Your Mortgage and the Government Bailout

The United States is currently in the middle of a mortgage crisis. Foreclosures on mortgaged homes are at an all time high, and predictions say that billions of dollars of wealth will have been lost before its through. The effects of the crisis are being felt on all levels – aside from people facing foreclosures on their homes, many lenders have gone bankrupt. Finally, the government has decided to step in and provide some relief to lenders and borrowers alike. But the question is, just how will this government bailout affect a person’s mortgage?

What this bailout plan does is, unfortunately, pretty limited. It won’t help out everyone. What the bailout does on the level of the individual borrower is to freeze the borrower’s mortgage for five years. This keeps the interest rate of the mortgage down for a period of time so that the borrower can get their finances in order and dig themselves out of their situation. Unfortunately, there are a couple of stipulations on this program.

The first stipulation is that it only applies to people who have less than 3{ef6a2958fe8e96bc49a2b3c1c7204a1bbdb5dac70ce68e07dc54113a68252ca4} equity on their homes. People with higher equity are simply out of luck. The second qualification is that the borrower must be no more than 60 days late paying their mortgage. Needless to say, for people who are already in severe trouble and have been missing payments aren’t helped at all by this.

In addition to the above qualifications a buyer would have to prove that he or she couldn’t afford increased interest in their mortgage. The government buyout plan also only applies to subprime mortgages – but there are many people struggling with prime mortgages who face financial difficulties, too. Unfortunately, this leaves a lot of people who were looking for a little relief out of luck.

The ultimate problem with this bailout program is that it only serves to delay inevitable outcome. The bottom line is that if you are living in a home that you can’t afford to live in, even if the government bailout helps you, you may still find yourself in trouble. Unless a significant financial change or a reduction in the interest rate or principle is in the wings, you chances are at the end of the five-year freeze you still won’t be in a good place.

Another perceived problem with the government bailout program is that it works to reinforce the behavior that put the housing market in the crisis it faces today. Subprime lending encouraged people to try and buy houses that they couldn’t really afford, and the bailout program is helping those same people. Meanwhile, people who had made smart choices about buying a home, but faced some other financial problem are left high and dry.

The unfortunate bottom line is that if you can’t pay your mortgage, chances are that the government bailout isn’t going to save you from foreclosure. Unless you have good reason to believe there’ll be a change in your financial fortune, it may be time to start preparing for the worst.