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Home Loans Frequently Asked Questions

 

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Get the answers you need to common questions about your home loan


Get the answers you need to common questions about mortgages and refinancing

Client Assistance Program – Home Loan Payment Assistance
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How can Bank of America help with my home loan payment?

We’re here to do everything we can to support your home loan needs at this time. Bank of America is offering additional assistance to our clients through our enhanced Client Assistance Program, which can provide payment deferrals or payment forbearances (also known as a payment postponement).

We stand ready to support you. Information regarding our Client Assistance Program and other options can be found at Home Loan Assistance.

Getting or refinancing a mortgage
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How long does the home loan mortgage process take?

Every home loan situation is different, so it’s hard to estimate how long your specific home mortgage process will take. Some of the factors that affect the timeline include the type and terms of the home loan you’re requesting, the types of documentation required in order to secure the loan and the amount of time it takes to provide your lender with those documents.

Your Bank of America lending specialist will work closely with you to help you meet your timetable so that deadlines are met and your rate lock(s) are honored.

Do I need to get a home appraisal in order to get a home loan?

Yes. We will schedule the appraisal as part of reviewing your home loan application and you will receive a copy of the appraisal at closing.

Learn more about the home appraisal process

When refinancing my mortgage, can I get extra money at closing so I can pay off other debt?

Yes. Assuming you have sufficient equity, a cash-out refinance enables you to pay off your existing mortgage(s) and may also allow you to take out some of your home equity in a lump-sum cash payment at closing.

Learn more about a cash-out refinance option

Home loan interest rates
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How does my credit rating affect my home loan interest rate?

The way you’ve handled your finances in the past can help predict how you may do so in the future, so lenders will consider your credit rating when you apply for a mortgage or other loan. A higher credit score may help you qualify for a better mortgage interest rate, and some lenders may lower their down payment requirement for a new home loan if you have a high credit score.

See how credit affects your interest rate

Which financial index does Bank of America use to determine adjustable rates?

Every adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) uses a financial rate index (such as SOFR index or the U.S. Treasury-Index [T-Bills]) to determine the loan rate. Lenders have no control over financial rate indexes. The Index is currently published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The rate you pay is set at each adjustment period by adding your margin (which remains the same from period to period) to the rate of the index.

Bank of America ARM rates are determined using the SOFR index, which is a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities. Even though the SOFR index adjusts frequently, Bank of America adjustable-rate mortgages only adjust every six months after the initial fixed-rate period expires.

Making mortgage payments
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What are my mortgage payment options?

There are several ways to pay your home loan.

You can enroll in PayPlan using a checking or savings account of your choice. PayPlan will adjust the recurring amount debited from your checking or savings account to reflect any updates due to a contractual payment change. There is no charge for this service. Please note that PayPlan may not be available for all accounts, including FHA and VA loans. To enroll in PayPlan online, follow these easy steps:

  1. Enroll in Online Banking for online access or, if you've already enrolled, sign in to Online Banking.
  2. On the Accounts Overview page, select Mortgage.
  3. On the Account Details page, select Enroll in PayPlan and follow the instructions.

PayPlan will continue to debit your payment on a monthly or bimonthly basis until which time your plan is either cancelled or your loan is paid in full.

If you have an eligible Bank of America account, you can make your mortgage payment using the Bill Pay tab or Transfers tab (there's no additional charge). You can use each of these tools to schedule automatic recurring payments or make a one-time payment. Please be aware these options will not adjust the amount drawn if your payments increase or decrease due to escrow and/or interest rate changes.

MortgagePay on the Web is another online option for one-time mortgage payments. It can be used with eligible Bank of America accounts, as well as with checking or savings accounts from other financial institutions at no charge. To pay your mortgage account online using MortgagePay on the Web, follow these easy steps:

  1. Enroll in Online Banking for online access or, if you've already enrolled, sign in to Online Banking.
  2. On the Accounts Overview page, select Mortgage.
  3. On the Account Details page, select Pay Now and follow the instructions.

For further assistance with online payments, you can schedule an appointment (at a financial center or by phone) or contact us.

In addition to the electronic payment options noted here, we offer additional options for making your mortgage payment. To learn more please call 800-669-6607 (Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-9 p.m. ET).

How do I change a PayPlan on my mortgage?

If your PayPlan is set to draft once a month and you need to make changes, you can make changes by logging into your Online Banking account and following these easy steps:

  1. Select the home loan account on the Accounts Overview screen.
  2. Click Manage PayPlan in the Payment Due section.
  3. Make necessary changes and select Continue.

