February 18th, 2009
10:16 AM ET

Q&A on the foreclosure plan, and what it means for you

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Questions and Answers for Borrowers about the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Borrowers Who Are Current on Their Mortgage Are Asking:

1. What help is available for borrowers who stay current on their mortgage payments but have seen their homes decrease in value?

Under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, eligible borrowers who stay current on their mortgages but have been unable to refinance to lower their interest rates because their homes have decreased in value, may now have the opportunity to refinance into a 30 or 15 year, fixed rate loan. Through the program, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow the refinancing of mortgage loans that they hold in their portfolios or that they placed in mortgage backed securities.

2. I owe more than my property is worth, do I still qualify to refinance under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

Eligible loans will now include those where the new first mortgage (including any refinancing costs) 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 you may qualify. The current value of your property will be determined after you apply to refinance.

3. How do I know if I am eligible?

Complete eligibility details will be announced on March 4th when the program starts. The criteria for eligibility will include having sufficient income to make the new payment and an acceptable mortgage payment history. The program is limited to loans held or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

4. I have both a first and a second mortgage. Do I still qualify to refinance under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

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 to refinance under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. Your eligibility will depend, in part, on agreement by the lender that has your second mortgage to remain in a second position, and on your ability to meet the new payment terms on the first mortgage.

5. Will refinancing lower my payments?

The objective of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is to provide creditworthy borrowers who have shown a commitment to paying their mortgage with affordable payments that are 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. These borrowers, however, could save a great deal over the life of the loan. 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.

6. What are the interest rate and other terms of this refinance offer?

The objective of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is to provide borrowers with a safe loan program with a fixed, affordable payment. All loans refinanced under the plan will have a 30 or 15 year term with a fixed interest rate. 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 notes.

7. Will refinancing reduce the amount that I owe on my loan?

No. The objective of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is to help borrowers refinance into safer, more affordable fixed rate loans. Refinancing will not reduce the amount you owe to the first mortgage holder or any other debt you owe. However, by reducing the interest rate, refinancing should save you money by reducing the amount of interest that you repay over the life of the loan.

8. How do I know if my loan is owned or has been securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?

To determine if your loan is owned or has been securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and is eligible to be refinanced, you should contact your mortgage lender after March 4, 2009.

9. When can I apply?

Mortgage lenders will begin accepting applications after the details of the program are announced on March 4, 2009.

10. What should I do in the meantime?

You should gather the information that you will need to provide to your lender after March 4, when the refinance program becomes available. This includes:

· information about the gross monthly income of all borrowers, including your most 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

· payments on each of your credit cards if you are carrying balances from month to month, and

· payments on other loans such as student loans and car loans.

Borrowers Who Are at Risk of Foreclosure Are Asking:

1. What help is available for borrowers who are at risk of foreclosure either because they are behind on their mortgage or are struggling to make the payments?

The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan offers help to borrowers who are already behind on their mortgage payments or who are struggling to keep their loans current. By providing mortgage lenders 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. Do I need to be behind on my mortgage payments to be eligible for a modification?

No. Borrowers who are struggling to stay current on their mortgage payments may be eligible if their income is not sufficient to continue to make their mortgage payments and they are at risk of imminent default. This may be due to several factors, such as a loss of income, a significant increase in expenses, or an interest rate that will reset to an unaffordable level.

3. How do I know if I qualify for a payment reduction under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

In general, you may qualify for a mortgage modification if (a) you occupy your house as your primary residence; (b) your monthly mortgage payment is greater than 31% of your monthly gross income; and (c) your loan is not large enough to exceed current Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits. Final eligibility will be determined by your mortgage lender based on your financial situation and detailed guidelines that will be available on March 4, 2009.

4. I do not live in the house that secures the mortgage I'd like to modify. Is this mortgage eligible for the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

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 lender will check to see if the dwelling is your primary residence.

5. I have a mortgage on a duplex. I live in one unit and rent the other. Will I still be eligible?

Yes. Mortgages on 2, 3 and 4 unit properties are eligible as long as you live in one unit as your primary residence.

