Important Changes to Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)

Today the federal government  announced new rules that may allow homeowners who are struggling borrowers to refinance their mortgages at today’s ultra-low rates by  reducing monthly payments for some homeowners. The goal is that the monthly savings could provide a modest boost to the economy. It is important to note this help is NOT available to persons struggling to make the payments, in other words if you are behind on your payments you need not apply.

Key Changes to HARP

The Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) announced today a series of changed to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) in an effort to attract more eligible borrowers who can benefit from refinancing their home mortgage.

Some of the key changes to HARP are:

  • Eliminating certain risk-based fees for borrowers who refinance into shorter-term mortgages and lowering fees for other borrowers
  • Removing the current 125 percent Loan To Value ceiling for fixed-rate mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Waiving certain representations and warranties that lenders commit to in making loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Eliminating the need for a new property appraisal where there is a reliable automated valuation model estimate provided by the Enterprises
  • Extending the end date for HARP until Dec. 31, 2013 for loans originally sold to the Enterprises on or before May 31, 2009

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