The campaign is designed to encourage homeowners that owe more than their homes are worth but have still been making their payments to contact their current lender or other mortgage lender offering HARP refinances for a review of their financing options. Since mortgage rates are still near historical low levels and HARP eligibility requirements expanded, qualifying homeowners could reduce their monthly mortgage payments or increase their equity faster with a shorter term mortgage.
FHFA has launched a new website, www.HARP.gov, and is working with mortgage companies across the U.S. and has established a relationship with HGTV personality and star of Power Broker, Mike Aubrey, to help reach homeowners who may qualify.
To date, more than 2.8 million homeowners have refinanced through HARP,” said FHFA
Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco. “With the launch of this campaign we look forward to
reaching those homeowners who may not know about the program or understand the eligibility
criteria to take advantage of today’s low interest rates by refinancing through HARP.
Aubrey echoes DeMarco’s sentiments by stating that HARP is an absolute no brainer for eligible homeowners. The program allows underwater homeowners the options to refinance at a lower rate and/or a shorter term if they want. ““I spend my time on TV and as a realtor trying to get great deals for my clients. FHFA has already done the legwork to create an amazing deal. It’s as simple as finding out if you qualify, getting the refinance done and watching the savings add up, “ said Aubrey.
To be eligible for a HARP refinance, homeowners must meet the following criteria:
- The loan 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.
- The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80 percent.
- The borrower must be current on their mortgage payments with no late pay
HARP was introduced in early 2009 by the FHFA and U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of the Making Home Affordable program. HARP is one of a few programs that makes it possible to refinance with little or no equity in the home. Since beginning, nearly 3 million homeowners have refinanced through HARP. Since the start, there have been significant enhancements to allow more borrowers to take advantage of the program.
The HARP program is only available to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owned loans. To find out if your loan qualifies for a HARP refinance, check out http://knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup or https://ww3.freddiemac.com/corporate/. The FHFA regulates both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and provides more than $5.5 trillion in home loans.
About the author: Fred Chamberlin was a senior loan officer with Guild Mortgage Company in Oak Harbor. He was in the mortgage origination business for over 20 years and in the lending business for over 30 and authors a number of mortgage related blogs.