6. I have two mortgages. Will the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan reduce the payments on both?

Only the first mortgage is eligible for a modification.

7. I owe more than my house is worth. Will the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan reduce what I owe?

The primary objective of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is to help borrowers avoid foreclosure by modifying troubled loans to achieve a payment the borrower can afford. Lenders are likely to lower payments mainly by reducing loan interest rates. However, the program offers incentives for principal reductions and at your lender's discretion modifications may include upfront reductions of loan principal.

8. I heard the government was providing a financial incentive to borrowers. Is that true?

Yes. To encourage borrowers who work hard to retain homeownership, the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan provides incentive payments as a borrower makes timely payments on the modified loan. The incentive will accrue on a monthly basis and will be applied directly to reduce your mortgage debt. Borrowers who pay on time for five years can have up to $5,000 applied to reduce their debt by the end of that period.

9. How much will a modification cost me?

There is no cost to borrowers for a modification under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. If you wish to get 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 fee. Borrowers should beware of any organization that attempts to charge a fee for housing counseling or modification of a delinquent loan, especially if they require a fee in advance.

10. Is my lender required to modify my loan?

No. Mortgage lenders participate in the program on a voluntary basis and loans are evaluated for modification on a case-by-case basis. But the government is offering substantial incentives and it is expected that most major lenders will participate.

11. I'm already working with my lender / housing counselor on a loan workout. Can I still be considered for the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

Ask your lender or counselor to be considered under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.

12. How do I apply for a modification under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

You may not need to do anything at this time. Most mortgage lenders will evaluate loans in their portfolio to identify borrowers who may meet the eligibility criteria. After March 4 they will send letters to potentially eligible homeowners, a process that may take several weeks. If you think you qualify for a modification and do not receive a letter within several weeks, contact your mortgage servicer or a HUD-approved housing counselor. Please be aware that servicers and counseling agencies are expected to receive an extraordinary number of calls about this program.

13. What should I do in the meantime?

You should gather the information that you will need to provide to your lender on or after March 4, when the modification program becomes available. This includes

· information about the monthly gross income of your household 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

· payments on each of your credit cards if you are carrying balances from month to month, and

· payments on other loans such as student loans and car loans.

14. My loan is scheduled for foreclosure soon. What should I do?

Contact your mortgage servicer or credit counselor. Many mortgage lenders have expressed their intention to postpone foreclosure sales on all mortgages that may qualify for the modification in order to allow sufficient time to evaluate the borrower's eligibility. We support this effort.

Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Housing Market • Raw Politics
soundoff (483 Responses)
  1. Bob T

    This is what the so called majority voted for in November. I'm a responsible homeowner who pays his bills,lives within my means and does what needs to be done to provide for my family.

    For all of you that are complaining about supporting those that can't support themselves and you voted for Obama you have no one to blame but yourself. Maybe in 4 years you will finally get it.

    Welcome to Sociialism

    February 18, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  2. Gene

    All you whiners crying about... "I'm responsible, pay my bills, why should I be burdened by others... who's gonna help me?"

    GROWUP! Your job could be next... your spouse's after that, then you'll sing a different tune. "It's their fault! blah blah blah" You make me sick!

    February 18, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  3. Chase Sucks

    We have dealt with Chase for far too many years. They are the Idiots of Idiots. I can assume they will not do much if anything at all to help troubled home owners.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  4. m

    To all those who don't want to pay for others "bad choices". There are many of us out here who have watched our businesses and jobs disapear because of the decisions and choices of our politians, banks and financial wizards, who have worked two and three jobs at a time to make up for the losses. Who've have to change their priorities (example: let their health insurance go) and make difficult and painful decisions all along the way. This problem is much, much, much complex than people who "can't afford" or have made "bad choices."

