There aren’t any current government programs to help pay mortgage costs, but homeowners looking for mortgage relief may find it through a period of forbearance. Mortgage forbearance is a temporary suspension of loan payments meant to help homeowners get back on their feet. During the forbearance period, borrowers do not need to make their monthly mortgage payments.
Forbearance typically lasts between three and six months. However, if you need additional mortgage assistance, you may qualify for an extension of your mortgage forbearance period.
Depending on your mortgage and whether you received an initial forbearance, you may be able to extend your forbearance period for up to 18 months. However, most loans only qualify for extensions of up to 12 months.
To qualify for extended mortgage relief for up to 18 months, you must have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan. You may request up to two three-month forbearance extensions if you were in an initial forbearance period as of February 28, 2021.
If you have an FHA, VA, HUD or USDA loan, you may request two three-month forbearance extensions as long as you requested an initial forbearance plan on or before June 30, 2020.
Because the CARES act mortgage relief program is only meant to provide temporary assistance, your eligibility for forbearance depends on your circumstances. You must be able to prove that your financial hardship is directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is important to understand that not all borrowers will qualify for the maximum forbearance extension as outlined above. It is up to the loan servicer to determine whether an applicant may be approved for forbearance. Similarly, lenders are not required to approve both extensions.
There are other mortgage relief options out there for borrowers who may not qualify for forbearance through the CARES act. It is always suggested to contact your loan servicer to explore your options for loan repayment.
Also, keep in mind that receiving mortgage help will not dismiss your loan payments altogether. The CARES act does not provide mortgage forgiveness; all borrowers who are granted a period of forbearance must still make their payments to the loan servicer once the period expires.
Talk with your mortgage servicer about repayment options as your mortgage relief forbearance comes to an end. Most lenders offer a handful of repayment plans to help borrowers ease back into their payments.
For example, some lenders offer payment deferral. If you choose this option, you can put off paying your missed payments until you sell your home. Once you receive the money from the sale, you pay the servicer the remaining balance.
Loan modification is another option. If you choose this path, the terms of your home loan will change to accommodate your missed mortgage payments. Typically, your loan term will be extended to make up for the missed payments.