Mortgage Servicers hold the key to Keep Your Home California

Buying a home is a big deal with many confusing definitions, especially when it comes to your mortgage.Keep Your Home California servicer

When you bought the home, you were probably more concerned about the down payment, points and how long the escrow would take, not to mention the monthly payments.

So, some of the finer details, such as the difference between the lender and mortgage servicer, were likely overlooked – and possibly still today. But Keep Your Home California’s success – and your own, if you’re seeking mortgage assistance – depends on participation from mortgage servicers.

Keep Your Home California ServicerFirst, before we detail that critical connection, we should give a bit of background on mortgage servicers.

Many homeowners believe that the mortgage lender holds and services their loan until it’s paid off or they sell the house. Well, that doesn’t happen very often. In fact, loans and the right to service them are often bought and sold, sometimes several times during the life of a mortgage. So, the company that collects the mortgage payments likely doesn’t own the loan.

These so-called mortgage servicers handle the day-to-day management of mortgages, including collecting and crediting payments. Homeowners with questions about their mortgage call the servicer – not the actual mortgage lender.Keep Your Home California servicer

And mortgage servicers play a major role in Keep Your Home California. Only homeowners with participating mortgage servicers can get help through the almost $2 billion, state-run program. Click here  for a complete list of mortgage servicers and their participation in Keep Your HomeCalifornia.

Currently, the program has about 90 mortgage servicers, from big-name players Bank of America and Wells Fargo to smaller financial institutions such as Point Loma Credit Union and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust.

Keep Your Home California ServicerThis collection of servicers has a big impact on California homeowners – servicing about 85 percent of the mortgages held in our state. And Keep Your Home California, which officially launched in February 2011, continues to attract more mortgage servicers.

So, if your mortgage servicer is not listed, don’t be discouraged, they could join Keep Your Home California in the future. It’s best to check the list of participating servicers every several days, since it’s updated frequently. You also could contact the mortgage servicer and ask if they plan to participate.

If you would like more information about participating mortgage servicers and Keep Your Home California, call 888-954-5337.

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You earn too much for a state program? You may want to think again and check our income limits

Cash-strapped homeowners have many questions about Keep Your Home California, and one of the most frequent is our definition of low- to moderate-income homeowners.

For many Californians our state run program can help you Keep Your Home.

Some homeowners might consider their income far too high to meet the limits for the program. Sure, if you’re Apple’s Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame, or the Google co-founders, you won’t be eligible.

But for many Californians – those who check their iPhone apps or Facebook page too much, or Google non-work items at the office – our state-run program could help you with those mortgage payments.

And Keep Your Home California has some easy-to-grasp limits to determine eligibility. We strongly encourage homeowners to check the income limits.

Before you assume you make too much, check out the site.

A family earning up to $124,300 in Santa Clara County is eligible for Keep Your Home California, while homeowners in 18 counties – such as Kings and Modoc — have a much-lower limit of $68,650. The primary reason? Homes are cheaper in some counties than others.

In July, Sunnyvale’s median-home price – meaning half the homes sold for more, the other half for less – was $636,500, compared to $120,000 in Modesto, about 90 miles away, according to DataQuick. Drive a little, save a lot (maybe not as much as the housing boom, but still a significant difference, about $5,700 per mile).

Determining whether you meet the eligibility requirement is just the first step in the process with Keep Your Home California. Yes, there is some homework – and even some paperwork – to apply for the program (some homeowners could be eligible for multiple programs and more money, click here for a previous blog on the subject), but it’s about keeping your home, helping the community avoid another empty house and improve the state’s economy.

So, check the income limits and see if you qualify, then call 888-954-5337, the next step in keeping your home. Check our website for more details on Keep Your Home California and the four programs available. And keep reading this blog for more information.

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Four Programs, One Goal — Helping Homeowners

Cash-strapped homeowners who want to avoid foreclosure have four programs under Keep Your Home California, each with thousands of dollars available – and in some cases as much as $100,000.

The federally funded, state-run effort established the four programs after input from community leaders statewide. Quite simply, we wanted to know the best way to put almost $2 billion to work for low and moderate income families in the Golden State, from El Centro to Crescent City.

Each program caters to specific needs, such as jobless homeowners looking for help with the mortgage for a few months while they find work to those needing to reduce loan principal to make their payments work. And, like most efforts, you need to find the program that best fits your needs.

We’ll go over the basics of each of the four programs, but we strongly encourage you to contact our customer-service reps who can check if you are eligible, determine the best program for your needs and start the process.

Below is an overview – all the detailed information is available at www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org, including a seven-minute video on the process.

Also, please remember that some homeowners are eligible for multiple programs. When you apply and begin the process, representatives can answer questions about eligibility and determine if multiple programs – and more funds – are possible.

  • Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program – Out of work and need some money for the mortgage payment? Well, maybe we can help. Keep Your Home California will provide as much as $3,000 or the combined monthly payment of principal, interest, taxes insurance and homeowners’ association dues, whichever is less, for a maximum of six months. Of course, there are some requirements, including that you must be receiving unemployment benefits from the California Employment Development Department.
  • Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program – Homeowners behind on their mortgage – including interest, taxes, insurance and homeowners’ association dues – can receive as much as $15,000 to help get back in step on the payments, a huge help for consumers with a short-term issue that affected their income. Homeowners must also prove they can afford the mortgage payment once it’s reinstated, otherwise we are creating a situation for failure – and that’s not good for anyone, from the homeowner to the lender. Some homeowners can combine this program with California Housing Finance Agency’s Loan Modification Program. More than $129 million has been earmarked for this program.
  • Principal Reduction Program – This program is like going on a fiscal diet, trimming your mortgage principal balance. How much of a cut to the mortgage principal depends on additional Keep Your Home California assistance funds (yes, you can get dollars from other programs mentioned above). Note: like all of our programs, your mortgage servicer must be participating in Keep Your Home California for this to work for you. Unfortunately, this program has been the most difficult to get mortgage servicers to participate in. Check our list of servicers to see if your servicer is participating.
  • Transitional Assistance Program We realize that sometimes it’s best for people to transition to another type of housing. So, when it comes to getting back on track for homeowners who avoided foreclosure through a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, maybe we can help. The Transitional Assistance Program offers as much as $5,000 for families to find a new place to live

The information above is intended only as an overview. Our website, www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org, has all the details.

Or you can simply call one of our counselors at 888-954-5337 to get more information and check eligibility. Who knows, maybe we can help with thousands of dollars.