Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mortgage Delay Programs Could Cause Homeowners More Financial Problems

Tuesday, April 7th 2020, 1:04 pm
By: News On 6

Thousands of Oklahomans are in a financial pinch right now due to COVID-19. Many are concerned about how to make their home payments or are already behind. There is a lot of confusing information out there and some of it could put homeowners in a bigger financial bind.

Oklahomans are seeking ways to ease their financial burdens during this pandemic.

That was just what Terry Cook's brother did.

“Went online to do a forbearance for their mortgage payment and received the letter that confirms that they had entered into that forbearance process,” said Terry Cook, attorney. “But the language was disturbing to him so they sent it to me.”

Cook is an attorney and called the lender Wells Fargo, to clear up the details. 

“Was on hold for two-and-a-half hours,” said Cook. “And I was never able to speak to anyone.”

In Cook's brother's case, he asked to put off home payments for two months. Instead, Wells Fargo sent a letter stating he could defer payments for six months.

While that may sound great it actually meant his brother will have to pay a lump sum at the end of that period.

“There will be many people I’m afraid will sign up for this thinking, now I don’t have to make my mortgage until say September or October but then come September, now they’ve got to write a check for six payments,” said Cook.

The recently passed federal CARES Act allows homeowners to contact lenders about skipping payments. While lenders are supposed to offer repayment options, homeowners are learning there are not many worthwhile options.

“Make sure you have full understanding of what your mortgage holder is putting you into,” said Cook.

If you can get through to your lender by phone, also ask how the delayed payments will impact your insurance and property tax payments.