Homeowners -- act now if you want some free money

Image courtesy of James Jordan on Flickr
The Minnesota Home Ownership Center says people at risk of losing their homes should act NOW if they want some help from the government.

President Barack Obama announced $75 billion to bailout homeowners facing foreclosure as part of the $787 billion economic stimulus. More details won't be available until March 4, though the administration does have a shockingly non-clunky Web site about the overall plan --

But local nonprofits are urging people who need the money to go for it -- NOW.

The Minnesota Home Ownership Center can help you figure out if you'll qualify. Call them or submit a request for help on their Web site. Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity's Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program is also a good resource.

Obama's homeowner bailout plan offers loan restructuring and loan refinancing. Here are more details about the refinancing part of the plan from the Minnesota Home Ownership Center Web site:

Provides a lower interest rate refinance option to qualified borrowers who are current on their mortgage, but do not have access to existing refinance options due to a high loan to value and/or falling home values. Is only available to homeowners whose first mortgage is owned or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

For homeowners who need lower monthly payments to stay in their homes, the Obama plan:

Reduces the amount homeowners owe per month to no more than 31% of income.
Available to homeowners who have sufficient income and commit to making payments to stay in their home. It will not aid investors.
Available to homeowners who are behind or at imminent risk of default.
Includes incentives for the lender and borrower to encourage modifications and on-time payments.