H.A.R.P - Current Refinance Rates & Frequently Asked Questions

What is the HARP program?

What is HARP 2.0?

HARP Eligibility

Do I have to do a HARP refinance through my current lender?

How do I apply for a HARP refinance? Additional HARP questions?

When does the HARP program end?

HARP refinancing 101 with Meg Burns of the FHFA

What is HARP 3.0?

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (H.A.R.P.) is a federal-government program designed to help homeowners refinance at today’s low mortgages rates even if they owe as much or more on their mortgage than their home is worth. The goal is to allow borrowers to refinance into a more affordable or stable mortgage. Most homeowners eligible for a HARP refinance are able to reduce their monthly payment by lowering the interest rate on their mortgage. Other homeowners can use HARP to convert their adjustable mortgage into a more predictable, fixed-loan program. You also have the option to do a HARP refinance for a shorter-term loan, which will help you build equity in your home at a faster pace.
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The Home Affordable Refinance Program (H.A.R.P.) 2.0 was rolled out in March 2012 to help underwater and near-underwater homeowners refinance to a loan with a lower monthly payment. About 2.8 million homeowners have taken advantage of the HARP program to-date, but there are still an additional 2 million homeowners who qualify for a HARP refinance. But, there’s still time since the HARP loan program has been extended through December 31, 2015 with the following changes:
  • No underwater limits
    Borrowers are now able to refinance regardless of how far their homes have fallen in value. There is no longer a loan-to-value limit set at 125 percent.
  • No appraisals and underwriting
    Most homeowners do not have to get an appraisal or have their loan underwritten, making the refinance process smoother and faster.
  • Modified fees
    Certain risk-based fees for borrowers who refi into shorter-term loans will either be eliminated or modified.
  • Looser restrictions on income verification
    Many lenders require less paperwork to verify income. Some lenders are also able to grant a HARP mortgage if borrowers have at least 12 months of mortgage payments in reserve.
To qualify for the HARP program:
  • You must be current on your mortgage
    You must have no late payments made 30 or more days past the due date in the last six months, and no more than one late payment made 30 or more days past the due date in the last 12 months.
  • You must have a certain property type
    Your home must be a primary residence, a 1-unit second home or a 1- to 4-unit investment property. Condos, PUDs and manufactured homes are eligible.
  • Loan must have a note date of May 31, 2009 or before
    Your note date is the day your mortgage closed. The lookup tools below can help you determine your note date.
  • Your mortgage must be backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae
    Use the Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae online lookup tools or call Fannie Mae at 1-800-7Fannie or Freddie Mac at 1-800-FREDDIE to determine who owns your loan.
  • You must have a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 80 percent or higher
    To calculate your LTV, divide the amount of money you owe on your house by its value. To get an estimated market value of your home, look up the Zestimate.
No, you do not have to do a HARP refinance with the same bank that you originally obtained your loan through. If your bank tells you they cannot or will not help you with a HARP refinance, it’s important to not give up. Use our HARP shopping tool below to shop for custom mortgage rates.
Also, it is important to distinguish the difference between your mortgage servicer and mortgage backer. If your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, they are your mortgage backer. The bank that collects your monthly mortgage payments is your mortgage servicer. In fact, it is in your best interest to shop for the best HARP refinance rates by comparing quotes from several different lenders.
Find HARP Loans
We encourage you to shop for custom HARP loan rates from several lenders by using the shopping tool below. Contact the best lender via phone or email.
If you have additional HARP program questions, please contact a lender from Zillow below. These lenders specialize in HARP refinancing and would love to answer any questions you may have.
Zillow is the only mortgage marketplace on the web and mobile to offer HARP-specific loan quotes. Use the form below to get HARP loan rates and shop for custom refinance rates.
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The program ends on December 31, 2015.
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Zillow’s Erin Lantz moderated a Google+ Hangout about HARP refinancing with Meg Burns of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. Zillow selected participating homeowners based on questions submitted via Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #HARPrefi.

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HARP 3.0 is still being debated in congress and, therefore, has not yet been instituted.
Some of the proposed changes include:
  • Allowing mortgages not backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae to qualify for HARP 3.0
  • Waiving or loosening credit, income and employment verification guidelines.
  • Pushing the HARP eligibility date out from May 2009 to 2011
  • Allowing homeowners that have already refinanced under HARP to refinance again
Find HARP Loans
Zillow is the only mortgage marketplace on the web and mobile to offer HARP-specific loan quotes.
 
