If you are unable to refinance your mortgage because you have little to no equity in your home, you’re in a tight spot. There may be help, though, in the form of the Federal Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). This program is designed for people who are underwater on or stuck in their mortgages. There are only a couple requirements and the potential for savings is huge.
How to qualify
To qualify for an HARP refinance, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac must own your loan or your refinance must affect your loan in at least one of the following ways:
- Reduce your interest rate
- Reduce your monthly principal and interest payments
- Be a change of loan type (fixed rate to adjustable or vice versa)
- Be a reduction in the term of your mortgage term (e.g., 30-year to 15-year)
You may also be eligible if you:
- Own a 1-4 unit home as your primary residence
- Own a 1-unit second home
- Own a 1-4 unit investment property
- Are timely in making mortgage payments
- Choose a refinance solution that can improve the long-term affordability or stability of your mortgage
The only way to be sure whether you qualify for a HARP refinance is to talk to your lender. With HARP, you can go through your current lender or you can go with a new lender. Choosing your current lender will probably require less paperwork, but there is a possibility of a better deal if you decide to switch to a new one. At least do your research and see what kinds of rates are being offered. That way you can be sure you’re making a sound financial decision.
For more information about the HARP program and its qualifications, visit the HARP website.