HARP®: Home Affordable Refinance Program®
Updated December 2017
Created in March 2009, the Home Affordable Refinance Program® (HARP®) has been one of the most successful government refinance programs to date. A program for underwater homeowners, HARP® has been extended for the last time through December 31, 2018.
Today’s HARP® is a product of several enhancements made to the program over the years. These improvements such as removing the loan-to-value ceiling made the program more viable for homeowners that its expiration date has been delayed more than once.
The program has paved the way for 3.5 million homeowners refinance to lower their monthly rates and payments despite little to no equity left in their homes.
Don’t wait to save on your monthly payments through HARP®.Get today’s mortgage rates!
HARP® Refinancing for Unlimited LTVs
Loan-to-value ratio refers to the value of your home relative to your outstanding loan balance. While the target of HARP® is homeowners with high LTV ratios – those who owe more than what their house is worth, there’s a maximum allowable LTV cap of 105%.
That ceiling has since been removed. As of 2017, the program only requires a borrower to have an LTV ratio higher than 80%.
The expanded LTV requirement means you could get refinanced under HARP® even if your LTV is higher than 125%. Indeed, you can check with multiple lenders who are willing to do this HARP® refinance for unlimited LTV.
No matter how far your home has fallen in value, it won’t be a disqualifying factor in refinancing via the program.
Are You Eligible for HARP®?
Eligibility for refinancing through the program starts with the ownership of the loan. It must be owned or backed by either government-sponsored enterprise, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
To determine which of the two owns your loan, use these lookup tools for
You can ask lenders about the ownership of your loan.
The loan must have also closed on or before 31 May 2009, which you can check with either lookup tool.
HARP® has no underwater limits but the minimum LTV ratio is higher than 80%.
One last basic eligibility requirement is for the loan to be current when applying for a refinance. This means, timely payments have been made for the last 6 months and there should only be one late payment within the last 12 months.Get today’s mortgage rates!
HARP® Refinance FAQs
Find the answers to the most common questions regarding the program here.
My HARP® application was declined once. Can I still apply?
The program has been enhanced over the years, expanding guidelines, requiring less paperwork, and promising more savings because of lesser costs.
You might have more chances of qualifying for a HARP® loan this time around.
Bank “A” holds my mortgage. Does that mean that I’m ineligible for HARP®?
It’s possible that this bank just services your mortgage, e.g. handling and collecting your payments. They may not necessarily own your loan.
Use the look-up tools above to determine ownership of your mortgage. You can also give Fannie a call at 800-7FANNIE or Freddie at 800-FREDDIE.
What properties are eligible for Home Affordable Refinance Program®?
Primary residences, investment properties, second homes are refinanceable through HARP®.
Condos may be eligible, subject to certain requirements. For one, they must have a warrantable status – that the condo building meets Fannie/Freddie standards. Be sure to ask lenders around if you were to refinance a condo, one lender’s “No” can be another lender’s “Yes”.
What is the maximum loan can I get from HARP®
HARP® refinances go by conforming loan limits set for Fannie/Freddie mortgages. The standard loan limit for a one-unit property in most counties in the U.S. is $424,100 and $636,150 in high-cost areas.
In 2018, the standard conforming loan limits are scheduled to increase to $453,100 in most counties in the U.S. For areas with more expensive homes, the loan limit is as high as $679,650.
Will I see a reduction in my outstanding loan balance if I refinance via HARP®?
The program will not reduce the principal balance owed on your loan. But the refinance will result in better loan terms, lower rates mean lower monthly payments. This can translate to savings in the entirety of the loan.
Speaking of savings, should I refinance into a shorter-term loan or a longer-term loan?
HARP® offers mortgages with terms between 10 and 30 years. A longer-term loan will ensure you have lower monthly payments but it has the effect of resetting your mortgage, pushing back its payoff date much later.
If you choose a shorter-term loan, you’ll be able to build your equity faster. Speak with a lender to go over your options.
I have a second mortgage and it isn’t owned by Fannie or Freddie. Can I still be allowed to refinance through the program?
Second mortgages are not qualified for HARP® refinancing. But you can still refinance your first-lien mortgage: ask the holder of the second mortgage to re-subordinate the loan.
Refinancing Through HARP® at Today’s Rates
Today’s historically low rates merit consideration to refinance through the program. The thing is, these rates are not permanent and can move many times during the day. Lenders offer varying rates.
So keep your paperwork on hand and ready and give them a call so you take advantage of low rates. Contacting multiple lenders means getting the best rate.
HARP® Refinance Quotes
A difference of 0.25% in rates can spell significant savings for you. The key to these savings is to shop and speak with several lenders.
It’s easy to get quotes for HARP® loans. Give them a call or fill out your information and you’ll get matched with a HARP® approved lender in minutes.
Start shopping now for your HARP® refinance and get a free quote here!
More information is added here all the time – be sure to check back often. In the meantime, get a free HARP® refinance quote from a great lender today!Ask our lenders about your mortgage options today.