Don’t assume you’re not eligible for HARP even if you've been turned down before! The Home Affordability Refinancing program was introduced in 2009. It was supposed to help people whose homes had plummeted in value. They now owed more than their home was worth, and some had lost their jobs and their incomes.
Unfortunately too many discovered they couldn’t even qualify for HARP. Bankers were reluctant to make loans. Lots of documentation was involved. Requirements were rigid. There was a limit (125%) to how far “underwater” an homeowner could be. That limit is gone and it no longer matters how high the ratio is between your loan amount and the value of your home. You typically don’t even need to get an appraisal!Other requirements are easier as well. The time to act is now, because HARP will not be available indefinitely.
Check eligibility without handing over personal and financial data. We don’t make loans and we don’t get referral fees for loans. We DON'T contact you. We have simply gone over government info and made things easier to understand. Find out fast if you could reduce your expenses and keep your home:
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The very first thing you should do is check to see if you mortgage loan is owned by Freddie MAC or Fannie MAE. Only those loans are eligible for HARP. Your loan servicer can quickly tell you if this is the case. You can also go to the HARP website and use their lookup tools to check your loan. If that is confirmed, then check to see what is the ratio of your loan balance to the value of your home — i.e., divide your loan balance by your home’s market value. If it’s greater than 80% then you could be eligible for this excellent program. It’s definitely worth taking these two easy initial steps to see if you should pursue it.
Update May 2018
The official HARP website offers some good advice about how to avoid scams. The biggest warning is to remember that help with HARP is free — if not, it’s fake. Don’t let someone convince you that you have to pay a fee to be helped or that they have some special connection to your loan servicer. Never sign over the deed to your house to any person or organization unless it’s your mortgage company and you are working directly with them in order to have your debt forgiven. And definitely don’t ever make a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage company.
Keep in mind also that, in order to be eligible for HARP, you must have a loanthat is owned by Freddie MAC or Fannie MAE. You bank or other loa
Update March 2018
Are you approaching retirement and nervous about the fact that you’re still upside down on your mortgage? That adds an extra burden to dealing with making this transition, which can be quite emotional. Making house payments can also be a big challenge during retirement — so what to do if you have not been able to pay off your home mortgage beforehand? A senior editor for AARP highly recommends the Home Affordable Refinance Program, also known as HARP. You can still apply for this program as the deadline has been extended, but don’t wait too long. Get better interest rates on your loan and maybe even take some money out.
Update January 2018
Good News about the government’s HARP program! It was scheduled to end on September 30 or 2017. But the FHA has announced that it will keep the program up and running all the way through 2018. So it will be available to homeowners until December 31 of this year (2018). The extension was made necessary due to a new refinancing opportunity which os directed at those with high loan to value ratios. Whatever the reason, this is definitely good news for homeowners who have put off looking into the HARP program, perhaps because they don’t think they could qualify. It’s a really wise idea to check into it whatever you are assuming about your situation. The rules have been relaxed and you could save yourself a bunch of money!
Update August 2017 OK it is time to get serious about HARP. Have you procrastinated because the deadline has seemed so far away? Hesitate no longer — September 30 is coming up a whole lot faster than you think. Especially if you are approaching or considering retirement — one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to go into it “upside down” on your mortgage. Take advantage of this major government gift and look into it before it goes away! Getting better terms on your loan — and perhaps even some cash as part of the deal — will put you in a much better position to work on paying it off.
Update April 2017 The HARP Program is still available! And it could even be critical to your security in retirement. Housing expenses are usually the biggest chunk that gets taken out of your cash reserves every month. If you still are bearing the burden of owing more on your home than it’s even worth any more, you should definitely look into taking advantage of HARP, even if you’re sure you can’t qualify. You could be very wrong and using HARP to refinance your mortgage could make an incredible difference in your monthly cash flow! And remember, it doesn’t matter if you’ve applied before and been turned down: the requirements have gotten easy to meet!
Update January 2017 In case you thought you missed this amazing program, don’t despair! HARP — which is an out and out gift to homeowners — has been extended through September of 2017. And in case you like many, have not bothered to apply because you don’t think you’ll be approved you should think again. It’s not difficult to apply. In most cases no appraisal is required. You don’t need to meet a certain loan to value ratio — it’s designed to help those who are “under water.” And the government estimates that there are still more than 300,000 owners who would qualify but they have not applied. That’s a lot of savings/extra cash out there! This new extension is considered a bridge to a new program that is expected in October of 2017. Why not act now and get the savings that could make such a big difference to you? More than 3.4 million folks have done so — and the qualifying process has never been so easy…
News September 2016 If you think this program is too good to be true, believe us it is not. And mortgage rates right now are as low as 2.5%! Seriously, there are only a few more months for you to take advantage of this amazing opportunity – and benefit from the fact that the Obama administration would really like to make increased home ownership a part of its legacy. Remember: you do NOT have to have any equity in your home – that's the whole point! You do NOT have to jump through lots of hoops to get this help. And you do NOT typically even have to have a your home appraised. Don't be one of the households leaving money on the talbe – act now!
