Legislation aims to help more borrowers avoid foreclosure
Questions and answers about the Hope for Homeowners Act of 2008, signed into law by President Bush Wednesday to try to steer as many as 400,000 struggling homeowners away from foreclosure:
Q: What exactly will the legislation do?
A: It will allow those who qualify to cancel their old mortgage loans and replace them with 30-year fixed-rate loans for up to 90 percent of the home’s current value. The FHA will insure a total of $300 billion of the loans over a three-year period.But the decision on whether to write such a loan remains up to banks, which would have to be willing to take a loss on the existing loans in exchange for avoiding an often-costly foreclosure.
Q: Who is eligible?
A: Eligible borrowers must have spent more than 31 percent of their monthly incomes on their mortgages as of March 1, 2008. The troubled loan must have originated no later than Jan. 1, 2008, and be on the borrower’s primary residence. And the borrower’s income must be verified.