    February 18, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  5. ken

    Regarding what is fair. Understand this. I knew what I got myself into with my mortgage. I refinanced from an out of control adjustable rate mortgage in April 2007. Put $50,000 down and had high 700 credit. Reality is I did not qualify based on income but got the loan anyways. I felt my business would continue to grow & I would be OK. Soon after, my business, like thousands of other business owners, started to suffer. Remember this, my business, as all legal businesses put money in other peoples pocket and added to the tax base. Then the big bust. I began to go into debt for the first time ever, other than home & car loans.
    I never missed a payment on anything for 20 years. Now, to get out of my financial trouble, I cannot sell my house to save my life! There are few decent jobs available. I did not create this problem. It was caused by extreme predatory lending by the entire US financial system and complete lack of oversight by the US government. I am in danger of losing my average American home, my life savings and everything that goes with that. I responsibly tried to work with my bank before I got in trouble. They like most major banks DO NOT GET IT. The feds must step in. I need a cushion to maintain and rebuild my business so I can continue to contribute to the economy and have a fair life. I take full responsibility for my actions. I refuse to suffer, however, due to a problem caused by the greed and corruption of Wall Street and the blindness of the Bush Administration and Congress(both parties). My taxes pays the law makers that have failed. I will take the help to survive. This is not about me. It is about us. Everyone has to pay to survive this. I can only hope we can finally learn from our mistakes as a society.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  6. TOG

    Whine! Whine! Whine! No one should get a bailout! These bailouts will squash the american economy for the next 50 years! If both spouses work and you bought a home based on both incomes or if you were stupid enough to get a high risk mortgage, you deserve to be thrown out on the street. I am sick of americans who think they are owed something. You are not owed a home, health care, a nice car, a college education, a plasma TV....you WORK for it!!! You PLAN for problems. It is the irresponcible airheads of America that clamor for socialism because they don't want to Work for these goals. Guess what....it's going to get alot worse. Make sure you are prepared for the riots!

    February 18, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  7. Heather,ca

    I got my home the old fashioned way. I hope people realize that not only is it one of the most important decisions you ever make, it also affects alot of people, children and businesses. I hope everyone finds a way to stay in their homes. The propery taxes are so important to the schools.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  8. Pamela

    I tried to modify my FHA loan and my mortgage company said that because I have a temporary job, I do not qualify and cannot afford my home anymore. However, if I was unemployed my unemployment compensation would qualify me to still afford the home, ironic. I want to work but, cannot find a job that pays me what the bank wants me to work. So, I'm being penalize for wanting to work at a lower rate while I go back to College. They really need to help us... Please note that I bought the house back in 2002 when I made 50-55K per year and now..... they basically have shut the door on me and my son. Regards, the honest and hardworking single mom Pamela....

    February 18, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  9. Joti

    DOES ANYONE THINK THAT OWNING A HOME IS A LUXURY???? HELLO? You don't need to own a home to live in it, you can rent a place to live. It is not a neccessity like food. People are so spoiled that they act like they are going to be on the streets if they don't own a home. IT IS NOT A BID DEAL. JUST RENT ONE till this is all over.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  10. Phoebe

    Write your Congressperson & Senators to oppose this government-funded bail out of other peoples irresponsible behavior. This is disgusting for the MAJORITY of us who buy our homes, pay our bills and make our own way in this world.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  11. Victor

    This is not fair to people who are doing everything by the book. If goverment is going to readjust the house value and lower the amount they owe by either crediting their account or lowering their interest rate than they should be giving money to those who pay everything on time with the current market value. Because poeple who are current on their loan payments will be punish twice. Fisrt of all when goverment lowers the value of the homes the money they put in their home and the value of the home will depriciate. Also they will be punished by only taking a little advantage from this program compare to people who did not put enough money down and who did not their payments on time. Most of these people did not put any money down and lied on their aplications about their income so they never owned these homes to begin with. There is nothing wrong with renting a home maybe thats what they should do instead of crying for home they never owned.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  12. J

    Anyone orginally have their mortgage through AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE and now being serviced by AHMSI? Any luck on modifications? Tips to work with them?