 

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To get rates for your own situation:

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This amount is very low. The more you put down the better your rates will be.
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Current mortgage balance

Your current balance is the total amount you owe on your mortgage. It is the difference between the original amount borrowed and the money you have paid toward the principal so far. If in addition to your 1st mortgage, you have a 2nd mortgage (or a home equity line of credit) include the combined outstanding balance from your 1st and 2nd mortgage. Contact your lender to find out your exact outstanding balance.

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Who owns/backs your loan?

To see if your loan is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, use the following lookup tools:

To find out if you have an FHA-insured loan:

  • Check your monthly statement to see if you have a mortgage insurance premium (MIP). This is what FHA calls its mortgage insurance — so if you see it on your statement, you have an FHA-insured loan; or
  • Check your closing docs and find your closing statement (called a HUD1). Look in the top-right corner on the first page and see if you find a HUD 13-digit case number in this format: 000-0000000-000. If you do have a HUD case number, you have an FHA-insured loan.
  • If you're still uncertain, call your lender or servicer.

Learn more about the options for refinancing your underwater mortgage:

Credit Score

If you are applying with a co-borrower, the credit score should be the lowest credit score between the two borrowers.

Your credit score looks low. A higher credit score will help you get more quotes with better rates.
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Annual Income

Include all of your annual income before taxes, including:

  • Annual base salary (before taxes and expenses are deducted)
  • Any recurring commissions, bonuses, overtime, and tips that you expect to continue
  • Rental income, stock dividends, investment income, etc.
  • Any alimony/child support payments you receive

Note: If you are applying with a co-borrower, include both your and your co-borrower's annual income

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Monthly Debts

Include:

  • Minimum credit card payments
  • Car payments
  • Student loans
  • Alimony/child support payments
  • Any house payments (rent or mortgage) other than the new mortgage you are seeking
  • Rental property maintenance
  • Other personal loans with periodic payments

Note: If you are applying with a co-borrower, include both your and your co-borrower's monthly debts.

Do NOT include:

  • Credit card balances that you pay off in full each month
  • Existing house payments (rent or mortgage) that will become obsolete as a result of the new mortgage you are seeking
  • The new mortgage you are seeking
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Home Use

Lenders offer different rates for mortgages depending on how the property will be used. For example, a loan for a rental property is more expensive than a loan for a primary residence because lenders believe investors are more likely to stop paying their mortgage and walk away from a rental property than they are from their own home.

Have you or your co-borrower declared bankruptcy in the last 7 years?

Bankruptcy is the legal process in which a person declares their inability to pay off their debts. Bankruptcy does not mean you cannot get a loan, but the terms of your loan may not be as favorable.

Have you or your co-borrower been foreclosed on in the last 7 years?

Foreclosure is a legal process by which a bank or lender sells or repossesses a mortgaged property because the borrower could not pay the loan.

Foreclosure does not mean you cannot get a loan, but the terms of your loan may not be as favorable.

Are you or your co-borrower self-employed?

Loans for self-employed borrowers typically require more documentation for items like your income and assets. Notice that by selecting self-employed we also ask for your assets.

Assets

While you don't need to tally up every asset you own, include your largest assets. Lenders typically look at both your liquid assets and non-liquid assets. Liquid assets are things you could access quickly such as checking, savings or stock accounts. Non-liquid assets are things you own but which you probably cannot sell immediately like real estate assets.

To calculate the value of your real estate assets,use the fair market value minus your remaining mortgage balance to get the equity total. (e.g., $250,000 fair market value minus a mortgage balance of $100,000 = $150,000 in equity)

Note: If you are applying with a co-borrower, include both your and your co-borrower's assets.

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Asking lenders for custom quotes...

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Points 

Points

Points are fees you are willing to pay to get a lower interest rate. The number of points refers to the percentage of the loan amount that you would pay. For example, "1 point" means a charge of 1% of the loan amount.

