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Understanding HARP


What You'll Learn

  • Your loan must be owned by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae – and originated on or before May 31, 2009 – to be eligible for HARP
  • If you’re underwater on your mortgage, HARP was designed for you
  • Over 3.4 million homeowners have refinanced through HARP and are saving thousands of dollars per year

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP®), a federal program launched in 2009, was designed to help homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth take advantage of lower mortgage rates and other refinance benefits. 

If you’ve been unable to refinance due to a decline in the value of your home (or being “underwater”), you may be able to refinance through HARP and obtain a more stable and affordable mortgage. The program was recently extended and is available through December 31, 2018.

3.4 Million homeowners have benefitted from HARP; You could too

HARP may be an option if you can answer “yes” to all of the following questions:

  • Does Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae own your mortgage? Visit our Loan Look-up Tool to see if Freddie Mac owns your loan.
  • Was your mortgage originated on or before May 31, 2009?  The results from the loan look-up tool will include the note date on your mortgage.
  • Are you underwater, or do you have a current loan-to-value ratio greater than 80 percent?
  • Are you current on your mortgage payments?
  • Is your recent mortgage payment history good? That is, you don’t have any 30-day+ late payments in the past six months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months?
  • Is your home your primary residence, second home, or investment property?

Steps to Get Started with HARP

HARP may help you obtain a monthly payment you can afford, and will result in one or more of the following:

  • A reduction in your mortgage rate and or your monthly mortgage payment
  • A fixed-rate mortgage in place of an adjustable-rate, interest-only, or balloon/reset mortgage
  • A reduction in the term of your mortgage (e.g., from 30 years to 15 years)
If you were not eligible for HARP in the past, try again.  The program has been significantly enhanced since it launched in 2009.

If your loan is owned by Freddie Mac, you have two options for refinancing through HARP:

  • Working with your existing lender (the company to which you send your monthly mortgage payments) if they are participating in the program. Since they already have your necessary files and documents, there are fewer requalification steps unless your principal and interest payment goes up more than 20%. No new appraisal is required in certain cases.  Find out if your lender offers HARP .
  • Working with a different participating lender.  Because a different lender will not have your information or documents, they will need to requalify and re-underwrite your new loan. A new appraisal may not be required in certain cases. View our list of HARP participating lenders that may be able to work with you.
Read along as we debunk common myths about HARP and give you the facts

Key Takeaways

  1. You must be current on your mortgage payment to be eligible for HARP

  2. If you owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth, reach out to your lender today and ask if they participate in HARP

  3. HARP can help you take advantage of today’s low mortgage rates

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