COVID-19 And Your Mortgages: FAQs
Updated: Apr 6
During these challenging times, our top priority is the health and safety of our partners, our clients and our communities. We’re finding new ways to deliver the mortgage experience our clients deserve, while keeping everyone safe.
We also know there are a lot of messages coming from many different sources that make it a bit hard to know what to do next. We want to be transparent with our clients, so we’ve created this FAQ resource to give you certainty and provide clear answers during these times.
Expect Delays with document processing across the mortgage industry as a whole.
The IRS is extremely backed up, as are our electronic means of checking income, assets, tax returns and verifications of employment. We may have to ask you for more documentation than you're used to, but please keep in mind it is because of the current crisis at hand. If you have any questions about documents that have been asked of you, please contact your loan officer.
What do I do if I really can’t make my mortgage payment?
If COVID-19 has impacted your ability to make your mortgage payment, you may qualify for a forbearance, which is a way to pause a mortgage payment without damaging your credit, however, you will be required to pay the forbearance amount in a lump sum once the forbearance period ends. If you are seeking to refinance your home and are still able to make your mortgage payment, we advise that you do so. If you are in forbearance and then apply for a refinance or purchase option, you may not qualify to buy or refinance any property until the forbearance is paid in full.
What is a forbearance?
Forbearance is an assistance program that pauses your mortgage payment. At the end of the forbearance plan, you will to need to pay the past-due amount, apply for other options or extend the forbearance period. This will not affect your credit. If you want more information about applying for forbearance, you can contact contact your mortgage servicer.
When should I apply for a forbearance?
The right time for you to apply for a forbearance is when you are no longer able to make your mortgage payment. We recommend that you wait until you can’t keep up with your current mortgage payment. That way, the forbearance will help you in the months they need it most.
Are there different assistance options based on the type of loan?
No. Whether it’s a conventional, FHA, VA or USDA loan, you should be eligible for a forbearance.
Will my credit be affected if they get a forbearance due to COVID-19?
If you get a forbearance because you've been impacted by COVID-19, here are important details:
If you were current on your payments as of January 31, 2020, your credit won’t be affected by the forbearance – they'll be reported current.
If you weren't current on your payments as of January 31, 2020, you'll still get credit protection from the forbearance. Payments that are paused during forbearance won’t be reported as late. However, payments that have reported as late prior to January 31 will still show up as “late” on your credit report.
What happens after the forbearance ends?
At the end of forbearance, you will need to pay the past-due amount in full. The quickest way to get back on track is to pay the past-due amount in a lump sum. However, not everyone will be able to do that. Here are some other options if you are unable to pay the past-due amount:
Apply for a repayment plan. If approved, you’ll be able to pay a portion of your past-due amount each month in addition to your regular mortgage payment.
Apply for a loan modification. If approved, the terms of your existing loan will be modified to include your past-due payments to help you get back on track.
You also have the option to extend your forbearance. This may be a good option if you need more time before resuming payments. However, you still need to pay the past-due amount when the forbearance ends.
It’s also important to note that you have the option of paying whatever you can during the forbearance; this will make the amount they owe at the end of forbearance more manageable.
The forbearance lasts for 3 months. What if I need more time to catch up?
At the end of the plan, you'll have the option to extend the forbearance. This may be a good option if you need more time before getting back on track with their payments.
If you extend the forbearance, you'll still need to bring your loan current when your plan ends. That means making all the payments that were paused during forbearance, plus any payments that were past-due before the plan began, if applicable. An extended forbearance means a larger amount you'll need to bring current at the end of the plan.
I have a home purchase or refinance in progress. Will I still be able to close?
Yes! Even though shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders are in effect across the country, we’re finding new ways to deliver the mortgage experience your deserve while keeping everyone safe. Learn more about how we’re handling shelter-in-place orders, appraisals and closings.
Can an appraiser still visit a property?
In many cases, there are alternatives to in-person appraisals. We recently expanded the availability of appraisal alternatives like property inspection waivers, off-site valuations and drive-by appraisals. This replaces the in-person appraisal requirements on many loans.
For instances where in-person appraisals are still required, we’re working with appraisers to ensure that no one is conducting an appraisal who shouldn’t be – based on their recent travel, interactions, health symptoms, etc. We’re ensuring that appraisers understand and follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and take proper sanitary measures the entire time they’re at a property.
But we also need everyone’s support. When the appraiser arrives, they’re going to ask to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet, and they will not shake hands with you as they’re following CDC guidelines. They may even arrive wearing rubber gloves or a face mask as an added precaution.
The appraiser may even ask about your health or recent travel. We respect everyone’s privacy and don’t need any personal details, but if you think they may be sick, or if they’ve visited an area with active outbreaks, please let us know so we can find a solution.
If I live in a shelter-in-place state, how do I close my loan?
Even though shelter-in-place orders are in effect in many areas of the country, the mortgage process can still continue. In some cases, ahybrid eClosing experience can be done virtually.
In the event that an eClosing isn’t possible, we’re ensuring that closing agents follow all CDC guidelines and take proper sanitary measures the entire time they are at a property.
Where can I get more information?
Contact your Loan Officer.