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COVID-19 and Mortgage Relief

By Virtual Results PubSub

If you’re a homeowner who is experiencing financial hardship because of the coronavirus, then you may be concerned about making your mortgage payments right now. It’s important to know that help is available. The federal government and many private loan providers and servicers have plans in place to provide assistance to those who are struggling. Here’s what you need to know if you find yourself in this position.

COVID 19 Mortgage ReliefWhat mortgage relief options are available?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was created to help homeowners who have mortgages backed by the federal government. These include mortgages backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and those that are guaranteed by the FHA, VA, or USDA. This act ensures that you will not face foreclosure until May 17, 2020 unless the deadline is extended. Homeowners also have the right to request forbearance for up to 180 days, and then request an extension of another 180 days. You will be charged no fees, penalties, or interest during this time and no documentation of need is required. Though the CARES Act only applies to federally backed mortgages, many other loan providers and servicers are offering help as well.

What relief options do I qualify for?

If you don’t know who owns your mortgage, then it may be difficult to determine what relief options are available to you. To find out who owns your mortgage, call your loan servicer and ask. You can find the contact information for your loan servicer on your monthly mortgage statement or in the payment book they provide. Alternatively, you can look it up online at the MERS Servicer ID website. Find out the name, address, and phone number of who owns your loan.

How do I request mortgage relief?

After you’ve determined who owns your loan, contact your loan servicer. Be aware that all loan servicers are experiencing high call volumes, so be prepared to wait on the line. If your loan is covered by the CARES Act, then alert the servicer that you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. If the federal government does not own your loan, then ask your servicer what options are available to you. This could include suspending or reducing payments, forbearance, loan modification, or waived late fees. Once you’ve determined what option best suits you, get it in writing so you know what the terms are.

What happens next?

Once you’ve secured your mortgage relief or forbearance, you should keep updated on what happens. Keep all records related to the relief and monitor your monthly mortgage statements for errors. If your mortgage payments are automatically deducted from your account, then make the necessary adjustments so you can avoid fees or other charges. Routinely check your credit report for errors and report them if you find any as they can negatively impact your credit score. You should also confirm with your servicer if your property taxes and home insurance will continue to be paid through an escrow account. If not, you will need to continue to make those payments.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Research Neighborhoods From Your Couch

By Virtual Results PubSub

Did you know you could learn almost everything you’d want to know about a neighborhood without leaving your couch? With most Americans still practicing social distancing and staying at home, it’s become more important than ever to utilize available resources when searching for a new home. Luckily, there’s much you can learn just by surfing the web or picking up the phone. Here’s a look at all the different ways you can learn about a community without visiting in person.

Research Neighborhoods From Your Couch

Search on social media

One of the easiest places to find all kinds of great information about a neighborhood is on social media. You can search Facebook for groups that are active in the neighborhood to find out more about local organizations and connect with residents. You can also search for events that are happening around town and look for restaurants and shops to find out what the local favorites are. You can also try searching hashtags with the name of the city or neighborhood to find out what other people are sharing.

Explore with Google Maps

Using the street view that’s available on Google Maps, you can explore the neighborhood by taking a virtual walk around town. See what amenities are nearby, check out other homes in the neighborhood, and get a lay of the land. You can also use street view to get a good idea of what your commute will be like. How busy are the nearby roads? Is there just one way to get to work, or are different routes available? Research has shown that the shorter your commute time, the happier you will be. So it pays to know this information upfront. Plus — by the time you visit in person, you’ll already know your way around!

Learn about the schools

Whether or not you have school-age children, it’s important to know about the quality of the school system in a neighborhood. Schools can affect home values, so the better the school district, the higher your home value will be. There are many resources available online to learn about the schools in a community, such as GreatSchools and Niche. You can also check the websites for the school district and each individual school.

Check crime rates

How safe is the neighborhood where you want to buy a home? Obviously, you want a home in a community that has a low crime rate. You can do an online search for crime rates in any area, which will often turn up public records that you can browse. You can also search the National Sex Offender Public Website to search for registered sex offenders in the neighborhood.

Call a professional real estate agent

If you want to really get the low down on a neighborhood, then call a professional real estate agent who is an expert in that market. Real estate agents know all the ins and outs of their communities and can offer a wealth of information, guidance, and advice. Find out everything you want to know from a trusted professional who is in the know.

Compliments of Virtual Results