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Get mortgage help now before HAMP ends

The federal Home Affordability Mortgage Program can be a key tool to keep your house, and now is the time to act before HAMP is gone



Like so many things in life, there’s the good news and the bad news about home ownership in Minnesota. The good news is that the national mortgage meltdown of 2008 seems to be in the past, with a new market of Twin Cities home buyers in 2015 reaching a 10-year high. The other side of the coin is that there still are homeowners struggling to keep up, as well as over 5,400 foreclosed homes in Minnesota listed for sale at internet realty sites.  LSS Financial Counseling wants to alert homeowners who need help that one of the main tools for help is about to sunset, so it is important to seek help now rather than wait.

“The Home Affordability Mortgage Program (HAMP) is a really special tool to help people get their mortgage back on track,” says Darryl Dahlheimer, program director for LSS Financial Counseling. “There are so many reasons why people can get behind on housing costs, from job loss or reduction in hours to disability, divorce, and new medical expenses – but with help, those problems don’t automatically need to mean losing your house.”

How HAMP can help homeowners by changing their loan

Not all mortgage companies participate in HAMP, and there is no guarantee that an application for HAMP will be approved.  But if your mortgage originated before 2009, and the mortgage payment is more than 31% of your gross household income, and you are late by 60 days or in danger of becoming delinquent, HAMP could be the answer.

HAMP can modify existing loans by any of these changes:

  • Reduction on the interest rate to as low as 2%
  • Extension of the loan term of up to 40 years
  • Rolling any delinquent payments and fees into the loan to bring it current
  • Incentives paid to homeowners to keep loans in good standing with on-time payments

 

Time for action
The deadline for HAMP applications is December 30, 2016. Dahlheimer encourages every homeowner who needs help and might qualify for this modification to act now. He added, “Don’t get scammed by these ‘foreclosure rescue’ services that charge fees to help you or push you into short sales or bankruptcy filings. There is free, expert help from HUD-certified nonprofit housing counselors.  And the earlier you seek help, the more good options you have.”

LSS Financial Counseling serves all homeowners with free and confidential foreclosure prevention counseling, offering in-person help at 10 offices statewide as well as phone counseling. To get started, call LSS at 1.888.577.2227 or visit www.ConquerYourDebt.org