The cap is equal to the prevailing
market interest rate on the date the modification is finalized as published by Freddie Mac
based on a survey of its customers. This cap means that your rate can never be higher
than the market rate on the day your loan was modified. If the modified rate is at or
above the prevailing market rate, as defined above, the modified rate will be fixed for the
life of the loan.
8. Will the modified loan include property taxes and homeowners insurance?
Yes. The modification payment will include a monthly amount to be set aside
(escrowed) to pay taxes and insurance when they become due. This escrow is required
even if your prior loan did not include an escrow.
9. How low can my interest rate go?
Treasury is providing incentives to your investor to write the interest down to as low as
2%, if necessary to get to a payment that you can afford based on your income.
10. What happens if that is not enough to get to an affordable payment?
If a 2% interest rate does not result in a payment that is affordable (no more than 31% of
your gross monthly income), your servicer will:
• First try to extend your payment term. At the servicer’s option your payments
could be extended out to 40 years.
• If that is still not sufficient your servicer may defer repayment on a portion of
the amount you owe until a later time. This is called a principal forbearance.
• A portion of the debt could be also be forgiven. This is optional on the part of
the investor. There is no requirement for principal forgiveness.
11. Could I end up with a balloon payment?
Yes. If your servicer determines that a principal forbearance is required to get your
monthly payment to an affordable level, the amount of the forbearance, say for example
this was $20,000, would be subtracted from the amount used to calculate your monthly
mortgage payment, but you would still owe the money. You would have a $20,000
balloon payment that had no interest and was not due until you paid off your loan,
refinanced or sold your house.
12. What happens if I am unable to make payments during the trial period?
Borrowers who are unable to make three payments by the end of the trial period are not
eligible for a Home Affordable Modification. However, you may be eligible for other
foreclosure prevention options offered by your servicer.
13. How much will a modification cost me?
Borrowers who are behind on payments or at risk of imminent default often do not have
cash to pay for the expenses of a loan modification. Borrowers who qualify for a Home
Affordable Modification will never be required to pay a modification fee or pay past due
late fees. If there are costs associated with the modification, such as payment of back
taxes, your servicer will give you the option of adding them to the amount you owe on
your mortgage or paying some or all of the expenses in advance. Paying these expenses
in advance will reduce your new monthly payment and save interest costs over the life of
If you would like assistance from a HUD-approved housing counseling agency or are
referred to a counselor as a condition of the modification, you will not be charged a
counseling fee. Borrowers should beware of any organization that attempts to charge an
upfront fee for housing counseling or modification of a delinquent loan, or any
organization that claims to guarantee success.
14. Is housing counseling required under this program?
Borrowers, especially delinquent borrowers, are strongly encouraged to contact a HUD-
approved housing counselor to help them understand all of their financial options and to
create a workable budget plan. These services are free. However, housing counseling is
only required for borrowers whose total monthly debts are very high in relation their
incomes. It is voluntary for other applicants.
When you apply for a Home Affordable Modification, your servicer will analyze your
monthly debts, including the amount you will owe on the new mortgage payment after it
is modified, as well as payments on a second mortgage, car loans, credit cards or child
support. If the sum of all of these recurring monthly expenses is equal to or more than
55% of your gross monthly income, you must agree to participate in housing counseling
provided by a HUD-approved housing counselor as a condition of getting the
15. I heard the government was providing a financial incentive to borrowers. Is
Yes. Borrowers who make timely payments on their modified loans will receive success
incentives. For every month you make a payment on time, Treasury will pay an incentive
that reduces the principal balance on your loan. The incentive will be applied directly to
your loan balance annually and over five years the total principal reduction could add up
to $5,000. This contribution by the Treasury will help you build equity faster.
16. I do not live in the house that secures the mortgage I’d like to modify. Is this
mortgage eligible for a Home Affordable Modification?
No. For example, if you own a house that you use as a vacation home or that you rent out
to tenants, the mortgage on that house is not eligible. If you used to live in the home but
you moved out, the mortgage is not eligible. Only the mortgage on your primary
residence is eligible. The mortgage servicer will check to see if the dwelling is your
primary residence. Misrepresenting your occupancy in order to qualify for this program is
a violation of Federal law and may have serious consequences.
17. I have a mortgage on a duplex. I live in one unit and rent the other. Will I still
Yes. Mortgages on two, three and four unit properties are eligible as long as you live in
one unit as your primary residence.
18. I owe more than my house is worth. Will a Home Affordable Modification
reduce what I owe?
The primary objective of the Making Home Affordable Program is to help borrowers
avoid foreclosure by modifying troubled loans to achieve a payment the borrower can
afford. Investors may, but are not required to, offer principal reductions. It is more likely
that your servicer will use interest rate reductions in order to make your payment
19. I have an FHA loan. Can it be modified under the making Home Affordable
Program? Are all loans eligible?
