Thursday, March 19, 2009

South Bay-Beach Cities: Refinancing or Loan Modification Help Online

While the South Bay-Beach Cities have managed to stay above water better then other parts of the state there are a number of homeowners who are finding themselves in trouble and need some help with their home loan. Not all of us paid cash for an ocean view home in Manhattan, Hermosa or South Redondo. Many folks looking at the troubled California housing market feel as if they are jumping from the frying pan into the fire when considering their options. However there may just be a little help from the FEDS.

There are a number of homeowners who bought with 10%-15% down in Redondo, El Segundo, Torrance and other South Bay communities who now find themselves owing more then the value of the property as prices have declined over the last 3 years. Job losses along with the normal problems folks face from time to time...death, illness, and divorce... have caused some real issues for many residents.

If you have a conforming loan ( $729,750 or less) and need to either refinance or modify the loan then you may find some help from the government. Today the Federal Government finally got its helpline on line at The phone number is (888) 995-4673.

The truth is that not many homeowners in the South Bay will not qualify for help as your loan amount can't be more then 105% of the market value. Also the loan must be a conforming loan... that is when it was originated it was a loan guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. You don't have to be behind in your payments to receive help. If you aren't sure about whether your loan qualifies, click this link to see if it is owned by Fannie or Freddie.

If you haven't contacted your lender you should do so immediately. If they are not helpful then use the links to the above sites. These are legitimate sites that will offer help. Be wary of anyone sending you an e-mail, regular mail or calling your home with offers of help and wanting money upfront. There are some good sites that can offer you help but most are scams and will just take your money and leave you in deeper trouble.

About 3%-5% of people in trouble with their mortgages have equity(the difference between what you owe and the value of the property) in their homes. These people often give up and wind up losing their homes to foreclosure because they are not sure what to do. If you have equity in your home you need to talk with someone who can help. Don't be embarrassed.. call your attorney or someone you trust. Even in today's declining market you may be able to refinance or if necessary sell and come out with cash.

The LA Times has a very good article in the Sunday March 22, 2009 Business section on modifications and what California homeowners can expect from the government in terms of help... sadly not much.

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