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Making Home Affordable (MHA) Programs

Making Your Home Affordable

In March of 2009, the Obama administration introduced the Making Home Affordable Program (MHA). Under this program, the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) helps home owners who are current on their mortgage but unable to take advantage of today’s low interest rates due to possible declines in property values.

The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) helps home owners who may be having trouble making their monthly payment.

More Information

The Making Home Affordable (MHA) assistance hotline number is 888-995-HOPE (888-995-4673).

Quick Tip: Free Counseling

Get free advice from a HUD-approved housing counselor. Counselors work with you and your mortgage company.
Call 888-995-4673 to speak with an expert about your situation.

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FHA Affordable Programs

FHA Home Affordable Modification Programs

On August 15, 2009 FHA introduced a Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) of its own. It’s designed to assist home owners having trouble making their monthly payment. FHA HAMP lowers the borrower’s monthly mortgage payment to 31% of their gross monthly income.

FHA HAMP Eligibility

To be eligible for FHA HAMP:

  • Your FHA insured loan must have been in default for no more than 12 months
  • The home must be owner-occupied and not previously modified under FHA HAMP
  • You must not have intentionally defaulted
  • You must sign a hardship affidavit attesting to and describing the hardship

These are general guidelines. Contact your servicer to see if you qualify.

FHA Second Lien Program (FHA 2LP)

In August 2010, FHA introduced the FHA Second Lien Program (FHA 2LP) to help homeowners in a negative equity position. If the mortgage lender of your first mortgage agrees to modify your first mortgage through the FHA Home Affordable Modification Program (FHA HAMP), you may qualify to have your second lien reduced or removed through the FHA 2LP. The total amount of your mortgage debt after the refinance can’t exceed 115% of your home's current value.

Contact your servicer to see if you qualify.

Quick Tip: What’s Required

No appraisal is needed for an FHA HAMP.
FHA Second Lien Program (FHA 2LP) can only be used in conjunction with an FHA HAMP or other FHA program.

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VA/USDA Affordable Programs

USDA Home Affordable Modification Program

On August 26, 2010, the Rural Development (RD) Division or United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) introduced a Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). It assists homeowners who are having trouble making their monthly payments. RD HAMP lowers borrowers’ monthly mortgage payment to 31% of their gross monthly income.

If you have a RD or USDA mortgage, contact your servicer for more information.

VA Home Affordable Modification Program

Effective February 1, 2010, the VA introduced a Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The program assists homeowners who are having trouble making their monthly payment. The VA HAMP lowers borrowers’ monthly mortgage payment to 31% of their gross monthly income.

You may be eligible for a VA HAMP if you meet the following 3 stipulations:

  • The property is your primary residence
  • You don’t qualify for traditional repayment plans, special forbearances and traditional loan modifications
  • The VA HAMP modification is agreed upon by the VA HAMP expiration date

These are general guidelines. Contact your servicer to see if you qualify. Or, if you are a veteran in Delinquency, check out this Quick Reference Sheet.

Quick Tip

US Rural Development offers a principal reduction plan for up to five years for timely payments.
VA doesn’t offer borrower incentives for timely payments.

Loan Modification Fraud

Protect Yourself from a Loan Modification Scam

Loan modification scams are schemes where companies take advantage of homeowners facing foreclosure. The Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule makes it illegal for companies to collect any fees until a homeowner receives an offer of relief from their lender and accepts it.

One of the best ways to protect yourself is to recognize the methods used in modification scams.

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Home Affordable Unemployment Program

Help for Unemployed Homeowners

Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP) may offer unemployed homeowners temporary assistance of no less than 3 months forbearance, which either suspends or reduces your monthly mortgage payment. Extensions are based on the servicer’s discretion.

UP Qualification

You may qualify for UP if:

  • You’re currently delinquent on your loan or defaulting is foreseeable
  • You’re unemployed and are eligible for unemployment benefits
  • Your loan hasn’t been previously modified under HAMP
  • You haven’t previously received UP forbearance.

Contact your servicer to see if you qualify.

quick tip: Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae may have their own forbearance arrangements with unemployed borrowers.
Contact your servicer for information.

Foreclosure Options and Your Credit

Short Sale

A short sale is the sale of a home for less than the existing balance on the mortgage. If you’re having financial hardship, your lender may consider this option in order to incur a smaller financial loss than might result from a foreclosure.

