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Frequently Asked Questions

We specialize in working with families who are in default or foreclosure to avoid eviction. That means that our mortgages are different from what you would get at a bank. Read our FAQs to learn more:

Applying to BlueHub SUN

To apply, you have to:

  1. Be late on your mortgage payments, going through foreclosure or facing eviction due to foreclosure.
  2. Live in:
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Illinois
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • New Jersey
    • Ohio
    • Pennsylvania
    • Rhode Island
    • Wisconsin
  3. Have a stable income, like a job, Social Security, a pension or disability payments.

There is no fee to inquire or apply. You can be eligible even if you have multiple loans, poor credit, or a recent bankruptcy. If you have an upcoming foreclosure sale date or have been foreclosed upon, you may still be eligible.

Watch the “Spotlight on SUN: Getting started” video to learn more. (the video below is a placeholder and needs to be updated when video is ready!)

 

We refinance or buy homes in foreclosure and sell them back to their original homeowners with new mortgages they can afford. SUN offers clients a second chance to regain their financial footing and save their homes for good. Watch the “Spotlight on SUN: In the Light” video to get an overview of BlueHub SUN.

Read more about the SUN Process, 6 steps to help you save your home for good.

 

Each homeowner is different. On average, BlueHub SUN reduces clients’ monthly payments by 25% and outstanding principal balance by approximately 30%. Savings amounts depend on market conditions. This program enables clients to build home equity, a main source of family wealth in the US. SUN homeowners are free to sell or refinance their homes at any time.

If we reduced the amount of your previous loan(s)’ principal balance, you will have a shared appreciation mortgage, a mortgage that requires a homeowner to share a percentage of the appreciation of a property's value with BlueHub SUN. In other words, if your home increases in value over time, you will have to pay BlueHub SUN a percentage of that growth of value when you sell, refinance or your mortgage term ends. Read more about the shared appreciation mortgage below.

By working with BlueHub SUN, many homeowners get significant, immediate financial benefits in the form of reduced mortgage principal balances and reduced monthly payments. Over the life of the initiative, SUN homeowners have seen their outstanding principal balances reduced by approximately 30% on average, depending on market conditions.

Because SUN clients have newly affordable mortgages, they are able to stabilize their finances, rebuild credit and build home equity. In recent years with the hot housing market, SUN homeowners’ home equity has climbed. Without their new mortgage from our program, these homeowners would have lost title to their home and any equity in the property.

More than a third of SUN homeowners have successfully paid off their mortgage and shared appreciation mortgage (if applicable) and reentered the conventional mortgage market, accessing lower interest rates, providing them with even more savings. Meet LaShawn, a BlueHub SUN client who was able to refinance out of the program in just five years and save even more money. 

Once we have determined that you are eligible, we begin the underwriting process. We ask lots of questions and assess why you stopped making your mortgage payments — what hardship caused you to fall behind?

We also look at what happened to funds that ordinarily would have been put towards the mortgage. Was other household debt reduced? Did household savings increase? Or did those funds go towards critical medical expenses due to an unforeseen illness?

The goal is to ensure you can pay a new mortgage if it is priced right. It’s important that we do this for three reasons:

  1. We don’t want you to simply move from one foreclosure to another—we want you to be able to stay in the home with a mortgage you can afford, rebuild your credit and eventually exit the SUN program to access a lower-rate mortgage.
  2. We need you to make your payments so that we can, in turn, repay the loans that we took out to finance our mortgage lending.
  3. All mortgage lenders, including SUN, are heavily regulated. We are overseen by regulators such as the Massachusetts Division of Banks, the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who require that the mortgages we make have a reasonable likelihood of repayment.

Our process takes longer than getting a typical mortgage because our team negotiates with your lenders—it could take several months to a year before the process is completed. But if you have an upcoming foreclosure sale date or have already been foreclosed upon you may still be eligible.

Get started with BlueHub SUN.

About making payments

Mortgage payments are made through Dovenmuehle (DMI), BlueHub SUN’s loan servicer. Payments can be made on Dovenmuehle’s online portal or by mail. Their customer service team is available for any billing questions.

If you encounter difficulty making your mortgage payment, we will work very hard, on a one-on-one basis, to understand your situation and offer solutions to help you stay in your home.

We make a concerted effort to connect with SUN homeowners to identify their unique challenges, especially during the pandemic and the many issues brought on by COVID-19. In line with federal regulations, we all of offered our current borrowers payment forebearance.

SUN's goal is to keep families in their homes; nevertheless, there are rare cases where borrowers simply can no longer afford their mortgages. We have foreclosed on less than 3% of the more than 950 loans that we have made through SUN since it began in 2009.

The vast majority of SUN borrowers make their payments in full and on time. We think this fact challenges the stereotype that people with poor credit cannot be counted on to pay their mortgage. In fact, what we’ve found is that when people are provided with a mortgage that they can afford and that reflects the actual value of their home, they meet their obligations as borrowers. Only a small fraction, about 5%, of SUN borrowers are seriously delinquent on their mortgages.

