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Frequently Asked Questions

ABOUT MORTGAGE SERVICERS

Question
Who is my "mortgage servicer"? Is my servicer the same as my lender or investor?

Answer
Your loan servicer is the financial institution that collects your monthly mortgage payments and has responsibility for the management and accounting of your loan. It is possible that the owner of your mortgage also services it, however many loans are owned by groups of investors and these investors hire loan servicers to interact with homeowners on their behalf.  Many lenders also have loan servicers handle all contact with homeowners.

For example, your servicer could be "Bank A" but the investor on your loan could be Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or a group of investors.

If you have questions about your loan, or you are behind on your payments, you should call your loan servicer at the number on your payment coupon or monthly mortgage statement.

ABOUT REFINANCE

Question
I'm current on my mortgage. Is it possible to refinance my loan under HARP?

Answer
Yes. Eligible homeowners, who are current on their mortgages but have been unable to take advantage of lower interest rates because their homes have decreased in value, may have the opportunity to refinance. Through HARP, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow the refinancing of mortgage loans that they own or that they guaranteed in mortgage backed securities.

Question
How do I know if my loan is owned or has been guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?

Answer
Ask your mortgage lender or servicer. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have toll-free telephone numbers and web submission processes that also make this data available. Homeowners can enter information to determine if either agency owns or guarantees the loan..

For Fannie Mae:
1-800-2FANNIE (8am to 8pm EST)
www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup  

For Freddie Mac:
1-800-FREDDIE (8am to 8pm EST)
www.freddiemac.com/mymortgage

Question
Will refinancing lower my payments? How might HARP benefit me?

Answer
HARP was created to help underwater and near-underwater homeowners refinance their mortgages. The objective of a refinance under HARP is to provide creditworthy homeowners the opportunity to get into a new mortgage with better terms.

Homeowners whose mortgage interest rates are much higher than the current market rate should see an immediate reduction in their payments. Homeowners who are paying interest only, have a low introductory rate that will increase in the future or face a balloon payment, may not see their current payment go down if they refinance to a fixed rate and payment. If you're one of these homeowners, you could save a great deal of money by reducing the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan.

Refinancing into a stable fixed-rate loan and avoiding future mortgage payment increases will likely improve your ability to sustain your mortgage payments over the long-term. When you submit a loan application, your lender will give you a "Good Faith Estimate" and a "Truth in Lending Statement" 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's not an improvement, refinancing may not be right for you.

ABOUT MODIFICATION

Question
I heard that homeowners who have modified their mortgages through HAMP® get financial incentives. Is that true?

Answer
Yes. Homeowners who received a HAMP modification and make timely payments on their modified loans receive incentive payments. For every month you make a payment on time, you will accrue an incentive that reduces the principal balance on your loan. If your loan ceases to be in good standing (three monthly payments are due and unpaid on the last day of any month), no further incentives payments will be paid, including accrued but unpaid amounts. The incentive will be applied directly to your loan balance annually—up to $1,000 each year during the first five years of the modification and a one-time payment of $5,000 in year six—and over six years the total principal reduction could add up to $10,000. This incentive is designed to encourage you to stay current after receiving a HAMP modification and help you build equity faster.

Question
What information and forms will I need in order to be considered for mortgage assistance?

Answer
For more information and a list of what you might have to prepare in order to be considered for mortgage assistance got to Prepare what you'll need

If you cannot find the required documents or have questions about the paperwork required, please call 888-995-HOPETM (4673).

Question
I'm self-employed. How do I get a copy of my most recent quarterly or year-to-date Profit and Loss Statement?

Answer
Contact your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or the licensed tax professional who assisted you in completing your tax documentation.

Question
What types of documentation would be considered reliable enough to validate "Other Earned Income" for a mortgage modification?

Answer
Other earned income (bonus, commission, fee, housing allowances, tips, overtime) must be documented by your employer on either your paystubs or other employment paperwork/contracts. Homeowners are encouraged to work with their employers to gather information that describe, the nature of the income and the continuity of the income.

Question
How do I get evidence of benefit income (e.g., Social Security, disability, death benefits, pension, public assistance, adoption assistance)?

Answer
You can provide a copy of benefit letters/statements, a disability policy or a receipt of payments such as copies of two most recent bank statements showing electronic benefits deposits. For additional information regarding Social Security, disability or death benefit income, contact Social Security directly toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 or visit their website at www.ssa.gov. For all other benefits, you must contact the provider directly for additional information.

Question
How do I get evidence of unemployment benefits?

Answer
Evidence of unemployment income may be obtained through the Department of Labor UI benefit tool.

Question
My rental income was not reported on last year's tax returns because the property was vacant. What documentation do I need to validate rental income?

Answer
In the case of a property that has recently been rented, a signed Rental Agreement contract must be provided to show the property address, date of contract, lessee's name and address, rental amount, and rental period. The contract must be signed by all parties (lessor, lessee, rental agents etc.)

Question
How do I get a copy of my Divorce Decree, Separation Agreement or other legal written agreements filed with a court (e.g., alimony or child support)?

Answer
Gather the information listed below and contact the Office of Vital Statistics in the state where your divorce occurred. The homepage of the state's website will provide a link/information on how to contact the office of Vital Statistics. Generally, the documentation needed may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Date of your divorce
  2. Full name of spouse
  3. Your driver's license number
  4. Purpose for which record is needed
  5. Your name and address, together with a self-addressed, stamped envelope

 

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

Answer
Contact your servicer immediately and ask to be considered for foreclosure assistance. You may also contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency for help by calling 888-995-HOPETM (4673).

OTHER FORECLOSURE ALTERNATIVES

Question
What other alternatives to foreclosure exist?

Answer
Other options available include short sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

Question
How does a short sale work?

Answer
In a short sale, the servicer allows the homeowner to list and sell the mortgaged property with the understanding that the net proceeds from the sale may be less than the total amount due on the first mortgage. Also referred to as a "Pre-foreclosure Sale."

Question
How does a deed-in-lieu of Foreclosure work?

Answer
With the deed-in-lieu of Foreclosure, the homeowner voluntarily transfers ownership of the property to the servicer in full satisfaction of the total amount due. The servicer may require that the homeowner list and market the property before they agree to a deed-in-lieu arrangement. In order for the deed-in-lieu of Foreclosure to work, the homeowner must provide a marketable title, free and clear of other mortgages, liens, or other property claims.

BEWARE OF FORECLOSURE RESCUE SCAMS - HELP IS FREE!

Question
What are some of the warning signs of scams or fraud?

Answer

  1. Beware of any person or organization that asks you to pay an upfront fee in exchange for counseling or the modification of a delinquent loan. Do not pay – walk away!
  2. Beware of anyone who says they can "save" your home if you sign or transfer over the deed to your house. Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt.
  3. Never make your mortgage payments to anyone other than your mortgage company without their approval.

Question
What should I do if I've been scammed?

Answer

  1. First, get the help you need to avoid foreclosure. Contact your mortgage company or lender  immediately.
  2. Reach out to an expert at a HUD-approved housing counseling agency by calling 888-995-HOPETM (4673).
  3. Report the scam at
  4. https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

    http://www.loanscamalert.org/en-us/report-a-scam

  5. Learn more about foreclosure rescue or loan modification scams ›
Last Updated: 1/5/2017 15:32