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May 2007

Welcome To AmeriDream’s Newsletter

In This Issue:

  • Ask AmeriDream
  • Federal Housing Agency Works to Undo Homeownership
  • Appraisers Advocate For Independence Process
  • Homebuyer Education 101: Create a Priority List of Payments

Q: I’ve fallen behind in my mortgage payments, what’s the first thing I should I do?

A: The worst thing you can do is not take steps to communicate with your lender. Lenders say the sooner they hear from a borrower in trouble, the easier it is to work out a solution.

Q: Will a lender really help me keep my home?

A: Foreclosures are costly for lenders and most would rather work out a situation with their customer to try to resolve the issue. Working out a solution is easiest when the borrower’s income has been interrupted, perhaps because of illness or job loss. In these situations, the amount can be added to the mortgage balance or repaid over several months,

Q: What is Loss Mitigation?

A: Lenders can offer a service called “loss mitigation” for homeowners in financial trouble. This service allows the lender an opportunity to explore workout options with late-paying borrowers. These options include forbearance, which temporarily delays or reduces payments for a fixed period. Lenders can also modify the terms of the loan or come up with another solution.

Q: Are there other options for homeowners in financial trouble?

A: Other options for borrowers include asking family members for money, refinancing the loan, or selling their home. Remember, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to call their lender to work out a solution.

Over the past 10 years privately-funded down payment assistance organizations have helped over one million people become homeowners. HUD wants to eliminate these programs. The issue is not the mechanics of how the programs work or are funded. The real issue is the population that is served by these programs. Without DPA programs, such as AmeriDream, first-time homebuyers, minority and women homebuyers and lower income homebuyers will not have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Housing professionals will also loose one of the few, safe, affordable housing programs for their clients.

HUD needs to hear from you now. There is less than 45 days to comment. Tell HUD to withdrawal the rule. Act now and comment to HUD and your Congressional representatives. Submit comments electronically through http://takeaction.ahaanow.org.

The four largest professional appraisal organizations are advocating for an independent appraisal process in the mortgage lending process. In a recent letter to federal regulators, the Appraisal Institute, the American Society of Appraisers, the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, and the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers commented on the proposed guidance on sub-prime mortgage lending by regulators.

Artificially high appraisals to obtain financing for high-price real estate deals have been cited as one of the challenges of the mortgage industry. Recent studies have shown that as many as 75 percent of appraisers report losing a client or not being paid as a result of their refusal to overstate the value of properties.

The groups are advocating for specific guidance on appraisal management and appraiser independence.

In related news, the House has introduced a bill, the Fair FHA Appraisal Act of 2007 (HR. 1723) that would amend the National Housing Act to ensure fair appraisals in connection with mortgages insured under the FHA single family mortgage insurance program. AmeriDream supports HR 1723 and commends the efforts of Congressmen Charles A. Wilson and William Lacy Clay for their work on appraisal reform.

Creating a “priority” list of payments is a good way to help you stay in your home or minimize losses should you have a period of financial hardship. You can create your priority list with the help of a professional financial counselor or you can create a list on your own.

Your list should look something like this:

  • Monthly mortgage payment: If not No. 1, then definitely in the top three.
  • Household necessities: Such as food and health expenses.
  • Hosing related bills: Any bills that are associated with your home. These include your mortgage, homeowner’s insurance fees, and if you live in a housing community that includes maintenance fees.
  • Utility service bills: Essentials are the water, electric, gas or oil bills, and telephone. Cable is considered a luxury utility.
  • Car loans: If the car is an absolute must form of transportation to and from work, then it obviously is a priority. However, if your household has more than one vehicle and you can afford to sell one; this may be an opportunity to save some money.

Other items to consider include child support payments, income taxes, student loans, loans without collateral. Having a priority list of payments is a good way to determine how you should allocate your anticipated income. If you write all your expenses down, you can see where your money is going. Watch how you spend your money and you can better decide where you can and cannot cut corners on your monthly budget.

“AmeriDream has given me stability and independence. I can not imagine ever renting again. Now my monthly payments are an investment for me and my family.” – Curtis, Tampa, FL

Curtis in Tampa, FL

What common English word will describe a person or thing as not being found in any place and yet with no changes other than a space between syllables, will correctly describe that person or thing as being actually present at this very moment?

- Solution is located on the bottom of the page -

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The word is "NOWHERE." When a space is placed between the 'w' and 'h', you get the words "NOW HERE".