The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on April 11, 2013 that they have extended the Home Affordable Refinance Program through December 31, 2015.

This program allows homeowners that have a loan guaranteed or owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac the opportunity to refinance their home even if they owe more than their home is worth.  The HARP program has helped over two million homeowners since it went into effect.

For more details on the program follow this link to the fhfa press release:

http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/25112/HARPextensionPRFINAL41113.pdf

Your home mortgage may be serviced by a bank or lender but owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  To find out whether your home is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac please visit these sites:

https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup

https://ww3.freddiemac.com/corporate/

I have lenders that can help if you are interested in refinance!  Let me know and I will send you some information.

 

 

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Have you heard about the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)?

If you have been unable to refinance and take advantage of the currently low-interest rates and you are not behind on your mortgage payments, you may be eligible to refinance through the Making Home Affordable Refinance Program.  This program is designed to get homeowners into a new, more affordable  mortgage.  You do not need to have equity in your home to participate in this program.

You must meet certain eligibility to qualify (taken off Making Home Affordable website –http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/lower-rates/Pages/harp.aspx) :

  • The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
  • The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.
  • The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009.
  • The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%.
  • The borrower must be current on the mortgage at the time of the refinance, with a good payment history in the past 12 months.

When I initially heard about this program, I was worried that it really wouldn’t help a lot of homeowners.  However, several of the mortgage professionals that I work with say they are having success in getting many of these refinance loans approved.  Yea!  That’s good news.

If you are interested in finding out more information visit the Making Home Affordable website at:  http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/lower-rates/Pages/harp.aspx

You can also contact your mortgage lender or call one of the lenders below.  They will be happy to answer questions for you:

Many people who are struggling to stay in their home, decide to walk away and let the home foreclose.  That is an option.  However, if you want to save you credit from being hit so hard, there are other options that might work for you: 

 Cure/Reinstate  Reinstatement might be possible when you are behind in your payments but can promise a lump sum to bring payments current by a specific date.   Once you are in default, you still have an opportunity to cure the default of the loan.  You typically have 120 days from the formal Notice of Default, until the foreclosure auction date.  At anytime prior to foreclosure, you are allowed to pay the delinquent amount plus any costs incurred in the foreclosure process. 

 Redemption  This is defined as paying off the loan in full.  At all times, until the foreclosure auction actually takes place, the borrower has an absolute right to “pay off” the loan that is in default.  This payoff usually occurs through a refinance of the property with a new lender providing a new loan to the borrower.

Forbearance  Your lender allows you to delay payments for a short period, with the understanding that another option will be used afterwards to bring the account current.  Lenders sometimes combine Forbearance with Reinstatement if they know the homeowner will have the funds (for example a tax return or inheritance) to bring the account current by a specific date.  If the account is past due, but the homeowners NOW can make payments, the lender might agree to let you catch up by adding a portion of the past due amount to a certain number of monthly payments until the account is current.

Military Forbearance  Similar to regular forbearance but since you are military, you could qualify for additional benefits like a longer forbearance period with no negative impact to your credit score.  A special hotline has been set up to offer additional guidance about this option:  877-MIL-4566.

 Repayment Plan  This option is similar to forbearance in that you must demonstrate to the lender that you have had a temporary situation which have resulted in your inability to make loan payments.  The difference is that you do not believe you will receive enough funds to reinstate the loan all at one time.  The lender will sometimes combine a forbearance and create a repayment plan for you to make extra payments each month over a set period of time until you catch up prior to your foreclosure date.

Refinance  You may be able to refinance and receive  a completely new mortgage with new terms, interest rates and monthly payments. This would replace your current mortgage and may lower your payment so you could improve your financial situation.  You may qualify for the Home Affordable Refinance Program:  http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/pages/default.aspx    Remember that this program is currently in the process of being changed so if you do not qualify now, you may qualify in the next several months. 

Loan Modification  If you can make the regular monthly payment now, but cannot catch-up the past due amount, the lender might agree to modify the mortgage. They may do that by adding the past due amount into the existing loan, financing it over a long term or change your interest rate.   Lenders may also modify loans if you no longer have the ability to make payments at the same price or level. The lender can modify your mortgage to extend the length of your loan (or take other steps to reduce the payments).  You may qualify for the Home Affordable Modification Program:  http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/pages/default.aspx

FHA Loans  If you have an FHA-insured loan, the lender might be able to help you receive a one-time payment for the FHA Insurance Fund.  FHA has a loss mitigation option that allows a borrower to get an interest free loan from HUD to bring their mortgage payments up to date.  You will need to contact your lender to file a partial claim.  Your lender can work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help you. FHA information line: (877) 622-8525

VA Loans Financial counseling to help homeowners avoid foreclosure is available through VA Regional Loan Centers. Contact 1-800-827-1000 and ask for the phone number of the Loan Service Representative in your area.

Short Sale   This is when you owe more than fair market value on your home.  You and your real estate agent work with your lender to approve the sale of the home and forgive the remainder of the debt owed.  You may qualify for a pre-approved short sale through Making Home Affordable:   http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/pages/default.aspx    Or contact a real estate agent that is experienced in short sales and they can help you navigate through this process.

Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure  Your lender may offer be willing to accept a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.  You would voluntarily transfer ownership of the property to your servicer.  Many lender require that homeowners try to modify their mortgage or short sale their home before they will accept a deed-in-lieu. 

HUD(U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development) You can contact a HUD approved counselor at (800) 569-4287 or search on the web at http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm/. A counselor may be able to help determine which options might be available to help you negotiate with the lender to work out a repayment program.

Be your own advocate 

You need to put a plan in motion.   Lenders do not want to foreclose if they can help it, but many of them are overwhelmed by the number of defaulted mortgages.  Make sure you get them all of the information that they require and follow-up on a weekly basis on what the status of your loan is.

 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency together with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced a change in the refinance program available for homeowners that are more than 125% LTV on their fixed rate mortgages.  The program is trying to reach homeowners that are current on their mortgage loans but are upside down on their loan to value of their homes.  Many of these homeowners have been unable to refinance their homes at the current lower interest rates that are available. 

Here is an excerpt from the announcement:

 The new program enhancements address several other key aspects of HARP including:

  • 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.

Borrower Eligibility

  • The existing mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009. Homeowners can determine if they have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan by going to:http://www.FannieMae.com/loanlookup/ or calling 800-7FANNIE (8 am to 8 pm ET)https://ww3.FreddieMac.com/corporate/or 800-FREDDIE (8 am to 8 pm ET)
  • The program will continue to be available for loans with LTVs above 80 percent.
  • Borrowers must be current on their mortgage payments with no late payment in the past six months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.
  • Borrowers should contact their existing lender or any other mortgage lender offering HARP refinances.

For additional information please see the full news release at:  http://fhfa.gov/webfiles/22721/HARP_release_102411_Final.pdf

The details will be given to the lenders and servicers by mid November.  It will most likely be the beginning of the new year before the program amendments are available to the consumer.