A short sale may not eliminate the remaining balance of the mortgage unless settlement is clearly indicated on the acceptance offer. In addition, multiple levels of approvals may be necessary, such as a second mortgage lender and/or a mortgage insurance company.

It may be beneficial to hire an experienced real estate agent. A qualified agent is able to provide you with a Broker Price Opinion (BPO) to give you an estimate of market value.

Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

A deed in lieu of foreclosure is the borrower’s voluntary surrender of the property in order to avoid foreclosure. Your lender will assess factors, such as the costs incurred to continue with the foreclosure process as well as the number of liens on the property, to determine whether this process is in the lender's best financial interest.

In many cases it is easier for the lender to complete the foreclosure process than to accept a deed in lieu. If your lender accepts the deed in lieu process, it may not extinguish your responsibility to pay any loan deficiency after the sale of the property.


A foreclosure is the legal process where a borrower's ownership of a property is dissolved due to default. Typically, the property is sold at a public auction and the proceeds used to pay the loan. The foreclosure process varies by lender. It may be beneficial to contact a foreclosure counselor or an attorney to help you understand your options and rights.

To find out more about the credit implications and how to recover, see below.

Quick Tip: Your Legal Rights

The right of redemption is the legal right of a debtor whose real property has been foreclosed on and sold to redeem that property in exchange for payment of the debt. Redemption periods are set on a case-by-case basis.

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Credit Implications and Recovery

Credit Implications of Foreclosure

Often times, companies and professionals try to predict the range of damage that can occur to your credit score after a foreclosure, short sale or deed-in-lieu. The FICO score model is extremely complicated, taking into consideration each individual’s full credit history and present credit use. It’s nearly impossible to predict what will happen. It’s important though to take the necessary steps to begin rebuilding your credit as soon as possible.

Rebuilding Credit

While a foreclosure, short sale or deed in lieu have a very serious impact on your credit and credit score, it does not last forever. To rebuild your credit after an unfortunate circumstance it is important to be conscientious about your credit decisions. Making all your other payments in a timely manner and paying down your credit card debt are good ways to re-establish your credit history and improve your overall credit score, remember it takes time. It may also be helpful to check your credit annually for accuracy.

Quick Tip: Negative Credit Lasts 7 Years

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy records remain on your credit history for 10 years.
All other negative credit will be removed after seven years of the date of last activity.

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Credit Implications and Recovery

Lower Property Taxes for Qualified Applicants

The Property Tax Reduction (Circuit Breaker) Program reduces state property taxes for qualified applicants. For applications and specific requirements, including deadlines and necessary documentation, call your county treasurer's office.
For more information on State Tax Reduction, check out our Idaho brochure.

Quick Tip

Each county has its own Property Tax Reduction application.
Be sure to contact the country treasurer’s office for the county you live in.

Counseling and 211 Services

HUD-Approved Housing Counseling

HUD approved housing counseling is a free service available to any homeowner. An approved counselor will talk to you individually and help you avoid foreclosure and understand Making Home Affordable programs. There’s no need to pay a private company for help.

Although it can be difficult to share your financial information, it’s important that you’re as honest and forthcoming as possible. The more complete a picture a counselor has, the more accurate the options he/she can offer you.

Take Advantage of Free Help Today

Call 888-995-HOPE (888-995-4673) and speak to an expert adviser 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or visit the Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling page on to find an approved counselor in your area.

Personal Counseling

Frequently, your home is more than a place to live, it may tie you to the community with social activities and familiarity. Dealing with the loss of your home can cause you emotional stress as well as financial tension. If you feel overwhelmed, you may benefit from seeking professional advice during this difficult time. Children and other household members may also feel the effects of financial strain.

211 Services

211 is a free community and information service available virtually anywhere within the US. Simply dial 2-1-1 on your phone to access health and human services programs in your local community.

Utah Department of Workforce Services

The state of Utah has consolidated many states' services under the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Qualifying individuals can take advantage of a variety of programs to help rebuild their lives.

State of Idaho Services

The official web site of the state of Idaho has comprehensive information about the many services available in the State of Idaho.

Quick Tip: One Time Mortgage Help

The Utah Homeless Prevention Program offers one month's mortgage payment of not more than $700 to those who qualify.

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