The HARP Refinance Program

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by: Joshua Bucio

This refinance program was created with the homeowner in mind that has lost equity in their home. Whether they have little to no equity or are completely underwater, the HARP refinance program may be the best option. This is one of the only options underwater homeowners have to refinance their mortgage.
HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) was announced in March, 2009 and then in 2011, President Obama announced an overhaul to the HARP program with the intent of reaching more underwater homeowners. There was a recent extension to the program that allows someone to apply for this program until December , 31 2015
Here are some frequently asked questions with the HARP program:

How Do I Qualify For The HARP Program?

First, find out if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Here is the link to look up your mortgage with Fannie Mae: http://www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup/
Here is the link to look up your mortgage with Freddie Mac: https://ww3.freddiemac.com/corporate/

Second, if your mortgage is found by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you will be pre-qualified.

Do I Need To Have My Home Appraised?

No. As long as you receive an approval that gives you an appraisal waiver, an appraisal report on the property is not required. Most approvals are receiving an appraisal waiver, which reduces the costs and helps streamline the entire process.

What If I Have A Second Mortgage or Home Equity Line of Credit?

That’s ok. The HARP refinance program only allows you to refinance the first mortgage. Your second mortgage or home equity line of credit will remain open. We will have to order a subordination agreement from your current second mortgage lender, in order to keep that mortgage in second lien position, while we refinance the first mortgage. This is not uncommon.

Can I Refinance With HARP If I Have PMI On My Mortgage?

Yes. If you current mortgage has a PMI payment, that mortgage insurance will just transfer to the new mortgage payment. The premium of the mortgage insurance will be a percentage of coverage, so the monthly amount may change, since you mortgage amount will be different. Typically, your PMI payment will go down, because your current mortgage balance is less than when you first started your mortgage.

How Long Is The Program Available?

The HARP refinance program was recently extended and is now available until December 31, 2015. It’s important you check and see if you qualify now and think about taking advantage of this special program, while the interest rates are still very low.