Easing the COVID-19 financial strain: What to do about your mortgage payment

22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in recent weeks

(CNN) – With millions of Americans out of work and millions more with reduced incomes, lenders are trying to help ease the strain.

One big bill you could get help with is your mortgage.

For many of us, it’s the biggest bill we pay each month.

But if you’re one of the 22 million Americans who were forced to file for unemployment over the last month, you may not be able to make that payment.

The government has announced that anyone with a federally backed home loan can delay or reduce their payments without fear of foreclosure if they have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost 6% of home loans were in forbearance as of April 12, according to a mortgage bankers survey.

But is it right for you?

The first thing to do is to contact your mortgage servicer. Don’t just stop paying.

Second, find out if there are fees or interest attached.

Then ask about your repayment options.

Typically, it will be one of the following:

  • One lump sum at the end of the forbearance period
  • Pay extra each month until amount is paid off
  • Add suspended payments to the end of the loan
  • Loan modification- have the amount rolled into the loan balance

Depending on the terms, you’ll have to decide whether forbearance is worth it or not.

But the experts say, don’t wait, work out a solution now if you haven’t already.

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