COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Updated on July 8, 2020.
Loans in Progress Related COVID-19 Questions
I heard that interest rates have dropped to 0%. Can I get a 0% rate mortgage?
The 0% interest rate is the rate at which creditors obtain money to make loans. This is not the market rate or public rate for mortgage loans. Mortgage rates are based on the Freddie Mac 30-year primary mortgage market rates, which change weekly.
Can I expect any delays in my mortgage application and closing due to the pandemic?
We are committed to meeting our customers' needs while ensuring everyone's health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Loan Advisors and Processors are working from their homes, and we are maintaining our current schedules and hours. Please be aware, however, that many state, county, and local governments have closed their offices, including property recording offices, or have limited the number of people who may visit those offices. These closures and restrictions may cause delays in the closing of your loan. We will keep you informed of any updates as your loan progresses through our standard process.
If my loan won't close on time due to delays, will my rate expire?
We are addressing every customer situation individually. If your loan is at risk of not closing on time or your rate is set to expire before your scheduled closing date, your Customer Advocate will communicate with you directly to discuss options regarding your closing and/or rate.
Who should I contact if I have specific questions about my application?
Your Customer Advocate has your details and can answer specific questions related to your application. If you don't remember your Customer Advocate's name or phone number, give us a call at 877-220-5533.
When my loan is ready to close, will a Notary need to enter my home and be present when I sign the closing documents?
Your health and safety - and the safety of Freedom Mortgage's employees and our partners - is our number one priority. However, when it comes time to close your loan, certain closing documents must be notarized in the presence of a licensed Notary to ensure all legal obligations are met by the appropriate parties. We understand this is not ideal in our battle against COVID-19, and we strongly urge you to take the necessary precautions surrounding social distancing, handwashing, and all other CDC recommendations to avoid exposure.
My loan application states I will need an appraisal. Will an Appraiser need to enter my home?
Guidelines are changing rapidly in response to COVID-19. On March 25, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they will leverage alternatives to appraisals to reduce the need for appraisers to inspect the interiors of homes. Freedom Mortgage is closely monitoring this situation. Please reach out to your Customer Advocate to see what options are available.
Servicing Related COVID-19 Questions
I have a financial hardship due to COVID-19 that is impacting my ability to pay my mortgage. What relief options are available to me?
If you are facing a financial hardship caused by COVID-19, there is federal relief available through the CARES Act. The CARES Act allows you to request a forbearance of your mortgage payments for a period of time. We encourage you to request forbearance immediately if you have a hardship due to COVID-19 that is impacting your ability to pay. Requests for a COVID-19 Forbearance Plan can be made from your online account. Once you log into your account, you will see special messaging with a clickable link to request forbearance. You can also request forbearance by calling our Customer Service team at 855-690-5900. By phone, you will be able to request forbearance through our automated system by selecting from a menu of options. You can also elect to make the request by speaking with a Customer Service representative instead. A Customer Service representative can also assist you if you are having trouble logging into your online account. Our normal business hours are Monday to Friday 8 am to 10 pm, Saturday 9 am to 6 pm ET. While we have taken many steps to respond to the national emergency and improve our hold time, you may still experience a longer hold time than usual. We are working hard to serve each customer's needs while also caring for the well-being of our associates.
For additional information and guidance regarding forbearance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a useful video that explains forbearance as it relates to the Federal CARES Act. The CFPB recently posted some additional guidance at www.cfpb.gov/housing. You can also find out information by visiting our website at COVID-19 Alert Update or by calling our Customer Service team at 855-690-5900 and following the prompts so we can direct you to the appropriate team member.
What is COVID-19 forbearance?
Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer allows you to pause (suspend) or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited period of time while you regain your financial footing.
The CARES Act allows you to have all your mortgage payments completely paused for a period of time. If forbearance is requested, we will suspend your payments for an initial period of up to 180 days. You can also request an extension for up to an additional 180 days (for up to 360 days total). During the forbearance period monthly payment that are missed will not be reported as “late” to the credit reporting agencies, and no late fees will be assessed. If your loan is current at the time of entering into a forbearance plan, then each month you are in the forbearance plan we will report the status of the account to the credit reporting agencies as current. If you are able to bring the loan current during the forbearance plan, we will report the account as current.
Forbearance doesn't mean your payments are forgiven or erased. You are still required to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future. At the end of the forbearance, we will work together to discuss the options available to you for how the missed payments will be repaid. You won't have to pay back the amount that was suspended all at once - unless you would like to do so.
During the forbearance period, you do not need to make mortgage payments, but you can make payments if you would like to. You may make payments online or by calling our Customer Service team at 855-690-5900. Your account will remain in forbearance even if payments are made. You may shorten your COVID-19 Forbearance Plan at any time. If your financial situation changes during the term of your COVID-19 Forbearance Plan and you have the ability to resume monthly mortgage payments, please contact us. The fewer suspended payments, the less you will owe down the road.
At the end of my COVID-19 Forbearance Period how do I get my loan current? How do I repay my Forbearance?
Remember, under the CARES Act, you can also request an extension of your forbearance plan for up to an additional 180 days (for up to 360 days total).