Short answer: taxes and insurance. The amount of your monthly Aura loan repayment will never change because it is fixed at the same exact amount for the life of your loan. But your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance amounts change regularly. Those rates are not set by BlueHub SUN. Your property taxes are set by your city or town, and your homeowner’s insurance rate is set by your insurance company. But you pay your Aura loan, your insurance and taxes all together on one monthly bill. So you may see it go up or down from time to time. Log in to the Dovenmuehle online portal to view your statement.

About BlueHub SUN’s operations

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Wisconsin

Since its inception in 2009, SUN has made more than 950 mortgage loans, totaling more than $190 million, and preventing more than 1,000 families from experiencing the serious disruption that comes from losing a home. Collectively, SUN has reduced borrowers’ outstanding mortgage principal by approximately $72 million and saved them a total of $555,000 each month on their mortgage expenses.

SUN is also working to close the racial wealth gap by maintaining homeownership, one of the key drivers of personal wealth. Through the life of this program, clients have gained approximately $45 million in personal wealth; money that is put back into the community, and wealth that would not otherwise be available to them if they had lost their home to foreclosure.

About 64% of all SUN borrowers are people of color.

Aura Mortgage Advisors and NSP Residential are affiliates of BlueHub SUN and help make the process work for borrowers.

Aura is a licensed mortgage lender that qualifies potential borrowers through underwriting—examining credit, financial information, sources of income and property condition. 

NSP Residential buys and resells homes by negotiating with a homeowner’s existing mortgage lender to buy the home working through the intensive process of clearing the title to the property. If negotiations are successful, NSP purchases the home, adds a 25% loan loss reserve, acquisition fee, and initial capital reserve deposit and sells the property back to the homeowner. Aura issues the first mortgage to cover the purchase price and a second shared appreciation mortgage is issued by NSP.

When BlueHub Capital was designing SUN, mortgage bankers refused to sell homes to SUN because SUN was planning to sell the home back to the homeowner for more than the distressed market value but less than the prior mortgage. The lenders were concerned about moral hazard—the risk that borrowers would simply default on their existing underwater mortgages if they knew they could work with SUN to buy back the home, get a portion of their outstanding debt forgiven, and still have full equity available to them.

SUN cannot buy back the foreclosed property without the cooperation of the bank or mortgage lender, so the industry’s moral hazard concerns needed to be addressed. The solution was to require homeowners to grant a shared appreciation mortgage when they buy back their homes for an amount lower than their prior debt. This approach allows homeowners to benefit if their homes gain value over time but the need to share future appreciation discourages borrowers from strategically defaulting by tying the benefit from their potential appreciation to the discount of the original mortgage.

BlueHub Capital and the entities that carry out the BlueHub SUN program are nonprofits. As a nonprofit, the program is designed for funds from paid-off shared appreciation mortgages and loans to be reinvested to help more families stay in their homes and support BlueHub’s mission of building healthy communities where low-income people live and work.

As a nonprofit, we do not have shareholders and we do not generate and distribute profits. We aim to have our programs and services, including SUN, operate on a self-sustaining basis and at a surplus—meaning their revenues exceed their expenses—because that’s what enables us to be a healthy organization. Any surplus goes back into the communities we serve, generally in the form of additional lending.

As a mission-driven lending organization, financial responsibility must be a priority for us—without a sound balance sheet, we cannot continue to serve homeowners and grow to meet the needs of more communities. Our approach, which has been honed over three and a half decades of service, is to be responsible stewards of our resources so that we can sustainably provide services to others.

As a lender, our focus is on providing capital to borrowers—be they homeowners or, in the case of most of our capital, other organizations—that they cannot access elsewhere. We are, in essence, a financial intermediary: in order to lend out, we first raise funding from our own lenders who require repayment.

What makes BlueHub SUN different

SUN establishes a Capital Reserve Account for each homeowner. This account functions like a rainy-day fund. It is available to homeowners if an emergency, like an illness or an unexpected home repair, makes it difficult for them to make their mortgage payments. The Capital Reserve Accounts are funded by setting aside 1.5% of the initial loan amount at the time of closing as well as additional funds over the course of each year.* The account can also be used to pay your mortgage, if needed. Watch the “Spotlight on SUN: Preserving your investment” video to learn more about the Capital Reserve Account.

*Residents of PA cannot add to their Capital Reserve Account after closing.

We succeed when we lose you as a customer. Why? Because our mission is to help you take charge of your financial life and save your home for good. Clients should pay off their first mortgage loan and shared appreciation mortgage (if applicable) as soon as possible and refinance out of the program to take advantage of the lower interest rates in the conventional mortgage market. SUN is just one step on your path to financial health.

Watch the “Spotlight on SUN: The way forward” video to learn more about refinancing.