    February 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  13. Steve

    There are good people who got in a bad situation with their morttgage/home, a lot just were irresponsible, some didn't care. Now we can help a few with a little, while the majority are left on the sidelines. We just watch our home's continue to decline in value, while the nieghbor who has two new cars and a home he couldn't afford to begin with gets a helping hand, niiice. I could go on and on, but I have to work to pay my mortgage.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  14. JJ Evans

    Ghetto President – Ghetto Solutions

    February 18, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  15. Jody

    What would happen if we all just stopped paying our mortgages? It seems better to not pay your bills.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  16. Brian

    How do we recoup the value lost on our homes for those who need no loan modification. We were robbed on the equity we accumulated over the years, so are we entitled to some relief? If we loss value during this crisis, why can't we write that difference off on our taxes for investment losses?

    February 18, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  17. John Gorn

    what change said:

    "So, I pay my bills, work hard, made the difficult choices in life, and do what I am supposed to do, and now my tax dollars are going to help people pay their mortgages when they most likely shouldn’t have bought the house they are living in right now. Why do I have to suffer for others stupidity! Where is my “bail out”."

    What is wrong with some of you people? Don't you realize that the vast majority of those currently in need ALSO pay their bills, work hard, and made the difficult choices, etc.? Do you think you're something special?

    Here's a clue: you can do everything right and still lose your job. I'm one of those people. Worked hard for 30 years, never missed a payment on anything, perfect credit rating, 20% downpayment on a 30 year fixed mortgage, always employed, payed tons of taxes.

    Then, suddenly, without a job and not able to fully replace the lost income in a sinking market and home value plunging. Lender not willing to do ANYTHING to bridge me until things turn around. Still current on payments but running through life savings with an obvious brick wall in front of me.

    So spare me your smart mouthed garbage about how you did everything right. The shoe could easily be on the other foot, and I wouldn't begrudge trying to help you out.

    The real criminals are the lenders who gave out bad loans and the fools who took them, but the problem today is the ever growing collateral damage to the rest of us. Just because someone is in trouble today does not mean they did anything wrong or cut any corners. Remember that next time you get ready to pontificate.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  18. daniel

    To all of you who think that this plan does not help you. And to all of the people that think that their tax dollars are helping people that does not deserve it. WELL, It is clear. Your main advantage is that the economy of the country may be improved so you can keep your job, or your business will be selling more or your house won't continue losing value. So, by helping others you help yourself. If the economy goes down we will all go down, even the people that is current on their mortgages.
    Some people may try to profit from this situation and we should ask the government to keep a close eye on loop holes in the law.

    good luck


    February 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  19. Fred in MD

    Does this mean that through my taxes, I may be helping my neighbor to stay? The neighbor that doesn't take care of his lawn, has let his house deteriorate, and disobeys all of our homeowner's association rules, not to mention city zoning regulations? The neighbor whose unsupervised teenage kids roam our neighborhood at night with baseball bats? The neighbor who takes takes takes from our community, but never contributes a thing?

    February 18, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  20. MWilson

    Again, we reward BAD judgment. I, too, pay my bills, did not re-re-re-finance to take out equity for money to blow or buy a house that I could not afford.

    For us, we just get to pay for others. What is this country coming to????

    February 18, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  21. Don't tar everyone with the same brush

    I'm getting a little sick of all the people who have managed to stay current on their mortgages and complaining about those who haven't.
    How narrow minded are you?
    Why do you all just assume that every home owner that is in NEED of HELP is a freeloading scumbag with no right to a home and no financial intelligence?

    Our situation: Bought a home for $600k in 2007, 30 year fixed rate (not a balloon in sight!). Paid on time as with every home we have ever owned. Had 7 months worth of savings to cover every expense possible should our income be lost. Income is lost. in Job application after job application after job application! Nothing. Try to refinance. Guess what? House value has declined = refinance not possible. Used up entire savings. On unemployment & food stamps. Sold most of our furniture & posessions to pay our bills. Can't afford medical insurance. Still trying to find income, even going as far as to launch a small business to try another way to provide for our family. No one is hiring and no one is spending. Waiting to foreclose. Haven't paid mortgage for a year – yes 1 whole year. Tried several times to do a workout package with National City Mortgage. Awful people. Told me the lenders WANT to foreclose on people, I quote from the loss mitigation staff members mouth 'sometimes it's easier'.