News July 2016 Some people think that not very many homeowners can qualify for HARP. But there are still more than 300,000 who can qualify but who have not yet applied! Remember, it costs nothing to apply and you should not have to pay anyone to advise you. And don't believe anyone who claims to have an inside connection with your loan servicer – according to the official HARP website that simply isn't true. The program is scheduled end later this year so don't miss this chance – it costs nothing to apply.
News April 2016 Don’t Miss Out - This Is A Gift! According to the folks at HARP over 3.3 million homeowners have refinanced their house using the HARP program. That’s great news —- but thousands are eligible and have not yet acted. Don’t be one of them —- the program ends at the end of 2016 and you’re missing a good deal if you back out. Want to see how many folks are still eligible in your state — even by specific area? Check out the interactive map at harp.gov under the Resources section.
News late December 2015 Have you looked into HARP yet? It's the best deal out there for homeowners who could use some extra cash. To date over 900,000 of them have taken advantage of this program — but many more are eligible. Remember that the expiration date has been extended to the end of 2016. So there is still time for you to act. Check out the details below and make your move while help is still available.
Warning December 2015 HARP is an outstanding program and we think everyone who is eligible should look into it. But don't trust just anybody! Because it is such a great deal, third parties that have nothing to do with lenders are soliciting folks through mail and email. They present a great deal and when you connect with them, they may ask you to fill out some paperwork right away, or pressure you to sign a deal much sooner than you are ready to. Always do your homework. First remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it may well be. HARP sounds great though — so your next step is to contact your lender to get the real scoop. And never provide personal/financial information to someone who solicits your business.
News October 2015 We have been fearing for some time that the Feds would increase interest rates in October and that mortgage rates would go up. However, their meeting has been held and they did not in fact raise rates at this point. That's great news for anyone wanting to buy a home OR who has not yet taken advantage of the HARP program. Now the program has been extended through 2016 AND interest rates have not yet risen. So that means just one thing: now is the time to act! Some people think HARP is a scam because it just looks like too good a deal. Others think they won't qualify. HARP is indeed a genuine government program and the eligibility requirements have been relaxed – a lot! Check it out - you probably can boost your cash flow before the holidays!
New Flash September 2015 Good news! HARP has for some time been set to end at the end of 2015. It has now been extended through December 31, 2016! So you can still get a lower mortgage rate (which means lower monthly payments), shorten the term of your mortgage, or even change from a rate that's adjustable to one that is fixed. And you don't even need to meet a minimum credit score. Put that together with the fact that there is no longer a specific “Loan to Value” ratio required, and it sounds like there are no more reasons to keep putting action off. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity to make a big change for the better in your finances!
HARP Eligibility: One of the reasons we think more people should take the time to see if they’re eligible for HARP is that there are many, many “HARP Eligible” loans out there. But the owners have not applied! For example, in California there are over 38,000 HARP eligible loans. In Texas there are more than 11,000 and in Florida a whopping 97,318 as of June 2014. In Michigan there are almost 55,000. You get the idea: lots of people are missing out on lowering their monthly cash outflow and improving the stability of their budgets!
Ready? This is seriously easy — and confidential. You don’t have to submit your answers to anyone, just answer to yourself.
Answer the following seven questions Yes or No:
- Are you current on your mortgage?
- Have you made no more than one late payment in the last 12 months?
- Have you made no late payments in the last 6 months?
- Is your home your primary residence ( or a single unit second home or 1-4 unit investment property?)
- Did you take out your loan on or before May 31, 2009? (Note: this no longer needs to be the date that Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac acquired it – what matters now is the date on your note).
- Is you current LTV (Loan to Value) ratio greater than 80%? (You can determine your LTV by adding up the total value of your first mortgage plus any second mortgage or liens existing on your property, and dividing that total by the current market value of your home.)
- Is your mortgage owned by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? If you don’t know, you can use online lookup tools to find out or - even easier - you can call toll free. The number for Fannie Mae is 1-800-7326643 and for Freddie Mac it’s 1-800-3733343. They can look it up for you simply by using your address. Be sure to check with both organizations.
If you have answered Yes to all these questions, then you are most likely eligible and you should definitely apply for HARP. Again, you do not have to open yourself up to lots of calls and emails from brokers or lenders looking for business. Just contact your existing lender, another bank or credit union you trust, or do a local search (without filling out any personal information!) for HARP lenders near you.
Be aware of these cautions:
Never pay a fee for consulting about the HARP program— it is not necessary!
Never turn over the deed to your home to someone who says it’s required in order to get a HARP loan.
Never make a mortgage payment to anyone other than your lender. If you are looking for information or applying online, be sure to check the site’s url. If the url does not end in .gov it is most likely not an official government site. Check the bottom of the page to look for any qualifiers that indicate whether they are part of the United States Government. Even a site with a name like “Harp Program” is not in fact an “official” site even though it comes out at the very top of an internet search! And notice that they want to collect a lot of information from you before they can tell you whether you qualify for a HARP loan….