HUD Secretary Fields Mortgage Refi Questions, Points to Housing Counseling

In a new kind of “meet up” with homeowners around the country, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan spoke via video conference call Thursday with several potential refinance candidates as well as the public at large. 

The meet up, moderated by online real estate hub Zillow, fielded questions from four homeowners via video conference as well as numerous homeowners around the country who submitted their questions via Twitter. Discussing some of the goals of the Home Affordable Refinance Program II and the necessary qualifications, Secretary Donovan spoke directly with mortgage holders who felt they had few, if any options. In many cases, Donovan pointed to housing counseling as a viable resource for these homeowners in need of assistance. 

“Most people don’t even know if they have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage,” he said. “Many are wondering, ‘why shouldn’t I have the opportunity to refinance?'”

One homeowner asked about comparable short sales used to determine the appraised value of his home. Another was deeply underwater on her loan in New Jersey but was told by a mortgage company she was not eligible to refinance. 

“You never have to pay upfront to have help with your mortgage,” Donovan said. “There are resources available to help. Go to a housing counselor. They are available in all cities and they are there to help.” 

Moreover, the Zillow-HUD meeting marked one of the first meet-ups of its kind, successfully connecting government with citizens across the country and giving homeowners access to the housing Secretary

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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