Help for Homeowners – Summary of Programs

12-8-2014: Homeowners whose mortgages were already modified through the Home Affordable Modification Program to prevent foreclosure (approximately 1,000,000) could receive an additional $5,000 reduction $5 Billion from US taxpayers) in their loans from the government in 2015.

6-2-2013: About 20 million home owners are effectively underwater (i.e., owe more than home is worth) where about 10 million are still underwater and 10 million have very little equity to sell their homes without a distressed short sale. WSJ, 5-20-2014, A2.

12-19-2013: HARP doesn’t specifically apply to 2nd loans, but if your 1st mortgage refinance is going to be effective enough, ask the 2nd lender – check it out. Consider these words of advice.

11-15-2013: Good article from Zillow summarizing help available thru HARP for homeowner still underwater on their mortgages. Source:

11-8-2013: As of August 2013, HARP may have saved approximately 2.9 million homeowners as much as $12 billion a year on their mortgage interest payments…average $4,300 in annual savings…lower rates or shorter maturity….HARP has no loan-to-value limits under Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae rules Source:

4-25-2013:  High mortgage redefault rates under HAMP suggest they aren’t as successful as other modification programs.

4-24-2013:  FHFA Announces New Streamlined Modification Initiative starting July 1, 2013 a mortgage holder will be eligible to modify loan if over 12 month old, owned by Fannie/Freddie, and 3-24 months behind

4-14-2013: FHFA extends HARP (refinance if you are not behind) through December 31, 2015

12-26-2012: President Obama has proposed an extension of the HAMP program to allow Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac buy/refi loans of “eligible” borrowers who are underwater and who did not obtain their loans under an approved Fannie & Freddie backed loan. That will place another several hundred thousand of the 900,000 underwater, non Fannie/Freddie borrowers on the taxpayer’s hook!

10-13-12:HUD approved counselors in Georgia are available to give you guidance on which path is best for you.

HAFA – Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative Program – in case you elect to eliminate your mortgage (& dispose of your property) by a short sale or a Deed-in-Lieu (DIL) of foreclosure

The new policy updates for HAFA will take effect February 1, 2013, but servicers can begin implementing the changes earlier.

One of the changes discussed during the webinar is the requirement for servicers to make a decision on a borrower’s request for a HAFA short sale within 30 days.

But resale rules have been relaxed to help investors to allow them to sell properties in a short as 30 days after a HAFA short sale closing as opposed to a 90 day waiting period.


These two programs fall under the umbrella of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (HASP).

HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) – If you’re not behind or current on your mortgage payments but have been unable to refinance due from your home’s property value has declined, you may be eligible to refinance through HARP. Not sure about employment status since HAMP refers to employment status.

HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) – If you’re employed and behind or having difficulty/struggling to make your mortgage payments, you may be eligible to lower your monthly mortgage payment to 31 percent of your verified monthly gross (pre-tax) income.

Note: In addition to consulting tax advisor (e.g., impact of loan forgiveness on your income/taxes) and legal advisor (e.g., are you liable for anything), you may also call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).

4-19-2012: Good blog post by Ilyce Glink on HARP & HAMP.

4-18-2012: Find out who may be eligible for assistance from the National Loan Servicers $26 Billion lawsuit settlement

4-17-2012:  FHFA release stats on HARP helping refinance over 1 million loans, but how many redefaulted or are these numbers accurate? Source:

4-11-2012: HAMP is now offering financial incentives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for lenders to perform loan write-downs. Source:

3-2-2012: HARP is being expanded to all homeowners who are current on their Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages, have not used HARP before, and regardless how far underwater they are on their mortgage. Source:

3-22-2011:  Let’s see – Kill FHA Short Refi Program – Maybe kill HAMP – and now extend HARP –HAMP-HARP-FHA Short Refi and other program fates – Apparently, to qualify for HARP you must currently have a mortgage owned or guaranteed by the the former GSEs (Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac), have a 12 month history of on-time payments on your loan, and owe more on your loan than your home is worth (<=125%).  NOTE:  Not sure about these numbers but they are encouraging – During 2010 a total of 6.8 million mortgages were refinanced nationwide using HARP, with 621,803 loan closings – Then how did the other 90% get modified if they didn’t refinance through a loan closing?  In 2009 190,180 homeowners used the program to refinance.

3-15-2011:  WSJ 3-15-2011, A16 – over half of all mortgages modified through Bush and Obama programs had redefaulted within 12 months.Private loans defaulted at a higher rate.  But they also reported 62% of “Government Guaranteed” loans but didn’t specify FHA/VA/Fannie/Freddie?

3-1-2011:   Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) is a non profit organization designed to assist homeowners in financial trouble making their monthly mortgage payments.  ACHOA has counselors to assist the homeowner to work with their lenders to prevent foreclosure.  Many times, a bank/financial institution may have several departments – foreclosure, mortgage payment servicing, mortgage modification, etc.  These departments may not even talking with one another regarding the same customer’s situation – sad, but true.  Affordable Housing Centers of America website

2-17-2011:  The new FHA Short Refinance Program involves banks and creditors to agree to write down home loans to below current equity (market) value of the home. The process refinance borrowers into the Federal backed mortgages.  As of this date, about 15 homeowners have refinanced since the program’s release in August 2010.

Note:  As of now, several other programs to help homeowner have dismal results – 5,000+ homeowners enrolled in program to assist unemployed homeowners; 3,000+ homeowner helped with refinancing 2nd liens; and 2,000+ homeowner received Federal assistance who have turned in their properties or were allowed short sales. (Source:  US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Bush’s – Hope Now – This was an attempt early in the mortgage meltdown (2007) to get existing lenders to modify your loan.  It was not very successful.

Bush’s – Hope for Homeowners in (2008)

Barney Frank’s proposed moratorium on foreclosures (with Fannie and Freddie)in (2009).

Barack Obama’s – Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) – 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) in (2009).

Note: Other attempts by the Federal Government to prevent or relieve impact of foreclosures includes (a) $150 billion poured into Fannie and Freddie to date for purchase of failed mortgages; (b)both the first time homebuyer tax credits (one refundable, the other non-refundable); (c) Federal dollars to help neighborhoods struck by foreclosures; (d) another $1.5 billion to 5 states and $.5 billion to other states hit by foreclosures; and (e) FHA’s recent continuation of flipper waiver allowing people to purchase flipped homes less than 90 days after foreclosed homes were bought and remodeled by investors.

10-20-2010:  (WSJ 10-20-2010, C2) – Wells Fargo was quoted to say their general practice is to exhaust every home retention option before foreclosure.

8-18-2010 WSJ A6 – Some complaints – overly complex, unwieldy and revised so often that servicers have a hard time keeping up with changes, but the Treasury Department blames servicers for not doing everything possible for the homeowner.

Apparently about 15% of borrowers (398,000/1.3 million) who applied for the HAMP got help…another 520,000 have dropped out and about 45% (234,000) may have received loan restructuring with their loan company…but 286,000 homeowners weren’t helped.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – FHA Short Refinance

All these programs were thought of to help homeowners.  For example, HAMP was designed to help millions of homeowners, but less than 500,000 homeowners in fact more people have been kicked out of the program than received permanent modifications and many more found no path to keeping their home.

References to products and services are not a specific endorsement, but the user must perform their due diligence and investigate whether the product or service is right for them. I welcome any or all comments that would help others.

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