Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) 2012 Update

The good news for homeowners is that the home affordable modification program or HAMP as it is called has been extended through 2013.

HAMP is a program offered by the government beginning in 2009 with the economic recovery act. While compliance by the bank is optional, HAMP allows homeowners to apply for modification to their loans and get the payment reduced down to 31 percent of their gross monthly income. There’s an application process that begins at the lender when you will need to provide them all of your income documentation as if you are applying for new loan. They’re going to evaluate this information to see if you qualify by the standards of the investor. They’re not required to talk you about the program assistance however, they receive incentives from the government for modifying those loans. These may include extra money to cover the reduced amount of principle and there are also incentives for the borrower to make regular payments. If you make regular payments after the modification you also get some money back to give you some incentive to continue paying for loan and create equity in the process

Here’s a little bit about how it works:

As long as you have a job and you’re still struggling to make your mortgage payments you maybe eligible for HAMP. It allows for you to lower your mortgage payment down to 31 percent of your verified monthly gross income. Gross income is the amount of money you make before taxes are taken out. This means, if you have a $50,000 a year salary and your take home income is $1500 dollars every 2 weeks, your gross income is still $50,000 even though your paycheck is smaller.

For example: If your monthly mortgage payment is $1,650, and your income is $50,000 per year, that payment currently equals 39.6% of your income. HAMP will lower your payment down to 31 percent of that gross income or $1,291and your savings is $359 per month.

President Obama has announced changes to the program and intends to be even more aggressive with elements of the program. Mortgage lenders got the information in February but the new information for homeowners won’t be available until June, so you can check out the government website at http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov then. For now:

You may be eligible for HAMP if you meet all of the following criteria:

1. You occupy the house as your primary residence.
2. You obtained your mortgage on or before January 1, 2009.
3. You have a mortgage payment that is more than 31 percent of your monthly gross (pre-tax) income.
4. You owe up to $729,750 on your home.
5. You have a financial hardship and are either delinquent or in danger of falling behind.
6. You have sufficient, documented income to support the modified payment.
7. You must not have been convicted within the last 10 years of felony larceny, theft, fraud or forgery, money laundering or tax evasion, in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction.

One great thing about the HAMP modification is that the government considers entire payment including your tax escrow and your insurance escrow and homeowners association fees to calculate what your final monthly payment needs to be to reach the goal of 31 percent. This gives you an even better chance saving money in the program.