    We were one of you good citizens that worked hard, looked into the future, protected ourselves, paid thousands and thousands in taxes paid for ourselves and gave to charity, now look...... we lost our income during the worst economic time possible. Our house is valued in the high $200k now, we're surrounded by foreclosures and our car was repossessed yesterday. Our credit is absolutely trashed. I wish this on nobody. Just beware how fragile it all is and how much your life can be changed by circumstances that for the most part are entirely out of your personal control. Maybe I should write to Obama and tell him that the foreclosure plan is GREAT if you have income BUT IF WE HAD INCOME WE WOULDN'T NEED HELP. We need more time for the economy to change so there are jobs again in FL. Job interview today.... here's hoping.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  22. Ydog

    The people who are irresponsible in this country get bailed out once again. What about the responsible people? The people do not spend beyond their means and buy homes they can afford. Oh wait....we are getting $13 a paycheck....my bad!

    February 18, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  23. LaDonna

    Is this plan going to offer any help to those of us who did everything we could to save our homes, but the resolute is us being extermely in debt on our credit cards now? We were out of work for 18 months and had almost on credit card debt. We take part-time jobs, collected unemployment, paid cobra benefits and used the money in the back to pay mortage, credits cards, and car payment first. We would use the remaining to pay what we could and everything else got put on our charge cards. Now we are in deep debt and none of these plans seem to take into consideration those of us who did everything right but got the screws put to us by corporate america.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  24. Patty

    Everyone has freedom of speech, however I must inform you, not everyone in this foreclosure situation is there due to over spending or purchasing a home they could not afford, OR being uneducated buyers taking advantage of adjustable rate mortgages.
    You may know some people that have taken advantage of the poor economy; however the vast majority in this mess have NOT! There will always be people who are irresponsible, can’t hold onto a job and milk there way into any government program they can. That is not the case with the majority now living in total desperation for many months!

    Our situation is job loss, I have been disabled since 2003, and my husband lost his job of 18 yrs last January 2008. IF he was still working and his profession was not mostly in India now, we would NOT be in such desperate times! We would be paying our mortgage with no problem!

    We used his 401K to stay responsible to our lenders, never considering what we wouldn’t have to rely on when we are older. We DO NOT go on vacations or to the movies in over 25 years. Dining out is a pizza or maybe at the most a $10.00 dinner! Our home is our priority and always has been!

    Our Government created some of this mess by giving tax breaks to the companies who sent jobs off shore, they made this bed we are faced to lie in now!

    I am not even going to go into what it is like in this day and age for a person over 50 to find a job!
    I am truly ill hearing people stereotype people in the situation we are facing!

    Freedom of speech lives on due to our wonderful military; however look at the true circumstances before you characterize all people into one large group of losers!

    From the research I have been doing for many, many months there is no HOPE for people who lost jobs months or over a year ago, we don’t have the same income now and NO ONE will modify or refinance our loans! I have contacted every source available known to man and IF you lost income and it has not been replenished anywhere near what it was, there is no Plan for us! You must be able to have near the same income to qualify for any plan, and hundreds of thousands of us don’t have that now!

    I can only imagine what will happen when the 200,000 people who recently lost their jobs get to the point we have many months ago!

    Our story is at http://www.helpsavehomeowners.org AND NO, THIS IS NOT BEING POSTED TO ASK FOR ANY DONATIONS!

    February 18, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  25. Happy Demo

    You're all correct! It is entirely George W. Bush's fault that every idiot making $42K per year could get a jumbo mortgage for $699 per month.

    Hoover days are here again. Get your pup tents and tin soup bowls ready folks!

