So many homeowners have pressing mortgage questions right now. They want to know their mortgage options. People are losing their jobs, even if some might only be on a temporary basis. The country has seen record highs in unemployment applications, with California being one of the hardest-hit states economically. Meanwhile, we’ve experienced very low mortgage rates in response to other struggling financial markets.
Some homeowners are seeing these low rates as an opportunity to refinance. Too many others are worried about making mortgage payments and want to know what their relief options are. There is so much happening right now, it’s enough to make our heads spin as mortgage lenders. With this in mind, I wanted to share some information, resources and insight as a mortgage professional in the middle this unprecedented (and unpredictable) market.
Pay Your Mortgage if You Can
If you aren’t facing an immediate financial issue, don’t call your mortgage servicer. Continue to make your mortgage payments as long as you are comfortable. Mortgage lenders are getting flooded with calls and those customers who need the most help should take priority. You can research some information and mortgage options online, as well.
If You Can’t Afford Your Mortgage, Take Action Immediately
If you are on the other side of the coin and are struggling to make your mortgage payments because of the coronavirus situation, you should call your mortgage servicer immediately. This is true whether you can’t afford to make payments at all or if you are only able to make partial payments. Talk with a mortgage professional to understand your options and make the right decisions.
It may take awhile to get a mortgage servicer on the phone. Like I said, we’re being flooded with calls and emails right now from many people in the same boat as you. We’re still working full-time at Transparent Mortgage (from the safety of our homes, of course). However, some mortgage companies are also being affected by the pandemic, limiting hours and services that they can offer as most team members are forced to work remotely. Please be patient and you will ultimately get the help you need.
Understanding What Mortgage Forbearance Means
Even though the federal Cares Act put a temporary moratorium on foreclosures and expanded mortgage forbearance options doesn’t mean you don’t eventually have to pay what you owe. Before you ask for forbearance or ignore your mortgage payments, you should understand all your options and get the information you need to make smart financial decisions. Mortgage forbearance will only delay payments for a certain time. They will still have to be repaid in the future. Different loans may come with different forbearance eligibilities, rules and repayment plans. This is why it’s so important to speak with your mortgage servicer about your specific loan before making any rash decisions.
Exploring Your Mortgage Options
Beyond mortgage forbearance, you may qualify for additional mortgage relief options through your mortgage lender, your insurance company, your state and through the Cares Act. Take the time to see what you might be eligible for and decide what’s best for you and your family.
Is it a Good Time to Refinance?
With historically low mortgage rates, some homeowners are using the current market situation as an opportunity to refinance their home loans. We’re actually surprised we haven’t seen more refi applications in recent weeks, even though plenty have been rolling in. If you are in a healthy position financially or could benefit from lowered monthly mortgage payments, refinancing your home loan makes sense. However, there are some catches…
Current Refi Challenges
First, mortgage lenders are extremely busy right now as I already mentioned earlier, so getting through and getting your refi application reviewed and approved may take a little longer than usual. That may make the timing of locking in the best possible rate rather tricky. Second, lending standards have quickly become increasingly stringent. It’s harder to get a loan now, especially one that’s considered “non-traditional.” All financial factors for applicants are under much more scrutiny and things may only get tougher for borrowers moving forward in the wake of the coronavirus economy. This includes your credit score, down payment, debt-to-income ratio, work history, current work status and other important details.
To sum up, we are in a unique period of history right now. As a country and as a society, we will all get through this together. We just have to accept that there will be a “new normal” for the foreseeable future. The best recommendation I can make is to reach out directly to your mortgage servicer if your mortgage payments are a concern or you are thinking about buying a home or refinancing in the near future. Having professional guidance from someone who is dialed into current market conditions and relief options is more important than ever.
If you have a loan through Transparent Mortgage or have questions about a new loan/refi, call us today at (858) 761-7795 and we’ll help you the best we can. If you get a voicemail, please leave a detailed message and someone will return your call as soon as possible. Thank you and stay safe!