Since Congress passed and President Bush signed the new housing bill I've received several inquiries from strapped borrowers or their friends about whether they might qualify for one of the bill's promised 400,000 refinance deals.
That's the deal where you can refinance out of your risky, troubling adjustable-rate mortgage and into a safer fixed-rate government-backed loan. The new loan would be in line with what your house is worth today, not the extreme high price you paid for it during the boom.
Heaven knows, there are probably 100,000 or more owners right here in the Sacramento region alone that could benefit from a deal like that.
But the trick is, the lender has to agree to this new price range as well, and take a loss. It's not certain yet whether lenders will agree to this or how much they'll participate. The governor's subprime agreement results posted early yesterday on this blog shows that it's their least favored option so far. They really aren't doing much of this at all for borrowers.
So my answer so far to these homeowner questions have been: I am not sure whether you are eligible. I've told several people I'll check to see what the rules are and how they might qualify for help.
I am aiming to do that now for Friday's print-edition Home Front.
If you're in the business and know the angles for this please call me, e-mail me or comment here. If you've investigated as a homeowner and hit a dead end please let us know as well. Do you think it's BS and more public relations than real? I'm hoping to provide a practical road map to people in trouble in Friday's paper. Any suggestions here for borrowers would be very helpful. Many are wondering if this is their ticket out of trouble. Thanks.