Mortgage relief plan will take time to take effect

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Struggling Utah homeowners are bombarding lenders and loan counselors with phone calls, wanting to find out if they qualify for mortgage relief under new rules released Wednesday.

The plan, called Making Home Affordable, aims to help as many as 7 million to 9 million homeowners nationwide. But across the country, homeowners looking for relief will have to wait a little longer.

Millions of Americans today called their mortgage companies to find out if they can redo their loans. Many were greeted with a message similar to this: "While we have some of the high-level guidelines, some of the details are outstanding."

The message came from big lenders like Wells Fargo and Countrywide. They're identifying their customers who qualify, then say they'll call you.

Gary Nielson is the president of the Utah Mortgage Lenders Association. He thinks the program will help break the logjam of lending and help Utahns with mortgages on the brink, but loan servicers will need time to adjust their systems for the new guidelines.

"I know they're actively engaged in wanting to get a hold of those people. I'd get my name on the list and be the squeaky wheel," Nielson said.

Call the loan officer you worked with in the past, or a HUD-approved loan counselor may ease the process. [Click here for a list of HUD-approved loan counselors]

The Making Home Affordable plan is designed to help two types of borrowers: The first is to help responsible homeowners suffering from falling home prices, people who cannot refinance because the value of their home fell below the amount they borrowed.

"Now there may be an option. You can refinance that and get the lower rate and lower your payment. That's a big deal for a lot of folks," Nielson said.

The plan will also help delinquent borrowers avoid foreclosure. "You can be somewhat delinquent and do some modification where they lower your payments for a period of time and get you back on your feet again," Nielson explained.

This plan will not help out with a substantial number of subprime loans. For more details on the plan, CLICK HERE.

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Jed Boal


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