Please note that you may not be able to cancel or change a payment scheduled to draft within three business days.

If your PayPlan is set to draft more than one time per month, you will need to contact us to make changes.

How do you apply my home loan payment?

We are required to apply payment amounts in a certain way given the law or the terms in your home loan contract, but once those requirements are met, you have options to instruct us on how you would like us to apply additional payments.

Here are the different options we have to apply your home loan payment if your loan is not delinquent at the time the payment is received:

Contractual payment due. If you have a contractual payment due and you send us a full payment, unless instructed otherwise, we will apply your payment as your contractual payment due.

Next contractual payment due. If the payment you make is equal to or greater than two months of contractual payments, unless instructed otherwise, we may apply the funds to your current and next contractual home loan payment. Any amount greater than the two months of contractual payments may be applied to principal.

Escrow. If you have an escrow account, a portion of your contractual payment due will be applied to your escrow account. In addition, if you pay over your contractual payment due and your escrow account has a negative balance, we may apply a portion of your payment to your escrow account.

Outstanding fees. When a fee has been applied to your home loan, we may apply a portion of your payment to an outstanding fee.

Unpaid principal balance. Some customers like to pay extra on their home loan to reduce the future interest they pay. If your extra payment is less than the next contractual payment, it may be applied to principal. Example: If you pay an extra $100, or $100 more than your contractually required payment, we may apply the extra funds to reduce the principal of your loan.

How can I instruct Bank of America on how to apply my payment?

The best way to make sure we apply your payment the way you want is to use our MortgagePay options. This gives you control on how to apply your payment. However, we understand this is not always possible or convenient for you, and therefore, there are other options for you to consider:

  • If you always want a certain rule set to be followed for your home loan, call us and let us know. We can permanently change the logic we use for it.
  • If you want to change how we have applied your payment, please contact us and let us know the payment details and how you want it changed. You can contact us by using the secure email channel within Online Banking.

Please know it takes up to 14 business days for this change to be processed, but we will make the change effective on your original payment date.

How can I view what my mortgage balance is and how my payments have been applied?

If your account is active, you can view your mortgage activity (such as principal balance, next payment due, etc.) and how your payments were applied within Online Banking and on your monthly statement. Please note that it may take up to two business days for your payment to display on Online Banking.

How does a Suspense Account work?

We would use a suspense account primarily for these reasons:

  • Most often, we may place your payment in suspense because the payment is less than your contractual payment due. We add any payments you make in this suspense account until they add up to a contractual payment. Once your payments accumulate to a full contractual payment, we automatically remove the payments from the suspense account and apply the funds.
  • There are times we may place your payment in suspense while we conduct research on your payment. Sometimes our systems identify something unusual has occurred and we need to research your payment before we apply it. This allows us to ensure we get it right. One example of this is when a borrower pays off their loan, but the payment amount is significantly more than the loan balance.
How do I contact you if I have questions?

We have several easy ways to contact us:

Through Online Banking:

  1. Select Contact Us from the Help & Support tab.
  2. Select Mortgages, loans and lines of credit in the dropdown box then select Go.
  3. Select Send a message from the Email Us menu.

Through the mobile app:
Tell Erica, your virtual financial assistant, that you want to contact us about your mortgage.

By phone:
Call 800-669-6607 (Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. ET).

Where can I find definitions of mortgage payment terms?

You can find definitions of mortgage payment terms and other commonly used mortgage terms in our glossary.

Can I make additional payments to the principal balance of my loan?

Yes. When you make your regular monthly mortgage payment, you can include an additional amount to be applied directly to your principal. If you’re paying by check, please indicate by writing the amount of the extra principal payment on your Mortgage Account Statement coupon where designated.

When making your payment via Mortgage Pay by Web, you can elect to include additional principal along with your payment. Additional principal payments will only be applied after the current month's full payment has posted to your account.

What happens if I'm unable to make my mortgage payment?

If you’re unable to make your payment for any reason, please contact us at 800.451.6362 (Mon-Thurs 8am-9pm EST, Fri 8am-5pm EST).

When will I receive my year-end statement of interest paid on my mortgage for tax purposes?

If the interest you paid is $600 or more:

We’ll mail you IRS Form 1098 by the end of January, or deliver it electronically if you’ve enrolled to receive electronic tax statements. If you don’t receive your 1098 by February 15, you may request a copy from our automated service at 866-669-6607 (available 24/7).

