When most people think of Orlando, Florida, they envision exciting theme parks, Cinderella’s castle and a mouse with big ears. But when USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Orlando on February 24th, it was with a different vision in mind.
Families throughout the country have felt the effects of a tough economy, and none more so than homeowners living in what have been called the “hardest hit states” – states hit hard by the economic and housing market downturn. On February 1, 2012, Secretary Vilsack announced a Rural Development pilot program in 19 states designed to help rural borrowers refinance their mortgages at today’s historically lower interest rates to reduce their monthly payments.
The agency estimates that this program could benefit up to 20,000 Florida homeowners who have USDA financed or guaranteed mortgages. And nationwide, the number rises to over 237,000 families. By utilizing the new refinancing pilot programs, homeowners can take advantage of the streamlined program that eliminates the requirement for a new appraisal, inspection, credit report and other documentation normally required in a refinancing.
In Orlando on February 24th, Secretary Vilsack hosted a roundtable with local homeowners and lenders to discuss these efforts to assist families whose home loans are either financed or guaranteed by Rural Development.
Three Florida families whose homes are currently financed by Rural Development were on hand for the discussion. Each family spokesperson expressed his or her appreciation of the homeownership opportunity they realized with assistance provided through Rural Development housing programs. And each family was interested in looking into the streamlined refinancing program as a way to secure lower monthly payments while protecting their homeownership investment and adding money back into their monthly budgets.
The two-year pilot program is open to homeowners in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee. USDA Rural Development home loan borrowers who would like to participate in this pilot should contact their lender or a USDA Rural Development office for a list of participating lenders. For more information contact any USDA Rural Development State or Area office.