HARP was started in April 2009. It goes by several names. The government calls it HARP, as in Home Affordable Refinance Program.
The program is also known as the Making Home Affordable plan, the Obama Refi plan, DU Refi +, and Relief Refinance.
In order to be eligible for the HARP refinance program :
If you meet these two criteria, you may be HARP-eligible. If your mortgage is FHA, USDA or a jumbo mortgage, you are not HARP-eligible.
Yes, everything you are reading is accurate as of today, February 13, 2012. This post includes the latest changes as rolled out by the Federal Home Finance Agency on October 24, 2011, and as confirmed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on November 15, 2011.
Yes, the names HARP and Making Home Affordable are interchangeable.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have "lookup" forms on their respective websites. Check Fannie Mae's first because Fannie Mae's market share is larger. If no match is found, then check Freddie Mac. Your loan must appear on one of these two sites to be eligible for HARP.
No. There is a series of criteria. Having your mortgage held by Fannie or Freddie is just a pre-qualifier.
Find a recent mortgage statement and write "Fannie Mae" or "Freddie Mac" on it -- whichever group backs your home loan -- so you don't forget. Give that information to your lender when you apply for your HARP refinance.
If neither Fannie nor Freddie has record of your mortgage, your loan is HARP-ineligible. However, you may still be eligible for a "regular" refinance to lower rates. Use this form to get a rate quote to see your options. Or, if your mortgage is insured by the FHA, use the FHA Streamline Refinance program. The FHA Streamline Refinance helps underwater homeowners, too.
Yes, for the most part, the HARP mortgage program is the same with Fannie Mae as with Freddie Mac. There are some small differences, but they affect just a tiny, tiny portion of the general population. For everyone else, the guidelines work the same.
No. You must be current on your mortgage to refinance via HARP.
No. The Home Affordable Refinance Program is not designed to delay, or stop, foreclosures. It's meant to give homeowners who are current on their mortgages, and who have lost home equity, a chance to refinance at today's low mortgage rates.
First, your home loan must be paid on-time for the prior 6 months, and at least 11 of the most recent 12 months. Second, your mortgage must have been sold to Fannie or Freddie prior to June 1, 2009. And, third, you may not have used the HARP mortgage program before -- only one HARP refinance per mortgage is allowed.
Sort of. Although your home's value doesn't matter for the HARP mortgage program, lenders will run what's called an "automated valuation model" (AVM) on your home. If the value meets reliability standards, no physical appraisal will be required. However, your lender may choose to commission a physical appraisal anyway -- just to make sure your home is "standing".
No, the HARP mortgage program is administered through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHA Streamline Refinances are performed through the FHA. The programs have similarities, however.
No, Ginnie Mae does not participate in the HARP Refinance program. Ginnie Mae is associated with FHA mortgages -- not conventional ones. HARP II is for conventional mortgages only.
No, you can do a HARP refinance with any participating mortgage lender.
Yes. With the Home Affordable Refinance Program, you can refinance with any participating HARP lender. Click here for a HARP rate quote.
No, that's not true. Or, at least it shouldn't be. There are very few instances in which a HARP applicant will be precluded from shopping for the best rate. It's doubtful that your situation is one of them.
Yes, with HARP, you can work with any participating lender in the country. Click here for a HARP rate quote.
No, you won't need to pay mortgage insurance. If your current loan doesn't require PMI, your new loan won't require it, either.
No, your private mortgage insurance payments will not increase. However, the "transfer" of your mortgage insurance policy may require an extra step. Remind your lender that you're paying PMI to help the refinance process move more smoothly.
No. If your mortgage has lender-paid mortgage insurance (LPMI), you are HARP-ineligible.
To find out if your mortgage has lender-paid mortgage insurance (LPMI), locate your loan paperwork from closing. There should be a clear disclosure that states that your mortgage features LPMI, and the terms should be clearly labeled for you.
If there is no LPMI disclosure, first check if your first mortgage's loan-to-value exceeded 80% at the time of closing. If it did, look to see if you are paying monthly mortgage insurance. If you are not paying monthly PMI, you're likely carrying LPMI (and are HARP-ineligible).
HARP refinances are limited to your area's conforming loan limits. In most cities, the conforming loan limit is $417,000. However, there are some cities in which conforming loan limits are as high at $625,500.
No, the HARP mortgage program doesn't allow cash out refinance. Only rate-and-term refinances are allowable.
Yes, you can refinance an second/vacation property with HARP, even if the home was once your primary residence. The loan must meet typical program eligibility standards.
Yes, you can refinance an investment/rental property with HARP, even if the home was once your primary residence. You can refinance a home on which you're an "accidental landlord" via HARP. The loan must meet typical program eligibility standards.
Yes, you can use the HARP Refinance program for your former residence -- even if there's a renter there now.
Yes, condominiums can be financed on the HARP refinance program. Warrantability standards still apply.
No, you cannot consolidate multiple mortgages with the HARP refinance program. It's for first liens only. All subordinate/junior liens must be resubordinated to the new first mortgage.
Yes, mortgage balances can be increased to cover closing costs in addition to other monies due at closing such as escrow reserves, accrued daily interest, and a small amount of cash. In no cases may loan sizes exceed the local conforming loan limits, however.
Mortgage rates for the HARP mortgage program are the same as for a "traditional" refinance. There is no "premium" for using the HARP program.
Yes, HARP mortgages use loan-level pricing adjustments, but LLPAs are dramatically reduced on a HARP refinance and, in some cases, waived entirely. For example, there are no LLPAs for fixed-rare HARP refinances with terms of 20 years or fewer. For all other loans, loan-level pricing adjustments are capped at 0.75 points.
In most cases, no. You can do a HARP refinance with any lender you want. Click here for a HARP rate quote.
"DU Refi Plus" is the brand name Fannie Mae assigned to its particular flavor of the HARP mortgage program. "DU" stands for Desktop Underwriter. It's a software program that simulates mortgage underwriting. "Refi Plus" is a gimmicky-sounding term that could have been anything. The name has been trademarked, however.
"Relief Refinance" is the Freddie Mac equivalent of DU Refi+.
Lock for 45 days, at minimum. This is because the HARP mortgage program, while streamlined for simplicity, still has some grey areas that can lead to delay. It's better to have a rate lock that lasts too long than not long enough.
If you are HARP-eligible, you must close on your mortgage prior to January 1, 2014
Lastly, don't forget! The Home Affordable Refinance Program is not meant to save a home from foreclosure. It's meant to give underwater homeowners a chance to refinance without paying PMI. If you need foreclosure help, call your current loan servicer immediately.
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