Struggling Fla. Homeowners Can Get Mortgage Help
Mortgages must still be paid after a hurricane, but Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA have programs to help after a disaster – providing homeowners request it.
MCLEAN, Va. – Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Federal Housing Administration loans (FHA) back the majority of U.S. mortgages – and each has some kind of program to help homeowners struggling to pay their monthly mortgage payment after a disaster.
In all cases, however, a homeowner must initiate the process.
Homeowners who don’t know the ownership of their mortgage should start by contacting their servicer – the company they pay each month. Fannie and Freddie also have online lookups:
Programs vary but are similar. Freddie Mac’s short-term forbearance program, for example, provides homeowners mortgage relief for up to 12 months without incurring late fees or penalties.
“Our immediate mortgage relief options are available to support affected homeowners in the path of Hurricane Ian – the same options we made available last week to those impacted by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico,” says Bill Maguire, Freddie Mac’s vice president of single-family servicing portfolio management
Disaster relief options are offered to homeowners in declared major disaster areas. However, even homeowners outside those areas may have options if their home incurred a disaster-related loss that impacts their ability to make a mortgage payment.
Foreclosure and other legal proceedings are also suspended while homeowners are on a forbearance plan.
Disaster-relief mortgage deferral information
Possible disaster-relief options
- Reinstatement. The option for a lump sum payment is available, but never required, if the homeowner’s loan is owned by Freddie Mac. If possible, however, it is the fastest way to get back on track.
- Repayment plan. Homeowners pay more each month on top of their existing mortgage payment to make up the missed payments.
- Payment deferral. This option is available if homeowners can resume making their regular monthly payment. With payment deferral, homeowners become immediately current on their mortgage and missed payments are added to the end of the mortgage term without interest or penalties.
- Loan modification. If a homeowner is facing a long-term financial hardship but can make a reduced mortgage payment, a modification may be best.
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