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Help to 9 Million Homeowners
Wednesday, 25 February 2009

What does the new Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan mean to homeowners?  Full details and eligibility requirements will be released on March 4, however, Obama's plan is based on the following four elements:

  • Making refinancing help available to up to 5 million homeowners who have mortgages through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
  • Providing new incentives to lenders to modify the terms of sub-prime loans at risk of default and foreclosure
  • Incentives to lenders to keep mortgage rates low for millions of middle class families looking to secure new mortgages
  • Additional reforms designed to help families stay in their homes.

 For more information, see these PDFs from

Homeowner Affordability and Stability Executive Summary

Homeowner Affordability and Stability Fact Sheet

Example Sheet

Q & A about the Homeowner Affordability And Stability Plan

 There are several important details regarding this plan worth noting:

  • If your home has lost value, you can still qualify for refinancing if the first mortgage is less than 105% of the current market value of the home.
  • You do NOT need to be behind on your mortgage to be eligible for loan modification.
  • You can not modify the loan on a secondary residence/vacation home.
  • You are eligible if you own a multi-family home and reside in one of the units. 

And perhaps, most interesting of all:


The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan provides incentive payments as a borrower makes timely payments on the modified loan. The incentive will accrue on a monthly basis and will be applied directly to reduce your mortgage debt. Borrowers who pay on time for five years can have up to ,000 applied to reduce their debt by the end of that period.


While you cannot apply for assistance until March 4, homeowners who would like to prepare for applying should gather the following materials:
  • Information about the gross monthly income of all borrowers, including your most recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources
  • Your most recent income tax return
  • Information about any second mortgage on the house
  • Record of payments on each of your credit cards if you are carrying balances from month to month, and payments on other loans such as student loans and car loans.
What's in the Foreclosure Prevention Plan?
Friday, 20 February 2009

The Obama administration released its long-awaited plan to stem foreclosures on 2/17/09. It's organized into three categories:

1.) Help for home owners making their payments but at risk of default and foreclosure.

Home owners with a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan would be eligible to refinance as long as their mortgage doesn't exceed 105 percent of the home's current market value. Currently owners need to have at least 20 percent equity. Potential impact: 4-5 million households.

2.) Help for home owners already in default and in need of loan modification.

For lenders that voluntarily agree to lower a borrower's payment so that it makes up no more than 38 percent of the borrower's income, the government would share the cost of lowering the mortgage burden to 31 percent of income. Incentives to lenders to participate include a id="bd" class="narrow fs3",000 payment.

Borrowers can receive up to id="bd" class="narrow fs3",000 as an incentive to stay current on their new mortgage. Still in the works is a proposed provision that would allow bankruptcy judges to require loan modification (known as a cramdown) as part of a household's restructuring. That provision requires legislation by Congress. Estimated potential impact: 3-4 million households.

3.) Doubled resources to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

To encourage investors to buy the secondary market companies' mortgage-backed securities, the government explicitly backstops them to up to 0 billion, twice the current amount.

The plan does not provide help to investors or to home owners who are in trouble with a second home, nor does it apply to homeowners whose mortgage is part of a private-label mortgage security that is not backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

"The administration's proposed plan, combined with provisions like the ,000 first-time home buyer tax credit in the just-enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will help minimize foreclosures, shrink housing inventory, stabilize home values, and move the country closer to an economic recovery," says NAR President Charles McMillan.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine Online
REALTOR Insider - President Signs the Stimulus Bill
Wednesday, 18 February 2009

H.R. 1, the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" (AARA), passed the House on February 13, 2009, by a vote of 246 - 184. On the same day, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 60 - 39. The President signed the bill on Tuesday, February 17, 2009. The bill is a 0 billion package, with roughly 35% of the package devoted to tax cuts (mostly for 2009) and the rest to spending intended to occur in 2009 and 2010.

The mix of provisions of interest to REALTORS® changed frequently throughout the legislative process, with changes continuing to be made just hours before the measure was released prior to the vote. In the end, the elements of NAR's housing agenda were included. Congress and the President have announced that a finance and housing package (including tax provisions) will be the next "big" initiative, so Congress has by no means finished its work as it affects the housing industry and REALTORS®.

The bill includes the following provisions:

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