If you have an interest-only or pay-option ARM and you bought in the last year of so, assess your situation and, if you conclude that you are in jeopardy, act quickly.
Two groups of borrowers should look ahead to see if they’re heading toward a reef that could sink them.
The first group consists of homeowners who are making minimum payments on interest-only mortgages. Not all of these folks are at risk. The ones who should especially watch out are those who bought homes in the past year or two in markets where house values are falling and who made no down payment or a minuscule one.
The other group consists of people who are making minimum payments on pay-option ARMs on homes that they bought within the past two years after making a down payment of 10 percent or less.
Refinancing may be a possibility for some people.
Don’t let the customer service representative brush you off by telling you that no help is available until your payment is a month overdue. Say, “Please escalate this call and let me speak to a supervisor.” Once your payment is a month past due, your options shrink.
If you are underwater and low on cash, refinancing may not be a possibility. Hopefully, you won’t have to sell soon.