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New HARP Guidelines: What You Need to Know - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Editors note: We have some great news! Quicken Loans allows refinances of up to 200% of your home’s value on mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through the HARP Program. 

In order to participate in HARP, either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac must own your loan. 

See if you qualify for HARP or call today (800) 251-9080 to find out how much you could save.

And finally, the Federal Government has extended HARP until the end of 2018.

The Fed announced the details of its newly updated changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program which we mortgage folk have dubbed HARP 2.0.  The goal for the modifications to the program is to target homeowners who have been hit hard by the downtrodden housing market as of late.

The kicker is who will qualify for modifications and who will not qualify?

Are you ready to learn about the nit picky details regarding this new reform?

Let’s do this thing.

So, in order to be eligible, you need to have a loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and have less than 20 percent equity in your home.  The loan must also have been originated before May 31, 2009.

The program technically begins on December 1, 2011, but some lenders might not be ready to take applications, so be careful.  If you are concerned as to when your lender will start taking applications, just give them a call.  They should be happy to help you out.


Be aware that not every lender will be participating in HARP 2.0.  Participation is voluntary, so your lender may or may not be a part of it.  However, HARP 2.0 is designed to make lenders feel more comfortable writing loans on underwater properties.

Now, let’s get into the numbers.

If you were late on one payment in the past seven to 12 months, don’t fret.  You can still be eligible, but agencies don’t want to see any delinquencies in the past six months.

If you have a loan that amortizes in 20 years or less, all of the fees that relate to the riskiness of the loan are gone.  Adios.  However, if you have a loan that amortizes in more than 20 years, the fee is capped to 0.75 percent of the total loan amount.

What about those pesky loan-to value (LTV) ratios?  If you have a 30-year fixed-rate loan, there is no maximum LTV ratio.  If the fixed-rate loan is in the range of 30 to 40 years, the maximum LTV is 105 percent.  For adjustable-rate loans, the maximum LTV is also 105 percent with an initial fixed period of five years or more.

The new guidelines also allow borrowers to refinance from a 30-year mortgage to a shorter-term loan.  The government is encouraging this because borrowers can increase equity more quickly and take advantage of extremely low rates.

If you have any questions or are concerned with whether or not you qualify, take a look at this handy-dandy Making Home Affordable mortgage calculator and don’t forget that our Home Loan Experts at Quicken Loans will be happy to help answer any questions you have!


Eric Mally is a writer for Quicken Loans, a company whose clients believe it’s Engineered to Amaze.  Interested in being Amazed by us? Read trusted reviews at Quicken Loans Reviews and at Epinions.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. So what’s the required credit score for this for the refi? Also I don’t need to pull out cash, just to bring down my payment!

    1. Hi Kenneth:

      If it’s HARP, the required median FICO® score is 620 or higher because it’s a conventional loan. You also wouldn’t be pulling out cash because this is only a rate/term refinance. However, HARP has certain very specific guidelines. In the vast majority of cases, you can only use it once. It’s also meant for homeowners who last refinanced or bought a home through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac no later than May 31, 2009. You also have to have less than 20% equity in your home. The good news is, even if you don’t qualify for HARP, there are multiple options we could look into to try and help you with a rate/term refinance to see if we can lower your payment. You can go over your options online through Rocket Mortgage or give us a call at (888) 980-6716. Hope this helps and have a great day!

  2. My parents are elderly and on the verge of losing their home due to a lack of equity and having a balloon mortgage that is about to run out and a need for an extra amount to pay taxes from an error made by their accountants. Is their anyway that you may be able to help refinance a mortgage like this?

    1. Hi Jessica:

      We can certainly help your parents look into their options. They can get in touch with one of our Home Loan Experts by filling out this form or calling (888) 980-6716. They’ll be able to go over all of your parents’ options and see whether we have a loan program to match.

      Kevin Graham

  3. I was called by someone with Ditech, the holder of my ARM mortgage. Because I wanted a fixed rate I listened. The original caller was in Philadelphia, who sent me to a person in CA for the numbers (her conversation lacked simplicity and clarity). Several weeks went by, I called back angrily telling her time was important with rates – it had raised, she said. I also said I had a current but not active Brokers’ license and time was always of essence in these matters and that I thought it was being manipulated. I finally received an email with payment HIGHER than what I had. I said no. I then saw some ads for Harp and realized it was national. I called someone who said he would do much better and would call me soon. Well, the original person who called me returned the call and said I would have to wait several months if I wanted to apply again but he would try to lower the numbers. The girl from CA called back with lower numbers (about 60 less than I was paying) and added 2K to loan amount with a 4.5% rate 30 yrs). I have since talked to other people who downplayed Dietech and said I could have done better but they did not want to bother.
    Bottom Line: Shop around and be careful. This is just another step toward extending us into a debtor nation that helps only the few.

    1. Hi Christine:

      I’m sorry you’ve had this experience with your mortgage company. I’m going to have someone reach out to you. We can definitely help you look into your options and determine if we have something that can help you get into a better situation.

      Kevin Graham

  4. Hi Charlene:

    If you need a modification, you would need to talk to your servicer. You should be able to find them on your mortgage payments. Hopefully that at least gives you a first point of contact.

  5. I need to modify my loan I have worked with BAC for a reduction in my mortgage and they didn’t do it I contacted you guys and I still haven’t heard anything please advise my mortgage was purchase in 2007

  6. I am confused? I have a mortgage that was taken out in 2003. It is owned by Fannie Mae but when I called Quicken they told me I couldn’t do a HARP loan because I had to go through the lender that is servicing my loan currently. Why can’t I go through whoever I want? It is owned by Fannie Mae, not the local lender servicing it.

    1. Hi Rebecca!

      We’re very sorry about any confusion that may have happened. I’m having our Home Loan Experts look into this for you. They should be in touch with you soon.

      Thanks for reading!

    1. Hey Michael, I’ve sent your question to our Home Loan Experts so they can provide some detailed insight into your question. They should be in touch soon. Thanks for reading!

  7. I have a loan with a certain lender which will remain unnamed. I contacted them to discuss refinancing under the HARP program. The rate seemed high so I contacted a broker in my state and asked him about using him to refinance. He said that he couldn’t do it because my current lender hasn’t shared the guidelines with him. If one of these big lenders (he said the list was long) holds my loan does that mean that I am stuck with that lender?

  8. I still wasn’t eligible for HARP 2.0 despite a ridiculously high credit score and not one missed payment since I bought my overpriced home (back in 2007, the WORST time to buy a house). Apparently Freddie Mac & PMI are bad words to those participating in HARP…I thought I was one of those people HARP was supposed to help

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