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Refinancing underwater properties

Do you owe more than your home is worth? Do you have an adjustable-rate mortgage or an interest-only mortgage you would like to refinance to a 30-year fixed mortgage? Do you want to refinance your loan and take advantage of the lower fixed rates? Well, if your loan is serviced by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac you may be able to do just that. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have received the green light from their regulators to refinance underwater properties with loan-to-value ratios as high as 125 percent of current property value.

In February, the Obama administration came out with a special program to refinance homeowners up to 105 percent of their loan–to-value, if the loan was serviced through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. This program did not help homeowners who saw the values of their homes decline 20 percent to 30 percent in the past year.

With the higher loan to value of 125 percent, it is now possible to help more people stay in their home. You must be current on your mortgage to quality, and you must verify your income. One of the benefits of this program is if you had no mortgage insurance on your current loan, you will not need mortgage insurance on your new loan. To find out if you qualify for this type of mortgage, call your local mortgage broker or loan officer or go to FannieMae.com or FreddieMac.com.

Do you want to purchase your first home, but have not yet saved enough for a down payment? You can now use the $8000 first-time homebuyers tax credit for the down payment. This was made possible by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is available only when you apply for an FHA loan.

This program will be available though the Sarasota County down payment program beginning Aug. 17. To introduce the new program, Manatee County will have a workshop for lenders and realtors Aug. 20. The funds are available through your county’s down payment assistance program and will be in a form of a second mortgage. The $8,000 tax credit can be used for your down payment, closing costs, taxes and insurance. The tax credit will be paid back when you file your 2009 income taxes. The IRS has laid out the following requirements to qualify for the credit: you must close on a home between April 8, 2009, and Dec. 1, 2009; the new home must be your principal residence; and you may not have owned a home in the past three years. For more information, call your local mortgage broker or loan office.

Karen Blondin, of Blondin Mortgage, can be reached at (941) 365-1926, ext. 207.

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