HARP – There’s Still Time to Apply


Have you heard of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)? Since 2009, HARP has helped more than 3.3 million U.S. Households to refinance, and has saved homeowners billions of dollars of mortgage payments, according to The Mortgage Reports website.

HARP is set to expire at the end of this year, with the final day to apply being Saturday, December 31, 2016, so there is still time to take advantage of the program. The current expiration date for HARP 2.0 is set for December 31, 2018. There is just a little more than one year remaining for homeowners to qualify. Want to know if HARP is right for you? Below we’ve put together some frequently asked questions about HARP.

What is HARP?

HARP stands for the Home Affordable Refinance Program.  It was introduced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Department of the Treasury in early 2009 as part of the Making Home Affordable ™ program.  HARP provides eligible homeowners, who may not otherwise qualify for refinancing because of declining home values, the ability to refinance their mortgage into a lower interest rate and/or more stable mortgage product.  The program was enhanced in 2011 to assist more eligible borrowers who could benefit from refinancing their home mortgage.

What does it mean to “refinance” my mortgage?

When you refinance your mortgage, you are applying for a new mortgage, which replaces your current home loan.

What enhancements were made to HARP that may make me eligible now?

There were several changes to HARP, but the primary enhancement 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.

What if I have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)?

HARP allows you to replace your adjustable-rate mortgage and many homeowners opt for a more stable fixed-rate mortgage.  Every adjustable-rate mortgage is different, but refinancing may still provide you with a lower monthly payment, and allow you to avoid the sometimes large payment increase that comes once your ARM initial rate ends.   The stability of a fixed monthly payment will give you security in knowing what you’ll owe every month.

Is HARP the only refinance program available?

HARP is one of several refinancing options available to eligible homeowners.  But HARP is unique – it’s 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.

How can I find out whether my loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?

mortgage-2Only mortgages owned or guaranteed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are eligible to refinance under the enhanced provisions of HARP.  You can confirm that your mortgage is owned by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac by checking the following websites:

http://fanniemae.com/loanlookup/

http://freddiemac.com/mymortgage

How does the HARP refinance process work?

As your mortgage company, we already have most of the information we need on file and can help you refinance your home as quickly and easily as possible.  Contact us today for help. One of our mortgage professionals will help you understand how refinancing could benefit you.  If you agree that HARP is right for you, we’ll help you through every step of the process.

Where can I learn more?

There is plenty of information about HARP online, but we recommend visiting www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov, which is the official website of the Administration’s initiative that helps homeowners get mortgage relief through a variety of programs. If you would like to speak with one of Colonial’s talented professionals, find a loan officer near you, or give us a call today at 817.390.2000.

 

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