Skip to main content
Español

Mortgages

Learn some of the basics about mortgages.

COVID-19 Mortgage Relief

If you’ve been affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic and you own a single-family home with a federally backed or FHA-insured mortgage, you can request mortgage forbearance, a pause in making mortgage payments. 

Learn the steps to take and questions to ask if you need mortgage forbearance from your lender. 

Deadlines for Federally Backed Mortgage Foreclosures

  • For loans backed by HUD/FHA, USDA, or VA, you can request an initial forbearance through June 30, 2021.

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not currently have a deadline for requesting an initial forbearance.

  • Lenders cannot foreclose on loans backed by HUD/FHA, USDA, VA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac until after June 30, 2021.

What Your Loan Servicer Must Do If You Request Forbearance

If you're having trouble making payments on your federally backed mortgage because of the COVID-19 pandemic, contact your loan servicer before June 30, 2021. Your loan servicer must:

  • Defer or reduce your payments for 180 days if you contact them to make arrangements

  • Give you another 180 days of mortgage relief at your request

  • Offer options for how you can make up the deferred or reduced payments. They will discuss these options with you at the end of your forbearance period.

Find Your Loan Servicer

If you don't know whether your mortgage is federally backed, see a list of federal agencies that provide or insure mortgages. You can also check the Fannie Mae loan lookup and the Freddie Mac loan lookup to see if either one owns or backs your mortgage. Together, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own nearly half of all mortgages in the U.S.

Mortgage Refinancing

Refinancing your mortgage allows you to pay off your existing mortgage and take out a new mortgage on new terms. You may want to refinance your mortgage to take advantage of lower interest rates, to change your type of mortgage, or for other reasons.

These resources will help you learn more about refinancing your mortgage:

Making Home Affordable Program

Mortgage Company Transferring Your Loan to Another Company

  • Federal Reserve rules require mortgage companies to notify homeowners when their loans are transferred to another company. The company that takes over your loan must send you a notice within 30 days of acquiring it. Even with a new loan owner, the company that "services" or handles your loan might not change and you might continue to send your payments to the same address. If that loan servicer changes, you will receive a separate notice.

  • For more information about servicing companies, read the Federal Trade Commission's publication "Mortgage Servicing: Making Sure Your Payments Count."

Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage is a home loan that you do not have to pay back for as long as you live in your home. You only repay the loan when you die, sell your home, or permanently move away. Homeowners who are at least 62 years old are eligible. These mortgages allow older homeowners to convert part of the equity in their homes into cash without having to sell their homes or take on additional monthly bills.

Read more information about reverse mortgages.

Types of Reverse Mortgages

Types of reverse mortgages include:

Be sure to watch for aggressive lending practices, advertisements that refer to the loan as "free money," or those that fail to disclose fees or terms of the loan. To be a savvy consumer and help protect yourself, remember:

  • Do not respond to unsolicited advertisements
  • Be suspicious of anyone claiming that you can own a home with no down payment
  • Seek out your own reverse mortgage counselor
  • Never sign anything you do not fully understand
  • Make sure the loan is federally insured

Reporting Fraud or Abuse

If you suspect fraud or abuse, let the counselor, lender, or loan servicer know. You may also file a complaint:

If you have questions, contact your local Homeownership Center for advice. 

FHA Loans and HUD Homes

If you’re a homebuyer, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has two programs that may help make the process more affordable.

FHA Loans 

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) manages the FHA loans program. This may be a good mortgage choice if you’re a first-time buyer because the requirements are not as strict as for other loans. The down payment and closing costs are low.

Am I eligible? 

How Do I Apply? 

The FHA doesn't lend money to people. It insures mortgage loans from FHA-approved lenders against default. To apply for an FHA-insured loan, you will need to use an FHA-approved lender. Search for an FHA-approved lender here. 

How do I complain? 

If you have a complaint about an FHA loan program, contact the FHA Resource Center

HUD Homes 

When homeowners default on their FHA loan, HUD takes ownership of the property, because HUD oversees the FHA loan program. These properties are called either HUD homes or HUD real estate owned (REO) property. 

Am I eligible? 

Your qualifications to buy a HUD home depend on your credit score, ability to get a mortgage, and the amount of your cash down payment. You can also use an FHA-insured mortgage to buy a HUD home.  

How do I apply? 

Use the HUDHomestore to find listings of HUD real estate owned (REO) properties for sale. Click on the agent tab to find contact information to learn more about the property. 

Where do I call for extra help?

If you have a question or need more information about FHA loans or HUD homes, you can:

Share This Page:

Do you have a question?

Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.

Last Updated: April 15, 2021

Top