HARP has been a lifeline for many homeowners underwater with their mortgages, making it possible to refinance at today's lower rates and reduce monthly payments. In November, the federal government revised HARP guidelines to make the program even more accessible and valuable to many homeowners. At Citi, we know that HARP guidelines can be confusing, so we're here to help. Is HARP right for you? Here's what you need to know.
The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) was established in 2009 to help homeowners obtain mortgage refinancing if they might not qualify otherwise (due to declining home values, for example). Via HARP, homeowners can refinance into new, more stable and affordable mortgages.
Under old HARP guidelines, you could obtain a fixed rate mortgage for up to 125% of home value; under the new guidelines, this cap for fixed rate loans is lifted (in other words, there are no loan-to-value ratio or LTV limits for loans of 30 years or less). For adjustable rate loans, you can borrow up to 105% of home value. So you can improve your monthly cash flow, pay off your mortgage faster--and even have new confidence to buy a new home.
HARP works not only for primary residences, but also for second homes and investment properties--including condominiums. No private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required, if it wasn't necessary to obtain the original mortgage. And no income documentation is required to refinance.
Qualifying for HARP
There are several guidelines you need to meet, to be eligible for HARP. Here are the major highlights:
· Your loan must have been originated no later than May 31, 2009.
· It must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
· The loan amount can't exceed the conforming loan limits, as established by Fannie and Freddie, for the area where your home is located.
· Your loan must be current--with no late payments in the past 12 months.
· Your property can't have been refinanced before under HARP.
It's important to understand that these guidelines are set by Fannie and Freddie, not the mortgage servicers. Servicers like Citi can facilitate these programs on behalf of homeowners, but they don't establish the qualifying parameters for the program.
If you're interested in HARP and believe you might qualify, ask your mortgage company to find out for sure. Citi customers can call-toll-free 1-800-248-4638† or visit www.citimortgage.com. With today's mortgage rates at their lowest levels in decades, now's a great time to refinance. And if that wasn't an option for you before, the 'new and improved' HARP may be the answer. Ask your mortgage company for details.
† Calls are randomly monitored and recorded to ensure quality service.