The destructive force of Hurricane Irma was devastating for many homeowners. Amidst all the heartache and misery for individuals suffering in the aftermath, there is mortgage assistance to repair and rebuild their home from numerous agencies.
Mortgage Forbearance Terms
Currently, the max limit for forbearance on mortgage payments is 12 months, as per the Federal Housing Finance Agency. However, your mortgage company may set your time limit for mortgage forbearance to a shorter period, depending on the circumstances.
Since Florida was declared a federal disaster area, homeowners and business owners can enter into a mortgage forbearance agreement with their lender. This allows them to stop making mortgage payments, or to make partial payments, for the agreed upon length of time.
During the mortgage forbearance period, borrowers are not charged late fees. But after the mortgage forbearance expires, lenders may require borrowers to pay a little extra every month to catch up on their payments, or to modify their home loan.
Becky Walzak, a board member of the Mortgage Bankers Association of the Palm Beaches, told Paul Owers at the SunSentinel, that “Forbearances may help homeowners make repairs faster than if they waited for insurance money to arrive.”
“It’s for an immediate need, like a roof that leaks or windows that are broken,” she said. “But you have to show that the money is needed for repairs to maintain the property.”
Other Options for Homeowners Impacted by Hurricane Irma
Homeowners may also opt for interim financing to pay for repairs, which can include home equity lines of credit, and other federal and local programs for borrowers who make their mortgage payments while rebuilding.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development also offers the following programs, according to ABC 27 WXTL:
Immediate Assistance: There is a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages. This impacts approximately 280,000 Florida homes.
Mortgage Insurance: HUD’s Section 203(h) program provides FHA insurance to homeowners who have lost their home due to a disaster. People who plan to rebuild their home or buy a new home are eligible for 100 percent financing, including closing costs.
Another option comes from HUD’s Section 203(k) loan program, which enables homeowners who lost their home to refinance, along with the repairs, with a single mortgage.
Contact HUD Florida offices by phone or email, for more information about assistance programs they offer.
How to Contact Lenders
If you are interested in contacting your lenders to go over your options, you can use the telephone number and mailing address listed on your mortgage statement. If you have trouble, you can contact 1-800-2FANNIE (1-800-232-6643) if you have a Fannie Mae loan, or 1-800-373-3343 for a Freddie Mac loan.
If you have a mortgage loan through another firm, contact them to talk about your specific case.
There are several agencies available to help homeowners who must rebuild following Hurricane Irma. But, no matter how you intend to handle the rebuilding process for yourself and your family, be sure to understand all the implications of a forbearance agreement, and any of the government assistance programs.
Marimark Mortgage is based in Tampa, Florida, and serves the mortgage needs of homebuyers and homeowners in Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
We specialize in conventional home mortgages, FHA, VA and USDA mortgage options, refinance loans, and reverse mortgages. We’ve worked extensively with cash-out refinancing, and help clients with HARP refinancing to lower their monthly mortgage payments.