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Freddie Mac Expert Discusses Options for Struggling Borrowers

avoid-foreclosure [1]While the volume of calls Freddie Mac [2] is receiving these days from struggling borrowers needing help and other housing industry stakeholders is substantially less than it was at the height of the crisis, the calls and questions they receive today are no less urgent than they were then, according to Sharon McHale, Corporate Communications and Marketing VP at Freddie Mac.

Today, Freddie Mac receives about one tenth of the amount of calls it was receiving during the immediate aftermath of the housing crash (about 40,000 per month, or 1,300 per day), but many homeowners facing financial setbacks are still calling Freddie Mac hoping the GSE will have a solution for them, whether it allows them to keep their home or is of the non-home retention variety.

"When a struggling borrower is looking for help, we don't necessarily recommend they call Freddie Mac first," McHale wrote on Freddie Mac's site. "Most borrowers' very first call should be to their lender (the company where they send their monthly mortgage payment) because lenders and their servicers are best equipped to help borrowers directly. That being said, we continue to field a wide range of calls on a huge variety of topics, some involving borrowers having trouble making their payments, but many that don't."

One of the most frequently asked questions Freddie Mac receives is from delinquent borrowers asking what their options are. According to Freddie Mack's consumer response specialists, borrowers behind on their payments should reach out to their lender as soon as possible to determine the borrower's eligibility for any of the following programs in order to make payments more affordable and sustainable: refinancing through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which last week was just extended until the end of 2016); forbearance; reinstatement; repayment plans; or modification. Failing any of those home retention options, a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure can facilitate a graceful exit from the house for the borrower. A section of Freddie Mac's website, Mortgage Help: Understanding Your Options [3], discusses all of these options in depth.