The president was in Las Vegas this week and announced some changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program, HARP. This program was established in 2009 to allow homeowners to refinance their mortgages at lower rates. Originally, the program was limited to homeowners whose house values were less than 25 percent below what was owed on the house. As a result, the program was not very helpful to homeowners here in Las Vegas, who are looking at losses of 30 to 60 percent.
Now, the program allows a refinance regardless of the loss in value. Also, certain fees have been eliminated making a refinance less expensive. To make the program more attractive to the banks, they will no longer have to buy back the mortgages from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Homeowners may qualify for the HARP program if their loan was sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before June of 2009. You must be current on your mortgage. One late payment in the previous six months or more than one in the last year disqualifies one from the program. As with all the programs initiated to avoid foreclosure, HARP is voluntary. The lender does not have to participate in the program.
More details on the program are due to be released on November 15. Want to know if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? Go on line to freddiemac.com/mymortgage or fanniemae.com/loanlookup. Or give me a call at 702-401-2349 or email email@example.com and I’ll be happy to look it up for you.