HARP stands for the Home Affordable Refinance Program. It was introduced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Department of the Treasury in early 2009 as part of the federal government’s Making Home Affordable™ program. HARP provides eligible homeowners, who may not otherwise qualify for refinancing because of declining home values, the ability to refinance their mortgage into a lower interest rate and/or more stable mortgage product. The program was enhanced in December 2011 to allow more eligible homeowners to refinance.
There have been several changes to HARP, but the primary enhancements removed the limit on the amount that homeowners could be “underwater” (owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth). In addition, in order to make the eligibility requirements more transparent to borrowers, the note date of the original loan must be on, or before May 31, 2009. With these changes, many homeowners who were not eligible will now qualify.
HARP is only one of several refinancing options available to homeowners and is unique in that it is the only refinance program that enables borrowers with little to no equity in their homes to take advantage of low interest rates and other refinancing benefits.
FHFA determined that extending the program will provide borrowers additional opportunities to refinance, give clear guidance to lenders, and reduce losses for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and taxpayers.
Only mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are eligible for refinance under HARP. You can confirm that your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac by checking the following websites:
Neither FHFA nor Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac has the legal authority to extend HARP to borrowers whose mortgages are not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Your existing loan does not have to be with Regions Mortgage for us to help. Contact Regions today to learn more about how HARP could help preserve your homeownership.
When you refinance your mortgage, you are applying for a new mortgage, which replaces your current home loan.
Your monthly savings may vary based on the specific terms of the loan selected, the interest rate, APR and other factors.
The guidelines for HARP may have changed since you last applied, so you may qualify.
In many cases, it doesn’t matter. You still may qualify.
Yes. HARP allows you to refinance even if you owe more than your house is worth, eliminating your concern about paying down your loan balance in order to qualify.
No. Shorter loan terms (15 years and 20 years) may be available so you can start paying down your mortgage quicker and building equity faster.
No. The objective of a refinance under HARP is to help homeowners get into more stable or more affordable loans. Refinancing will not reduce the principal amount you owe to the first lien mortgage holder or any other debt you owe.
Homeowners whose mortgage interest rates are much higher than the current market rate should see a reduction in their payments. Homeowners who are paying interest only, who have a low introductory rate that will increase in the future or who face a balloon payment may not see their current payment go down if they refinance to a fixed rate and payment.
HARP allows you to replace your adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a more stable fixed-rate mortgage. Refinancing may provide you with a lower monthly payment and allow you to avoid the sometimes large payment increase that comes once your ARM’s initial rate ends as the rate may increase over time. The stability of a fixed monthly payment will give you security in knowing what your principal and interest payment will be every month.
There is no maximum LTV limit.
Yes, there is no longer a maximum LTV limit for borrower eligibility. Homeowners with more than one mortgage may be eligible for a refinance under HARP.
Yes, as long as you own a 1- to 4- unit home as your primary residence, a 1- unit second home, or a 1- to 4- unit investment property.
In most cases, no. With HARP, an appraisal is not generally required, so you save time and money.
Maybe, but closing costs vary by state and size of your loan. Closing costs might be rolled into your new loan, so you wouldn’t have to pay these costs out of pocket at closing. Check with us to learn more.
HARP is like any other mortgage where you may be required to pay certain costs for the application, processing, appraisal, title search, and other necessary iterms to complete your refinance.
No. The Home Affordable Refinance will not return cash to the borrower for the purpose of paying other debts.