The Home Affordable Refinance Program or “HARP” is available to homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments, but have been declined for traditional refinancing due to declining home value.
HARP is available to homeowners who struggle to make ends meet. Many residents dip into savings, retirement, liquidate investments and make significant changes in their lifestyle in an attempt to remain current on their mortgage payments, as falling behind means significant penalties and serious damage to their credit rating. But the reality is, many homeowners are faced with a no-win situation and once they run out of available money, they’ll be forced to fall behind their mortgage payments.
With this prospect on the horizon, many residents scramble to refinance, but to their dismay, they’re rejected due to a decline in the value of their property — a problem that has impacted millions of homeowners over the past few years. These residents are then faced with the very serious prospect of losing their home.
But for individuals who have been declined for a traditional refinance, The Home Affordable Refinance Program is available to provide an alternative refinancing option. It’s designed to make homeownership more affordable for owners of properties that have seen a decline in property value.
As long as you’re current on mortgage payments, you may be eligible to apply for HARP, which provides a more affordable, stable home mortgage option. Like other refinancing options, HARP refinancing loans require a loan application and underwriting process. Refinancing fees do apply.
Eligibility for The Home Affordable Refinance Program
The following criteria are used to determine eligibility for The Home Affordable Refinance Program.
• Your mortgage has not been previously refinanced under the HARP program. (Exception: a Fannie Mae mortgage loan that was refinanced with HARP between March to May of 2009.)
• The current loan-to-home value (LTV) radio must exceed 80%.
• You must be current on your mortgage with a regular payment history over the past 12 month period.
Additional mortgage companies do participate in HARP; homeowners are advised to contact their mortgage company to inquire as to whether they participate.
Homeowners are also encouraged to compare HARP’s program offerings with other refinancing options to ensure HARP is the best option for your unique situation. Notably, like all good things, The Home Affordable Refinance Program won’t last forever. As of May 2013, the program was scheduled to end on December 3, 2015.
Individuals who are financed under Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae can contact 800-7-FANNIE or 800-FREDDIE to inquire about their current mortgage. The U.S. government has set up a help line for individuals who need help with their mortgage and need assistance to find the best option for their unique situation. The hotline is free and available 24 hours a day. The service is available in a total of 160 languages. HUD-approved housing experts are available to assist residents who call 888-995-HOPE.