Many people who bought investment properties during the housing boom will now enjoy the some of the same assistance from the government as people who bought houses to live in. The Obama administration has decided to extend mortgage assistance to first time investors who bought more than one home before the housing bubble burst.

The assistance will help landlords to qualify for one of four federally subsidized loan modifications as long as they rent out the home in question. The program will reduce interest rates, extend terms, and forgive portions of the principle debt. The goal is to prevent evictions and help landlords keep their properties, despite significantly lower home values.

This will be a welcome relief for many people who became investors near the height of the market, expecting housing prices to increase as they have historically. Investors have lost large amounts of money, and are often stuck owning properties that are worth less than the mortgage amount. Under the new program these investors will be able to refinance to have mortgages more in line with current home values.

For homeowners or investors interested in some of these options to resolve debt issues or improve the viability of a property, it’s important to hire an attorney with experience in real estate transactions and negotiations. Loan companies can be difficult to deal with, and will often not want to modify a loan that is being paid on time. However, property owners may still be eligible for modifications, and should not be discouraged by their lenders.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the new program for first time investors, contact an attorney promptly.

Source: Bloomberg, “Boom-Era Property Speculators to Get Foreclosure Aid: Mortgages,” March 4, 2012.

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