  • 30 year fixed (HARP)
  • 4.523 % APR
  • 3.750 % Rate · $1,702/mo · $242 in Fees
  • Lowest Fees (30yr) Lowest APR (30yr) Lowest APR & Fees (30yr)
Lender website
  • 30 year fixed (HARP)
  • 4.542 % APR
  • 3.750 % Rate · $1,702/mo · $1,029 in Fees
  • Lowest Fees (30yr) Lowest APR (30yr) Lowest APR & Fees (30yr)
Lender website
  • 30 year fixed (HARP)
  • 4.841 % APR
  • 4.000 % Rate · $1,755/mo · $2,452 in Fees
  • Lowest Fees (30yr) Lowest APR (30yr) Lowest APR & Fees (30yr)
Lender website
  • 15 year fixed (HARP)
  • 3.611 % APR
  • 3.000 % Rate · $2,538/mo · $1 in Fees
  • Lowest Fees (15yr) Lowest APR (15yr) Lowest APR & Fees (15yr)
Lender website
  1. 1
Your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is high

You may not see many loan options because the loan amount requested is close to the full value of the property. This is called a high loan-to-value ratio. Consider a larger down payment to decrease your LTV ratio.

Learn about down payment assistance.
Your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is high

You may not see many loan options because the loan amount requested is close to the full value of the property. This is called a high loan-to-value ratio.

Visit Zillow's Negative Equity Resource Center to learn about additional refinancing options.
Your requested loan amount is low

Requests for home loans less than $50,000 typically receive fewer quotes.

Your requested loan amount is too high

Your requested loan amount may be higher than the conforming loan limit in your area. Consider a larger down payment to decrease the loan amount needed.

Learn more about conforming loan limits.
Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is high

It is more difficult to obtain a loan with a high debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Lenders calculate DTI ratios to ensure you are able to comfortably pay your mortgage along with your other debts.

Learn more about debt-to-income (DTI) ratios and work to pay down your other debts such as credit cards, student loans and more.
Your credit score is low

Your self-reported credit score is below the optimal range for lenders and may be preventing you from getting more quotes or better rates.

Find out how you can improve your credit score.
 
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Total Lender Fees

Includes lender, government and other fees associated with the loan quote submitted by the lender. Other 3rd party fees may apply.

Learn more about Lender Fees

Note: A lender may offer a credit to reduce your out of pocket cost. You may be able to use this credit to pay fees associated with your mortgage transaction.

Closing costs, also known as settlement costs, are the costs incurred when obtaining your loan. For new purchases, these costs also include ownership transfer of any collateral property from the seller to you. Costs may include and are not limited to: attorney's fees, preparation and title search fees, discount points, appraisal fees, title insurance, and credit report charges. They are typically about 3% of your loan amount, and they are often paid at or just before your loan closes.

Funds often needed to close a loan, such as homeowners insurance, property taxes, and escrow impound account funds, aren't included in closing costs and are considered separate. You should be prepared to pay these costs before your loan closes.

Total Loan Amount

The amount of money being borrowed, calculated by subtracting the down payment from the purchase price (e.g. Purchase price = $300,000; Down payment = $100,000; Loan amount = $200,000), and adding the upfront FHA mortgage insurance premium that is included in the total loan amount.

Learn more about FHA

Total Loan Amount

The amount of money being borrowed, calculated by subtracting the down payment from the purchase price (e.g. Purchase price = $300,000; Down payment = $100,000; Loan amount = $200,000), and adding the upfront VA funding fee that is included in the total loan amount.

Learn more about VA

Third Party Fees

The third party services fees are settlement charges that are not paid to the lender. These fees are paid to external service companies for things such as:

  • Appraisal
  • Title insurance
  • Recording charges
  • Transfer taxes
  • Escrow
  • Interest
  • Homeowners insurance

These fees are estimates and can vary depending on the company. Typically lenders will recommend providers for you but you can shop around to save money. Follow up with the lender to get a full list of closing costs.

Est. Mortgage Insurance

If you put down 20% or more when you took out your current mortgage, you may not be subject to mortgage insurance if you refi through the HARP program. Ask your lender for more details about your situation.

True Cost

True Cost is our recommended way to begin comparing quotes. True Cost allows you to:

  • compare quotes apples-to-apples by incorporating Rate, Fees, Loan Program, and Points into one number
  • view the interest and fees due over different periods of time by adjusting the time-in-home dropdown
  • find the least expensive loan for your expected timeframe

The interest rate is the yearly rate charged by a lender to a borrower in order for the borrower to obtain a loan. This is usually expressed as a percentage of the total amount loaned. Note that rates may increase for adjustable rate mortgages.

Annual percentage rate (APR) is the cost of credit expressed as a yearly rate. The APR includes the interest rate, points, lender fees, and certain other financing charges the borrower is required to pay. Using APR to compare quotes is helpful because it takes into account both the interest rate and financing fees. The APR is calculated by Zillow.

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