Thursday, February 02, 2012

New refinance program announced allowing underwater homeowners to refi

This month President Obama is announcing a new program to help homeowners who want to refinance their home loans to today's lower interest rates but have been unable to do so due to being underwater.

Right now in Manatee county almost half of the homes that have mortgages on them owe more than the current value.  If you are underwater in your home refinancing to get to a lower payment is simply not possible as any lender would require that the home be appraised, and the loan could not be for more than the current appraised value.

The new loan refinance program will have a limited population that it will really help, but could be a boon for those who have a high interest rate loan, and are underwater.  There are some catches to the program though.

  1. You have to be current in your payments for the last 6 months, and you can only have been late on one payment in the 6 months prior
  2. The home loan amount has to meet what is considering conforming loan limits.  In Sarasota and Bradenton, homes that have a loan amount below 416,000 would qualify.  If you have a jumbo mortgage, then you are out of luck.
  3. how they intend to pay for the program that should cost 5 billion or more is to add a tax to to the major banks.  This will be then passed onto everyone through higher fees.  This is assuming that the program that gets through the congressional process that would need to approve this aid program.
Some really good points to the new program

  1. If your home is underwater the program will allow up to 140% OVER the current market value to be appraised.
  2. If you owe over 140% on your primary loan, then apparently there is a caveat that the lender would have to reduce your principle to this amount (140% of market value).  In my opinion, most homeowners would probably rather sell their home, as a short sale, then to keep a home so far underwater.
  3. They are proposing a streamlined application process that my sources (wall street journal) state would only involve verifying employment.  Typically on a loan application, or refinance there is a lot of paperwork to provide, including tax returns, bank statements, etc.  An easy process to apply should really help
I think that this program is well intentioned, however it seems to me to a posturing effort that will allow President Obama to show that he is out to help distressed homeowners.  If this Refinancing program is blocked by Congress, then this could be a talking point that he will use to show how he is on the side of the people, and Congressional Republicans are against homeowners.

The biggest issue with this program is that it does not address those homeowners that are late, or behind in their mortgage.  I meet with many homeowners in Manatee and Sarasota county that are frustrated with their low home values, and feel trapped by the negative equity.  Many have had issues keeping up with the mortgage payments, and even if they are late, once in the past year, this program doesn't help them whatsoever

A recent new short sale home seller in Bradenton summed it up best.  He had bought in 2005, with an adjustable rate loan.  It was a home that was within his budget, but do to the recession, he was unable to keep up with the payments.  He had called his lender, Bank of America, to do a loan modification to lower his interest rates, but was drug through the process with no positive outcome.  He fell behind in his mortgage payments, while waiting for the help that never came. 

Bank of America suggested that he short sale his Bradenton home as an alternative to foreclosure.  So now I am able to help him sell his family's home and avoid a foreclosure.  He owes 400,000 on a home that was 550,000 in 2005.  Now that home will sell for in the 250,000 range.  

They are frustrated as they are going to have to move into a rental, and have damaged credit.  Plus losing the 150,000 in down payment for the purchase.  Meanwhile this short sale home will sell to a new homeowner who will get a much lower interest rate, and have a mortgage close to half of what he was paying.

It's hard not to get angry when you know the next owner of your home will be paying much less to purchase, and monthly payments that they could have easily afforded.

My proposal, would be to have ALL homeowners mortgage payments reset to what the current market value is today.  When the home sells in the future, the negative equity portion would be recaptured by the investor/lender.  All homes will eventually sell, so there will be an eventual gain to the lender.  This idea would keep many thousands of families in their homes, and help stabilize the market by eliminating all those that don't want to sell but are forced to give up their homes through a short sale or foreclosure.


11215 SR 70 SUITE #105
Bradenton, FL 34202

Posted via email from Joe Murphy Knows Real Estate in Bradenton