‘With an active family every little bit helps… Saving over $300 a month is incredible.’
During a two-week period in 2006, Joe started a new job, he and his wife Tawanna closed on a new house, and their second child was born.
It was probably the peak of home prices in suburban Atlanta, and the young couple looked forward to raising a family in their picturesque 192-home housing development.
But during the recession, the region’s job and housing markets were hit hard, leaving Joe and Tawanna “underwater” on the mortgage, meaning they owed more than the home’s current value.
Luckily, Joe, a commercial banker by trade, had friends in the mortgage loan industry and hoped to refinance the 6.5% interest rate loan to take advantage of lower interest rates. But because they were so far underwater, they were declined.
In 2011 changes to the federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program went into effect to help more homeowners who are underwater, or those with little equity in their home, to refinance.
Joe and Tawanna reached out again, and this time they were approved. Most of the information needed to apply was provided over the phone, and the loan closed quickly, saving the family $325/month.
It’s a savings they relish: “With an active family every little bit helps. Saving $50 or $100 every month helps. Saving over $300 a month is incredible,” Joe says.
His advice? “I tell everyone I know about HARP. It’s a great program and really helped our family. It doesn’t take long to find out if you qualify, just make the call.”