COVID-19 has uprooted the lives of billions across the globe. U.S. unemployment rates have reached an abysmal record of 15%. As more people have become unemployed, the U.S. has taken several measures to help Americans struggling to pay their mortgages. Many Americans are wondering, how does coronavirus affect my mortgage payment? If you fear you can’t or won’t be able to make your next mortgage payment, don’t lose hope just yet.
If you have a federally backed mortgage, you may be in luck. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was put into motion to save homeowners from foreclosure. Lenders cannot foreclose your property until 60 days after March 18, 2020. This includes those previously in the middle of a foreclosure or are about to begin the process of one. While it may not be a lot of time, it at least gives homeowners some slight room to breathe.
You’re also entitled to request forbearance if you have been financially impacted by the coronavirus. Forbearance essentially means that you don’t have to pay on schedule for a set period of time (180 days with a possible extension of 180 days). This does not, however, mean that the payments have been waived altogether.
If you aren’t sure if your mortgage is federally backed, contact your servicer. He or she is required by law to provide you with contact information. If you don’t know who your servicer is, you can look it up on the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems website. The good news is that most mortgages are federally backed. If you don’t have a federally backed mortgage, there are still some options available to you.
As we discussed above, even if you don’t have a federally backed mortgage, you may be eligible for forbearance. Contact your servicer to make an arrangement. See if they can help you come to an agreement where you reduce, suspend, or pause your mortgage payments. This works just as a federally backed mortgage would allow you to do.
Read carefully through the options available and be sure you really understand the terms of each option. There are two examples. The first being, you may end up paying all of your payments at once as you become financially stable again. The second being, it may be divided up over a period of several months.
State foreclosure protections
Finally, there are several state foreclosure protection programs in place to help homeowners avoid foreclosures. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that they would suspend all foreclosures until the end of April. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are required to do the same.
However, some states (and cities) have taken this a step further by prohibiting the evictions of people affected by COVID-19. A full list of states that are required to either delay or pause evictions is available here.
Are you on the flip side and wondering if now is a good time to purchase a home? It’s important that you become aware of some of the unknowns behind mortgages.
Hopefully, we have eased your fears on paying your mortgage this month. Though this is a challenging time, there are still options available to you. Learn your rights and get in touch with your service provider sooner rather than later.