4/30/2009

My Tax Dollars at Work

A critical piece of the Obama Administration's Financial Stability Plan is the Making Home Affordable program, a plan to stabilize our housing market and help millions of Americans reduce their monthly mortgage payments to more affordable levels. Having looked at refinancing our mortgage a few months ago, but not finding the right deal, I was interested to see if we could benefit from this program. It’s designed to help homeowners get more favorable loan terms in scenarios where their home has lost value. That is the scenario we're in. A lot of lenders won’t refinance a loan if the value of your home is less than the loan amount, it’s simply a matter of math; this program looks to help alleviate some of that. There are two parts to the program. The first is Home Affordable Refinancing, which helps borrowers refinance a loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. It’s designed for people who are current on their mortgages and are unable to refinance because the value of their home has fallen by too much. The second part of the program is Home Affordable Modification, which assists in the modification of a loan, rather than a refinance. It’s designed for people who are “struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments.” We're eligible for the refinance program. I called my lender a couple of weeks ago and requested an evaluation of my situation. They called me back today, and after spending about an hour on the phone, I had myself a new 30 year fixed rate mortgage that is only about $20 more a month than my current mortgage payment. It's an upgrade from my 5/1 ARM. I'm only in year two of the 5/1 ARM, but I wanted to take advantage of the program and lock in a low interest rate for 30 years. An opportunity like this doesn't come along everyday. I'm usually not happy with the decisions of the government, but I will make an exception this time. Thank you President Obama. I'll give you a man hug next time we hang out.