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 federal government’s 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 allow more eligible homeowners to refinance.
Making Home Affordable is a trademark of the United States Department of the Treasury.
When you refinance your mortgage, you are applying for a new mortgage, which replaces your current home loan.
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.
HARP allows you to replace your adjustable-rate mortgage to a more stable fixed-rate mortgage. Refinancing may provide you with a lower monthly payment and allow you to avoid the sometimes large payment increase that comes once your ARM’s initial rate ends as the rate may increase over time. The stability of a fixed monthly payment will give you security in knowing what your principal and interest payment will be every month.
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.
Only mortgages owned or guaranteed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are eligible for refinance under HARP. You can confirm that your mortgage is owned by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac by checking the following Web sites:
If you qualify to refinance your mortgage through HARP, you’ll go through an application, approval and closing process (similar to when you got your original mortgage). A HARP Lender will work with you through every step, and will help determine if HARP meets your specific needs. Contact Your Mortgage Company and ask if they are an approved HARP lender. Or, contact a HARP lender—tell them you are interested in Refinancing and you want to see if you qualify for HARP.
The guidelines for HARP may have changed since you last applied, so you may qualify.
Maybe, but closing costs vary by state and size of your loan. Closing costs might be rolled into your new loan so you wouldn’t have to pay these costs out of pocket at closing. Check with a HARP lender to learn more.
On average, homeowners are saving over $250* per month on their mortgage payments.
*Average actual monthly payment savings based on total 2012 Fannie Mae HARP mortgage volume. Your monthly savings may vary based on the specific terms of the loan selected, the interest rate, APR and other factors. All loans are subject to credit approval. Contact a HARP lender for details.
In most cases, it doesn’t matter. You still may qualify.
In most cases, no. With HARP, an appraisal is not generally required, so you save time and money.
No. You do not need to pay more money down on your mortgage in order to refinance with HARP.
No. Shorter loan terms (15-years and 20-years) may be available so you can start paying down your mortgage quicker and building equity faster.
If the new loan is secured by your primary residence and the unpaid principal balance exceeds the property's fair market value, the interest on the portion of the unpaid principal balance that is greater than the fair market value of your primary residence is not deductible for federal income tax purposes. You should consult a tax advisor for further information regarding the deductibility of interest and charges.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have adopted changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and you may be eligible to take advantage of these changes. If your mortgage is owned or guaranteed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you may be eligible to refinance your mortgage under the enhanced and expanded provisions of HARP. You can determine whether your mortgage is owned by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac by checking the following Web sites: knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup or freddiemac.com/mymortgage.