Living in this time of uncharted waters can cause much anxiety, frustration and confusion. As a homeowner you may be concerned about the ability to pay your mortgage. According to Computershare Loan Services in the U.S., currently 8% of homeowners have filed for forbearance. Even if your current loan servicer offers forbearance under the CARES Act, much confusion still exists about the program requirements & impact.
Here’s what you need to know:
Forbearance does not mean Forgiveness
This program was initially offered for 90 days for those impacted by COVID 19 for financial hardship but can be extended up to 1 year. However, once the forbearance period is over, the amount will need to be repaid. Meaning it is not forgiven. Options for repayment are being reviewed at this time for all mortgage lenders. The FHFA issued a statement today that mortgages serviced under Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac will not have a lump sum due at the end of the forbearance- but that only covers mortgage loans held by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. It is critically important that you discuss these terms with the servicer of your mortgage so you will not be in an even more difficult situation following the forbearance.
The statements below are directly from Freddie Mac (mortgagenewsdaily.com)
“Homeowners with a hardship can have up to 12 months of forbearance although servicers will typically start with a shorter timeframe, reassessing it over time. Once the hardship has been resolved the homeowners will have the following options.
Full repayment or reinstatement. Missed payments are repaid, putting the loan back on track
A repayment plan which allows borrowers to pay their regular monthly payments and an additional amount so they can catch up gradually.
Payment deferral or modification. This would keep the monthly payments as originally agreed. The missed payments are added to the end of the loan.
Loan modification. Changing the interest rate, loan term, or some other feature to lower the original payment amount.”
Will the forbearance impact my credit score?
In accordance with the CARES Act, a forbearance will not affect your credit score. However, any missed payments before the forbearance period, or an inability to repay the amount owed after the end of the forbearance, will negatively affect your credit score.
Can I refinance my loan after a forbearance?
While forbearance will not affect your credit score, the one little known fact that is extremely important is that it will affect your ability to refinance. Any two missed consecutive payments in a 12-month period will show a gap in your payment history…and this will affect the underwriting of the loan. Therefore, you would not qualify to refinance until after a 12-month period of timely payments has been established after the forbearance.
Will I be able to do a future home purchase after a forbearance?
Just as in the refinancing of a loan, your payment history will be affected and impact your ability to purchase a home after forbearance. The simple act of applying for forbearance, will be on your record and will prevent you from qualifying for a new mortgage- even if you decide not to go through with the forbearance and make all your monthly payments on time, the record will show the forbearance. Once the approved forbearance period is over, you will need to show 12- months of timely consecutive payments to eventually qualify for a new home mortgage.
What is the impact on Private Loans vs Government Secured Loans?
At this time approximately 30% of homeowners utilize private loans, which are NOT included in the CARES Act! All government secured loans are eligible. The option does exist for local governments to offer their borrowers payment suspensions. This, however, would be on a state to state basis and should be discussed with your lender.
If I start the forbearance process, can it be cancelled or reversed?
It is extremely important that you evaluate all aspects of the forbearance program and its affect on you prior to choosing the option. While you may be able to cancel your request and continue paying your mortgage monthly, the documentation to your credit file will be noted and will impact your refinancing and buying activity moving forward. With loan servicers inundated with calls and requests, getting personal assistance with removal of this from your record may prove to be difficult.
It is always recommended to speak with your servicing lender before making these decisions.
The bottom line is this: If you can afford to make your monthly mortgage payments, make them! This will ensure you have all options available to you in the future for refinance or purchase of a new property.
Here at the Sandi Pressley Team we have adapted and created successful virtual and high-tech tools that are allowing our clients to successfully buy and sell homes during this unique time.
Disclaimer: The information contained herein has been researched but is evolving on a daily basis. Each consumer should always do their own research and speak with their lender before making any decisions. Coldwell Banker Legacy/ Sandi Pressley, Inc/Sandi Pressley Team are not liable for the content contained in this blog.