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HARP stands for Home Affordable Refinance Program, an initiative from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to assist homeowners whose homes are now worth less than what they owe. And just recently, new enhancements to the program were announced, making refinancing options available again to an estimated one million more homeowners.
If you are a responsible homeowner but the current marketplace loan-to-value (LTV) requirements and need for a new appraisal have made it difficult or impossible for you to refinance at today's record low interest rates, Mortgages Unlimited may even be able to help you without needing a new appraisal or meeting previous LTV requirements.
The HARP Refinance Program is designed to help up to 9 million American families refinance their loans to a payment that is affordable now and into the future. This program is aimed at helping responsible homeowners "refinance" their loans to take advantage of historically low interest rates. Here are some common Questions and Answers about the Refinancing Initiative in the program.
How do I know if my loan is owned or
controlled by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?
Simply call (651) 552-3681, or E-Mail us. We will help you determine if your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
I owe more than my property is worth.
Do I still qualify to refinance under the HARP Special Refi Program?
Yes. Eligible loans will include those where the first mortgage exceeds the current market value of the property.
If I am behind (delinquent) on my
mortgage, do I still qualify for the HARP Refinance Initiative?
No. But the good news is, you may qualify for the Modification Initiative. Contact me to discuss your situation and review your options.
I have both a first and a second
mortgage. Do I still qualify to refinance under HARP affordable Refi
Yes. Technically, the amount owed on the second mortgage doesn't matter, but the 2nd mortgage lender does need to agree to subordinate their loan. Talk to your Loan Officer about your second mortgage.
I have both a first and a second
mortgage. Can I combine these into one new loan under the HARP program?
NO. You can not combine these two (or more) loans into one. The HARP program will only refinance the existing first mortgage.
Will refinancing lower my payments?
That depends. If your interest rate is much higher than the current market rate, you would likely see an immediate reduction in your payment amount. However, if you are have an adjustable loan, or are paying interest only on your current mortgage, you may not see your payment go down. BUT... you will be able to avoid future mortgage payment increases and may save a great deal over the life of the loan.
What will the interest rate be?
The interest rate will be based on market rates at the time of the refinance. Currently, interest rates are at historical lows, which makes this a good time to examine your refinancing options.
Will refinancing reduce the amount
that I owe on my loan?
No. Refinancing will not reduce the principal amount you owe. However, refinancing should save you money by reducing the amount of interest that you repay over the life of the loan.
Can I get cash out to pay other
No. Only standard closing costs (appraisal, title, credit report, state taxes, lender fees, etc) may be included in the refinanced amount.
Do I need to pay closing costs?
YES. HARP refinance loans have closing costs just like any other refinance. Like other refinance transactions, you can pay the costs out-of-pocket, roll them into a slightly higher loan amount (most common), cover them with a slightly higher interest rate, or any combination of these options. Check with your Loan Officer, as there are a few restrictions.
I am really far underwater on my
mortgages, can I still use HARP?
YES. Under the new HARP 2.0 (Starting December 1, 2011). Under the old HARP rules, you were capped at 125%. Now you can be really far underway and still qualify for HARP
What is the maximum loan amount? I
have / need a jumbo loan?
The maximum loan amount is the same as the maximum loan amount in your area. For 95% of the country, this is currently $417,000 (Check loan limits - Select Fannie/Freddie under the "limit type" option)
I heard adjustable mortgage
refinances are different?
YES. If you choose a new adjustable loan, you are capped at 105%. Only fixed rate refinance loans are unlimited.
My current loan is FHA, can I use
No. Only loans that are backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are eligible. FHA loans, VA loans, USDA Rural Development, and many private loans, like the ING Orange ARM loans are NOT eligible.
My current mortgage company says they
are the only ones that can help me refinance with HARP. Is this true? Do I
have to use my current lender?
No. You can use any participating lender you want in the vast majority of cases.
I put over 20% down originally, so I
have no PMI. Will I have to have PMI on the new loan?
No. That is one of the best aspects of HARP. If the original loan did NOT have mortgage insurance, the new loan does not need mortgage insurance, not matter how underwater you are.
Can I refinance my second / vacation
home or a rental / investment property with HARP?
YES. That is allowable. You just need to meet all the other standard Home Affordable Refinance program guidelines
do I apply for the Home Affordable Refinance Initiative?
Apply for HARP online, call or visit my office to discuss your specific situation and to examine your options. If this plan is right for you, we can begin working on your refinance immediately.
As part of the discussion, we may need to look at the following information:
As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss how this may specifically impact you, I'd be happy to sit down with you. Just call or email me to set up an appointment.
Mortgages Unlimited, Inc - St Paul Office
33 Wentworth Ave E, Suite 290
Saint Paul, MN 55118
Office (651) 552-3681
Fax (651) 994-6425
Mortgages Unlimited, Inc. Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS) # 225504 Saint Paul Branch - NMLS # 387944. Joe Metzler, Licensed Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS # 274132. Minnesota Lic# MN-MLO-274132. Wisconsin Lic # 11418. South Dakota Lic # MLO.03095
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