Tag: harp

Will changes to HARP hurt or help mortgage seekers?

If you’re seeking to refinance after October 1, 2017, you should know there are some changes coming from Freddie Mac regarding HARP. HARP, or the Home Affordable Refinance Program, is in the waning years of its existence, which is a good thing. How Freddie Mac is changing, in relation to HARP, could be a benefit to those seeking to refinance.

History of HARP

Back during the 2008 Housing Crisis, there was an overabundance of homes that were going under and being repossessed. One reason was because homeowners, who had a home with a LTV (Loan to Value) of over 80%, couldn’t refinance.  Because they still owed 80% or more of the loan, no lender would allow them to refinance. So they were stuck paying a big loan with huge interest rates.

Enter HARP. Harp allowed these homeowners a chance, through Freddie Mac, to refinance their loan and get a lower interest rate with more affordable payments. This allowed homeowners who were in over their heads with their mortgage a solution that didn’t cost their home.

Why the Change?

HARP was never created with the intention of staying around forever.  In fact, one requirement of HARP was that the loan had to be older than 2009 for the homeowner to qualify. Since then, the number of applicants has dwindled, as there are fewer mortgages from before that period in need of HARP.

The good news is both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are starting new programs to help homeowners who are underwater with their mortgages. No program existed before 2008. Since then, the government has seen the value in allowing more homeowners options to keep their homes.

Freddie Mac is replacing HARP with what is being called the Relief Refinance Mortgage. One key difference is that there is no requirement that the loan must originate before 2009. So if the loan is more recent, a homeowner can take advantage.

Do you Qualify?

Homeowners could qualify for a Relief Refinance Mortgage if they meet the following requirements:

  • The mortgage must be at least 15 months old.
  • The borrower should not have any delinquent payments in the past six months.
  • They can only have one delinquent payment in the past year.


Keep in mind, those three requirements aren’t the only ones, but they are the biggest obstacles to qualifying for the Relief Refinance Mortgage, according to Freddie Mac. Homeowners who do meet those qualifications can contact a Riverbank Finance Loan Officer (1-800-555-2098) for more information about getting relief in the form of a refinanced mortgage.


Top 9 HARP Refinance Myths for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Home Loans

Harp mortgage refinance program.With over 2.9 million homeowners refinancing with the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), there are still many people that are not taking advantage by refinancing their homes. There is a variety of reasons in which these homeowners are choosing not to drop their home loan rates with a mortgage refinance. Many of these reasons are simply myths or assumptions that are made based on their prior knowledge of the refinance process. Tracy Mooney, Vice president of Single-Family Servicing and Real Estate Owned (REO), has taken the time to publish an article debunking these top HARP Myths.

HARP Myth 1: I’ve had my loan for many years, and with HARP I’d have to start all over again with a 30-year mortgage.

Answer:  This is incorrect. Borrowers that have had a conventional loan for several years are able to do a HARP refinance and shorten their term. Many borrowers choose to go with a 15 year or 20 year loan and reduce their interest rates while taking several years off their mortgage. A borrower may be able to accomplish this and keep their payment the same as their current 30 year mortgage.

HARP Myth 2: I’m receiving too many solicitations to help me refinance. They must be scams.

Answer: There are several mortgage companies and banks that offer HARP refinancing so these offers may all be legitimate. It is important to note, however, that not all banks and mortgage companies are equal. Most lenders have overlays on top of HARP Eligibility Requirements that prevent them from doing the refinance loan. If you have tried one company and been turned down, it is recommended that you check with another company that may offer programs such as unlimited LTV loans, lower minimum credit scores and both Fannie Mae HARP mortgages and Freddie Mac HARP Mortgages.

HARP Myth 3: I am really underwater on my mortgage. HARP can’t be for homeowners like me.

Answer: HARP has been updated several times since its inception in 2009. Currently both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans allow for unlimited Loan-to-Value (LTV) refinancing. As noted previously, most banks and lenders have overlays and limits for their LTV. It is important to find a mortgage lender that offers higher level LTV refinances for homeowners severely underwater on their home loan.

HARP Myth 4: I recently lost my job, so no one is going to help me refinance through HARP.

Answer: If you have recently lost your job you may still be able to get a lower rate with HARP. Your current mortgage servicer may allow for a HARP Refinance without income in some situations but most lenders will allow you to income qualify using a co-borrower. One of the original borrowers must remain on the loan to qualify. The combined income is what will be used to calculate the Debt-to-Income (DTI). Alternatively, if you have available funds equal to at least 12 months of principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, then you may be eligible without proving income.

HARP Myth 5: My lender doesn’t offer HARP, so I can’t refinance through the program.

Answer: Yes; you may be eligible to refinance through any other mortgage company that offer the HARP Mortgage Program.

