The Federal Housing Finance Agency or FHFA announced that the HARP program will be extended by 2 years to last until December 31,2015. The original program was designed to end on December 31, 2013. HARP stands for Home Affordable Refinance Program. On April 11, 2013 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were directed to extend the program to continue assisting homeowners in refinancing their home even if the value is less than the amount owed. So far the program has helped over 2 million people refinance their homes. The program will also be extended to assist even more underwater homeowners.
To be eligible for a HARP refinance homeowners must meet the following criteria:
The loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.
The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009.
The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80 percent.
The borrower must be current on their mortgage payments with no late payments in the last six months and no more than one late payment in the last 12 months.
FHFA will begin a nationwide educational campaign that will help to inform homeowners of the program and encourage them to use it before it expires. unfortunately loans not held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will be ineligible for this program, but there are still other programs that may apply to those loans. HARP is not the only program out there, but it is the best for homeowners with little or no equity in their home.
If you are interested in looking into the program, contact your current lender and ask them about taking advantage of HARP. You can also use another lender that offers HARP loans. Beware of any company that claims to be a “mortgage experts” or “foreclosure specialists”. HARP loans do not require the assistance of third parties to apply or get a refinance through their program. Any company that claims otherwise is trying to feed on the homeowners desperation, and take advantage of them. It is best to deal directly with the lender.