You may also be able to access a copy of your 1098 by going to the Statements & Documents tab for your active mortgage account in Online Banking or the Mobile Banking app. If you opted out of receiving tax forms by mail, your 1098 will be available in Statements and Documents no later than January 31.

If the interest you paid is less than $600:

Please review your regular statements or sign in to Online Banking and select Interest Details from the Information and Services tab.

Escrow and property tax
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If I don't escrow my property taxes and can't pay them, what can I do?

Bank of America can set up an escrow account and pay your taxes for you. Your monthly payment will increase to cover the taxes. Your account will show a shortage until you've made enough increased payments to cover the shortage.

If I received a copy of my tax bill, supplemental bill or new tax assessment, do I pay it or does Bank of America pay it on my behalf?

Some states will send you a copy of your tax bill, and if you have an escrow account on your loan, Bank of America will pay the tax bill on your behalf. We'll use the funds collected through your payments over the past 12-month period.

If you receive a supplemental or newly assessed tax bill that's not part of your normal taxes, please contact us to see if we have that as part of your taxes. If we don't, we can determine if we can pay the tax bill out of your escrow account. This may create a shortage, and your payment may increase to cover the cost of the new tax bill.

I'm in a coronavirus payment assistance program. What can I expect when I exit the program?

After the payment assistance expiration or cancelation, we'll perform an escrow analysis on loans that had taxes and insurance escrowed prior to going into the program. We'll provide a statement with information specific to your loan. Your monthly escrow payment amount may change as a result of the escrow analysis.

If you have a shortage, we'll automatically spread the amount out for up to 60 monthly payments or for the remaining term of your loan. If you prefer, you can contact us to pay the escrow shortage amount in full.

Paying off your mortgage
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Can I pay off my mortgage early?

Yes. Please contact our Loan Servicing Department at 800.669.6607 (Mon-Fri 8am-9pm EST). Remember to have your loan number handy.

What is a mortgage payoff statement?

A mortgage payoff statement itemizes the amounts required to fully satisfy all obligations secured by the loan that is the subject of the payoff request. Itemizations may include:

  • Unpaid principal and interest balance
  • Late fees or any other charges assessed during the life of the loan

This written statement is prepared in response to a request by a client or an authorized third party.

Will I be charged a fee for a payoff statement?

There is no charge to have a payoff statement mailed to you or an authorized third party.

You may also request an online quote at no charge by selecting Mortgages, Loans and Lines of Credit from the Help & Support menu, then selecting the Request a payoff link and following the instructions provided.

How can I pay off the mortgage of a deceased client?

Please contact customer service at 800.669.6607 (Mon-Fri 8am-9pm EST) for assistance.

Why did Bank of America return my payoff funds?

There may have been an issue with your payoff. Please contact customer service at 800.669.6607 (Mon-Fri 8am-9pm EST) for further details.

When should I expect my overage check?

If there is an overpayment, your refund check will be sent within 20 business days. This ensures funds received are sufficient to fully satisfy the payoff.

Home loan assistance programs
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What types of affordable housing assistance programs are available to me?

Our lending officers can tell you about affordable housing assistance programs in which Bank of America participates. When combined with an eligible loan, these assistance programs can help qualified homebuyers achieve successful homeownership. To find out how Bank of America can assist you with affordable housing assistance programs, make an appointment to speak with a lending officer.

Learn more about affordable housing assistance programs

I'm a veteran. Is there a special home loan program available to me?

Yes. VA loans provide up to 100% financing, providing qualified veterans the opportunity to purchase a home. To find out how Bank of America can assist you with a VA loan, make an appointment to speak with a lending officer.

My request for home loan assistance was denied. Can I dispute that decision?

If you were denied home loan assistance (such as a request for a loan modification, short sale or deed in lieu), you may be able to dispute the decision. You can file an escalated case with us if you have reason to believe you met all the criteria for home loan assistance but were not properly evaluated for assistance or were improperly denied assistance. This may include:

  • You did not receive adequate notice from us about your foreclosure alternatives
  • You were not given appropriate time to respond to communications from us during your loan review process
  • Your loan was referred to foreclosure prematurely or we did not suspend foreclosure activities when we were required to do so

You can also file an escalated case if either of these specific concerns apply to your loan:

  • You have a reasonable belief that your mortgage loan is being serviced in a fraudulent manner
  • You have retained a lawyer to help you resolve a mortgage dispute with Bank of America

Please note that inquiries about a pending request for home loan assistance or general questions about the servicing of your mortgage do not meet the requirements for an escalated case. For general servicing questions, please call 800.669.6607 (Mon-Fri 8am-9pm EST).