Most conventional loans including prime, subprime and adjustable loans, loans owned by
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and private lenders and most loans in mortgage backed
securities are eligible for a Home Affordable Modification. The Administration is
working with the Congress to enact legislation that will allow FHA and VA to offer
modifications consistent with Making Home Affordable in the near future. Currently
loans insured or guaranteed by these agencies are being modified under other programs
that also enable borrowers to retain homeownership.
20. How do I apply for a modification under the Making Home Affordable Plan?
If you meet the general eligibility criteria for the program, you should gather the financial
documentation that your servicer will need to determine if you qualify. Once you have
this information, you should call your mortgage servicer and ask to be considered for a
Home Affordable Modification. The number is on your monthly mortgage bill or coupon
If your loan is current, please be patient as it may take some time before servicers are
able to process all applications. However, servicers immediately can begin reviewing the
eligibility of borrowers.
If you would like to speak to a housing counselor you can call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).
HUD-approved housing counselors can help you evaluate your income and expenses and
understand your options. This counseling is FREE.
If you have already missed one or more mortgage payments and have not yet
spoken to your servicer call them immediately.
21. What information and documents will I need?
It will help your servicer and speed processing of your application if you gather some
information and documents before you call. For all borrowers on your loan, you will
• Information about monthly gross income, including recent pay stubs if the
borrowers are salaried and receive them and documentation of any income
received from other sources.
• Most recent income tax return.
• Information about assets.
• Information about any second mortgage on the house.
• Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all credit cards.
• Account balances and monthly payments on all other debts such as student
loans and car loans.
• A letter describing why your mortgage is unaffordable (i.e. what caused your
income(s) to be reduced or expenses to be increased).
22. How long will the Home Affordable Modification Program be available?
The program expires on December 31, 2012. Your trial modification must be in place by
23. My loan is scheduled for foreclosure soon. What should I do?
Many servicers have made a commitment to postpone foreclosure sales on all mortgages
that meet the minimum eligibility criteria for a Home Affordable Modification until those
loans can be fully evaluated.
However, borrowers whose loans have been scheduled for foreclosure or any borrower
that has missed one or more mortgage payments and has not yet spoken to their servicer
should contact the servicer immediately. Borrowers may also contact a HUD-approved
housing counselor by calling 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?
1. Who is my “loan servicer? Is that the same as my lender or investor?
Your loan servicer is the financial institution that collects your monthly mortgage payments and
has responsibility for the management and accounting of your loan. Your servicer may also be
your lender, which means they own your loan, however, many loans are owned by groups of
Traditionally, banks used money deposited in customers’ savings accounts to make loans. They
held the loans, earning the interest as borrowers repaid over time. Banks were thus limited in the
number of loans they could make because they had to wait to make new ones until savings
deposits grew or existing borrowers repaid their loans. Many families who wanted to own a
home were unable to do so because there was not a steady supply of money to lend.
Over time, banks started to turn loans into cash by pooling large groups of loans together to create
mortgage backed securities that could be sold to investors such as pension funds and hedge
funds. The investors get the right to collect future payments and the bank gets cash that it can use
to make more loans. Investors hire loan servicers to collect payments and interact with
If you have questions about your loan or you are behind on your payments you should call your
loan servicer at the number on your payment coupon or monthly mortgage statement.
2. Why does my loan servicer have to ask the investor if they can do a loan modification?
If the organization that services your loan does not own it, your servicer may need to get
permission from the owner or investor before they can change any of the terms of your loan.
Generally, there is a contract between the servicer and the investor that states what kind of actions
the servicer is allowed to take. Most of these contracts, called pooling and servicing agreements
(PSAs), give the servicer a lot of leeway to make modification decisions, so long as the
modification provides a better financial outcome for the investor than not modifying the loan.
3. What should I do if my servicer tells me that the investor is not participating in
Making Home Affordable?
As contracts with servicers and investors are signed, the list of participants will be posted
at http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/. Borrowers should check first to see if their
servicer is listed. If so, you should call your servicer back and ask to speak to a
supervisor or you may contact a HUD-approved housing counselor for assistance. If your
servicer or investor is not participating in the program, you should ask your servicer or a
housing counselor about other workout options that may be available.
BEWARE OF FORECLOSURE RESCUE SCAMS – HELP IS FREE!
• There should never be a fee for assistance with or information about the Making
Home Affordable Program.
• Beware of any person or organization that asks you to pay an upfront fee in exchange
for a counseling service or modification of a delinquent loan. Do not pay – walk
• Beware of anyone who says they can “save” your home if you 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 your mortgage payments to anyone other than your mortgage company
without their approval.