Keep Your Home California can help homeowners who received HAMP modifications lower their monthly mortgage payments

More than 300,000 homeowners in California have benefited from a federal program that lowers their interest rates – and their monthly mortgage payments.

The federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) has been a much-appreciated and greatly needed program for homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments. Almost 325,000 homeowners in California have been approved for permanent loan modifications under HAMP, saving an average of $720 per month – and allowing many of them to remain in their homes.

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However, after five years at a rate as low as 2%, most homeowners in HAMP Tier 1 modifications will experience an interest rate increase, up to 1% per year until their rate adjusts to the market rate at the time of their modification.

For California homeowners, the median interest rate after adjustment will be 4.5% – well below their interest rate before modification. The final rate step-up will result in homeowners paying a median of $317 more per month.

For some homeowners, even a slight payment increase could make it difficult to meet their monthly mortgage obligation. If homeowners find themselves in this situation, Keep Your Home California may be able to help.

Keep Your Home California’s Principal Reduction Program offers as much as $100,000 to reduce the outstanding principal balance, which can save homeowners hundreds of dollars every month on their mortgages. Homeowners must be able to demonstrate a financial hardship in order to qualify for assistance through the program. An increase in a homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment that causes the payment to be unaffordable is a qualifying hardship.

The average homeowner approved for the Principal Reduction Program had their mortgage payment reduced by $269 per month during the second-quarter of 2014. And their average loan-to-value ratio fell from 146% to 112% during the second quarter.

So, homeowners approved for the state-managed program can benefit with lower monthly payments – and be much closer to right-side-up on their mortgage.

To qualify, homeowners must meet county-by-county income requirements, and their mortgage servicer must participate in Keep Your Home California. Currently, more than 200 servicers are enrolled in the program, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and several other large servicers. To check the complete list of mortgage servicers enrolled in the program, visit http://keepyourhomecalifornia.org/participating-servicers/.

If you would like more information or want to apply for Keep Your Home California, call 888-954-KEEP (5337) or visit www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org (those more comfortable speaking Spanish should visit http://conservatucasacalifornia.org/). The counseling center is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Translators are available, so counseling sessions can be conducted in virtually any language.


We’re always looking for more homeowners to share their experiences about Keep Your Home California

A Sacramento-area single mother who endured a layoff now enjoys an opportunity at an education and a new profession.

A Fresno homeowner who has battled cancer, diabetes, the death of his parents and the loss of his longtime job is able to remain in his home.

Carrie G. and her family were able to catch up on their mortgage with the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program.

Carrie G. and her family were able to catch up on their mortgage with the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program.

And a grandmother who lives with her daughter and special needs grandson in Southern California catches up on her past-due mortgage payments.

All three are just a few of the more than 45,000 homeowners who have benefited from Keep Your Home California, a free mortgage-assistance program.

Almost 30 homeowners, including the three above, have shared their experiences on the state-run program’s website. These Success Stories detail how the homeowners learned about the program, how long the process took and how much Keep Your Home California has helped them.

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We’re always looking for more homeowners to share their stories. If you have been approved for the program and are interested in talking about the experience, please send an email to success@kyhca.org.

Every homeowner has different circumstances, from their financial hardships – a cut in pay, a job loss, a divorce or even the loss of a spouse – to their specific mortgage needs. But all of the featured homeowners have one thing in common: Keep Your Home California.

“This is truly changing our life, changing our future and rescuing my family and our home. Words can’t express our gratitude for what has been done for us. We feel like this is a fresh start for us.”

“I was at my wits ends, I’ve been in my home for 35 years and I thought I was going to lose it.”

“I cannot express it in words; it brought tears to my eyes. It was such a relief. I was sitting there in tears; I was prepared to lose my home.”

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These are just some of the emotions and gratitude expressed in the Success Stories. Please take a few moments to read the homeowners’ stories and learn more about Keep Your Home California.

