Help for Homeowners
UNDERWATER ATLANTA: Programs still available to assist troubled homeowners
The Piece by Piece regional foreclosure response initiative held an event today to address one of the lingering effects of the foreclosure crisis – homeowner negative equity. Goals of the event included: discussing local strategies for overcoming massive negative equity in troubled metro Atlanta neighborhoods; hearing about federal assistance programs, and educating local community leaders about actions they could take to improve home values in their neighborhoods.
In association with the “Underwater Atlanta” event, Piece by Piece created a “Negative Equity Information & Resource Guide.” The guide provides an overview of the negative equity issue, a summary of how negative equity impacts the entire neighborhood, resources for veterans, and an extensive list of programs available to help homeowners who owe more on their homes than the homes are worth. Here’s a list of key programs for troubled homeowners:
- Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
- Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
- HomeSafe Georgia
The most daunting aspect of being underwater is knowing where to begin to resolve the problem. Our recommendation is to work with a HUD-approved, certified housing counseling organization. Metro Atlanta is home to many very strong counseling organizations. To search for a HUD-approved housing counseling organization, we recommend the following resources:
Zillow’s website includes a step-by-step guide to loan modification strategies for underwater homeowners, including veteran homeowners with VA loans. Zillow’s site also includes interactive mapping that provides information on negative equity rates by neighborhood. For underwater borrowers, refinancing simply means getting a new mortgage to replace your old one with the goal of reducing monthly payments, lowering your interest rate, or changing your loan program from an adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage. In most cases you do not need to have equity in your home to refinance if you qualify for one of the specialized refinancing programs that have become available over the past several years.
For a full recap of the Underwater Atlanta event, click HERE.
If you’d like to receive email updates from the Piece by Piece initiative, a monthly e-news featuring local and national efforts aimed at addressing the foreclosure crisis and its lingering effects, click HERE