Legislation, Lending Guidelines

Negative Home Equity? Learn How to Refinance Now!

March 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has extended the government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program by 12 months.

HARP’s new end date is June 30, 2011.

Originally known as Making Home Affordable, HARP aims to help homeowners refinance their mortgage who may otherwise be ineligible because of falling home values.

There are 4 basic HARP criteria every borrower must meet:

  1. The existing home loan must be guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
  2. Your home must be a 1- to 4-unit property
  3. You must have a perfect mortgage payment history going back 12 months. No 30-day lates allowed.
  4. Your first mortgage balance must be 125% or less of your home’s market value

If you’re not sure whether Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac back your mortgage, you can look it up. Fannie’s website is http://www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup; Freddie’s is http://freddiemac.com/mymortgage.  If you don’t locate your loan on either website, your mortgage is backed by a third-party and is not HARP-eligible.

For homeowners that meet HARP’s criteria, there are some underwriting details of which to be aware.

First, if your original mortgage does not require mortgage insurance, your HARP mortgage will not require it, either — regardless of your new loan-to-value.

Second, all HARP refinances require income verification. It doesn’t matter if your original mortgage was a stated income or no income verification loan. You should expect to produce 1040s and W-2s for your HARP refinance and asset statements, too.

And, lastly, second (and third) mortgages may not be “rolled in” to a new first mortgage loan balance. Junior lien holders must agree to remain in a junior lien position, regardless of combined loan-to-value.

There is a thorough HARP FAQ section on the government’s website, but it’s for general questions only. For specific Home Affordable Refinance Program information, first make sure you’re program-eligible, then pick up the phone to call your loan officer. 

HARP is complex enough that you’ll want to talk with a human before taking a proper next step.

Contact James K Barath in Northwest Indiana to Qualify for Your FREE FHA Home Loan Approval Today!

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James K Barath, CMPS®

James K Barath is a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist®, Certified FICO® Professional, Certified Military Housing Specialist® and your FHA Home Loan Expert. He is also a graduate of Purdue University, The CMPS Institute, Dale Carnegie Human Relations Course & Napoleon Hill Foundation's PMA Science of Success Class. It's your home and your future. It's his profession and his passion. He is ready to work for your best interest. Contact James for your FREE Home Loan Approval !  His Motto: I Facilitate the American Dream Through Responsible Mortgage Lending and Financial Literacy!

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