Keep Your Home California has four programs to help homeowners:

  • Principal Reduction Program: Homeowners could qualify for a maximum of $100,000 in principal reduction, which will also often cut their monthly mortgage payments. A mortgage with a loan-to-value ratio of 120% or greater is considered an eligible financial hardship for the program. However, homeowners with “underwater mortgages” must be able to make their mortgage payments going forward in order to be eligible for the program.
  • Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program: Out-of-work homeowners collecting jobless benefits from the state Employment Development Department can receive as much as $3,000 per month in mortgage assistance for up to 12 months.
  • Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program: Homeowners who are behind two months or more on their payments could receive as much as $25,000 to help them “catch up” on their past-due mortgage payments. Homeowners must have recovered from their financial hardship and be able to make their mortgage payments going forward in order to be eligible for the program.
  • Transition Assistance Program: Homeowners who have reached an agreement with their mortgage servicer for a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or a short sale could receive up to $5,000 in relocation assistance.

Of course, homeowners must also meet county-by-county income requirements, and their mortgage servicer must participate in Keep Your Home California. Currently, more than 200 servicers are enrolled in the program, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and several other large servicers. To check the complete list of mortgage servicers enrolled in the program, visit: http://keepyourhomecalifornia.org/participating-servicers/.

If you would like more information or want to apply for Keep Your Home California, call 888-954-KEEP (5337) or visit www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org (Spanish speakers should visit http://conservatucasacalifornia.org/). The counseling center is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Translators are available, so counseling sessions can be conducted in virtually any language.


Keep Your Home California’s severe negative equity hardship criteria for the Principal Reduction Program helps more homeowners with underwater mortgages

Despite a better economy and much-improved housing markets in many part of the state, a significant number of homeowners in California continue to struggle with underwater mortgages.

In fact, about 10% to 15% of homeowners in the state still owe more on their mortgage than the current market value of their house, according to recent industry reports.

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Many of these homes are in the inland areas of California, such as the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) and the San Joaquin Valley, from Bakersfield to Stockton. Regardless of where homeowners live – Redlands or Redding – if they are dealing with a significantly underwater mortgage, financial help is possible with Keep Your Home California’s Principal Reduction Program (PRP).

PRP offers as much as $100,000 to help homeowners who have experienced a financial hardship, have severe negative equity or both. Since severe negative equity reduces the options available to homeowners dealing with unaffordable mortgage payments, it is recognized as a hardship under the PRP guidelines.

Homeowners with a loan-to-value ratio of 120% or greater – for example, the unpaid principal balance of the first mortgage is $360,000, but the current value of the home is only $300,000 – meet the qualified hardship requirement for the Principal Reduction Program. Based on current data, many California homeowners with mortgages have a loan-to value ratio greater than 120%.

If you are a homeowner with an underwater mortgage, you should apply for this free, government sponsored program. Between April and June of this year, homeowners that qualified for the PRP saw a reduction in the median property loan-to-value decrease from 146% to 112%, and experience an average 20% reduction in their monthly payments.

Homeowners must meet county-by-county income requirements, and their mortgage servicer must participate in the Principal Reduction Program. Currently, almost 140 servicers are enrolled in the program, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and several other large servicers. To check the complete list of mortgage servicers enrolled in the program, visit: http://keepyourhomecalifornia.org/participating-servicers/.

If you would like more information or want to apply for Keep Your Home California, call 888-954-KEEP (5337) or visit www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org (Spanish speakers should visit http://conservatucasacalifornia.org/). The counseling center is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Translators are available, so counseling sessions can be conducted in virtually any language.

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.


Keep Your Home California adds 200th servicer to mortgage-assistance program

Welcome, Prospect Mortgage.

The Sherman Oaks-based company is the 200th mortgage servicer to enroll in Keep Your Home California.

It’s a much-celebrated milestone for the free mortgage-assistance program. The 200 servicers currently enrolled in the federally funded program is double the number of participants as recently as February 2013 – and a dramatic increase from the nine servicers when the program started in February 2011.

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And mortgage servicers – the companies that collect the monthly payments – are critical to financially strapped homeowners looking for help from Keep Your Home California. A homeowner’s servicer must participate in the program in order to apply and possibly be approved for as much as $100,000 in mortgage-payment assistance.

Homeowners must also have endured a documented financial hardship – such as a job loss, a cut in pay, a divorce or extraordinary medical bills – in order to be considered for Keep Your Home California. Severe negative equity – a 120% or greater loan-to-value ratio – is also deemed a financial hardship under the Principal Reduction Program.

Homeowners must also meet county-by-county income requirements, which range from $69,500 to $126,600.

Before homeowners consider applying for the state-managed program, they should check if their servicer participates in Keep Your Home California. About 98% of mortgages in the state are covered by the program.