To file an escalated case, you (or any third party representing you, such as a housing counselor or attorney) should send us a brief letter describing the specific reasons you believe one of the scenarios described here applies to your loan or to your application for home loan assistance.

Escalated case requests must be sent by mail to the following address:
     Bank of America Corporate Center
     Attn: BAC Escalated Case Unit
     P.O. Box 940508
     Simi Valley, CA 93094-0508

Please note that if a third party contacts us to submit an escalated case on your behalf, we must have your written authorization before we can communicate with them about you or your loan. Without your written authorization, we will not be able to discuss your home loan with them. We can provide you with an authorization form upon request.

What to expect after submitting your request

  • Within 3 business days after receipt: If your submission meets the requirements for an escalated case, we will send you a written acknowledgement that we’ve received your request. This acknowledgement will include a toll-free number you can call for information about your case and will also include the estimated date by which your case should be resolved, along with a toll-free number for the Escalated Case Unit.
  • Within 15 calendar days after receipt: In most cases, we will mail you a written response describing the proposed resolution of your request and any next steps to be followed by you or by us. If your matter cannot be resolved within 15 calendar days, we will notify you of the delay and give you a new estimated resolution date. In most cases, this new estimated resolution date will be no longer than 30 calendar days from the date we received your original escalated case.

Requesting a Mortgage Lien Release
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What is a mortgage lien release?

A mortgage lien release (in some states/territories this document may be called a Reconveyance deed) is a document sent by your mortgage company to your local county recorder's office after your mortgage loan is paid off. The lien release states that the lien holder is releasing its lien against the property.

How do I request a lien release from Bank of America when one is not available in county records?

Please allow 90 days after the mortgage loan has been paid off before contacting the applicable county recorder’s office to obtain a copy. If a copy is not available with the county recorder’s office after 90 days, please call the Bank of America Customer Service team at 1-800-669-6607 to submit a lien release request.

What information is required in order to submit a lien release request if a mortgage loan serviced by Bank of America has been paid off and there is no lien release of record in the county recorder's office?

When contacting customer service, please have the loan number available for the lien in question. If you do not have a loan number, please be prepared to provide the below information to customer service with your request.

  • Full Name of all borrowers on the security instrument
  • Property address
  • Loan amount and year of lien
  • Documentation (one of the following documents)
  • Copy of recorded security instrument
  • Current title report
  • DMV title report (mobile homes only)

Please note that inaccurate or incomplete information may delay processing of your lien release request.

How long does it take for Bank of America to process a lien release request and submit the request to the county?

Please allow Bank of America 15 business days to process the lien release request and submit the request to the county.

What if I have an expedited request for a lien release?

If you need to request an expedited lien release, please call the Bank of America Customer Service team at 1-800-669-6607 and advise the customer service representative. Also, please be prepared to provide the upcoming closing date.

Get answers to common questions about home equity lines of credit.

Client Assistance Program – Home Loan Payment Assistance
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How can Bank of America help with my home equity line of credit or home equity loan payment?

We’re here to do everything we can to support your home loan needs at this time. Bank of America is offering additional assistance to our clients through our enhanced Client Assistance Program, which can provide payment deferrals or payment forbearances (also known as a payment postponement).

We stand ready to support you. Information regarding our Client Assistance Program and other options can be found at Home Loan Assistance.

Using your home equity line of credit
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What sort of information about my home equity account can I access online?

When you sign up for Online Banking and access your home equity line of credit account, you will be able to do things like:

  • Check your account balance and available credit line
  • Confirm your next payment amount and due date
  • Make a payment
  • Transfer funds to your Bank of America checking or savings account
  • Pay bills directly from your home equity line of credit with the Bill Pay option
How can I access funds from my Bank of America Home Equity Line of Credit?

There are several ways to access your funds:

  • Use Online Banking or Mobile Banking
  • Use a home equity line of credit check or a Visa Access card
  • Visit a financial center
  • Call 800.934.5626 (Mon-Fri 8am-9pm EST)
How do I make a payment to my home equity line of credit?

There are several ways you can make a payment:

  • Transfer funds using Online Banking
  • Set up automatic payments online or at any financial center
  • Use Bill Pay to make monthly payments
  • Call us at 800.934.5626 (Mon-Fri 8am-9pm EST)
What happens if I am unable to make my payment?

If you are unable to make your payment for any reason, please contact us at 800.451.6362 (Mon-Thurs 8am-9pm EST, Fri 8am-5pm EST).

What is the draw period and what happens at end of draw?

