harp loan program rates and requrements

Harp Loan Program Overview

The HARP Loan Program (Home Affordable Refinance Program), is a federal program that was set up in 2009 to help homeowners who are underwater in their mortgage. This government program was started by the Federal Housing Finance Agency in the hopes of assisting homeowners who cannot refinance their home due to lowered equity. Those who need assistance with refinancing will find this harp loan program overview to give them the information they need so they can make an informed decision.

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Due to the housing bubble that burst in 2008, many homeowners found themselves in a dire predicament because their homes were no longer worth what they once were. With lowered values, homeowners no longer had equity in their homes so they could not take advantage of lower interest rates because lenders were unwilling to refinance mortgages with little or no equity.

What are the Qualifications of the HARP Loan Program?

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Those homeowners who have Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans may qualify for the HARP loan program. Each of these lenders has a convenient website that will allow homeowners to learn who owns their mortgage.

Fannie Mae: https://knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup
Freddie Mac: https://ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup/

  • There are a few basic requirements for a homeowner to be eligible for the HARP loan program. It is imperative each of these requirements is met so eligibility can be established.
  • A homeowner must be current on their mortgage. They cannot have been late on their mortgage in the last six months and only one in the last twelve months.
  • The home must be owned by the individual applying and must be the primary residence, a one-unit second home or a one to four unit investment property.
  • The mortgage must be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
  • The applicant’s loan must have begun before May 31, 2009.
  • The LTV (loan-to-value) ratio must not be higher than 80%. (This helpful tool can allow a homeowner to easily calculate their LTV: http://knowyouroptions.com/find-resources/information-and-tools/financial-calculators/loan-to-value-calculator)

How Can Homeowners Apply?

The process for applying for a HARP loan is much like applying for any type of mortgage. A homeowner will need to make sure they gather these pieces of information so they are ready to apply:

  • Mortgage statements (including first and second mortgages)
  • Proof of income

Once a homeowner has gathered this important information, they are ready to begin searching for a lender. By visiting one of these links, homeowners can find a lender so they can get started on applying.


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Those who have never applied will find the process is fairly straightforward and the lender helps homeowners through every step of the process from application to closing. Even those who have been turned down in the past may want to consider applying again since the program has changed since 2009 and now has much simpler rules for approval.

By visiting http://www.harp.gov/, homeowners can learn all they need to know about the HARP loan program so they can decide if it will benefit them. With the program expiring on December 31, 2016, it is important homeowners make an informed decision soon.