HARP gets 1-year extension to help more underwater homeowners


Homeowners who are underwater in their mortgage will have another chance to refinance now that the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has been extended through Sept. 30, 2017.

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HARP extension expected to help 300,000+ homeowners

HARP has quietly become a very popular refinance program geared toward those who owe more on their house than it is worth. Nearly 3.5 million homeowners have refinanced into better rates under the program despite having little to no equity.

Originally scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2016, HARP is now getting a yearlong extension courtesy of the mortgage clearinghouses Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

To qualify for a HARP refinance, your mortgage must be owned by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac behind the scenes.

You can contact Fannie Mae online or at 1-800-7-FANNIE to find out if your loan is owned by them. Likewise, you can reach out to Freddie Mac online or at 1-800-FREDDIE to ask the same.

You must be current for the last six months with no more than one missed payment during the last 12 months.

Here some additional things you’ll want to know about this program:

  • There is no loan-to-value limitation. If you qualify, you’ll be allowed to refinance no matter how underwater you are on your home.
  • Most homeowners aren’t asked to get an appraisal to have their refinance loan underwritten.
  • Some risk-based fees for borrowers going into shorter-term loans have been lowered.
  • There is now less paperwork needed for income verification.
  • At their discretion, lenders can qualify a borrower simply by showing that borrower has 12 months of mortgage payments in reserve.

The HARP extension is expected to benefit more than 300,000 homeowners. That’s on top of the more than 3 million people who have already refinanced through the program since it was begun in 2009!

Read more: Is that refinance offer you got in the mail actually a good deal?


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