Do You Qualify for the Expanded Home Refinance Program?
The Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, established by the Obama Administration, has been expanded, raising the maximum loan-to-value ratio from 105% to 125%. As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, many clients are asking me if they qualify for the HARP program. If you can answer “yes” to following questions, you may be eligible:
– Are you the owner of a one- to four-unit home?
– Do you have a loan owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?
– Are you current on your mortgage payments?
(“Current” means that you haven’t been more than 30-days late on your mortgage payment in the last 12 months.)
– Do you believe that the amount you owe on your first mortgage is about the same or less than the current value of your house?
Open to homeowners whose loans are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and covering first mortgages only, the HARP expansion means that an eligible homeowner with a $375,000 mortgage loan may now refinance if the house is worth at least $300,000.
The expansion is aimed at making refinancing available to more people whose homes are now worth less than the amount of their mortgages. As always, the borrower must meet income requirements and be able to afford the loan. Homeowners must also be current on their mortgage payments.
As a homeowner, you may be eligible if:
1. You obtained your mortgage before January 1, 2009
2. The home is owner occupied
3. The primary mortgage is less than $729,500
According to the Federal Housing Financing Agency, the higher loan-to-value refinancing will allow more homeowners to strengthen their finances by taking advantage of lower mortgage rates. HARP borrowers will be able to combine a lower mortgage rate with a faster amortization schedule, which will enable them to get “above water” on their mortgages more quickly.
The program also provides borrowers with an incentive to reduce the term of their loan from 30 years to a shorter-term, fixed-rate mortgage, enabling them to pay down the principal more quickly and reduce lifetime interest payments.