Thursday, March 12, 2009

No Job? Can' Refinance? How to Talk to Your Bank

As unemployment rises in many states, more homeowners are finding it difficult to pay their mortgage each month. Although most unemployed homeowners do not qualify for refinancing, as they do not meet the minimum qualifying requirements such as proof of income, there are steps they can take to improve their chances of a successful refinance.

• The first, and probably most important step in the refinance process, is to find out which company services the loan. The loan servicer may or not may not be the company where the mortgage payment is sent each month. This step is crucial, because the loan servicer is generally the one that can modify the loan. If the loan servicer is not able to provide assistance, the owner of the mortgage may be able to help.

• Once a homeowner realizes he or she may no longer be able to pay the mortgage, the homeowner should contact the “loss mitigation department” of the lender. The “loss mitigation department” is where the refinance and/or loan modification process begins.

• After discussing options with the loss mitigation department, homeowners should write a
forbearance letter, also known as a postponement of payment letter. This letter is sent to the
servicer or lender and details the homeowner’s current financial situation and hardship.

• Many government agencies and nonprofit organizations provide free services to homeowners and will serve as an intermediary between the lender/servicer and the homeowner. Some companies charge fees for the same services. Housing analysts caution homeowners to conduct research and due diligence prior to paying a company for loan modification and/or refinance assistance.

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Article compliments of California Association of REALTORS

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spring Forward Began March 8

Daylight Saving Time (DST) began on Sunday, March 8, 2009. The way we refer to time zones also changes. For example, Eastern Standard Time (EST) becomes Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

But remember, some areas of the United States don’t use DST, such as Arizona, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa. More Sun…

Daylight Saving Time Runs Longer
In case you hadn’t noticed over the last two years, DST now begins earlier and runs longer. The extra time that we enjoy is actually the result of the Energy Policy Act, which President Bush signed into law in 2005 and went into effect in 2007. The Act changed the start date of DST to the second Sunday in March — three weeks earlier. It also moved the end date out one week to the first Sunday in November.

Benefits of Daylight Saving Time
Despite some concerns, Americans overwhelmingly like Daylight Saving Time. There is simply more sunlight in the evenings to enjoy the outdoors and get things done. Plus, additional hours of daylight can help save energy on a national scale — as much as 100,000 barrels of oil per day according to some estimates.

And brighter is safer. Studies have shown that the DST shift reduces traffic accidents. Additionally, a study by the US Law Enforcement Administration also determined that crime is consistently lower during DST, with violent crimes down as much as 10% to 13%. For many crimes, like mugging, darkness is a factor — so more light in the evening hours reduces these types of crimes.

Cons of Daylight Saving Time
Not everyone benefits from DST. For example, many farmers say that DST has a negative impact on their livestock’s natural schedules. The airline industry also reports that it costs millions of dollars to adjust time schedules — and even then, airlines report numerous problems with international flight connections during the transition time since DST isn’t followed uniformly worldwide.

Finally, since many electronic devices and computer programs are set to adjust to DST based on the old dates, they may not change automatically on March 8. So, you’ll want to double-check all of your devices and confirm that the time is correct.

Compliments of Cherry Creek Mortgage