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:

Bank of America services an amazing number of loans.  If you are an agent that works short sales, you undoubtedly have worked with Bank of America over and over again.  The processes they have in place continue to improve and I am hopeful this new improvement will help too. The change went in to effect Dec. 1, 2011, and impacts all short sales submitted with an offer in which the homeowner is eligible for the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) program.

The good news is they have shortened the timeline for their response back to the homeowner and agent on the short sale offer.  They have also taken away  homeowner requirements to call Bank of America to accept the HAFA short sale program.  “Real estate agents can now indicate a homeowner’s HAFA interest by submitting the necessary documents to in the online system (Equator) within 14 days. During that 14-day window, the short sale will continue moving forward.  Bank of America is transitioning the processing of all HAFA short sales with an offer from outsourced vendor partners to Bank of America associates”.

I am happy to see this transition and am looking forward to having a HAFA short sale go through the system directly with Bank of America vs. an outsourced vendor.  I think this will help homeowners and agents complete short sales in a more timely manner so that we avoid additional foreclosures AND keep the buyers that get frustrated with the time a short sale takes.

With banks/servicers  improving their processes, more homeowners can avoid foreclosure by completing short sales. 

If you have a hardship and are struggling making payments on your mortgage and owe more that what the fair market value of your home is, you should consider talking to a real estate professional about options instead of foreclosure.  Short Sale is just one option. 

If you currently live in your home, but do not want to stay in your home, you may qualify for a HAFA (Home Affordable foreclosure Alternatives) short sale. 

Do you qualify for HAFA?  Here is a link with additional information:



I am still hearing a lot of sad stories about people wanting to stay in their homes, but unable to get the help that they want from their service provider.  It appears that there are more success stories lately about loan modifications, but there is still an incredible number of frustrated homeowners that are not getting good information from their loan service company and they either give up or they follow the information from a customer service representative that may not fully understand the program.  What I have found is persistence is key. 

  1. Continue to call your service company until you get clear and concise instructions on what you can do to be considered for one of their programs.  You can start by visiting  www.makinghomeaffordable.gov(Remember:  If you don’t qualify for one of the government programs, many servicers have their OWN programs).
  2. If you get someone on the phone that does not sound like they know what they are talking about.  Politely hang up and call back.
  3. Once you get an answer or instructions, call AT LEAST one more time to make sure you were given the right instructions
  4. Fill out paperwork requested thoroughly and on time.
  5. Gather and submit all documents requested.
  6. If you receive a letter that is declining you from a modification or other program, call and ask more questions.  Ask for the supervisor.  Make sure you understand why they are saying that you do not qualify.  What would it take to qualify?  Can you change a couple of things in your finances to make this happen?  GET DETAILS! 
  7. Don’t give up.  It’s hard to consistently call these servicers but if you want to stay in your home, don’t bury your head in the sand.

You can research several of the options for foreclosure alternatives on www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.  If you decide a loan modification isn’t the direction you want to go, there are other options instead of foreclosure.