Refinancing, Home Loan Help to Prevent Mortgage Foreclosure

By Gabriel Traverso
NFNS Columnist

Some homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), interest-only home loans, or other Alt-A loans have been worrying about foreclosure as payments rise steadily. Last month some of the major players in the mortgage business decided to take action to help these people.

Rising Rates, Rising Mortgage Payments, Falling Home Values

In many major markets, home appreciation is falling and some experts are predicting flattening prices at best, and a price drop of as much as 9% in half of the 50 biggest markets in the country. Rates are going up and this year almost two million ARMs will reset to higher rates and higher payments. With foreclosures already on the rise, some fear that this might make matters worse.

Taking Action

In April, some of the major mortgage players got together and decided to adopt a set of principles to help provide options to homeowners who might be facing foreclosure. Senator Christopher Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has been urging the mortgage industry to take voluntary action rather than force a government bailout. JP Morgan, Chase, HSBC, and Bear Stearns & Co. are some of the mortgage companies who elected to endorse the following new principles:
  • Promptly contact borrowers in danger of foreclosure and try to make preventative arrangements.
  • Reduce rates or terms in order to make mortgage payments more affordable.
  • Give eligible homeowners refinance options at the lowest possible cost.

Mortgage Refinancing: Act Sooner Rather Than Later

Freddie Mac, one of the organizations that adopted these new principles, estimates mortgage rates will continue to rise. Their projection shows the 30-year fixed-rate to go up to 6.5% by the end of next year. If you need to refinance your mortgage, especially if you are one of these homeowners worried about foreclosure, then you might consider investigating your refinance options before things get worse. The sooner you contact your lender, the more likely they are to be able to work with you.

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How to Refinance

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