HARP, which stands for The Home Affordable Refinance Program, was set up by the Federal Housing Finance Agency in March 2009 to help struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages. Since inception, over 2.5 million homeowners have refinanced with HARP. and the program has proven to be a great benefit to homeowners whose mortgage payments are current, but who were unable to refinance due to dropping home prices in the wake of the U.S. housing market correction.
When is the Deadline?
The HARP program is set to expire on December 31, 2016.
Are all HARP Lenders the Same?
No! The rules under the HARP program are the same for all lenders, but lenders then add their own internal rules and they may reject your application if your loan doesn’t meet their own requirements.
If you want to save time and the frustration of waiting weeks to be told you don't qualify, ask questions before submitting your application and make sure to shop around among the different HARP lenders to find the one that meets your needs. A service like HARPConnect.com can help you check lenders quickly and easily.
What are the Criteria?
Certain criteria must be met to qualify for HARP. While there may be additional criteria imposed by the mortgage servicer, the government requirements are as follows:
- The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
- The mortgage must have been acquired by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae on or before May 31, 2009.
- The homeowner must not have a previous HARP refinance of the mortgage, unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP during March-May 2009.
- The homeowner must be current on their mortgage payments, with no (30-day) late payments in the last six months and no more than one late payment in the last twelve months.
- The current loan-to-value ratio (LTV) of the property must be greater than 80%.
- The homeowner must benefit from the loan by either lower monthly payments or movement to a more stable product (such as going from an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate mortgage).
When is the Deadline?
HARP is scheduled to end on December 31, 2016, so act now if you want to take full advantage of this program before it expires.