    February 18, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  26. mike

    Everyone keeps complaining about how it "won't help them, they are currrent, fiscally responsible, etc..."

    I hope you realize if nothing is done it will hurt you even more. Houses are losing value at an alarming rate, and that includes YOUR house, your investment.

    This is the only way to help stabilize the entire housing market so the people that are 'fiscally responsible' (and love to preach) won't keep losing on their investment.

    Stop thinking inside a little bubble or playing your little partisan games and see the big picture.

    Regardless of what people should/shouldn't have done, couldn't afford or the mistakes the banks made (big mistakes) we can't go back and change the past.

    Please stop crying becasue now everyone is in this mess even those of us who've done things responsibly.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  27. JP

    to Newsom:

    Basically, those of us who don't yet own homes, and were responsible and wanted to wait till we A) had proper finances to purchase a home or B) wanted to wait for grossly inflated property values to fall, are getting screwed royally.

    This is all meant to prop up housing values and keep them at inflated levels, so that the people who purchased in the 90's up until 2002 can keep the phoney wealth that they got due to artificially high housing demand fed by easy credit and tax incentives.

    The current tax system screws us even more. Homeowners, on top of getting their prices propped up, get mortgage interest deductions, which add up to huge sums for your average homeowner.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  28. Kevin

    I bought a home I could afford and have worked hard to make payments. Now, I'm going to pay more in taxes to cover everyone elsewho didn't. What can we do about it? Consider carefully who we vote into the White House next time around, and support the candidate who will spend our tax dollars wisely.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  29. Tony

    I have a modest home in which at times I have struggled with the monthly payment. I am in the last seven years of my 30year mortgage. My interest rate is 9.5. At this point I get benefits from my mortgage with income tax.

    My home is well worth my modest lifestyle, however I would like to cut my payment in half or get relief. To refinance at a 15 year fix lower rate does not seem wise at my age 57. Why not consider some kind of principle payment of ten percent, or refinancing of less that seven years, for those of us that could use the help but does not fix in the Stimulus package.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  30. Underwater

    I didn't originally take out an unaffordable mortgage, but my wife abruptly left and I got stuck with a mortgage that was fine for two incomes but not so much for one. When the market plummetted, the home value went underwater so that I can't refinance or sell it. I've been making the payments as best I can but I can't keep it up forever, and the loan is young enough that it still mostly goes to interest so I can't reclaim equity. I hope this housing plan can help me keep the home. I don't think I was irresponsible in buying the home so I hate getting lumped in with all the people everyone wants to punish for bad decisions.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  31. francis and leah

    I live in a state where you have more rights if you are a illegal alien. Where are my rights as a law abiding US citizen. Where is my bailout, I lived in a crappy Co-op in Woodland Hills. My wife and I are driving old cars and in debt with credit card bills. We have a low interest rate but we also have to pay about $400 in Homeowners dues but we cannot even buy used cars. Why do I have to pay for some one else's is mistake, I live within my means, but the credit card bills keep adding up. I want a bail because I am barely surviving with my wife. I need to pay off the credit card bills, my wife needs a new car or at least a used one. California, is broke and haven (sanctuary state). Our State is raising taxes on everything, please give me a bailout. I need a bailout before my state becomes part of another country. I am a big fan of LOU DOBBS! Americans first! Stop the entiltlement programs and then we can pass a "Budget" , no more "Anchor Babies", no more "Octuplets thru science that California taxpayers have to pay for!!!! Stop the Bleeding....please!

    February 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  32. peter

    I would love to see the breakdown of political beliefs on individuals being foreclosed on: Decent hardworking responsible conservatives vs government dependent liberal tards.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  33. Som

    I am living in a separate state from my husband for the past 8 years. We bought a house(TH) together end of 2004, so his name is still on it. We do not get a long but pay taxes together. I got a small job and more than half of my income goes toward the mortgage. On paper we are co-owners but in reality, I am paying the whole thing (1800+/month). Thevalue of the house is down. No help from him. I am 60 years old and have 20K in my bank. He is a retired federal employee (retired two years ago and gets pension). Moving with him is not a choice because I will end up insane. Divorce is a choice but I do not know if I end up on the street. what should I do? Is separated for so many years mean anything in Maryland and/or Tennessee?

