As Michigan bankruptcy attorneys who represent individuals in debt-related matters, a common issue our clients face is their fear of losing their home due to mortgage arrears and/or a pending foreclosure. Before a person files for debt relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, we suggest they investigate whether they qualify for other alternative remedies, such as the programs announced by the U.S. Registry. Three of the programs are listed below:
• Home Affordability Modification Program (HAMP)
• Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA)
While these federal programs offer hope to cure mortgage issues, a person must first determine whether he or she will qualify for assistance under these federal programs. While a homeowner can ask their mortgage company for assistance in navigating these programs, they should also speak with an experienced Michigan attorney who practices in bankruptcy, debt relief and mortgage issues. The attorneys at The Kronzek Firm are experienced Michigan attorneys who are available to provide legal advice and direction to individuals facing mortgage and debt crisis. Our services include advising clients about these federal programs and also renegotiating debts with creditors.
What are the “catches” to being able to qualify for these mortgage programs? Although there are no real catches, there are several qualifications that preclude people from obtaining the help they need to cure their mortgage issues. For example, let’s examine the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). The goal of this program is to help a homeowner refinance to a more stable, affordable mortgage. This program is for people who are current on their mortgage but have been unable to obtain a traditional mortgage to refinance their homes because the value of their home has declined. If you meet the qualifications for this program, you will need to complete a loan application and loan refinance fees will apply. You can ask your current mortgage lender whether it participates in this program. In the event your current mortgage lender does not participate in HARP, you may contact other lenders that do participate in HARP.
The following are some qualifications for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). In order to qualify for refinancing under HARP, you must:
• Have a current mortgage loan that is not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
• Have a current mortgage loan that is not an FHA, VA or USDA.
• Be current on your mortgage payments AND during the last year have not been more than 30 days late making a mortgage loan payment.
• Have a first mortgage loan that does not exceed 125% of the current market value of the home.
• Be able to demonstrate that this program’s refinance will improve the long-term affordability or stability of your mortgage.
HARP may not help the many individuals who are seeking to refinance their current mortgage because they have missed mortgage payments or have recently incurred late fees and penalties for late payments. However, if you have been current on all of your mortgage payments for the past year, and/or you have a variable mortgage interest rate, and the market value of your house has depreciated below your first mortgage loan amount, and you have the ability to continue making mortgage payments, then you may consider this an option.
There are several other programs available to Michigan homeowners through Making Homes Affordable (MHA). In order to learn more about MHA and other mortgage programs and bankruptcy options that meet your debt situation, call the experienced consumer attorneys of The Kronzek Firm at their main office in Lansing, MI: 866 766 5245.