The federal programs designed to help homeowners struggling with mortgage debt have received much criticism over their less than fruitful effect. However, a new report shows that the problem may be that consumers simply don’t know about the existence or availability of such programs to begin with.
One-fifth of all mortgages are underwater in this country. That means that one in five homeowners owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. Even more shocking is the fact that less than 22% of homeowners report knowing what their home is worth. As the real estate problems have skyrocketed over the last few years with the foreclosure crisis and mortgage relief scams, it appears as though many homeowners have simply hid their head in the sand.
Only one-third of survey respondents reported being aware of the Making Home Affordable Programs available by the government. With more homeowners in desperate need of loan modifications and other foreclosure alternatives it is surprising to find out that only 5% of respondents had heard of the HAMP and 8% of the HARP. Although researching options is the responsibility of the homeowner, it still leaves us to question why so many people in need haven’t even heard about these federally funded options? Regardless of who is to blame about a lack of consumer awareness, the fact remains that homeowners can’t get help if they don’t know help exists.