    February 18, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  34. John Taxpaper

    I was just approved for a house we can barely afford. I'm super excited, it has a pool and on .5 acre. Hopefully one of us doesn't lose our job and if we do, it is nice to know the government will help.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  35. Robison

    When I purchased my first home in 05' I, like many others did their homework and weighed the costs & benefits of the decisions I was to be faced with – Upon receiving my bank note my mortgage broker offered several packages (slippery slopes) that I simply did not see as rational options – Sure,,, I may have been able to purchase a home twice the value of the modest condo I ended up with, however I viewed that decision as both wise and frugal especially in the current climate –
    However, because others are living in that more expensive dwelling that I today can honestly afford, the President's plan is going to reward those who are de -facto living in my future house –
    The ability to churn the economy requires just that, a churn –
    While New Building has slowed and stopped, the hope for the churn resides in remodeling and household services – These activities will not occur if we clog the housing market with folks who are living beyond their means – We need an economic housing plan that helps "churn" the market – Provides "Second-Time Home Buyers" the same benefits of first time home buyers; thus freeing up more affordable housing for those who again are living beyond their means – It is simple "invisible hand" economics; however someone needs to get the "invisible hand" on the Churn –

    February 18, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  36. Janis Phillip

    I have an adjustable Mortgage (interest only) and an equity line of credit on the home . When I refinanced, the equity line of credit became first and the mortgage became second place on the deal. Also, I am paying the minimum interest on the house to keep it out of foreclosure and its my only home. This loan is about 4yrs. old and I have been told by Washington Mutual that I owe $8,000 of unpaid interest which is added to the principal.

    It looks like there are taking all the equity out of the house. How do I fit into this bail out package.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  37. Andrew

    Why do I have to pay for the failure of others????

    February 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  38. KpKahder

    To all of the posters who are crying and moaning that they pay all their bills and their mortgage on time and sit up high on their pulpit calling the less fortunate stupid and irresponsible, I say bully bully for you!! You apparently haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about as it pertains to the economy or the housing issues. Bully for you that you have kept your jobs and paid your mortgage on time. Does it make you feel better to kick others when they're down? Has it occurred to you whining babies that by helping the ones who need it keep their homes, it reduces the number of houses in your neighborhood on the market thereby increasing the value of the homes in that area?. Your anger is misplaced. Get mad at Congress and the Banks and Financial groups who got us into this mess in the first place.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  39. Republican

    You all should vote for Democrates since they can do these kinds of rescue and be fiscal responsible...don't blame me if your grandkids will have to pay for the money we borrow now...well Obama borrows on our behalf.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  40. Vicki M.

    I am young and did not buy a house I could not afford. I require no schooling. All this "stimulus" bill does for me is increase my tax burden for the rest of my life, when I'm supposed to be saving for retirement.

    Social Security is projected go bankrupt the year I turn 60, and that's only if they stop borrowing from it. Who knows how long Medicare will last? The best anyone my age can hope for is an early, tragic death requiring no hospital time. Remember that next time you try to look your kids in the eyes.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  41. This Stinks

    Let's all learn from this. I made the mistake of saving for years for a 20% down payment on a house I could afford. It was small but in a good neighborhood and I hoped to save enough one day to build on an extension. How foolish. Why didn't I just take one of those "no money down" or "interest only" loans and get the biggest house I could find. Then when I realized I wasn't paying down any principal and my rates were going up I could get bailed out by the government and keep the house I never should have bought in the first place. The lesson here is don't worry about being stupid or greedy, the government will be there in the end to bail you out.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  42. Jason

    Let me get this straight. People with horrible credit who received for example, an ARM starting at 9%, will now receive a lower interest rate than somebody like me, who has worked hard all his life and paid his bills on time (yes, even when I was laid off) in order to have an outstanding credit score and a low interest rate? To heck with it. I'm going to start missing my payments.

