Re-Fi Seems Out of Reach? You May Qualify for Home Affordable Refinance Program

The program launched during economic recession aimed at helping homeowners refinance is available until the end of 2015.

Re-Fi Seems Out of Reach? You May Qualify for Home Affordable Refinance Program Photo (cc) by MarkMoz12

This post comes from Mitch Strohm of partner site HSH.com.

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is a federal refinance program targeting underwater homeowners. First announced in March 2009, HARP is designed for homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments, but who haven’t been able to refinance because they have limited equity, no equity or negative equity in their homes.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Treasury Department originally estimated that 4 million to 5 million borrowers would be able to refinance under HARP. Since the program began, more than 3.2 million homeowners have refinanced their homes through HARP, according to the latest statistics from HUD. However, the latest data from the FHFA shows that more than 650,000 U.S. households are still eligible to participate in the program.

The deadline to refinance under HARP is Dec. 31, 2015.

Do I qualify for HARP?

A HARP loan looks a lot like any other mortgage. Since HARP mortgages are backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the underwriting process will resemble that of any other conventional mortgage. There will be loan disclosures to sign and supporting financial documentation to remit. Mortgage lenders are looking for borrowers with solid incomes, good assets and quality credit scores.

Here is the full list of HARP requirements:

  • The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
  • The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009
  • Borrowers must be current on their mortgage payments with no payments more than 30 days late in the last six months and no more than one late payment in the last 12 months
  • Eligible property types are primary residence, one-unit second home and one-to-four-unit rental property
  • The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be at least 80 percent. There is no maximum LTV limit for a new fixed-rate mortgage. The maximum LTV for a new adjustable-rate mortgage is 105 percent.
  • You cannot have previously refinanced under HARP (unless it was a Fannie Mae loan refinanced under HARP between March and May 2009)

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