Saturday, July 5, 2014
Are You Eligible for a HARP Loan?
My quests to refinance my primary residence last month, led me to search for information on the HARP and/or HAMP programs, that I have heard a number of times in the newspapers. Here's a summary of what I found in the Internet.
HARP is the Home Affordable Refinance Program set up by the Federal Government to help consumers who had incurred losses on the equity of their homes due to the economic bust in the housing market the last couple of years. The Home Affordable Refinance Program, is a federal program of the United States, set up by the Federal Housing Finance Agency in March 2009 to help underwater and near-underwater homeowners refinance their mortgages. There are now over 900,000+ people who have benefited from the Home Affordable Refinance Program!
HAMP is the Home Affordable Modification Program, also known as H.A.M.P., is a federal program of the United States, set up to help eligible home owners with loan modifications on their home mortgage debt. It is being set up in the context of the ongoing sub prime mortgage crisis in the debt markets, continuing from 2008.
The target of the programs are 7 to 8 million struggling homeowners at risk of foreclosure by working with their lenders to lower monthly mortgage payments.
The programs are part of the Making Home Affordable Program which was created by the Financial Stability Act of 2009. The program was built as collaboration with lenders, investors, securities, mortgage servicers, the FHA, the VA, FHLMC, FNMA, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to create standard loan modification guidelines for lenders to take into consideration when evaluating a borrower for a potential loan modification.
HARP is unique—because it is the only refinance program that enables eligible borrowers with little to no equity in their homes to take advantage of low interest rates and other refinancing benefits. There have been several changes to HARP, but the most recent one is the primary enhancement that removed the limit on the amount that homeowners could be “underwater” (owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth). With that change, many homeowners who were not eligible will now qualify for the program. The program extension will end on December 31, 2015.
You are eligible for HARP if:
1. You have had a good payment history for the past 12 months. That means having no late payments in the last 6 months and no more than one 30-day late payment from 6 to 12 months ago.
2. Your home is your primary residence, 2nd home or investment property.
3. Your home value has decreased.
4. You have limited equity or your first mortgage exceeds the current market value of the home (i.e., your loan-to-value ratio must be > 80% to be eligible).
5. Your loan is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. You can do this by just typing your street address and zip code to find out if your loan is owned or guaranteed by either Fanniemay or Freddymac
6. Your loan was closed on or before May 31, 2009
As a summary, to be considered eligible for the program, borrowers must have a conventional loan guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac that was originated before June 1, 2009, and have less than 20 percent equity in the home. Borrowers also cannot have had any late mortgage payments within the last six months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.
Personal Note: I have all the criteria to qualify for a HARP loan except that the equity in my home is more than 20% and luckily the value of my home had a increased slightly since 2003. Currently my application for a traditional refinancing loan is in progress. I was informed by my loan mortgage specialist that closing ceremonies is scheduled at my residence by August 6 and not later than August 11, 2014. I am looking forward for the coming closing date and start saving money on my monthly mortgage. I plan on writing my personal experiences during the refinancing process without specific details for security purposes in my future blogs.