HARP: Home Affordable Refinance Program
The Home Affordable Refinance program was announced by President Obama in March of 2009 and it has become one of the most popular refinance programs in the last couple of years for people all across America.
The HARP 1.0 program had modest success due to loan-to-value restrictions and was modified to HARP 2.0 in 2011 when it was announced that loan-to-values could be higher than 125%. Currently, there are multiple lenders that will do a HARP refinance for “unlimited LTV” which means it doesn’t matter how far under water your home is, it will not be a determining factor in qualifying for the HARP program.
President Waives Refinance Requirements?
In many different mortgage marketing pieces, some are advertising that “Obama waived refinance requirements” – and chances are that when you see that type of ad, they are advertising for the HARP refinance program.
You may be eligible for HARP if you meet all of the following criteria:
- The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
- The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.
- The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009.
- The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%.
- The borrower must be current on the mortgage at the time of the refinance, with a good payment history in the past 12 months.
If you have a VA or FHA loan, you are not currently eligible for the HARP refinance program , but there are other programs that will let you refinance that are very similar to HARP called the FHA or VA streamline refinance programs. Some people call the the FHA HARP program, but that isn’t really a name that has caught on with too many.
Who Holds Your Mortgage?
In order to be eligible for the HARP refinance program, your loan must be backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Both have tools on their websites to see if they own your loan. To see if either one holds your mortgage, you can check Fannie Mae. If they don’t have your mortgage there, then check Freddie Mac.
HARP Refinance Rates
The HARP refinance program rates are just like any other mortgage rate: changing frequently and different for each lender. The mortgage market moves up and down constantly and each lender will change their rates daily or even multiple times each day. Because of these moving rates, it is best to have all of your paperwork in order when calling different lenders and then doing the best job you can to shop multiple lenders to get the best rate and fee quote.
HARP Refinance Quotes
Getting a quote for the HARP refinance program is easy and you can start right here. Either call the lender hotline or fill out your information and one of our HARP approved lenders will be happy to help you find out if you can qualify for HARP. The single best thing you can do if you are interested in saving money is to shop multiple lenders. You might be surprised that on the same day many different lenders will have many different interest rates and even a .25% difference in rate can make a big difference in your monthly payment and overall interest that you pay over the life of the loan.
HARP Refinance FAQ’s
What is the loan amount limit for a HARP refinance?
HARP refinances are going to be limited by whatever your loan limits are for conforming loans in your area. In most counties across America, the loan limits are $417,000 ”“ but ”“ many areas have conforming loan limits as high as $625,500. Ask your loan officer what the loan limit is in your area and that will be the maximum loan amount for a HARP refinance in your area.
Is HARP for investment properties as well?
Yes, you can refinance an investment property under the HARP refinance program. You can do it for second homes, primary residences or investment properties.
Are condos eligible for HARP?
Yes, you can refinance a condo under the HARP program. Your condo must be “warrantable” which means that there are other rules that apply to your condo ”“ so check with your loan officer whether or not your condo is warrantable and he can help you find out for sure. If your bank says that condos are not eligible for HARP, call a different bank. Just because one bank can’t do them doesn’t mean another one can’t. HARP allows for condos, so it is just a matter of finding the right bank.
Can I do HARP if my 2nd mortgage isn’t backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?
Yes, you can still do HARP if your second mortgage isn’t backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Under HARP, second mortgages can’t be refinanced, but they can be consolidated into your first mortgage.
My mortgage is with Bank of America. Am I eligible for HARP?
Just because you make your mortgage payment to Bank of America doesn’t meant that they actually own your loan. There is a good chance that they are simply servicing your loan and that it is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Check with Fannie Mae first and then Freddie Mac to see if they back your loan ”“ and if either Fannie or Freddie backs your loan, then you are eligible.
More information is added here all the time ”“ be sure to check back often. In the meantime, get a free HARP refinance quote from a great lender today!