HARP Myth 6: My lender doesn’t offer HARP, so I can’t refinance through the program.

Answer: Yes; you may be eligible to refinance through any other mortgage company that offer the HARP Mortgage Program.

HARP Myth 7: I have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), so I am not eligible.

Answer: HARP was created to offer more stable and sustainable mortgage options for homeowners in your very situation. Speak with your loan officer about fixed rate mortgage loans to have long term stability in your payments. Alternatively, you may utilize HARP to extend your adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) for an additional 5 or 7 years at lower rates.

HARP Myth 8: I don’t have enough cash to pay closing costs, so I can’t refinance through HARP.

Answer: Event with a HARP refinance, you may be able to refinance with little or no money out of pocket.  For many homeowners, you may be able to roll any closing costs and pre-paid items such as taxes and insurance into your new mortgage. Some lender may also offer options to credit back money to help cover the expenses of closing costs so you truly have a no cost mortgage. Be sure to speak with your loan officer to review what loan options you are eligible for through HARP.

HARP Myth 9: HARP is only for homeowners who are behind on their payments and in danger of foreclosure.

Answer: The Making Home Affordable program offered two home loan solutions for borrowers that were at high interest rates and were previously unable to refinance. The Home Affordable Modification Program allows homeowners that were behind on their loan payments to apply for a modification of their current terms to allow them to save on their payments. This is commonly confused with the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) which is for clients whom have paid their payments on time and would qualify for a conventional refinance if they did not owe more than their house was worth. The HARP program is for borrowers with good credit that simply want to lower their interest rate and payments.

For more information on the HARP refinance program call a licensed loan officer at Riverbank at 800-555-2098 or request information below:

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HARP 3.0 | Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act

HARP 3.0 ANNOUNCEMENTThe Home Affordable Refinance Program or HARP has been utilized by many homeowners who were underwater on their mortgage. It allowed them to refinance their home regardless of the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio in most circumstances. Recently, two U.S.Senators reintroduced a bill that would extend the guidelines and reduce fees even more. The new bill was named The Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act (RHRA) and just like the HARP loan, it is for homeowners who have a mortgage owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.

Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) sponsored the new version after it was originally introduced on May 10, 2012. It was not accepted and eventually fizzled out according the THOMAS Library of Congress website.

“Passing this bill will get rid of the red tape that leaves millions of borrowers trapped in higher interest loans, puts money back into the pockets of middle class families, and strengthens our economy. I’m asking Republicans to join us in putting families first” says Senator Menendez.

Boxer also stated, “This bill is a win-win-win: homeowners will have more money in their pockets, Fannie and Freddie will see fewer foreclosures, and the housing market and economy will be strengthened. That’s why the Menendez-Boxer bill has such broad support from industry and consumer groups.”

Eligibility to be able to utilize the benefits of the new bill include being current on their existing home loan through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. The bill would allow them to be able to do the following:

  • Currently with the way the lenders have the underwriting criteria set-up, it makes it difficult for the borrower to refinance with a new lender without being scrutinized with stricter underwriting guidelines resulting in increased costs and less desirable terms for the borrowers. With the new bill going into effect it would enforce the GSEs to equalize the guidelines between their current lender to the new lender.
  • Under the new bill all borrowers who have been paying their mortgage payments on time will be able to refinance under the revised bill guidelines. Borrowers who are above 80 percent loan-to-value will no longer need to worry about not qualifying for the program or paying more in fees. The benefits of the new bill will be equal for all borrowers who have a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loan.
  • GSEs will no longer be able to charge up-front fees when the borrower is refinancing a loan that is already guaranteed by them. The previous HARP guidelines were allowing the GSEs to charge more in fees to borrowers with a significant amount of equity. Since they will no longer be able to do this, this gives the borrower more financial freedom.
  • With the new bill, the GSEs cannot require borrowers to obtain a manual appraisal, which can cost hundreds of dollars, simply because they live in an area where homes have consistently been selling. Alternatives to borrowers paying for manual appraisals will      need to be seeked out by the GSEs instead.
  • The new bill will eliminate the need to provide proof of employment and income verification if the borrower is already current on their loan. This will also make the refinancing process flow smoother for both the lender and borrower.
  • Another advantage of the new bill is that it will save money for taxpayers by reducing the default rates of existing GSE loans.

The chances for this bill pushing its way through congress are quite high with full legislative support from The Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Realtors, National Association of Home Builders and the Center for Responsible Lending.