    Welcome to Obama's USA, where irresponsibility is rewarded.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  43. Miranda

    The mortgage bailout means nothing to me because I didn't buy a home because I couldn't afford one and I didn't get a hinky loan with an adjustable rate because I was too smart to do that. So now we're going to reward all those people who got loans on homes they really couldn't afford and who signed on the dotted line for adjustable rates and now are whining because they can't afford their house payments? I have NO sympathy whatsoever for them. Let the govt. give me a break on my apartment rent or fork over some money to pay my rent for a year and I might sing a different tune. Until then you home owners are supposed to know better. You signed the papers, YOU are responsible. Not the govt. not the rest of us tax payers. You can't afford your house payment, get out and go rent.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  44. Old School

    Welcome to the new America, where you no longer have to suffer the consequences of your own stupidity & greed but can just skate away on the backs of people who foolishly try to live within their means. How did we go from "The Greatest Generation" to "The Most Pathetic Generation" so quickly?

    February 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  45. Paul S

    I think it makes more sense to pay off mortgages on primary homes for those making $150K or less than give it to financial institutions or businesses. This would allow people to purchase new cars, homes and spend money to help the economy and businesses. Tighten up on loans to people making sure they can afford their purchase.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  46. Sherry

    I suppose I should have bought a bigger house that I knew I couldn't afford too. Silly me, I cut back, and lived within my means. How many bailouts and stimulus packages does obama think we can afford? Our country is hideously in debt and he's handing out money to everyone who handles theirs irresponsibly. He promised not to raise our taxes, but the money has to be paid back.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  47. Residential and Investment Property Owner

    I have two properties; one residential while the other is rental. I am behind in the mortgage payment for the rental property, no tenant for over a year; and currently pending foreclosure, though I am working on shortsale with the bank. This has really hurt my credit score.

    Will my residential property, that has subprime loan, benefit from Obama plan? I have been steady in making monthly payment on my residential property.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  48. Karen

    Yanno...there are many people who are on the verge of losing everything by NO fault of their own. Job loss (everyone's job could be on the line), illness (no health insurance, no healthcare essentially), the price of just basic living going through the roof (cities/counties increase their taxes because they can), and the simple fact that regardless of your income, it don't go as far as it used to.

    So don't be so quick to judge and make yourself out to be righteous because it could be YOU who loses your job tomorrow. If that happens, do you have 6 months to a year of savings to get you through cause it could take THAT long to find a job and if you're lucky enough, one that paid the same or more...cause by the time you find another job, your cost of living will have increased...again!

    I agree that there is a category of those who took on way more than they could chew from the beginning. I remember just a few years ago watching TV seeing all the commercials about living your dream, buying a home, no money down, no docs, no nothing...just come in and sign...so that's what people did. Where were the feds when that was happening? Oh...I know...they were the ones that removed all the mortgage regulations so this kind of advertising could happen.

    Regardless of what you think, you can't control life. You can't control if your job will be there tomorrow, next week, or next year. You sure can't control if another job will come along either. Those with the money, have the control.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  49. Daniel C. Morgan

    This is absurd, the families that have kept up with their payments and bought a house that they COULD ACTUALLY AFFORD do not get a finger lifted for them....just a palm from the government asking for more tax money. I love this country and it seems that OUR government, you know; the guys and gals that work for the American People...not the other way around, is hell bent on killing it.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  50. Hmmm.....

    What about those of us who have made the decision to purchase a home and could make the payments, but their employer (the government) moved them to another base? I have been paying my mortgage for a year and a half along with my rent for my new location. My savings are now gone because nobody will buy my home. I have had three potential buyers that would have satisfied the majority of my mortgage (leaving me to pay the rest – no problem), but the bank has drug their feet on the short sale process and all three have walked. A swift kick is needed here.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
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