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Why is April National Fair Housing Month? Beginning in April of 1968, National Fair Housing Month has been observed during the month of April. The Fair Housing Act gives all citizens of the United States equal rights to the sale, rental, and financing of housing with no discrimination based on race, color, national original, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap.  In addition, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination in any aspect of a credit transaction based on marital status, age, receipt of public assistance income, or exercise of rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. A Brief History of the Fair Housing Act The Fair Housing Act was signed into law in April of 1968 after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is formally titled, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and it is a landmark piece of legislation for the United States. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is tasked with enforcing the Fair Housing Act. Anyone that believes that he or she has been discriminated against, or believes their civil liberties listed in the Act have been violated can file administrative complaints with HUD. HUD and its Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is responsible for investigating all Fair Housing Act claims. What is the Fair Housing Act? Under the Fair Housing Act, discrimination in residential real estate transactions is prohibited based on race, color, national original, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act is a separate act. It prohibits discrimination in credit transactions based on race, color, religion, ...

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What You Need to Know FACTS • As part of the CARES Act, the federal government states that borrowers with loans owned, guaranteed, or insured by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and USDA can apply for forbearance for up to 6 months initially and up to 12 months in total. • Forbearance is not payment forgiveness. It means payment postponement. All payments are still owed. The borrower and servicer must discuss and agree on repayment options at the end of the forbearance period. • This program is intended for borrowers that are experiencing an immediate HARDSHIP that impairs their ability to make their current mortgage payments. • Forbearance is not automatic. You must contact your mortgage servicer to discuss your situation and to request and be approved for a forbearance. Your mortgage servicer is the company where you make your mortgage payment. FICTION! • Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and USDA are all on the same page of how to handle the forbearance requests. • Loan servicers for the above referenced agencies are fully aware of the policies and procedures they must follow to determine if a borrower is eligible for forbearance. • If you postpone 6 months of payments, the payments will just be tacked on to the end of the mortgage term. This is called a modification and is a much more complicated situation than is being advertised. Please contact your servicer and FULLY understand your options for payment postponement and FULLY understand your obligation for repayment after the postponements.

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We understand that there are many questions regarding the loan process during the COVID-19 crisis we are facing. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers that can be found below, and we will continue to update this list as needed. Communication with us will be ongoing through this crisis. We are in this together and are here for you as you embark on the exciting journey of homeownership! Can I still get a mortgage or refinance my current mortgage? Yes.  We are working remotely and working hard to make sure new applications and in-process loans move through the process smoothly; we do not anticipate any mortgage delays at this time. What can I do help with my loan? • Provide everything requested in a timely manner to ensure that your loan is not delayed. • Respond to inquiries quickly, and keep your credit clean. • If at all possible, refrain from job changes during the process of purchasing or refinancing your mortgage. If you have any changes in income, please let your mortgage banker and loan processor know immediately. • Be patient and aware. During a pandemic, things change from hour-to-hour, so there may be unforeseen circumstances during the process. It’s a good practice to stay in good contact with your BankSouth Mortgage mortgage banker to stay up-to-date on the status of your mortgage loan. Does the process take longer during a pandemic? At this time, there does not appear to be any delays. It is a good practice to stay in contact with your mortgage banker on the status of your loan. Are the same mortgage programs and products available? Yes. ...

Mortgage Speak

What is Homestead Exemption?

Mar 25
8:00
AM
Category | Mortgage Speak
How to Lower Property Taxes with Homestead Exemption If you have recently closed on a home in the past calendar year, you are able to take advantage of a homestead exemption. A homestead exemption exempts a portion or a flat dollar amount of your home’s value from your annual property tax bill. To qualify, the homeowner must reside in the home and it cannot be a rental or investment property. The deadline to file your homestead exemption application is April 1. How much does my city or county exempt from my taxes? To confirm the amount that your city or county exempts from your property’s value, contact your local tax assessor’s office for that information. The deadline and document requirements may be different for each area. For Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida residents, see the links below for resources on your local homestead exemption information: Georgia homestead exemption South Carolina homestead exemption Florida homestead exemption Homestead Exemptions for Seniors, Disabled, and Military Personnel Senior Citizen and Disabled Homestead Exemptions Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida all have tax exemption programs for senior citizens and disabled homeowners that live in those states. The eligibility requirements such as age, income, and residency restrictions, vary from state-to-state, so be sure to check with your local tax assessor’s office. Disabled homeowners may need to provide documentation from the Social Security Administration showing proof of disability. Military Homestead Exemptions All BankSouth Mortgage’s main service areas, Georgia, South Carolina, ...

Mortgage Speak

We have all seen the home improvement TV shows where the bathroom or kitchen gets an easy update in an hour or less, but when we try to do that in our own home, somehow a whole weekend goes by and we aren’t even halfway done. Well, here are few things that can change the look and feel of your home without breaking the bank or taking all weekend. From a color update to spending some time in the yard, these tips are sure to help you love your home more and potentially increase its value. Paint Can do Wonders Not much else can change the look of your living room or bathroom more than a fresh coat of paint! Whether you’re adding a pop of color with an accent wall or cleaning things up with a nice neutral gray or off-white in the entire room, a coat of paint dramatically changes the look of any room with little financial investment. Take is a step further and give the kitchen a quick refresh by painting those old oak cabinets and replacing the hardware. You’ll feel like you’re in a different home! Landscaping Adds Curb Appeal On a warm sunny day, take a trip to the hardware store and pick out a few plants, flowers, or a tree to add to your yard. Whether you’re selling or not, be sure to think of the environment, and select plants that are easy to care for and maintain. Not only will you be adding to your home’s appearance, but low maintenance plants mean less water and more savings on your utility bill. Replace Old Worn Out Faucets Aside from your washing machine, the kitchen faucet may be one of the hardest working items in your home. By keeping your hands clean, washing dishes, or rinsing off food ...

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