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KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

How To Delay Your Mortgage Payments During The COVID-19 Pandemic


Due to COVID-19, many homeowners in North Texas are out of work and wondering how they're going to pay the mortgage. One option allows them to delay those payments.  

As a part of KERA's One Crisis Away series "Coronavirus and Life on the Financial Edge," Dallas Morning News real estate editor Steve Brown talks about "mortgage forbearance."

Interview Highlights

On Mortgage Forbearance:

Forbearance means forbearance — you're going to have to pay this back. So people who don't need to do it, and I know there are a lot of people that need to do it and God bless them, they should do it.

But if you don't need to do it, don't; because you are going to have to pay it back. 

On How To Request A Delay:

You go to your mortgage servicing company — the folks that you mail your check to, or if you don't mail the check, if it's coming out of your account, the people who send you the statement — you go to them and you tell them your situation.

I've been told by the heads of the mortgage companies, they're not going to require a note from the doctor or a copy of your layoff notice — they're going to be flexible about that.

The idea is that it can be three, six months in some cases, maybe up to a year. But again, you have to pay it back. So they're going to give you options.

They're going to say, okay, when you get back on your feet and you get your job again, you can pay what you miss all in one big lump payment ... or you might spread it out over a year or two, or what more people are going to do, they think, is modify their loan with them, whereas if you owed however many years on your loan as the start of this, they'll add on six months or whatever at the end of it.

So you'll have an option of how to pay it back. But keep in mind, you are going to have to pay it back. It's not a freebie, it's forbearance.

On Forbearance Affecting Your Credit:

They're all swearing up and down that it's not going to impact your credit. This is from the very top of the mortgage industry. People I've talked to, they're saying, "No, no, no, this is not a credit event."

Since you're missing the payments with their approval that it doesn't count as a credit event. They're saying this is not going to hurt your credit.

We have to take them at their word on that because there's so many people going to be doing it, that if it did hurt everybody's credit it would sure be a big deal. 

Steve Brown is real estate editor for the Dallas Morning News.

Justin Martin is KERA’s local host of All Things Considered, anchoring afternoon newscasts for KERA 90.1. Justin grew up in Mannheim, Germany, and avidly listened to the Voice of America and National Public Radio whenever stateside. He graduated from the American Broadcasting School, and further polished his skills with radio veteran Kris Anderson of the Mighty 690 fame, a 50,000 watt border-blaster operating out of Tijuana, Mexico. Justin has worked as holiday anchor for the USA Radio Network, serving the U.S. Armed Forces Network. He’s also hosted, produced, and engineered several shows, including the Southern Gospel Jubilee on 660 KSKY.