HARPing on good news
HARPing on good news
The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has been around for a few years to help homeowners under water, so you may be wondering why there’s so much buzz over the new, improved HARP 2.0. Turns out, there’s a lot going for this just-available program, primarily easier access to refinancing opportunities.
While HARP 2.0 was approved many months ago, only a few lenders were able to offer it and only to their customers. Homeowners didn’t have the opportunity to shop around, and if they weren’t approved with that one lender, their hopes for getting a break were dashed. The long delay in making HARP 2.0 widely available was due to automating Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s underwriting systems and getting all the new rules in place. Yes, new, easier rules!
Many roadblocks that borrowers encountered have been removed, including the cap of what the home is worth vs. what the mortgage balance is (typically 125%). Also noteworthy is that there is no minimum credit score with HARP 2.0 (although individual lenders can require one), plus the new program releases the lender’s liability on the original loan. This makes it more appealing for more lenders to offer HARP 2.0, and with more lenders to choose from, mortgage brokers and homeowners can shop around.
A few of the requirements to keep in mind are:
- Your mortgage must have been sold to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae before June 1, 2009.
- You must be current on your mortgage and have no late payments for the last six months.
- Not more than one late payment in 12 months.
- Possible appraisal waiver.
- This must be your first refinance with HARP.
I believe that at long last, homeowners can feel good, and hopeful, about the refinancing opportunities that are now out there. HARP 2.0 became available the first of March, and already the demand has been steadily growing. My advice is to contact us sooner rather than later to lock in today’s historically low interest rates before they go up significantly. The time is now to save your home and some money. We can do it together!