There is a process you need to follow to refinance successfully. Good planning can save you time and frustration—not to mention thousands of dollars in fees and interest payments.

  1. Carefully manage your finances—pay all of your loans and bills on time.
  2. Call a credit counselor to figure out the most effective ways to raise your credit score. We highly suggest using a credit counselor that is approved by the Department of Justice.
  3. If you have a shared appreciation mortgage, you will need to pay it off when you refinance out of your SUN loan. The amount of the shared appreciation mortgage depends on the percentage of appreciation you need to share and how much the value of your property has grown since you joined BlueHub SUN. While you're getting ready to refinance, you should know how much your shared appreciation mortgage is and how you intend to pay it. Potential options for paying it off include rolling it into a new loan or paying it off with cash. Watch the "Spotlight on SUN: Sharing the value" video for more about the shared appreciation mortgage. Contact BlueHub SUN if you want to know the value of your shared appreciation mortgage at 855.604.HOME or info@sunhomehelp.org
  4. After you’ve made a year of on-time payments, try contacting a small local bank that may be able to issue proprietary loans. Or contact a big mortgage brokerage since they sell their loans to different types of investors and offer more flexibility.
  5. It may take two or more years to be eligible for refinancing, but the sooner you accomplish the steps above, the better position you will be in for a brighter financial future.

BlueHub SUN works by making a shared investment in its clients. Just as they have put their resources into their properties, so have we. A shared appreciation mortgage is a mortgage that requires a homeowner to share a percentage of the appreciation of a property's value with the lender or seller. Watch the “Spotlight on SUN: Sharing the value” video to learn more.

If we bought your home and sold it back to you—what we call our buy-back product—and your new loan’s principal balance was lower than your old loan’s, then you likely have a shared appreciation mortgage.

If you used SUN to refinance out of foreclosure, then you likely don’t have a shared appreciation mortgage.

Contact us to learn more:

Phone: 855.604.HOME (toll-free)

Email: info@sunhomehelp.org

The amount of your shared appreciation mortgage is based on how much money SUN was able to save you on the principal balance of your previous mortgage.

Under SUN’s terms, the share of appreciation you owe equals approximately the percentage saved on your previous mortgage.

  • Example: John owed $300,000 on his mortgage with Local Bank, which was more than the house was worth. He could not pay his mortgage and went into default and foreclosure. He applies and is accepted into the BlueHub SUN program. NSP Residential, a BlueHub SUN affiliate, negotiates with Local Bank to purchase his home for the distressed market value and Aura Mortgage Advisors, another BlueHub SUN affiliate, offers him a new mortgage of $200,000. This saved John $100,000, or 33%, on his mortgage principal and he now has smaller monthly payments. Three years later, John sells his home for $275,000. He keeps 67% of the appreciation ($50,250) and pays NSP 33% ($24,750) of the appreciation per the shared appreciation mortgage agreement. The $24,750 from John is reinvested into the BlueHub SUN program to help more families facing foreclosure.

The shared appreciation mortgage is not a loan; it is dependent on whether the property grows in value. If the property doesn’t grow in value, then the shared appreciation mortgage has no value. The amount you own on the shared appreciation mortgage is calculated and paid when you sell or refinance the property or when the first mortgage loan reaches its maturity date.

Watch the “Spotlight on SUN: Sharing the value” video to learn more.

  • It guards against the potential for homeowners to deliberately default on their existing mortgage in order to qualify for a SUN mortgage—which is a concern to the mortgage lenders we work with, whose cooperation we rely on in order to conduct SUN’s operations.
  • It combats a sense of unfairness among neighboring homeowners who have made their mortgage payments on time and have not had the benefits of reduction in outstanding payments that SUN clients receive.
  • The shared appreciation mortgage enables SUN to continue to serve people facing foreclosure by helping the program to be self-sustaining. Funding received from paid-off shared appreciation mortgages is reinvested into the program to help more families avoid foreclosure and help fund BlueHub’s mission of building healthy communities where low-income people live and work.

Yes. The concept of shared appreciation is not new and not unique to SUN; other lenders and sellers use variations of a shared appreciation arrangement. Local housing authorities, city governments and other nonprofits offer shared appreciation mortgages, such as:

  • Arlington, VA’s, Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program makes available down payment assistance of up to 25 percent of the home purchase price through a shared appreciation mortgage to first-time homebuyers. In addition to being a first-time homebuyer and satisfying income limits, buyers must also have a minimum credit score of 660 and secure a prequalification letter for a mortgage from an approved lender.
  • The City of Boulder, CO, offers borrowers up to $50,000 in down payment assistance (up to 15 percent of the value of a home) through a shared appreciation mortgage called the H2O loan. The funds must be repaid on sale of the home or after 15 years, whichever comes first, plus a share of home price appreciation. Eligible applicants must be low-income first-time homebuyers who work within the city limits.