HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) is a program inside the Making Home Affordable Program helping borrowers to refinance who tried but could not because the value of their home dropped and they did not have enough equity.

You need a certain amount of equity to refinance your home but for millions of you who have little or no equity or have negative equity (your loan balance is more than your home value also known as being “underwater”), a refinance is out of the question. And that’s where HARP comes in. A program developed to help stimulate the housing market by allowing you to refinance into a lower interest rate and lower payment even if you are underwater.

HARP doesn’t forgive any of your loan balance. It’s just like a regular refinance with closing costs and fees. You also need to qualify just like any other refinance. And it’s not for everyone so check in below to find out if you fit into the guidelines.

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Eligibility Guidelines

Here’s what you need to be eligible for the HARP refinance program:

1. Your current mortgage must be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. To see if your mortgage is owned by Fannie or Freddie click on the links below and enter in your information. If your loan pops up then you are eligible. I would try Fannie first.

Fannie Mae Loan Lookup

Freddie Mac Loan Lookup

2. Your current mortgage must have been sold to Fannie or Freddie on or before May 31, 2009. You can also check that using the loan lookup links above.

3. Your current LTV (loan to value) must be greater than 80%. Get a calculator and divide your loan balance by the value of your home to find out your LTV. ($80,000 loan balance divided by $100,000 value = 80%)

4. You must be current on your mortgage at the time of the refinance. Current usually means you are not more than 30 days late at the time of the refinance. But both Fannie and Freddie say “current” for this program means you have not been 30 days or more late in the last 6 months and you weren’t 30 days late more than once in the previous 6 months.

So, basically you can only have one 30 day late in the last 12 months but it can’t be in the last 6 months.

5. Also you are not eligible if you already refinanced under HARP unless it was a Fannie Mae loan refinanced under HARP between March to May 2009.

HARP has refinanced 2 million in mortgages since 2009. Half of that 2 million was refinanced with the Harp 2.0 which has only been in place for about a year and a half. “The revisions to HARP removed the existing 125 percent cap on loan-to-value ratios. About one fifth of the loans refinanced since that time have had LTV ratios above 125 percent. In November, 46 percent of the loans refinanced through HARP had loan-to-value (LTV) ratios greater than 105 percent and 24 percent had LTVs greater than 125 percent.” according to an article in Mortgage News Daily on 2/19/13.

Refinancing Rates

Where do you start? It’s really like any other refinance. You contact lenders and compare rates and costs. But not every lender does HARP loans so to get help with your underwater mortgage, start with our HARP rate quote service and get quotes from HARP lenders.

This program was set to expire at the end of this year but it has been extended to December 31, 2015 so if you fit into this program use our Harp rate quote service and get started.

Good Luck!


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