The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) wants you to understand your mortgage status if you have not been making payments after being financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For starters, make sure you know whether you are in forbearance status or if your lender or servicer considers you to be in default and intends to begin the foreclosure process when the foreclosure moratorium ends. If you need help understanding the language used in your mortgage documents, the Washington Homeownership Resource Center offers resources to help you do that at www.homeownership-wa.org/managing-your-mortgage.
For many homeowners, it may have been several months now since making a mortgage payment. You may have contacted your servicer and asked for the forbearance or you may have not made a payment based on what your monthly statements indicate being due.
“Don’t put off contacting your servicer or otherwise finding out how long your forbearance is going to last,” DFI Director of Consumers Services Lucinda Fazio advises. “The sooner you know your situation, the sooner you can begin preparing.”
If you have a forbearance, it’s going to expire at some point and the missed payments will have to be made up. When it ends depends on a number of factors, including who owns your loan (the Federal Housing Finance Administration — e.g. Fannie or Freddie — HUD or a private investor), what your current and expected income situation is, and the specific terms of your loan.
There are many homeowners in forbearance and loan servicers for all loan types are working to address inquiries from borrowers. Take some time now to carefully review your mortgage statements and any communications you have received from your servicer. Go to the servicer’s web page to see if it provides information about repayment options following forbearance.
“It is critical that struggling homeowners understand their options for making payments again on their home loans when forbearance relief ends,” DFI Director Charlie Clark notes. “Our struggling Washington homeowners being well-informed will be key to successful outcomes.”
Talk to a housing counselor by calling the Washington Homeownership Hotline at 1-877-894-HOME (4663) for specific assistance with your mortgage and your circumstances. Talk to DFI’s Mortgage Assistance Team at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334) to get assistance with how best to contact your mortgage servicer, and to learn more about your options. See these resources and more on DFI’s web page on COVID-19 Mortgage Assistance for Washington Residents.