While the effects of this bill are not yet available it is expected to be announced in the near future. If you are underwater on your mortgage or owe more than your house is worth the keep checking back for further updates and announcements regarding this bill and other HARP 3.0 announcements.  Sign up for our Newsletter Below to get instant updates regarding HARP 3 and other mortgage updates or request information below. HNA3F76EBT7C

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Obama’s HARP 3.0 Proposal

HARP 3.0The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which was originally proposed by President Obama, may be expanded for the third time.  The program has been in effect for a while now and it seems as if it may undergo yet another transformation to help additional homeowners refinance. Our previous blog post covered the transition to HARP 2.0, which is the current program, and now it seems we will see the emergence of HARP 3.0.  This won’t be a small transformation in anyway as there are quite a few big changes that could benefit many homeowners.

The biggest changes we could see occur will include extension of dates, no income requirements, and higher LTV ratios. The eligibility date could be extended up to May 10, 2010.  This date was chosen, as it seems many home purchases made after this date were made with a mortgage rate below 5%. There will no longer be verification requirements for things such as employment and income (state income loans could make a come back). The loan-to-value or LTV will be switched from 125%, up to 140% for most investors.

Perhaps the biggest change that could draw it several homeowners is the adjustment made to the appraisal costs. Included in the proposal is a change that all borrowers who would require a manual appraisal should have the fee waved. This means that, if you’re someone who lives within a neighborhood that has been struggling with home sales recently. Then your appraisal would be completely waved.  This will save you time in refinancing and will help keep money in your pocket.  Of course, everybody loves free things, so this would be a huge benefit if HARP 3.0 becomes a reality.

All of this is a great attempt to quickly transform and turn around the housing market as soon as possible. This is definitely a step in the right direction to help out those remaining homeowners that are still struggling with their current mortgage payments and find themselves in “underwater” situations.

We here at Riverbank Finance are doing our best to eliminate the worries in the minds of countless homeowners here in Michigan by helping them with refinancing to these historically low rates.  We have partnered with several investors that participate in the HARP loans to offer the lowest rates and fees available.  Even if you have been turned down by other banks for the a HARP refinance, give us a call as we have great programs to transfer mortgage insurance, unlimited LTV loans, and we can even help if you have a second mortgage.

If you would like to see what a few of our previous clients had to say about us, be sure to check out our reviews on Google. Feel free to contact one of our licensed loan officers today at 1-800-555-2098 or complete the form below to see if you are eligible for a HARP refinance.

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Obama’s Plan to Help Responsible Homeowners

Responsible Homeowner HelpThe U.S. housing market has encountered its fair share of struggles over the past few years.  Luckily it seems things are beginning to turn around and hopefully President Obama’s plan will help boost the turn around time.  What exactly does the President have planned for our housing market and will it actually work?  Obama and his committee seem pretty confident in the plan they have laid-out.

There are several aspects to the plan so let’s begin with one of the main goals they hope to achieve.  The plan begins with broad based refinancing, to save upwards of $3,000 for responsible homeowners.  What does that mean though?  It gives borrowers who are current/up to date on their mortgage payments the ability to refinance and take advantage of today’s historically low rates.

The next step the President is hoping to accomplish is pushing through the “Homeowner Bill of Rights.”  This will ensure that borrowers and lenders abide by the same standards and “play nice” for once.  The following is a list of what this new bill brings to the table.

  • Borrowers must have access to a simple mortgage disclosure form in order to understand the loans they are taking out.
  • There must be a complete disclosure of penalties and fees.
  • Specific guidelines will be placed to prevent “conflicts of interest” which often wound up hurting homeowners.
  • A support system to help responsible families to avoid foreclosure.
  • Protection for families who may be facing inappropriate foreclosure along with the right of appeal.

You can expect to see foreclosed homes throughout the country being transformed into rental properties.  Major banks and the GSE’s will be providing upwards of 12 months of forbearance for any unemployed borrowers.

The next step is the establishment of a joint investigation aimed at determining the misconduct that had, in part, caused the recent financial crisis we encountered.  This will lead to establishing preventions to ensure the same mistakes will NEVER be made again.

These plans combine with the Making Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) will work together to help stabilize the housing market and the economy altogether.  If homeowners are able to save around thousands per year on their mortgage, this money will be put to good use buying products and services and pumping more money through the economy. If President Obama is able to get congress on the same page with his plans to help homeowners will be a game changer for the US.

For more information on the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) visit our previous posts or call a loan officer at 1-800-555-2098.

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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loan Lookup Tool

Lookup Owner of Your Home LoanThe Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is a great opportunity for those homeowners who have found themselves in a sticky situation.  Anyone who is in an “underwater” situation with their mortgage, HARP was developed to solely help those people.  With extremely “relaxed” guidelines, it’s possible for the majority of homeowners to take full advantage of a program that could help potentially retool their lives by relieving the mass amount of stress being “underwater” brings along.  Before anyone can take advantage of the program, they must meet the standing guidelines.  Though they may be easy to meet, people should still be aware of the biggest guideline in place.  That they’re mortgage loan must be owned or guaranteed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

How can you determine what company may own your loan though?  There’s actually a fairly simple way to search Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac databases to know if you meet the HARP guideline.  First up, we will check with the Fannie Mae databases.  First you need to head on over to their loan lookup tool, which will open in another window/tab.  From that point on, just follow the on screen information and enter the data required.  Once that is done, a message will come back either possibly confirming or denying the loan’s status on that property.  Now with Fannie Mae, they don’t guarantee the information is full proof meaning you may have to go to other measures they suggest in order to confirm the status of the loan.