Your Forbearance Plan is only a temporary suspension of payments. Near the end of your Forbearance Plan we will work with you to help you determine the best program available to help you catch up on your mortgage payments. The programs available to you may vary based on your circumstances and the type of loan you have. If you are ready to resume making payments at the end of your forbearance period, we will work with you to determine the options available to repay the missed payments. The method of repayment depends on your loan type, your circumstances, and the options offered by the investor in your mortgage.
The following information provides some of the options to repay forbearance based on loan type. We will update this information as new programs become availability so be sure to check back.
FHA does not require lump sum repayment at the end of the forbearance. Homeowners on special COVID-19 Forbearance will be assessed first for eligibility for the COVID-19 home retention option no later than at the end of the forbearance period.
The COVID-19 home retention option, called the COVID-19 Standalone Partial Claim, places amounts you owe into a junior lien that is repaid when you refinance your mortgage or sell your home or your mortgage otherwise accelerates or terminates at time of payoff. If you do not qualify for the COVID-19 Standalone Partial Claim, other tools may be available to help you repay the missed payments over time. For more information on Federal Housing Administration Mortgages: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hud.gov.
VA loans are not required to be repaid in a lump sum payment immediately following a CARES Act forbearance. Rather, the VA has a suite of loss mitigation options such as repayment plans and loan modification options to assist borrowers in repaying payments missed under a CARES Act forbearance. In addition, VA is continuing to evaluate other options to further assist borrowers affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.
Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac loans
Homeowners with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac may be eligible for different repayment options following your forbearance.
You are not required to repay missed payments all at once in a lump sum.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer as options full repayment (known as reinstatement), repayment plan (repay past due amounts over a period of time), a deferment plan (add payments to the end of the loan), or a loan modification (changes the terms of your loan to enable an affordable payment).
USDA Rural Housing Service Guaranteed Loan Mortgages
USDA Rural Housing Service does not require a lump sum payment at the end of the forbearance. Rather, the USDA has a suite of loss mitigation options such as a repayment plan, term extension, or a loan modification.
Visit USDA Rural Development's coronavirus website for more information on forbearance for USDA guaranteed loans, USDA.Gov.
What relief measures are available to me if my loan is not federally backed?
For loans we service that are not federally backed loans - we will offer the same forbearance options as available under the CARES Act and at the end of the forbearance period we will work with you to discuss repayment plan and/or loan modification options.
We will not require a lump sum payment at the end of the forbearance but rather will discuss other options available to you and allowed by the investor or insurer of your loan.
What's the best way to pay my mortgage?
If you would like to pay your mortgage or need general information you can access your online account at your convenience. Within your online account you can update your profile, sign up for paperless billing, view statements, make one-time ACH payments and send secure messages. Please ensure that your profile is updated with your cell phone number and consent to receive messages, so we can reach you with important information if necessary. You can seek general information at freedommortgage.com or you can call our customer care team at 855-690-5900.
My mortgage payment is due on the 1st. How can I avoid a late fee?
Loans are not assessed a late fee until after the grace period expires, in accordance with applicable law and the terms of your loan documents. If your payment is due on the 1st of the month, you can make that payment up to 15 days after your due date without incurring a late fee. If you are not able to pay within the grace period, and the delay is related to financial hardship caused by COVID-19, we recommend you learn more about protections available under the CARES Act on our COVID-19 Alert page.
In my state, our governor announced programs to protect homeowners. Can you help me with that?
Freedom Mortgage is complying with the CARES Act and we continue to monitor all guidance from the government sponsored investors, government backed insurers and the various states to ensure we comply with the applicable requirements.
What can I do to protect my home and my family from the pandemic?
For home safety tips go to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website where they have advice on protecting your home and family.
Do you anticipate any changes or disruptions to your servicing capabilities during the pandemic?
We are focused on serving every customer's needs and have taken steps to help ensure that we have people in place to do so responsibly. Many of our Customer Service Representatives are working from home, and we remain fully operational and are ready to meet your needs. We greatly appreciate your patience, as we are handling unusually high call volumes and assure you that we are committed to serving our customers' needs.
How are you addressing extra-long hold times?
While we have taken many steps to respond to the national emergency and improve your hold time, you may still experience a longer hold time than usual. We are working hard to serve each customer's needs while also caring for the well-being of our associates. You may also use the prompts and request a call back. This will hold your place in line and call you back when the next available Customer Service agent is available. Our normal business hours are Monday to Friday 8 am to 10 pm, Saturday 9 am to 6 pm ET.
If you are contacting us to request forbearance, you can request forbearance online. Once you log into your account, you will see special messaging with a link to click on to request forbearance. You can also request forbearance by calling us at 855-690-5900 and making the request through our automated system by selecting from a menu of options.
I received an email requesting my online account information email and password to verify that I am eligible for mortgage assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Did this come from you?
NO. Freedom Mortgage will never request your password under any circumstances. Criminals often attempt to run scams during crisis events like the COVID-19 pandemic. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a comprehensive overview to help you avoid common scams.