Reverse Mortgages & Loan Modifications

So you need help keeping up with mortgage payments but aren’t sure if you should apply for a reverse mortgage or a loan modification. Here are some things to consider when comparing the two programs.

Reverse Loans for Seniors

Only people who are 62 and up can apply for a reverse mortgage. You can apply without a credit check but do need to get an appraisal on your home. Reverse home loans pay money directly to borrowers based on age, home value, and current mortgage rates. You can use the proceeds from a reverse home mortgage for any purpose and don’t have to repay it until you move or die.

Mortgage Loan Modifications

Only distressed homeowners who meet certain qualifications can apply for a mortgage loan modification. You must be experiencing a financial hardship that is making it tough to make mortgage payments. Your mortgage payment also must be more than 31% of your monthly gross income. Even if you aren’t behind on a mortgage you could be eligible for help if you are at risk of defaulting on it.

Some Americans have received help through the government’s loan modification program and have lowered their monthly payments or gotten out of adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs). But initial loan modifications are temporary, leaving many homeowners waiting to have the changes made permanent. Having a mortgage modified also can hurt your credit score.

Closing on a Reverse Mortgage

Once you close on a reverse mortgage you’re done. There is no more paperwork or final approvals to wait for. You get your money as lump sum or in installments and can use it for whatever you want.

Get the facts on reverse mortgage pros and cons from a housing counselor approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If you think the government’s loan modification program can help you, contact your loan servicer.

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Reverse Mortgage May Stop Foreclosure

If you are facing repossession, coming up with a once a month home loan payment may appear an insurmountable problem, particularly if you are retired with limited cash coming in. The solution could be right in your house, thru the careful use of a reverse mortgage.
Unlike a regular mortgage, which demands that you pay back a bank for a loan to get a house, a reverse mortgage is a loan to you that’s secured by the value of your home. The loan is usually paid back, with interest, from the proceeds when you or your heirs sell the house.

The minimum age to be accepted for a reverse mortgage is 62. But the older you are and the larger the value of your house, the more that you can borrow which might be the key to saving your house from foreclosure. A widow with a girl in college had been wrestling to maintain her home. She agreed to borrow $121,450 in a subprime mortgage, and used some of the cash for new gutters and other repairs. But the advantages of the loan were overweighed by the heavy regular payments, which gobbled up almost all of her revenue.

She slipped behind on her payments, and her home was slated for foreclosure in Apr 2008. That is when the Home Defense Program of the Atlanta Legal Help Society, stepped in. First, they swayed the mortgage servicing company to accept a payoff of $100,192, about $40,000 less than it was owed including late charges and penalties.

Then they organized a reverse mortgage on the home, which was worth $179,500, so she could make the payoff. Reverse mortgages could be a lifeline for older house owners who can’t benefit from the foreclosure prevention plan expounded by the Obama administration, which, with similar plans, is focused on whittling home loan payments to about 1/3 of a borrower’s gross revenue. Such plans don’t help seniors on small fixed incomes who could not pay a once a month bill whether or not the interest rate were slashed.

An advocate has to help the house owner begin the process of getting a reverse mortgage, while at the same time working to stop foreclosure action and most likely convincing the bank to accept a payoff that is less than what’s owed. When details of a loan are obviously illegal, violating rapacious lending laws that were in place when the loan was made, one of the first routes is to work out if a suit can be brought against the lending corporation, saving the senior’s home that way. Many loans are not technically illegal, but it is apparent that they should not have been made to an older person on a fixed earnings. The second hurdle is preparing the reverse mortgage itself. Historically, these loans are used to give folks with almost no mortgage debt a one-off sum or monthly revenue to pay costs while they live in their home. The older the homeowner and the bigger the home equity, the additional money a reverse mortgage will yield. But when there is a large mortgage, mixed with today’s dropping home costs, the house owner might have very little equity. In that position, a reverse mortgage can be tough to get.

Why not a reverse mortgage? Even for people that qualify, reverse mortgage loans are not always the best option. They are awfully costly because the majority of the loan fees are based primarily on the full price of the home, up to a state program limit of $625,500. In typical mortgages, costs are based mostly on a proportion of the amount you can borrow. Accumulated loan charges aren’t tax-refundable till the loan is paid back totally generally at some point in the distant future. Since the loan grows bigger over time, it might be tough to leave the home debt-free to a successor. Each householder who receives a federally insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, the most well liked kind of reverse mortgage, must first receive support from one of the governing body or non-profit housing support agencies authorized by the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development. Many professionals think such analysis should be made more generally available to seniors looking at repossession.

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Judge blasts bad bank, erases 525G debt

By KIERAN CROWLEY, RICH WILNER and DAN MANGAN

A Long Island couple is home free after an outraged judge gave them an amazing Thanksgiving present — canceling their debt to ruthless bankers trying to toss them out on the street.

Suffolk Judge Jeffrey Spinner wiped out $525,000 in mortgage payments demanded by a California bank, blasting its “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive” acts.

The bombshell decision leaves Diane Yano-Horoski and her husband, Greg Horoski, owing absolutely no money on their ranch house in East Patchogue.

Spinner pulled no punches as he smacked down the bankers at OneWest — who took an $814.2 million federal bailout but have a record of coldbloodedly foreclosing on any homeowner owing money.

“The bank was so intransigent that he [the judge] decided to punish them,” Greg Horoski, 55, said about Spinner’s scathing ruling last Thursday against OneWest and its IndyMac mortgage division.

It erased up to $291,000 in principal and $235,000 in interest and penalties.

The Horoskis — who had been paying only interest on their mortgage — had no equity in the home.

Horoski, who had begged the bankers to let him restructure the loan, said, “I think the judge felt it was almost a personal vendetta.” Dealing with the bank, he said, was “like dealing with organized crime.”

OneWest said, “We respectfully disagree with the lower court’s unprecedented ruling and we expect that it will be overturned on appeal.”

It claimed it “has been extremely active in working with consumers on home loan modifications through the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program and other loan modification initiatives.”

The bank is owned by a private equity group that purchased the failed IndyMac bank.

Yano-Horoski, a college professor of English and cognitive reason, and Horoski, who sells collectible dolls online, bought their 3,400-square-foot, one-level house 15 years ago for less than $200,000.

In 2004, court records show, they refinanced, paying off their original mortgage with part of a $292,500 sub-prime loan from Deutsche Bank. They used what was left for health care and for his business.

The loan carried an initial adjustable interest rate of 10.375 percent, which soared to 12.375 percent.

It eventually ended up being either owned or serviced by IndyMac, and the bank sued the couple in July 2005 when they began having trouble making payments because of Horoski’s health problems.

After a foreclosure was approved last January, Yano-Haroski successfully asked for a court settlement conference.

Spinner excoriated OneWest for repeatedly refusing to work out a deal, for misleading him about the dollar amounts at stake in the case, and for its treatment of the couple over months of hearings.

OneWest’s conduct was “inequitable, unconscionable, vexatious and opprobrious,” Spinner wrote.

He canceled the debt because the bank “must be appropriately sanctioned so as to deter it from imposing further mortifying abuse against [the couple].”

The bank is involved in a similar case in California, where it’s trying to foreclose on an 89-year-old woman, despite two court orders telling it to stop.

kieran.crowley@nypost.com

Source: NY Post