The process with Freddie Mac is a bit more intensive but will lead you to a potential answer that you’re looking for.  Click on over to their loan lookup tool and again, just follow the on screen criteria.  Once you have entered all the necessary information, you’ll then know if you can qualify for the Home Affordable Refinance Program.

One last piece of criteria you need to be sure of is the sale date of your mortgage loan.  The HARP guidelines state; if your loan was sold to either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on, or anytime, after June 1, 2009.  You cannot take advantage of the program.

Now of course there are other guidelines for HARP so be sure to review that information.  If you would like to receive some help regarding the HARP program; either call us at 1-800-555-2098 or fill out the email form below.

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Home Affordable Refinance Program Updating March 2012We’ve lightly discussed the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) on this blog in the recent past.  To freshen up your mind, HARP was instated to allow for those homeowners who are currently “underwater” to potentially refinance and get themselves into stress-free position regarding their mortgage rates.  HARP is beneficial to countless homeowners but that number of people eligible is about to skyrocket.

The U.S. Federal Government seems to have taken notice of the importance of this program.  Rules for eligibility of HARP will become far easier to meet than ever before once March 2012 roles around.  Potentially the biggest change to the rules of the program is the LTV cap.  Previously that cap was at 125% but once HARP is updated in March, that cap will be lifted.  Meaning, there will no longer be an LTV cap so those of you homeowners who previously had not qualified due to LTV.  Well that issue will now be non-existent.

Not everyone is out of the woods just yet though when it comes to qualifying.  There are some other things to take into account when determining if you actually qualify or not for HARP.  To start, we will need to check if your loan for the property is either guaranteed or owned by one of the two-following companies. Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  There are a couple useful tools you can use to determine this.  Go to Freddie’s tool and Fannie’s tool to determine which of the two your loan could potentially run through.  If you wish to determine this over the phone, call 1-800-FREDDIE (Freddie Mac) or 1-800-7FANNIE (Fannie Mae).

One other tidbit of information you should be aware of is the date your loan was potentially sold to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.  Due to the HARP guidelines, any loan sold on or after June 1, 2009 to one of the two companies, is not eligible for the program.

We here at Riverbank Finance can help with any of your questions regarding the HARP program. Call us at: 1-800-555-2098.  If you wish to be contacted via email, just fill out the form below.

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Affordable mortgage refinance through HARP

Elibility tips for HARPIn conventional mortgage refinance, you should have substantial equity in your home, in order to become eligible for mortgage refinance, but the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has been aimed at helping the homeowners to refinance their mortgages even if their outstanding balance is more than the current market price of their home. This particular program came into effect especially after the sub prime mortgage crisis in the country.

The primary motive behind this special mortgage refinance brings the borrowers in a relatively better position by lowering down the principal amount and as well as the interest payment, reducing the amortization period or to switch from a comparatively risky loan structure to a more stable product. If you want to apply for HARP, you can contact any mortgage lender that offers the Fannie Mae DU Refi Plus or Freddie Mac Open Access, however, not all the mortgage lenders participate in HARP. You can also contact Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae directly, if you want to know whether or not you are eligible for HARP.

This refinance program was introduced in 2009 and the program will continue till 31st December, 2013. These mortgages are backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. You need to fulfill certain criteria in order to become eligible to obtain this mortgage refinance facility. These eligibility criteria are listed below.

  • First of all, you must reside in a home that is being refinanced.
  • In order to become eligible for HARP facility, your original mortgage must be backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
  • Most importantly, terms and conditions should be such that new mortgage is very much affordable to the borrowers.
  • To be eligible for this program, you the borrower, should not default in making payments in the last one year.
  • The loan to value ratio must be more than 80%.

While applying for HARP, you must follow certain tips. These tips are listed below.

  • First of all, you need to determine whether or not your mortgage is backed by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. This is the basic criteria to become eligible for HARP.
  • It is recommended that if you want to get such mortgage refinance, you can contact your original mortgage lender. If your lender is approved by HARP, then you can opt for mortgage refinance. Otherwise, you need to contact Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae to see whether or not you are eligible for HARP.
  • Finally, you need to compare different mortgage rates so as to make the final decision.

You can also obtain valuable information on HARP by researching the home affordable mortgage.

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