‘I’m Trapped in a High-Rate Mortgage’

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By Les Christie

Record-low mortgage rates of 3 percent to 4 percent have been out of reach for these homeowners. Despite having good credit and making their payments on time, they’re stuck paying 6 percent or more on their loans. See the whole story on CNNMoney.

It Would Kill My Father to Walk Away

high rate mortgageName: Kristy Robinette and Ronald Schiller
Hometown: Livonia, Mich.
Interest rate: 7 percent

Shortly after her mother passed away five years ago, Kristy Robinette bought a home with her father, Ronald Schiller, for $189,000.

They love the place, but its value has plummeted to $120,000 — and they still owe $178,000. Even worse: the mortgage is carrying a sky-high 7 percent rate.

For three years now, they’ve been trying to refinance, but they owe too much to meet Freddie Mac’s guidelines. And since they haven’t fallen behind on payments, they don’t qualify for a modification under the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program.

Read more of this story at CNNMoney.

Denied Twice and Feeling Hopeless

high rate mortgageName: Arturo and Leigh Candelas
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Interest rate: 5.88 percent

The Candelas have tried several times to reduce the almost 6 percent rate they’re paying on their mortgage.

Twice they attempted to refinance, in 2009 and 2010, but their home’s value had fallen by so much — from $650,000 to $423,000 — that the bank denied their requests.

“To say that we’re frustrated would be an understatement,” said Leigh Candelas, who is a stay-at-home mom. “We’ve never been late on our mortgage payments and naively went through the refi process twice only to pay the appraisal fees for no reason.”

Read more of this story at CNNMoney.

‘I Give Up’

high rate mortgageName: Kelly Reeves
Hometown: Newport Beach, Calif.
Interest rate: 6.75 percent

Living in hard-hit Orange County, Calif., Kelly Reeves has seen her home’s value plummet so severely that she now owes $180,000 more on her home than it’s worth.

Her adjustable-rate mortgage, which carries a 6.75 percent rate, is due to reset in January, leaving her guessing as to what she’ll pay next year.

Reeves, who is a media consultant, has made several attempts to refinance to a fixed-rate loan but always hits a dead end.

Read more of this story at CNNMoney.

Could Save Close to $1,000 a Month

high rate mortgageName: Thomas Coe
Hometown: Los Angeles
Interest rate: 6.38 percent and 7.88 percent

Thomas Coe bought a cozy house in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles for $559,000 in 2007. He didn’t put much money down and financed the balance with a $417,000 interest-only mortgage (a loan you pay only interest on for a fixed period, then pay off the balance) that carries a 6.38 percent rate and a $100,000 home equity loan charging a pricey 7.88 percent.

Coe, who is an assistant director on feature films including “Twilight,” could save nearly $1,000 a month if he refinanced both loans to today’s low rates. “I know my interest rates are so high right now compared to what’s current,” he said.

Coe was earlier denied a refinance through his lender, Bank of America, because he’s underwater. But he thinks he may qualify for some relief under the $25 billion mortgage settlement, an agreement reached between the attorneys general of 49 states and the nation’s five largest banks — including Bank of America — over foreclosure processing abuses.

Read more of this story at CNNMoney.

4 Banks, $1,450 in Fees Later

high rate mortgageName: Brent and Christina Knittel
Hometown: Stateline, Nev.
Interest rate: 5.5 percent and 6 percent

Brent and Christina Knittel look great on paper. According to the couple, they have steady jobs (Brent is a real estate investor and Christina is a corporate communications director), ample income, strong credit scores and make their mortgage payments on time.

Nevertheless, the couple hit one roadblock after another when trying to refinance the two fixed-rate loans they took out on their Lake Tahoe condo.

Their lender, Bank of America, offered to refinance their loan to 4.7 percent, a point higher than the average rates that were available. But since the closing costs would come to several thousand dollars, the savings from the new rate weren’t big enough to make the refi worthwhile.

Read more of this story at CNNMoney.

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