Depending on the terms, the draw period (or borrow period) typically is the 10-year borrowing period during which you can access funds using your home equity line of credit. After that, the repayment period begins and you will no longer be able to access additional funds. Your minimum monthly payments will include a principal and interest amount necessary to fully pay off your home equity line of credit by the end of the repayment period.

Servicing your home equity line of credit
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How do I reorder checks for my home equity line of credit?

You can request more checks by visiting a financial center or by calling us at 800.934.5626 (Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-9 p.m. local time). Online check ordering is not currently available for home equity lines of credit.

Where can I get year-end tax information?

If the interest you paid is $600 or more

By the end of January, we’ll mail you a 1098 form. But if you would like a copy of the 1098 sooner, sign in to Online Banking and go to the Statements & Documents tab, Tax Statements.

If the interest you paid is less than $600

Please review your regular statements or sign in to Online Banking. Go to the Information & Services tab, Interest Details, of your active home equity account.

How can I obtain a copy of my home equity statement?

Some home equity accounts allow you to print copies of your statements from within Online Banking. If yours does not, you can request a copy of your home equity line of credit statement by signing in to Online Banking, going to the Help & Support menu, selecting Contact us, choosing a topic and then selecting Send a message. You can also order copies of your statements by visiting a financial center or by calling us at 800.934.5626 (Mon-Fri 8am-9pm EST).

Fixed-Rate Loan Option
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What if I would like a fixed interest rate on all or part of my home equity line of credit?

Depending on your home equity agreement, you may convert all or just a portion of the outstanding variable-rate balance (minimum: $5,000) to a Fixed-Rate Loan Option. There are no conversion fees to switch to a Fixed-Rate Loan Option.

Learn more about a Fixed-Rate Loan Option

How do I lock in a Fixed-Rate Loan Option?

You can schedule an appointment to speak with a specialist at a financial center or call us at 800.934.5626 (Mon-Fri 8am-9pm EST).

Can I switch from a Fixed-Rate Loan Option to a variable rate on my home equity account to reduce my interest rate or payment?

Yes, you can schedule an appointment to speak with a specialist at a financial center or call us at 800.934.5626 (Mon-Fri 8am-9pm EST).

Paying down or paying off your home equity line of credit
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What is the difference between a paydown and a payoff?

A paydown brings the account balance to zero and the HELOC remains open for further draws, if it is still within the draw period.

A payoff brings the account balance to zero, requires payment of any outstanding fees or amounts required to fully satisfy all obligations, closes the HELOC and releases the lien.

What happens when I pay my home equity line of credit balance down to zero?

When you pay your HELOC balance down to zero and your account is still in its draw period, the account will remain open. If your HELOC is in the repayment period (meaning you no longer have access to the funds), your account will be closed once the final balance is received.

What is a payoff statement?

A payoff statement itemizes the amounts required to fully satisfy all obligations secured by the loan that is the subject of the payoff request. This written statement is prepared in response to a request by a client or an authorized third party.

Can I see how my payoff was applied to my account?

Please contact customer service 800.934.5626 (Mon-Fri 8am-9pm EST) to request a payoff breakdown.

Will I be charged a fee for a payoff statement?

There is no charge to have a payoff statement mailed to you or an authorized third party.

Why did Bank of America return my payoff funds?

There may have been an issue with your payoff. Please contact customer service at 800.934.5626 (Mon-Fri 8am-9pm EST) for further details.

When should I expect my overage check?

If there is an overpayment, your refund check will be sent within 20 business days. This ensures funds received are sufficient to fully satisfy the payoff.

Requesting an off-us subordination
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What is an off-us subordination agreement?

An off-us subordination agreement is an agreement between your first mortgage lender and Bank of America, your home equity lender. It allows us to agree to remain in second lien position after your first mortgage lender's refinance.

How long does it take to process a subordination request?

Please allow 10 business days from receipt of the complete package for us to process your request.

When will Bank of America begin processing a subordination request?

Bank of America does not begin processing the request until receipt of all information requested in the subordination checklist. Please allow 10 business days from receipt of the complete package for us to process your request.

Can you expedite a subordination request?

We are unable to expedite any subordination requests. All requests are processed in the order in which the complete subordination package is received.

What if the subordination package is missing information?

Our subordination associates will work with your new lender to make the process as quick and transparent as possible. Often the requested documentation is available with your new lender and once we receive the complete package, our process usually takes 10 business days.

Can you waive the appraisal requirement?

Full appraisals are required for all home equity lines of credit greater than $250,000 and cannot be waived.

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