Q: I heard you on WSB radio in Atlanta a couple of days ago speaking about qualifying for mortgage loan refinance programs. I have a mortgage with a six percent interest rate and a loan balance of about $200,000. I believe that my home will appraise at about around 400,000. Would I qualify for the government program?

A: If you are employed, have enough income to support your current living standard, make all of your mortgage payments, and have plenty of equity, you shouldn’t be asking about a government sponsored program.

You’d be far better off finding a good mortgage lender or a good mortgage broker to assist you in refinancing your home. If you obtained your loan in the last five or so years, you might be able to refinance and get a new loan with an interest rate that is a couple of percentage points lower than your existing loan.

You might reduce your monthly interest and principal payments quite a bit but you always have to balance that reduction in the monthly payment with the additional years you will add to your loan and the costs associated with refinancing your loan.

Ideally, you’ll trade what’s left of your 30-year mortgage for a 15-year fixed-rate loan or perhaps even a 10-year loan. That way, you’ll shave years off of the loan term, and pay what’s left at a historically-low interest rate.

If you are having trouble making your current loan payments, have lost your job or have other issues that are affecting your ability to keep up with those payments, you might be eligible to modify your loan.

[ad#in_content_1500]Where we used to say that you might qualify for a loan modification under the various plans that were sponsored by the government, these days we say that you may qualify for one of those loan modification plans but you should also know that even if you qualify for a plan, the lender may have discretion in giving it to you. Of the many people that have worked with their lenders to obtain loan modifications, a minority have actually received loan modifications.

For more information on the plans that may be available to you through the plans that the Obama administration has been touting, take a look at the “Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP)” in case you are unemployed and the other plans for underwater mortgages that government run site.