COVID-19 Mortgage Relief and Other Options

As a community we continually find ourselves challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic fallout for Wisconsin is real.

The intent of this page is not to sell you on our services. Rather, we have been getting a large number of questions from home owners that want to know what their options are during this difficult time. Therefore, we wanted to put a guide together with some preliminary and evolving thoughts on COVID-19 mortgage relief and general options you may be able to explore besides just selling your house.

However, if you’ve already decided you need to sell your house or would at least like to discuss your options, please head to our cash offer or company page to learn more about our services and our team. As noted in various place on our site, we’re taking many precautions such as virtual tours, social distancing, wearing face masks and gloves, and more for those that might want to sell their house right now. You can view our precautionary measures here.

Fact First Resources on COVID-19 & Stimulus

Let’s begin with the most referenced national and state resources specific to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • U.S. Virus & Infection Data: CDC.gov
  • Google consolidated data, symptoms, prevention, treatment info: Google.com
  • FEMA Facts vs. Fiction and doing your part: FEMA.gov
  • Wisconsin Public Health: DHS.gov
  • Case information: DHS data and DHS Map
  • BE CAREFUL OF SCAMMERS AND FAKE CHARITIES: WI DATCP.gov and WDFI.org
  • Wisconsin Dept of Workforce Development (Unemployment filings): DWD.gov
  • Frequently asked questions from WI Dept of Workforce Development: FAQ
  • Small Business Administration guidance and loan info (SBA Loans): SBA.gov

While those are some of the primary resources right now, there is so much information out there regarding the virus and relief efforts that it’s obviously difficult or impossible to provide all of them for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask any questions. We’re happy to discuss options with you and see if we can help in any way possible. Also, check back in on these sites as your own personal situation continues to evolve because there will undoubtedly be further relief efforts, extensions, etc. depending on the severity and length of the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic fallout.

Mortgage Lender Relief

If you own a home and are having trouble making payments, you’re not alone and you have nothing to be ashamed of. This unprecedented crisis caught most everybody off guard and has left many in difficult spots.

As we’ve progressed throughout the summer and into the fall of 2020, there hasn’t been much additional stimulus from Congress. It’s an ongoing debate and things are changing everyday. So rather than try to keep up with that, we are pointing you to our more general but comprehensive guide for foreclosure prevention options here.

If your mortgage is federally backed, there was a moratorium on foreclosures as well as a right to forbearance, or payment relief on your mortgage under the CARES act passed in March. To find out if your mortgage is federally backed, reference the list on ConsumerFinance.gov here. They also include dates and more specifics about the moratorium and forbearance programs.

Also, keep in mind that even if you financed with a private lender originally that doesn’t mean the Feds aren’t currently backing it. Often, mortgages are sold to a network of servicers and the big mortgage holders Fannie and Freddie Mac alone hold or back about 50% of all mortgages.

As of the time of this writing there is no statewide moratorium on rent or mortgage payments. Who knows, maybe that comes along at some point. For now, it’s up to you to reach out and ask for help if needed. We’ve searched around and almost all lenders have mortgage forbearance programs for anywhere from one to six months right now. Indeed, the Fed’s are encouraging the same behavior as what’s covered under the CARES act, referenced here.

***Update – Fall, 2020 – The CDC did take the unprecedented action of issuing a nationwide moratorium on evictions for folks that aren’t able to pay their rent due to a loss of income related to the pandemic. This order is currently active through the end of 2020.

How do you take advantage of these COVID-19 mortgage relief programs? Now that quite a few of the individual moratoriums and assistance related to the CARES act have expired, we’re encouraging folks to first check in with your lenders. Quite a few are offering assistance and forbearance when possible and within reason. Again, we do have an extensive foreclosure avoidance guide here.

Interested In Becoming a Landlord?

This may be the last thing you necessarily want to do right now. After all, keeping people out of our immediate vicinity is a big part of what we are all doing right now to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus. In addition and as a landlord ourselves, not everybody is suited to dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a landlord. Think long and hard about this particular options before deciding to go forward.

However, if you’re not in the more vulnerable population or if you can create some space and cleansing techniques in your property for both you and the tenant to follow, this could be something you want to consider. Perhaps it’s just renting out a room, or maybe you have the capability to rent out an entire floor.

Also, considering the nature of this crisis, be mindful that there’s a lot of uncertainty out there. Nobody really knows stage 2, 3, and 4 of the crisis or who will end up affected that currently is not. As a landlord, that would mean being cautious of placing tenants that may not be able to pay. Go through all the proper qualification and background checks to ensure you are comfortable with your decision and can sleep at night. One benefit if you’re planning to be an owner-occupant landlord is that you have a little more discretion when choosing who you decide to live with. Remember, this is not legal advice. Consider consulting an attorney should you decide to look into the landlord situation.

Here are some helpful landlord resources for you should you want to research this option a little further:

Other Monthly Payment Obligations

Cost cutting should be top of mind for anybody that has lost their income or is concerned about that happening in the future. Don’t just focus on your rent or mortgage payment. Look at other monthly obligations because quite a few of these services are offering temporary payment relief as well. Here’s some of the likely obligations to consider asking for COVID-19 payment relief on:

  • Car payments – Inquire with your lender
  • Credit cards
  • Insurance (Home, car, personal articles, business, etc.)
  • Utilities (Municipal water/sewer/garbage, electrical, gas)
  • Don’t forget about internet service providers, cell & phone services, and other “semi-essential” services

From a personal financial perspective, we’d say just about anybody should consider reviewing their spending history for the last couple of months and making cuts where necessary. While we all need to do what’s in our own best interest, don’t forget that there are many suffering out there. Let’s all try and do our part to support the small businesses and individuals that have been hit hardest by this disaster.

For those interested in doing your part, whatever part that may look like, here’s a couple of national and local resources to get you started.

Good luck out there and stay safe everybody.