Large servicers – including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase – are enrolled in the federally funded program. But so are midsize banks and much-smaller financial institutions, such as Antioch Federal Credit Union and Bourns Employee Federal Credit Union. Delta.

Keep Your Home California has four programs, each with different ways to help financially strapped homeowners. Mortgage servicers choose which programs to offer their homeowners, with about half of the servicers enrolled in all four programs. Two-thirds of the servicers participate in at least three of the programs.

All of the 200 mortgage servicers are enrolled in the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program, which offers as much as $3,000 per month for up to 12 months – a maximum of $36,000 – to out-of-work homeowners eligible for jobless benefits from the state Employment Development Department.

Almost all of the 200 mortgage servicers are enrolled in the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program, which provides a maximum of $25,000 so homeowners can “catch up” on their missed mortgage payments. Homeowners must have recovered from their financial hardship and demonstrate that they are able to make their payments going forward in order to receive assistance from the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program.

About 135 of the servicers participate in the Principal Reduction Program, with $100,000 – the maximum possible from Keep Your Home California – available to homeowners who owe more than their home is worth. In addition to the decrease in principal owed, many homeowners enjoy a smaller monthly mortgage payment, an average of almost $300.

Finally, about 130 of the 200 servicers are enrolled in the Transition Assistance Program. The program issues as much as $5,000 in relocation assistance for homeowners who have an approved deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or short sale with their servicer.

So far, Keep Your Home California has helped about 45,000 homeowners and is close to having approved $790 million in funding.

If you have additional questions, would like more information or want to apply for Keep Your Home California, call 888-954-KEEP (5337) or visit www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org  (Spanish speakers should visit www.conservatucasacalifornia.org). The counseling center is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.  Translators are available, so counseling sessions can be conducted in virtually any language.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.


A few minutes on the Keep Your Home California homepage can help save your home

Keep Your Home California’s homepage has a lot to offer homeowners interested in the free mortgage-assistance program.

We would like to take a few moments and walk you through the homepage.

In the middle of the homepage, homeowners interested in the program can answer a dozen questions and see if they might be eligible for Keep Your Home California. Just click on “Find out if you qualify” and complete the easy-to-understand questions.

Completing the online questionnaire doesn’t ensure approval; rather, it is a tool to help homeowners better understand which of the programs may be an option for them, based on their unique situation.

KYHC Website

Consider the form merely the first step in the process when deciding whether to apply. To apply, homeowners should call the counseling center at 888-954-5337.

In the upper right corner, homeowners can choose one of six languages, including Chinese (Mandarin), Tagalog and Vietnamese. Just click on the language and visitors are directed to a one-page description about Keep Your Home California and its four programs. Keep Your Home California also has a complete Spanish-language website, http://www.ConservaTuCasaCalifornia.org.

Connecting with homeowners in their preferred language is critical, especially since applying for the program requires submitting documents and financial information. Homeowners must be comfortable and understand the process.

However, if homeowners are more comfortable with another language – one not listed on the homepage – they are strongly encouraged to call the counseling center, where a counselor has access to translators in virtually any language. In a few minutes, the counselor and homeowner can be discussing the application process with the help of a translator, just part of the free service.

Finally, the middle of the homepage offers homeowner Success Stories. Homeowners who have been approved discuss their experiences with the program. Each homeowner’s experience is different, so we strongly encourage you to read some of the Success Stories. You will learn more about the application and approval process.

Of course, there is additional information on the homepage and throughout the website. Homeowners should check the “Resources” section at the bottom of the homepage, which provides links to more pages.

Two of the most critical categories are “Income Limits” and “Participating Servicers.” Homeowners must meet county-by-county income limits and make sure their mortgage servicer – the company that collects the monthly payment – are participating in the program. Don’t worry, almost 200 mortgage servicers are enrolled in the program, including mortgage giants Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, Chase and several other large servicers. To check the complete list of mortgage servicers enrolled in the program, visit our website.

As you can see, Keep Your Home California’s homepage – and website – has a great deal of information for homeowners. We want to make learning about the program as easy as possible.

After you visit the website, call the counseling center at 888-954-KEEP (5337) to apply and/or learn more about the program. The counseling center is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.


