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.) program 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.
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.
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.