We’re Here to Help
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many Americans in unique financial situations. If paying your mortgage poses a financial hardship, we encourage you to contact your mortgage servicer. There are options to help meet your needs.
Are You Facing Financial Challenges Due to COVID-19?
First things first: If you can afford to make your mortgage payment, you should continue to do so.
However, if you are struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you have options. You need to contact your mortgage servicer to discuss them. Check your monthly mortgage statement for your servicer's contact information.
What to Know Before You Call Your Servicer
What is forbearance? A forbearance is a temporary pause of your mortgage payment. The payments are not forgiven; you will be required to repay any missed payments. Ask your servicer about your options for making up the missed payments after the forbearance period is over BEFORE you choose to move forward with a forbearance plan.
Here are some questions to ask your servicer regarding your options when you call:
- If, at the end of my forbearance period, I am able to start making my normal monthly payments again but I need help repaying the amount I missed during my forbearance, what other options might be available to me?
- Can my loan term be extended so that missed payments are added to the end of my mortgage?
- What if I won't be able to go back to making my regular monthly payment?
- Will I need to submit an application or certain documentation in order to apply for any of the options after forbearance?
- What effect will taking forbearance have on my ability to refinance or purchase a new home in the future?
How to Learn Who Owns Your Mortgage
To understand the options available for getting help with your mortgage, it's important for you to know who owns your loan. There are several tools that can help you do this.
Many mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Both offer a mortgage look-up tool on their website.
- Fannie Mae Lookup Tool: Find out if Fannie Mae owns your loan.
- Freddie Mac Lookup Tool: Find out if Freddie Mac owns your loan.
If you have an FHA loan, the Federal Housing Administration has a resource for homeowners who need assistance in making mortgage payments, including Frequently Asked Questions.
You can also look up your mortgage servicer by searching the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) website.
What Happens at the End of the Forbearance Period?
You will need to repay the payments that were missed during the forbearance period. How you can repay will depend on the type of loan you have and what your financial situation is at the end of the forbearance period. Some options might require you to submit an application and provide documentation like pay stubs or bank statements.
If you are able to start making your normal monthly payments again at the end of your forbearance period, you might be able to repay the missed amounts when you pay off your mortgage (or when you sell or refinance your house). However, if you were already behind on your mortgage payments before the COVID-19 pandemic started, you will not be able to use this option.
If you cannot make your normal monthly payments at the end of your forbearance period, or if you were already behind on your mortgage payments before the pandemic, you might be eligible for a LOAN MODIFICATION.
Finally, if you can afford to pay off the entire amount in a LUMP SUM payment, you may do so. If you can afford to make a higher monthly payment for a period of time, you might be able to pay it off through a REPAYMENT PLAN.
Officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) have jointly developed a website (cfpb.gov/housing) designed to help mortgage borrowers and renters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and let them know what they can expect when seeking help from their servicers and landlords.
Fannie Mae's KnowYourOptions.com can help you navigate the mortgage relief process and address other financial challenges. Check it out to learn about Fannie Mae's available mortgage assistance and relief options. Further, Fannie Mae reminds homeowners they are not required to repay missed payments all at once. Understand your COVID-19 mortgage options with Fannie Mae.
Freddie Mac has created an interactive guide for borrowers for sustaining homeownership in a crisis. Learn about the resources and solutions available as well as their short- and long-term impact on your finances. Further, Freddie Mac explains repayment policies in the wake of COVID-19, stating that lump sum repayment is not required in forbearance.
CNBC Story on Forbearance Options
Be on the lookout for scams and scammers looking to take advantage of consumers affected by the coronavirus. You might receive fraudulent calls, emails, text messages or other "offers" to help you reduce or stop your mortgage payments. Make sure you are working directly with your mortgage servicer.
Glossary of Terms
A LOAN MODIFICATION is when changes are made to your loan to try to reduce your monthly payment and take care of past-due amounts. Typically, this is done through lowering the interest rate or extending the loan term.
A LUMP SUM payment is when you pay the entire past-due amount in a single payment.
A REPAYMENT PLAN takes your past-due amount and spreads it out over a period of time. Your regular monthly payment would be higher for a while because it would also include a portion of your past due amount. The length of a repayment plan will depend on the type of loan you have. Typically, they run between 6 and 12 months.
DEFERMENT is sometimes used as another word for forbearance. However, sometimes it is used to describe a program in which the total amount of past-due payments is due in a lump sum when the loan is paid off.
FEDERALLY BACKED MORTGAGE is a loan that is federally owned or backed by one of these federal agencies or entities:
- Fannie Mae
- Freddie Mac
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (USDA loans)
- Federal Housing Administration (FHA loans)
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA loans)
- Are You Facing Financial Challenges Due to COVID-19?
- What to Know Before You Call Your Servicer
- What is Forbearance
- Questions to Ask Your Servicer Regarding Your Options
- Learn Who Owns Your Mortgage
- What Happens at the End of the Forbearance Period?
- Additional Information
- CNBC Story on Forbearance Options
- Be Cautious
- Glossary of Terms
- About the CARES Act