On Real Estate: ‘HARP’ music to homeowners’ ears


Finally there is relief that became available for homeowners who are current on their home mortgage payments that will enable them to refinance their homes at today’s historically low interest rates. These individuals otherwise previously could not qualify for traditional refinance guidelines due to roadblocks that “underwater” homeowners often encounter.

The HARP (Home Affordability Refinance Program) was created to give homeowners who are current on their home mortgages, and have lost home equity, an opportunity to refinance at today’s low interest rates.

The HARP program was originally rolled out in 2009 and was designed to help those who are “underwater” on their homes and owe more than their home is worth.

Up until now the original program has reached less than one-tenth of the 5 Million borrowers it was designed to help.

The new HARP 2.0 program has been enhanced to allow some homeowners who are not currently eligible under the original program to refinance their mortgages, the new program eliminates the cap that prevented “underwater” borrowers who owe more than 125 Percent of what their property is worth to now qualify for the program.

As with all Government-originated programs, there are strict guidelines that must be met. First of all, the loans must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and sold to those agencies on or before May 31, 2009.

The current loan-to-value ratio must also be greater than 80 percent.  Having a mortgage that was previously refinanced under the program disqualifies you.  Borrowers cannot have missed any mortgage payments in the past 6 months and cannot have had more than one missed payment in the past 12 months.

This program also enables homeowners who own second homes and income properties to qualify under this refinance program as well.

The first step borrowers should take is to see whether their mortgages are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

If so, then borrowers should contact lenders that offer HARP refinances.

The contact information for FannieMae is 1-800-7fannie or www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup The contact information for FreddieMac is 1-800-Freddie  or www.freddiemac.com/mymortgage.

I’m glad to see that there is a program that provides some relief for the homeowners that have stayed in their homes and have maintained their mortgage payments through these tough times.

There is a world of information on the internet with regards to HARP 2.0 guidelines, eligibility, and frequently asked questions.

Just input HARP 2.0 on you favorite internet search engine and you will have plenty of information at your finger tips.

If you think you may qualify, I have a list of qualified HARP 2.0 lenders that I can provide at no cost.

Finally, as with any financing program of this scale, there are certain signs and signals that should raise a red flag as possible signs of fraud.

Scam artists often target homeowners who are struggling to meet their mortgage commitment or are anxious to sell their homes.  You need to recognize and avoid common scams.

Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a counseling service or modification of a delinquent loan.

Beware of people who pressure you to sign papers immediately, or who try to convince you that they can “save” your home if you sign or transfer over the deed to your home.

Always make sure you are dealing directly with your mortgage provider and have their approval before you make any payments to anyone other than them with regards to your payment.

This program can be a home saver for many Americans. If you feel that you may be eligible for this program. don’t wait. Once this Real Estate Market stabilizes, this opportunity may be gone so don’t delay.

As always, I welcome questions, concerns or comments so please don’t hesitate to contact me, I’m only a phone call or email away.

I hope that the information I have provided will help at least one homeowner. My job as a Realtor is to provide my client’s with enough information so they can make the right decisions.  David Guarino is a local Realtor LIC #01708899 visit his website at www.davidguarino.com or contact him directly at (714) 402-3283 or Email: dguarino7@gmail.com.


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