As the world continues to feel the devastating economic effects of COVID-19, military families are facing unprecedented circumstances. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on deployment orders, international and domestic travel, and drill weekends. For those guardsmen or reservists in the process of selling their home, refinancing, or beginning a new home loan process, they are in limbo.
With states shutting down all non-essential businesses, the loss of income is being felt deeply throughout every community. Many military families may even find themselves unable to pay mortgages, especially if they are incurring multiple house payments because new orders are paused.
Although concerns regarding career impact when voicing financial issues is a long-standing barrier for seeking help, this is not the time to allow that fear to take hold. The world is suffering from financial loss and it is prudent that military families utilize the resources available to them to prevent long-lasting financial impacts from taking root. Proactive planning now can prevent reactive steps in the future.
On making mortgage payments
Contact your loan servicer immediately if you anticipate being unable to pay your mortgage. Most, if not all, lenders are ready and prepared to set up forbearance plans, which can provide relief of 90 days or more of schedule mortgage payments. You will eventually need to make those payments, but the forbearance allows a much-needed cushion for those impacted by COVID -19.
Barry Habib, a known mortgage expert and frequent commentator on Fox Business Network, weighed in on the impacts of COVID-19.
“The mortgage market is changing rapidly due to the effects of COVID-19 on the job market and overall economy. The availability of mortgage products and interest rates are very volatile during this time. It is crucial for military and veterans to consult with a well-informed mortgage advisor in regards to their financing needs during this rapidly changing environment,” he said.
For those refinancing
For others in the process of refinancing their homes, fluctuating interest rates are a point of concern right now. Caliber Home Loan’s Military Lending Senior Vice President Bryan Bergjans understands the fears of the unknown and feelings of being unsure of when to lock in a rate for refinance.
“Military families should take a sniper approach to refinancing their loans and basically hide in the bushes and watch their target,” he explained. Bergjans adds that watching the rates is the best tactic, especially with the current market being so erratic.
He also shared that patience will be required during this time because lenders are becoming increasingly overwhelmed with fulfilling borrower’s needs. And that level of understanding should extend to the home buying process as well, since appraisals and closings are severely impacted by the social distancing requirements. For those navigating the VA home loans process, know that industry professionals are working diligently to make the process smooth, although there will be delays. Again, patience will be key.
Although this is a challenging time for all families, those in the military community can weather this and more. There is ample support readily available and many resources to assist military families through financial concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.