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Understanding the Mortgage Plan

By Renae Merle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Obama administration offered new details of its Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan yesterday. It aims to help up to 9 million homeowners lower their mortgage payments.

Here is what it could mean for you:

Who is this program for?

The plan includes two initiatives. One is a refinancing program aimed at homeowners who have less than 20 percent equity in their home or owe more than their home is worth. The other program, aimed at borrowers at risk of losing their home, attempts to lower their monthly payments to affordable levels.

Who qualifies for the refinancing program?

It is open only to homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage financing giants seized by the government last year. Borrowers who owe up to 5 percent more than their home is worth can qualify. The homeowners must be current on their loan.

The program ends June 2010.

How do I know whether my loan is owned or financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

The simplest way is to call your lender or servicer, the company that sends your monthly bill.

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