Hot News - HARP 2.0 REFI
Lyon Real Estate
What is HARP?
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 :
- Your loan must be backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
- Your current mortgage must have a securitization date prior to June 1, 2009
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.
HARP : Questions and Answers
Do these question-and-answers account for the "new" HARP mortgage program?
Yes, everything you are reading is accurate as of today, March 2, 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.
Is "HARP" the same thing as the government's "Making Home Affordable" program?
Yes, the names HARP and Making Home Affordable are interchangeable.
If my mortgage is held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, am I instantly-eligible for the Home Affordable Refinance Program?
No. There is a series of criteria. Having your mortgage held by Fannie or Freddie is just a pre-qualifier.
My mortgage is backed by Wells Fargo. Am I eligible for HARP?
It's possible that your mortgage is backed by Wells Fargo, but the more likely answer is that Wells Fargo is just your mortgage servicer; the bank that collects your payments. Wells Fargo backs very few of its own loans. Most loans for which payments are sent to Wells Fargo are backed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Double-check with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before assuming Wells Fargo backs your loan.
My mortgage is backed by Bank of America. Am I eligible for HARP?
Bank of America does back some of its own loans, but the more likely answer is that Bank of America is your mortgage servicer; the bank that collects your monthly mortgage payments. Bank of America backs very few of its own loans. For most loans for which payments are sent to Bank of America, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are the actual loan-backers. Double-check with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make sure Bank of America doesn't hold your loan.
My mortgage is backed by Chase. Am I eligible for HARP?
There is a chance that Chase backs your loan, but what's more likely is that Chase is just your mortgage servicer; the bank that collects your payments each month. Chase backs very few of its own loans. For most loans for which payments are sent to Chase, you'll find that Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are the actual loan-backers. Double-check with Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's websites to make sure your loan is not held by Chase.
What if neither Fannie Mae nor Freddie Mac has a record of my mortgage?
If neither Fannie norFreddie has record of your mortgage, your loan is HARP-ineligible. However, you may still be eligible for a "regular" refinance to lower rates. Or, if your mortgage is insured by the FHA, the FHA Streamline Refinance helps underwater homeowners, too.
Does HARP work the same with Fannie Mae as with Freddie Mac?
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.
Am I eligible for the Home Affordable Refinance Program if I'm behind on my mortgage?
No. You must be current on your mortgage to refinance via HARP.
What are the HARP program's mortgage rates?
Mortgage rates for the HARP mortgage program are the same as for a "traditional" refinance. There is no "premium" for using the HARP program.
Will the Home Affordable Refinance Program help me avoid foreclosure?
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.
What are the minimum requirements to be HARP-eligible?
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.
My mortgage was securitized shortly after the HARP deadline of May 31, 2009. Can I get a waiver or exception?
No, there are no "date exceptions" for HARP. If your loan was not securitized on, or before, May 31, 2009, you cannot use HARP.
If I refinanced with HARP a few years ago, can I use it again for HARP II?
No. You can only use the HARP mortgage program one time per home.
I refinanced into a HARP loan a few years ago, but my bank never told me it was a HARP loan. I feel like I was lied to. Can I use HARP again under the HARP II program?
No. You can only use the HARP mortgage program one time per home.
Is there a loan-to-value restriction for HARP?
No. All homes -- regardless of how far underwater they are -- are eligible for the HARP program.
I am really far underwater on my mortgage. Can I use HARP?
Yes, you can. There is no loan-to-value restriction under the HARP mortgage program so long as your new mortgage is a fixed rate loan with a term of 30 years or fewer. If you use an adjustable-rate mortgage, your loan-to-value is capped at 105%.
Maybe I wasn't clear. I am really, really far underwater on my mortgage. Are you sure I can use HARP?
Yes, I am sure. The new HARP mortgage programspecificallyhas no loan-to-value restriction so that homeowners in Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada can take advantage of it. You can 300% loan-to-value, and still be HARP-eligible. HARP is now unlimited LTV for fixed rate loans with 30-year terms or less.
If I refinance with HARP using an ARM, do I still get "unlimited LTV"?
No, if you use an ARM for HARP, you are limited to 105% loan-to-value. Only fixed rate loans get the unlimited LTV treatment.
Will my home require an appraisal with the HARP mortgage program?
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".