HARP 2.0 Common Questions & Answers
HARP is the acronym for Home Affordable Refinance Program. The program aids Washington State Homeowners whose home property values have dipped over the last two years to refinance their homes by way of fixed loans with payment of lower monthly installments. It is also known as the Making Home Affordable Program, the DU Refi Plus Program, Freddie Mac Relief Refinance, and/or the Obama Refi Program.
How do I check whether Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae are holding my mortgage?
They both have "lookup" forms on their websites. Check Fannie Mae's first because her market share is more. If you don’t get a match, then Freddie Mac’s site will definitely answer your question. If Freddie or Fannie hold your mortgage, it indicates that it is just a pre-qualifier and does not make you automatically eligible for HARP aid.
Or, you can have us check for you:
What if I can’t find my records using the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac lookup tools?
This may show that you are ineligible for HARP assistance. However, keep in mind that these lookup tools are not always accurate as the address would have to be exactly the same as was recorded with Fannie or Freddie. Even if you find that you are ineligible, the possibility of getting regular refinance at lower rates still exists and you need to check your options. Just give us a call at 206-423-2552 and we can discuss options.
If I'm behind on my mortgage can I still be Eligible for HARP?
No. Your mortgage must be absolutely current to make you eligible for refinancing your Washington mortgage through HARP. Only one 30-day late payment in the last 12 months, and no 30-day lates in the last 6 months.
Does HARP protect me from foreclosure?
No. HARP cannot stop or delay foreclosures. It has been created to give Washington homeowners who are current with their mortgage payments the ability to refinance into lower mortgages after losing out on home equity.
Do I have to use my current lender with HARP 2.0?
If you are applying for a DU Refi Plus loan (HARP 2.0), you may choose any lender you wish or select the existing servicer to originate it. (This flexibility is due to the fact that DU automatically determines if the investor on the existing loan is Fannie Mae, even if you don't use your current lender.) However, manually underwritten Refi Plus loans have more limits and can only be originated by the server of the existing loan.
What are the basic requirements for HARP-eligibility?
First, your home loan must be paid on-time for the prior 6 months, and at least 11 of the most recent 12 months. Secondly, Freddie or Fannie should have bought your mortgage on or before May 31, 2009. Thirdly, you have never used a HARP mortgage refinance before. You are allowed only one HARP refinance per mortgage.
When does the HARP 2.0 Program end?
You must close your HARP 2.0 refinance by September 30th, 2018.
Is HARP of any use to me if I am really underwater in terms of my mortgage? I mean REALLY underwater?
Yes, we can help. There is the possibility of no loan-to-value limits. An adjustable-rate mortgage fixes the loan-to-value at 105% or lower.
What are the HARP program’s mortgage rates?
Mortgage rates for the HARP program are the same as for a “traditional” refinance. There is no “premium” for using the HARP program.
I rent out my home, is it eligible for the HARP 2.0 Refinance?
Yes. You can refinance your investment property, even if it no longer your primary residence.
How about my vacation home?
Yes. You can refinance your vacation home as well.
I have recently divorced, can I remove an ex-spouse from my mortgage with the HARP 2.0 refinance?
Yes. Similar to a conventional refinance, the ex-spouse will need to be removed from the deed and have NO interest in the property. Standard loan qualification guidelines must still be met.
Are condominiums eligible for HARP refinancing?
Yes, condominiums can be financed on the HARP refinance program. Warrantability standards still apply.
Can I consolidate mortgages with a HARP refinance?
You cannot consolidate multiple mortgages with the HARP refinance program. It’s for first liens only. All subordinate/junior liens must be resubordinated to the new first mortgage.
What if I do have a 2nd Mortgage? Can I refinance?
Yes, however the HARP program is only for your first mortgage lien. If you have a 2nd mortgage, your lender must subordinate their 2nd behind a new 1st mortgage. Because you are making your terms better on your first mortgage, many 2nd mortgage lenders are willing to go back in 2nd lien position. If not, we may have some additional suggestions on how to structure your refinance. Contact us and discuss it.
What if I have Mortgage Insurance on my current loan? Can I still refinance?
Yes. However, if you had Mortgage Insurance before you must still have it on the new refinance. Your Mortgage Insurance payments typically will not increase, as the policy is simply transferred to the new loan. This requires an extra step involved in transferring the mortgage insurance policy. Please remind your loan officer that you're currently paying MI to help process your refinance more smoothly.
NOTE: Many other lenders are telling clients that they can't refinance because they have Mortgage Insurance. This is not true according to the new HARP 2.0 Guidelines. That lender however may just not be offering that option or there may be additional restrictions or guideline overlays.
My current bank [Insert Bank Here] says they are the only ones that can offer me a HARP refinance? Is that true?
No. You are not required to go with your current lender. You may work with any participating lender who is licensed for your area.
What is the largest loan amount I can get on a HARP refinance?
HARP Loans follow standard conforming loan limits and are dictated by the median home prices in your area. Most cities have limits up to $417k. However, some areas such as the Greater Seattle - Everett - Tacoma area have higher conforming loan limits up to $506,000. If you are unsure of the maximum loan limits in your area, please ask us. We will look it up for you.
Why do I get conflicting information when I call my current lender or talk to other banks?
As with any new lending program, the representatives you talk to may not be fully up to speed on the new guidelines. In addition, many lenders have chosen to not participate, or are still limiting their exposure to risk of loan default by putting "overlays" on their lending guidelines. Contact us and we will do our best to get you a clear and concise answer for your situation.
Can I finance or “roll” my closing costs into the loan with a HARP 2.0 refinance?
Yes. Mortgage balances can increase on shorter term loans to cover standard closing costs in addition to other costs due at closing such as escrows and daily interest. Loans refinanced to 30-year terms may be limited to the existing loan balance.
How do I apply for the HARP program?
Step 1: Find out if your mortgage is owned by Fannie or Freddie & Eligible For The HARP Program
Step 2: Print the HARP 2.0 Checklist
Step 3: Submit your HARP Online Application
Step 4: Meet with Kenton Becker to go over the final numbers, closing date, etc.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to call my office at 206-423-2552 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I am here for you!