Kip Tips


What to Do Before Your Loan Resets



If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage that is about to rise, don't wait for the payments to become unaffordable.

Instead, refinance into a fixed-rate loan. People with good credit records have been getting 30-year fixed-rate mortgages for 6%-plus, and seven-year adjustable-rate mortgages in the high-5% range, says Brad Sherman, loan officer for Nationwide Mortgage Services, in Rockville, Md.

If you owe more on your mortgage than you can sell your house for, check out the new refinancing options provided by the Federal Housing Administration, such as FHASecure. Lenders in this program voluntarily agree to forgive any mortgage debt that exceeds 90% of the current appraisal value of the home so that the homeowner can refinance into an FHA-guaranteed loan.

If you have trouble refinancing, first ask your lender about your options. The lender may be willing to reduce your payments for a few months or work out an arrangement for making the payments you've missed. You can also get help from a housing-counseling agency approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (find links at www.hud.gov). If you're worried about foreclosure, contact the HOPE NOW Alliance or 888-995-4673). -- Jessica Anderson and Kimberly Lankford

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