If you missed the news last week, the FHFA has announced major changes to the HARP, or “Home Affordable Refinance Program.” (Otherwise known as the program to help underwater homeowners refinance, which did not help as many as it should have.)
The new program, which we’ve been calling HARP II (seen elsewhere as HARP 2.0) theoretically will remove many of the roadblocks that stopped HARP I borrowers from refinancing – see the full write-up in this space from two weeks ago, but the high points: No more physical appraisals, unlimited loan-to-value ratios.
Theoretically, at this point, is the operative term, since the actual rules for HARP II will not be published until November 15th, and until then there is a lot we don’t know.
But just because the complete rules have not been published, it does not mean that you should wait idly until they are.
If you are a borrower who may be eligible for a HARP II refinance, have been recently denied a refinance, or just want to explore your options for refinancing without an appraisal, here’s three things you can do right now to prepare:
1. Figure out who owns your loan: Only loans “owned” by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are eligible for HARP. In this context, “own” is shorthand for “Guaranteed By,” which means that no matter who your current lender, or servicer is, your loan may be owned/guaranteed by one the the agencies. The only way to know for sure is by using the lookup tools below:
Does Fannie own my loan: http://www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup/
Does Freddie own my loan: https://ww3.freddiemac.com/corporate/
[*Enter name and address exactly as it reads on the mortgage statement itself. **Not ALL loans that are owned by Fannie/Freddie will be HARP eligible when underwritten.]
2. Check the date on the loan: Only loans originated prior to June 1st, 2009 are eligible for HARP II.
3. Dig out your original loan package: Most lenders will require a copy of the original Note, Mortgage, and Settlement statement, or some combination of the three. Yours will probably be in the package you received at the last mortgage closing you attended – go ahead an dust that off and set aside.
Once you’ve done the above, drop your preferred lender a line and ask them what you need to do to ensure you have a spot near the head of the line once the new rules are published.
Don’t have a preferred lender? Whether you are HARP eligible or not, I’d love a shot at your business, and work with my readers all the time. Once you have taken the steps above, drop me a line with the results, and I will be sure to give you first look priority, and put you on a list for updates on the HARP II program as soon as the rules are released.
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