HARP®: Home Affordable Refinance Program®
Updated January 2018
Created in March 2009, the Home Affordable Refinance Program® (HARP®) has become one of the most popular refinance programs in recent years, helping nearly 3.5 million people across America refinance.
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.
A program for underwater homeowners, HARP® allows them to refinance to lower their monthly rates and payments despite little to no equity left in their homes. And it has been extended for the last time through December 31, 2018.
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 2018, 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?
Being declined in the past has nothing to do with being approved today. HARP®’s eligibility requirements have been enhanced and investors guidelines have loosened. If you were declined before, you should apply again before the program expires in 2018.
You might be able to qualify this time around.
Bank “A” holds my mortgage. Does that mean that I’m ineligible for HARP®?
Just because you make your mortgage payment to a particular bank doesn’t mean that they actually own your loan. It’s likely they are simply servicing your loan and that it is owned by either Fannie or Freddie. Look up who owns your loan through the tools mentioned above.
If either Fannie or Freddie owns your loan, then you can be eligible for HARP®. If you have issues using the look-up tool, you can rely on your mortgage banker or give Fannie a call at 800-7FANNIE and Freddie at 800-FREDDIE to confirm your eligibility.
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. So check with your loan officer regarding your condo’s warrantable status to know for sure. If you are told by your bank that condos are not eligible for HARP®, you should call another bank to confirm your eligibility just to be certain since HARP® does allow for condos.
What is the loan limit for a HARP® refinance?
HARP® refinance loan limits are capped by the conforming loan limits specific to the county where the home is. The loan limits were increased for 2018. In most counties across America, the loan limits are now $453,100 – but – many areas are considered high-cost areas, and have conforming loan limits as high as $679,650.
Hawaii has even higher limits up to $721,050. And, multi-unit properties now have conforming loan limits up to $1,386,650. Ask your loan officer the loan limit that applies to your specific area and property type to know the maximum loan amount for your HARP® refinance.
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?
Since HARP® applies only to first mortgages, the second mortgage is combined or added to the refinance. Rather, the second mortgage holder would resubordinate to allow the refinance of the first mortgage through HARP®.
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.
See current mortgage rates here.
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.