Update: HARP expires December 31, 2018.
I’ve read some articles lately that give the impression that HARP might not be worth it. That it could cost a lot and save the client very little. That it’s a ton of trouble and you might not qualify anyway.
These couldn’t be further from the truth.
Refinancing with HARP makes a ton of sense. A ton. Do you hear me? A TON!
I’ve mentioned that my sister recently refinanced her mortgage through HARP. She had no idea about the program until she heard from someone at Quicken Loans. She was hesitant to move forward until I talked to her.
“What do you mean you don’t think you want to refinance? Your mortgage rate is about 6%. Are you crazy? Are you insane? Do you hate money?”
“No,” she said. “I’m not insane and I don’t hate money.” It’s a good thing she’s not insane. She’s a pre-school teacher in the Detroit Public Schools.
Anyway, I urged her to move forward with her refinance and she did. In the end she kept the same number of years on her loan (22), lowered her rate about 2% (from just over 6% to 3.99%), and lowered her payment several hundred a month. Now she’s super happy. She should be. She probably saved herself 10s of thousands of dollars.
So this brings me to the point of this post. Why it’s a REALLY good idea to refinance at today’s rates if you haven’t yet and qualify through HARP.
Refinance Up to 200% of Your Home’s Value with HARP
Underwater? No worries, we’ve got your financial air tank. Upside down? Relax, we’re going to right your ship in no time. We can do that because of the new HARP which allows Quicken Loans to refinance Fannie Mae loans up to 200% of your home’s value. So if you owe $200,000 but your home is only worth $100,000, you can still take advantage of today’s incredibly low rates. Remember my sister? Her house is slightly underwater and she was able to save lots of dough. And don’t forget that both the FHA and the VA have similar programs to HARP called FHA Streamline and VA Streamline. That’s what I did, the VA Streamline. It saved me THOUSANDS. For real.
HARP Refinance Costs Could Be Recuperated in Just a Few Months
Back to my sister. She dropped her payment several hundred dollars and kept her term at 22 years. By taking her rate of 3.99, she was actually able to get a lender credit to help cover closing costs. In the end her costs were just about a thousand or so. She will recoup her costs in about 4 or 5 months. That’s it. After that, the lower payment is simply money in her pocket. A couple hundred bucks in her pocket. Trust me, that makes her happy.
Qualifying for a HARP Refinance
To review, here are some basics for qualifying for a HARP refinance at today’s record low mortgage rates.
- Verify your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Use the Fannie Mae Loan Look-up tool or the Freddie Mac Loan Look-up tool.
- Verify your loan closed before May 31, 2009.
- Make sure you haven’t made any late mortgage payments in the past six months or more than one late payment in the last 12 months. If you aren’t sure, we’ll help you find out.
- Make sure you’re current on your mortgage (meaning it’s paid in the month you apply).
- Even if you aren’t sure if you’re underwater, apply for a HARP loan anyway. If you aren’t underwater, you could then qualify for a normal refinance.
- Again, HARP doesn’t include FHA loans or VA loans. Refinancing those loans is covered by each loan programs “Streamline” program.
That’s it. Don’t wait. HARP ends at the end of 2013. And rates are still down near record lows, with many economists predicting rates will begin their inevitable rise sometime later this year. And finally, here are some HARP FAQs. Remember, it’s not too late to GET HARPED!
What is the Home Affordable Refinance Program or HARP?
Simply put, HARP gives homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth the opportunity to refinance and take advantage of today’s amazingly low mortgage rates.
I’ve tried to refinance in the past and haven’t been eligible. Why is this different?
Fannie Mae has recently announced changes to HARP and expanded the program to help homeowners who have not been able to qualify for refinancing in the past. Quicken Loans now offers HARP refinancing up to 200% of your home’s value. Owe $300,000 but your home is only worth $150,000? No problem, we can probably help.
The value of my home has decreased. Will I still qualify?
Yes, this program was put in place specifically to help homeowners who have a good mortgage payment history even though their home value has decreased.
What about hidden fees? Will I have to pay any of those?
We set realistic expectations up front so there are no hidden fees or surprises. This program is designed to let us refinance your loan at a significantly reduced cost. We want to help you save money as easily and as fast as possible.
Why should I refinance with HARP now?
There are so many reasons, but here are just a few:
- This unique refinance opportunity is only available for a limited time.
- Rates have hit rock-bottom, historic lows, and we don’t know how much longer they will stay this low. The lower your rate, the less your monthly payment is, period.
- You’ll save money every month. Think about what an extra $200 a month could do for you. That’s nearly $2,500 a year!
- You can refinance into any of the YOURgage loans from Quicken Loans, or if you’re conservative, go with a standard 30-, 25-, 20-, 15-, or even a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage. And don’t forget – ARMs are even available through HARP.
Don’t wait. Save today with a HARP refinance.
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