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Photo by woodleywonderworksWhat does it do?
This program is for homeowners that are current on their mortgage payments but are paying high interest rates and cannot refinance their mortgage with the low interest rates now available. This is often because the market value of their home has dropped and commercial lenders cannot (or will not) refinance the property for the loan’s outstanding balance. These borrowers can see their monthly payments drop significantly if they refinance their home with a lower interest rate.
HARP can also help people who are only paying interest on their loan; have a low introductory interest rate that will skyrocket in the future; or those that will have to pay a balloon payment (i.e. huge final payment.
Another advantage of refinancing your home with HARP is the option of changing the type of interest rate you pay. For example, if you are paying a variable interest rate or an adjusted rate mortgage (ARM) the cost of your mortgage payments can rise (or drop) at any moment seriously affecting your budget. A refinance could help you change to a fixed rate mortgage with a similar (sometimes lower) interest rate that will remain the same for the lifetime of the loan.
A refinance under HARP will not, however, reduce the balance of your loan; the idea is to improve the terms of the loan by providing more stable (i.e. fixed interest rate) and affordable (i.e. lower interest) mortgages.
To qualify for an HARP refinance:
– The house must be your primary home and be a one- to four- unit home.
– The mortgage must be backed or owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These are Congress chartered corporations that provide stability to the housing market by buying, and guaranteeing mortgages in a secondary market for residential mortgages. Find out if your mortgage is guaranteed or owned by Freddie or Fannie.
– You must be up-to-date with your mortgage payments.
– Your mortgage’s outstanding balance cannot be more than 125% of the market value of your home.
– You will need to prove you can afford the monthly payments.
For more information on the HARP program and to check if you qualify for a refinance click here.
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