What Options Are Available for Military Homeowners?

Although they move very often and call many places home, military families are not immune to the pitfalls of the housing crisis. In recent years, the National Military Family Association has received phone calls, emails, and letters from stressed military homeowners.  Many of their stories are similar—some purchased a home that has drastically declined in value or they have orders to move and will no longer receive their current housing allowance to help cover the cost of their mortgage.

So, where can families like these turn for help? Here are a few programs with new clauses, recent changes, or extensions that can benefit military homeowners.

The Homeowners' Assistance Program (HAP) was temporarily expanded for service members who receive Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders to a duty station outside a 50-mile radius of their current station. The reassignment must be ordered between February 1, 2006 and September 30, 2010. The property must be the primary residence of the service member and purchased by July 1, 2006. The HAP benefit is still available to survivors and wounded, ill, or injured service members. Unlike service members who receive PCS orders, this provision does not have a sunset date.

Military homeowners may be eligible for the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) Program. Service members with Fannie Mae or the Freddie Mac loans who receive PCS orders will be eligible to sell their homes in a short sale, even if they are current on their mortgage. Under the new policy, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not pursue a deficiency judgment or any cash contribution or promissory note from service members with PCS orders for any property purchased on or before June 30, 2012. Check to see if your loan is held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac

Service members may also be eligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). If you are a military homeowner who has PCS orders you may qualify for a mortgage modification under the HAMP program. Contact your mortgage servicer to see if they participate in the program. If you qualify for HAMP and also have a second mortgage, you may also qualify for the Second Lien Modification Program (2MP).

Are there resources available for veterans? Yes, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers guidance to veterans and service members with VA-Guaranteed Home Loans and those with a non-VA Guaranteed Home Loan. Service members or veterans may call 877.827.3702 to discuss potential ways to help save your loan.

More Options to Help Military Homeowners

If you have additional questions about getting mortgage help, contact a housing expert at the Homeowner’s HOPE hotline at 888.995.HOPE (4673). These HUD-approved housing counselors will help you understand your options, design a plan to suit your individual situation, and prepare your application.

Service members or veterans, who are having problems with their mortgages, may call the CFPB toll free: 1.855.411.2372. Homeowners may also submit mortgage-related complaints on the CFPB website at www.consumerfinance.gov.

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