For those of you living in Charlotte County and the surrounding areas, there might be some assistance available if you're underwater on your mortgage. Initially announced on February 1, 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture has come up with a plan that could help tens of thousands of homeowners living in rural areas. While it is similar to President Obama's program announced earlier, the USDA program will not require Congress' approval. Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary, indicated that the money has already been obligated.
Eligibility for the USDA program is based on the following criteria:
- Homeowner must have either a direct loan with the USDA or a USDA guarantee on a commercial bank mortgage
- Homeowners must have made their mortgage payments on time for 12 consecutive months
The new program will help homeowners refinance their homes with lower interest rates, between three and four percent, without the requirement of first obtaining an appraisal, inspection, or credit report. This will save homeowners hundreds of dollars per month and keep them out of foreclosure and an already overwhelmed housing market. It is likely that 20,000 borrowers in Florida may be eligible for the USDA program.
Vilsack will be in Orlando today to discuss the program, and we should have more details for you on how you go about applying for this program. As with any other mortgage assistance program, it is likely that the homeowner will have to be extremely proactive in seeking help. For further information on this and other foreclosure-related matters, stay tuned to the blogs posted by the Law Office of Tauna R. Bogle. We will look out for your best interests and keep you advised of any new developments and ways to help you avoid foreclosure.