Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) Guidelines Eased and Deadline Extended

Dennis Norman St LouisUpdate August 10, 2012 – New HARP Program FAQ’s Click Here.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced it eased the requirements as well as extended the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) to December 31, 2013 from the current expiration date for the program of June 30, 2012. According to FHFA, as of August 31, 2011, nearly 894,000 borrowers have been refinanced through HARP and they (FHFA) feel easing the requirements will make it possible for many additional borrowers to refinance as well.

The changes to the HARP program include:

  • Eliminating certain risk-based fees for borrowers who refinance into shorter-term mortgages and lowering fees for other borrowers;
  • Removing the current 125 percent LTV ceiling for fixed-rate mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;
  • Waiving certain representations and warranties that lenders commit to in making loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;
  • Eliminating the need for a new property appraisal where there is a reliable AVM (automated valuation model) estimate provided by the Enterprises; and
  • Extending the end date for HARP until Dec. 31, 2013 for loans originally sold to the Enterprises on or before May 31, 2009.

The FHFA report says that “an important element of these changes is the encouragement, through elimination of certain risk-based fees, for borrowers to utilize HARP to refinance into shorter-term mortgages. Borrowers who owe more on their house than the house is worth will be able to reduce the balance owed much faster if they take advantage of today’s low interest rates by shortening the term of their mortgage.”

To determine if you have a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae insured loan and may be eligible for this program, please see the sites below:

Fannie Mae Loan Lookup – or call 800-7FANNIE (8 am to 8 pm ET)
Freddie Mac Loan Lookup -or 800-FREDDIE (8 am to 8 pm ET)

 

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