Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) loans have similarities with other mortgage programs, except they’re specifically for people who meet their current mortgage monthly payments, but can’t refinance due to negative home equity, limited home equity, or lack of home equity. Below are the requirements to see if you qualify for HARP home loans:
- According to Direct Mortgage Loans, your mortgage have approval from Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
- Your mortgage should’ve been sold to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae on or before May 31, 2009.
- You must be paying your mortgage payments on time in the past six months, with no more than one late payment in the past year.
- Only rental properties with one to four units, primary residences, and second homes with one unit are eligible.
- Your LTV or loan-to-value ratio should be at least 80%. There’s no max LTV for a new fixed-rate loan, and the max LTV ratio for a new ARM is 105%.
- You can’t have previous mortgage refinanced with HARP, unless your past mortgage was a Fannie Mae mortgage refinanced with HARP between March and May 2009.
The mortgage rate on HARP home loans is pretty much the same as traditional refinance rates. There’s a premium when you refinance under HARP. It’s also important you shop around for the best rates available, just as you would when looking for other refinance options.
What if Your Lender Doesn’t Offer HARP Loans?
When you’re with a lender that doesn’t offer HARP refinance, try to find others that participate in the HARP program. This is actually a major modification of the original HARP guidelines, since the government encourages more borrowers to take advantage of the refinance. Because of this, HARP loans have easier and simpler qualification requirements.
Contact your lender and inform them that you wish to refinance under HARP. If they can’t accommodate you, ask why and see if you can find another lender who participates in the program.