If you are a homeowner who wants to refinance your mortgage, you might want to consider the Home Affordable Refinance Program. If you qualify, this program lets you take advantage of low refinance rates before interest rates rise. Be sure to take the time to find the best mortgage lenders who will help you obtain the most favorable terms and rates available for your mortgage loan.
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What Is HARP?
The HARP program is designed to help homeowners who owe too much on their mortgage to qualify for a traditional refinance loan. With HARP, you can refinance from a variable interest rate to a fixed rate and avoid paying for private mortgage insurance.
In order to help more people, original HARP regulations were expanded to create HARP 2.0, which allows you to take advantage of HARP refinance rates even if you are underwater on your mortgage. Additionally, many homeowners will not be required to have an appraisal on their loan. Apply to take advantage of HARP loan rates now, since the program deadline is September 1, 2017. Some advantages of HARP include:
- Lowering your monthly payment
- Shortening the term of your loan
- Reducing your interest rate
- Locking in a fixed-rate mortgage
What Are HARP Loan Qualifications?
There are basic guidelines to qualify for a HARP refinance. Guidelines are designed to help homeowners who would benefit the most from refinancing. If you qualify, you will be able to take advantage of HARP refinance rates on your mortgage. Basic qualifications include:
- You took out the loan before May 31, 2009.
- The loan must be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddy Mac.
- The home is a primary residence, a one-, two-, three- or four-unit investment property or a one-unit second home.
- The loan to value — or LTV — rate is more than 80 percent.
- Your mortgage is current with no late payments of 30 days or more in the last six months and no more than one late payment in the last 12 months.
What If I Do Not Meet HARP Loan Requirements?
If you do not meet HARP loan requirements, you may still be able to refinance your mortgage. It is important to be current on your loan to qualify for refinancing. You will need to apply for a mortgage refinance similar to the way you applied for your original mortgage loan. One option is to contact your bank or a mortgage broker to find a new mortgage. Be prepared to pay the closing costs associated with a refinance, which can include an appraisal, application fee, inspection fee and attorney fees. You may still have to pay MI if you owe more than 80 percent of your home’s value.