Transition Assistance Program offers $5,000 to families looking for a fresh start

Keep Your Home California officials are always looking to improve the free mortgage-assistance program for hard-hit homeowners. The program has undergone many changes since starting in February 2011. This is the final of four posts that detail many of these program changes – and how they help homeowners.

From assisting out-of work homeowners to those struggling with significantly underwater mortgages, Keep Your Home California focuses on helping Californians prevent avoidable foreclosures, oftentimes helping them stay in their homes in the process.

But the mortgage-assistance program also helps homeowners who, through no fault of their own, are faced with the hard-to-grasp reality of losing their house.

ID-10052201The Transition Assistance Program offers as much as $5,000 to help low- to moderate-income homeowners move to another form of housing — enough money for covering moving costs, a security deposit and in some cases a few months of rent. Basically, the dollars give families a fresh start in a new home.

The Transition Assistance Program was established to be used in conjunction with a mortgage servicer-approved short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure to help homeowners make the move into a new housing situation as easy as possible, whether it’s an apartment, rental house or moving in with relatives.

Of course, there are some requirements, just like the other three programs in Keep Your Home California.

Most notably, the income limit – 120% of the county’s area median income.,. Before you decide that you earn too much, the income limits range from about $69,000 in several rural counties to more than $120,000 in San Francisco and San Mateo counties. You can check the complete county-by-county income limits here (URL to http://keepyourhomecalifornia.org/income-limits/).

Your mortgage servicer – the lender that collects the monthly mortgage payments – must also participate in the Transition Assistance Program. Almost 130 mortgage servicers are enrolled in the program, six times as many as two years ago. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Chase Home Finance, and CitiMortgage are among the big-name banks that participate in the Transition Assistance Program. Check the complete list of mortgage servicers enrolled in the program. (URL to http://keepyourhomecalifornia.org/participating-servicers/)

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program offers as much as $25,000 to help homeowners ‘catch up’ on their mortgage payments

Keep Your Home California officials are always looking to improve the free mortgage-assistance program for hard-hit homeowners. The program has undergone many changes since starting in February 2011. This is the third of four posts that detail many of these program changes – and how they help homeowners.

Sometimes life can get a bit out of hand.

Maybe you’re dealing with a divorce, extraordinary medical bills or fewer hours and a smaller paycheck at work. Or – as well all know too well in recent years – you’re unemployed and looking for work.

Any of these challenges could create a financial hardship for homeowners, causing them to fall behind on their mortgage payments.

Well, Keep Your Home California’s Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program allows homeowners to “catch up” on their monthly payments, as long as they can meet the obligation going forward.

Piggy Bank Mortgage CalculatorSo far, almost 6,000 homeowners have used the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program since February 2011, when Keep Your Home California started. The program has allowed homeowners to breathe easier – and remain in their homes.

Since the program was launched, officials have increased the maximum amount of assistance to homeowners through the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program from $15,000 to $20,000, and ultimately to $25,000.

The one-time payment can cover past-due principal, interest, taxes and insurance, as well as any homeowner’s association dues. The assistance offers a clean slate for homeowners who fell behind due to a hardship, but are now able to make future mortgage payments.

The key to qualifying for the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program is demonstrating you have an affordable monthly mortgage payment going forward. Assistance through this program can also be combined with a loan modification in order to achieve an affordable payment.

So, if you are behind on your mortgage payments the program can provide much-needed help. As with the other Keep Your Home California programs, homeowners must have suffered a financial hardship, such as a divorce, extraordinary medical bills, a job loss or loss of income – or a combination of factors (there are many acceptable hardships, these are merely some of the most common examples) in order to qualify.

In addition, a homeowner’s mortgage servicer – the company that collects the monthly mortgage payment – must be enrolled in the program.

About 175 mortgage servicers – a majority of those participating in Keep Your Home California – are enrolled in the Mortgage Assistance Program, including Bank of America, Chase Home Finance, Citi Mortgage, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. You can see the complete list of mortgage servicers participating in the Mortgage Assistance Program at http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/participating.htm).

If you would like more information about the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program, visit the website (URL to http://keepyourhomecalifornia.org/programs/mortgage-reinstatement-assistance/).

If you have additional questions, would like more information or want to apply for Keep Your Home California, call 888-954-KEEP (5337) or visit www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org  (Spanish speakers should visit www.conservatucasacalifornia.org). The counseling center is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.  Translators are available, so counseling sessions can be conducted in virtually any language.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

 

 


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