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HARP Program Overview
On October 24th President Obama unveiled a new mortgage refinance program (Home Affordable Refinance Program or HARP) that could benefit upwards of 1 million current homeowners. The program allows homeowners and investors who owe more than what their home is worth to refinance to a lower fixed rate and/or a reduced loan term. The plan has no maximum loan to value limit and replaces the current 125% of appraised value limit.
In order to qualify the mortgage must be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to 5/31/09 and have no late payments within the past 6 months and no more than 1 late in the last 12 months. Homeowners with second mortgages or HELOC’s may also qualify.
Fannie and Freddie are also reducing the fees to refinance and appraisals may not be required. By reducing the cost of refinancing and allowing homeowners to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates the plan also offers the opportunity for homeowners to reduce the term of there existing mortgage without drastically increasing their monthly payment. This allows homeowners to pay down their mortgage and build equity faster.
Final guidelines and details of the program should be available by November 15th and to find out if you qualify for a HARP loan please contact us at (407) 834-3377.
What Is The HARP Program?
The Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is designed to assist homeowners in refinancing their mortgages – even if they owe more than the home’s current value.
9 out of 10 of eligible Homeowners fail to take advantage of this government program.
If you are current on your mortgage, with or without equity, then you are eligible for this program.
How can HARP help me?
As the government continues to purchase mortgage backed securities, rates continue to fall and are near record lows.
HARP allows you take advantage of current market rates even if you are “underwater”.
These programs are Financial “Life-Changers”. They are also available for a limited time as determined by congress.
Act now to take advantage of this stimulus program, and lower your monthly payment and/or term using the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Streamline process.
Frequently Asked Questions about HARP
1. Is my servicer participating in MHA?
All servicers for loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are required to participate. Additional servicers are strongly encouraged to participate.
2. I'm current on my mortgage. Will a refinance under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) help me?
Eligible homeowners who are current on their mortgages but have been unable to take advantage of today's lower interest rates because their homes have decreased in value, may now have the opportunity to refinance. Through a refinance under HARP, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow the refinancing of mortgage loans that they own or that they guaranteed in mortgage backed securities
3. How do I know if I am eligible for a refinance under HARP?
You may be eligible if:
- The loan on your property is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
- At the time you apply, you are current on your mortgage payments ("Current" generally means that you have not been more than 30 days late on your mortgage payment in the last 12 months; or, if you have had the loan for less than 12 months, you have never missed a payment).
- You have a reasonable ability to pay the new mortgage payments.
- The refinance improves the long term affordability or stability of your loan.
4. Will refinancing lower my payments? How might HARP benefit me?
The objective of a refinance under HARP is to provide creditworthy homeowners who have shown a commitment to paying their mortgage the opportunity to get into a new mortgage with better terms.
Homeowners whose mortgage interest rates are much higher than the current market rate should see an immediate reduction in their payments. Homeowners who are paying interest only, who have a low introductory rate that will increase in the future, or who face a balloon payment may not see their current payment go down if they refinance to a fixed rate and payment. These homeowners, however, could save a great deal of money by reducing the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan.
Refinancing into a more stable fixed-rate loan product and avoiding future mortgage payment increases would likely improve your ability to sustain your mortgage payments over the long-term. When you submit a loan application, your lender will give you a "Good Faith Estimate" and a "Truth in Lending Statement" that includes your new interest rate, mortgage payment, and the amount that you will pay over the life of the loan. Compare this to your current loan terms. If it is not an improvement, a refinancing may not be right for you.
5. Will a refinance under HARP reduce the amount that I owe on my loan?
No. The objective of a refinance under HARP is to help homeowners get into more stable or more affordable loans. Refinancing will not reduce the principal amount you owe to the first lien mortgage holder or any other debt you owe.
6. How do I know if my loan is owned or has been guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?
Ask your mortgage lender or servicer. Also, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have established toll-free telephone numbers and web submission processes to make this data available. Homeowners can enter information to determine if either agency owns or guaranteed the loan. This information is not a guarantee of eligibility for a refinance under HARP, as other qualifying criteria must also be met.
For Fannie Mae:
For Freddie Mac:
7. I owe more than my property is worth. Do I still qualify for a refinance under HARP?
Yes. The new plan replaces the current 125% of appraised value limit.
Some of the above information was pulled from the HARP Program website
If you have any questions regarding the HARP program or would like to learn more about it please feel free to give our office a call. (407)834-3377