Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)


The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has been extended through December 31, 2013 and allows homeowners to refinance into low mortgage interest rates even if the property has decreased in value.

Established in 2009, for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Home Affordable Refinance Program provides an option for homeowners to refinance “Under Water Mortgages”. A HARP Refinance addresses situations where the homeowner’s property value has fallen causing them to no longer to qualify under traditional underwriting criteria. Homeowners with a loan owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae have the opportunity to refinance with any participating lender as long as the resulting loan is less than 125% of the current property’s value.

The following criteria must be met to qualify for the Home Affordable Refinance Program:


  • You must live in the home being refinanced.
  • A HARP refinance only applies to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages.
  • The homeowner must be able to afford the new lower payment.
  • The current mortgage must be up to date with no late payments in the past twelve months.
  • Payments on the new loan must be more affordable or more stable than on the existing loan.
  • The maximum Loan to Value (LTV) cap has been removed on home owners looking to refinance in to a fixed rate mortgage.
  • However for homeowners looking to refinance in to an adjustable rate mortgage the maximum LTV is set at 105%.

The popularity of the HARP mortgage program has steadily grown since 2009. The three months ending in February 2011 saw record volume of 145,000 new HARP loans.

A participating lender can determine if your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and can further evaluate your eligibility. To contact one, fill out the convenient 4 step form to the right.

Go to the following link to determine whether or not your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac:



16 Ways to Lose Your Lover & Only 8 Ways to Lose Your Loan Approval



The mortgage process takes time.  Especially if you are a buyer who put in an offer on a short sale.   Unfortunately most of the waiting times are things our of our control.

While you are in this waiting period, it is important to keep in “good behavior”.  Here are eight things you should absolutely NOT do between your date of application and your date of funding:

  1. Don’t buy a new care or trade-up to a bigger lease
  2. Don’t quit your job to change industries or start a new company
  3. Don’t switch from a salaried job to a heavily commissioned job
  4. Don’t transfer large sums of money between bank accounts
  5. Don’t forget to pay your bills — even the ones in dispute
  6. Don’t open new credit cards — even if you are getting 20% off
  7. Don’t accept a cash gift without filing the proper “gift” paperwork
  8. Don’t make random, undocumented deposits into your bank account

Some of these may be a bit unpractical.  However, some of these things can help you continue to qualify for your loan based on credit score and loan to value numbers which are checked again right before final funding.

If there is any question, it is always good to consult your lender to ensure it will not impact funding your loan!  Sometimes it is not getting approved that is hard–it’s staying approved.