CHICAGO (CBS) — A recent survey reveals that nearly a third of Chicago area homeowners are still underwater – meaning they owe more money on their mortgage than their home is worth.
That includes the Wrights, a suburban family with four kids. They are looking for relief in the form of refinancing.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, even if you don’t have equity in your home, there is help available. She explains how you and the Wrights can find it.
Sinora Wright said, “We owe about $250,000, and the house has really tanked, and the house is worth $185,000.”
That’s a $65,000 deficit. Yet, Sinora Wright pays the mortgage on time, every month.
“It feels like I’m just drowning, and I don’t have a life preserver,” she said.
The Wrights are among the more than 500,000 homeowners in the Chicago area who are underwater. The life preserver they and others are looking for is the ability to refinance their current home loans, with a lower interest rate that will lower their mortgage.
Experts recommend homeowners who are underwater look to the http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/lower-rates/Pages/harp.aspx (HARP), http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/buying/streamli, and the VA Streamline Refinance program for veterans. If you’ve paid your mortgage on time for the last three years, you’re eligible for these programs.
If the Wrights can refinance, and cut their 8 percent interest rate in half, they’ll save about $600 a month.
“That would really, really help our bottom line,” Sinora said.
It can take several months to go through the process, and you might need someone to help you. You’ll find counselors at organizations like the Neighborhood Housing Services.