Addressing the problems that arose from the housing bubble’s burst, President Obama implemented his Making Homes Affordable strategy under the Housing and Urban Development sector of the government. The goal of MHA is to assist homeowners with bloated mortgages from facing foreclosure and a strained living through various means. MHA is broken down into different sections to address different situations.
Major programs like HARP and HAMP are there to provide opportunities for those up on their mortgages but struggling. They work, in part, with major federal lenders like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to offer assistance to Americans who are struggling to keep the American Dream alive. However, despite the wide-reaching benefits from programs like HARP, HAMP, HAUP, and their Second Lien Modification Program, few people are fully aware of MHA‘s existence, what it does, and how to take advantage of it.
HARP‘s primary function is to offer to refinance to homeowners who are and have been current on their mortgage payments but are suffering from high-interest rates or are paying off houses who have subsequently become underwater since the housing bubble’s burst. Loans covered under Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be eligible for restructuring or refinancing. The advantages are typically a lower interest rate dependent on the number of depreciation homes that have suffered from the effects of the bubble bursting. The two main points of HARP are that lenders are covered under federal loan programs and that they are current on their financial obligations. Working with a HARP servicer will determine how much of a refinance your home is worth and put into place the changes necessary to lower interest rates and adjust for premiums imposed before the bubble’s burst.
HAMP, on the other hand, is the government’s primary modification program. HAMP is aimed at helping homeowners with high mortgages modify their current mortgage to avoid foreclosure or just reduce the amount of stress placed on homeowners with inflated mortgages and high-interest rates. HAMP helps both homeowners who are up-to-date on their mortgages as well as those who are starting to fall behind. A major advantage of loan modification through HAMP is that costs and fees are either waived or greatly reduced.
HAMP is also a good opportunity to avoid foreclosure. Servicers under HAMP’s umbrella must allow homeowners to pursue all avenues before a foreclosure is complete. HAMP can stall foreclosures and potentially offer homeowners a way to modify their loan, buy some time to prove that they are willing and eager to pay back the loan and stop the foreclosure altogether.
The Making Homes Affordable strategy has many facets, covering a lot of situations based on the individual homeowner’s situation and needs. Its wide reach means that many can be protected and assisted through its programs.
How to Find Affordable Apartments
Finding affordable housing certainly feels like finding a needle in a haystack sometimes. However, it is easy enough to find an apartment to fit your needs and your budget. Knowing where to look for an affordable apartment is half the battle, but once you know you are looking for, you should have no issue finding cheap apartments that you like.
Use Your Sources
The Renters Guide and other publications like it are great resources when looking for affordable housing. The Renters Guide will list apartments available in complexes for an entire region and will advertise any specials that are being run. It will also break it down into different categories like whether or not a specific complex will accept pets.
Craigslist specializes in listing apartments that are being rented out in houses, or if a house is available for rent by a family that might be leaving for a while. This can be a great source to find out about cheap housing that isn’t an apartment complex which can make an apartment feel more like home. Other great online sources are apartments.com and rent.com.
Contact Real Estate Agents
If you are looking for a property to rent, you can always contact a real estate agent and see what is available. Rental listings could be listed in the MLS, or the system agents use to keep track of all the listings that are available for sale or rent. While there might not be a lot of cheap rentals out there using this method, you never know when one will pop up.
Keep Your Eye Out For Signs Outside Of Properties
A great way to find a property for rent is to simply look for a “For Rent” sign outside of a property. Even if it is by a commercial lot, you should inquire about it if the location looks OK to you. What might seem to be a shoddy looking house on the outside could house your dream apartment on the inside and for the price that you wanted to pay.
When doing so, keep in the back of your mind the fact that different areas of town will be priced differently. A one-bedroom in the bar district might go for more than a one-bedroom out in the country. This should a factor when you approach a property owner inquiring about leasing the property.
What about asking your family to rent out a room for you, or inquire around about a cheap rental? Your parents might be willing to rent out their basement out for below market value. It could work out well if you need to take care of a family member, or their house near where you work. Just make sure that your significant other is on board if you decide to move into a relative’s house.
When looking for a great property it doesn’t hurt to ask as many people as possible and utilize all your resources. That is how you find out about great opportunities no matter what you are looking for.