Making Home Affordable Refinance – Can I Help You? Maybe…Maybe Not.


UPDATE JUNE 19, 2010:  The Home Affordable Refinance Program has become much easier to do since writing this post with both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securitized mortgages.  This post is pretty outdated (the hazards of writing about mortgages on a blog!)  If you need help with refinancing your home in Washington, please contact me.

Here is an updated information on Fannie Mae's Home Affordable Refi.

NOTE:  This program is still "evolving". Wholesale lenders/banks and private mortgage insurance companies are still issuing and revising their guidelines.  I'll try to update this post with current information as I receive it.

Fannie Mae will be implementing the Making Home Affordable Refi starting April 4, 2009.  Some home owners will be free to use any mortgage professional (as long as they are Fannie Mae approved) and others will be forced to return to their mortgage servicer.

First of all, I am only licensed to provide residential mortgages for homes located in Washington State.


Currently, for the Home Affordable Refinance, Freddie Mac is requiring that home owners return to their mortgage servicer.  To determine if your mortgage is owned by Freddie Mac, click here. If your mortgage is owned by Freddie Mac, I probably cannot help you with an Making Home Affordable refinance.   However if your current mortgage is owned by Freddie Mac and you have home equity (you're not upside down); I may be able to help you.   Fannie Mae has a larger market-share than Freddie Mac…odds are in your favor, but check Freddie Mac first.  UPDATE:  Since writing this post, one major bank has informed us they will allow us to originate Home Affordable/Freddie Mac mortgages as long as we broker the loan back to them

If your mortgage is not owned by Freddie Mac, the next step is to see if it's owned by Fannie Mae. You can determine that by clicking here.   Unlike Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae is allowing home owners to use eligible mortgage brokers, bankers and correspondent lenders of their choice.  If your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae (and your home is in WA); I may be able to assist you with your Home Affordable refinance.

Here are some important pointers about Fannie Mae's Home Affordable refinance (homes at a higher loan to value):

  • Second mortgages must be subordinated.  They may not be included (paid off) with the home affordable refinance.
  • Borrowers on the existing mortgage must match the new mortgage.  Borrowers may be added but they may not be removed.   UPDATE:  Borrowers can be removed under certain circumstances.
  • If a borrower currently has lender paid mortgage insurance (a slightly higher rate that financed private mortgage insurance) they may have to return to their mortgage servicer (who they make their mortgage payments to) for a Home Affordable refinance.  

What if your existing mortgage is FHA or VA?  You may qualify for a FHA or VA Streamline refinance which may not require an appraisal or income verification (you will need a mid-credit score of 620 or higher).

Lenders are currently inundated with refinance and purchase business due to the current low mortgage rates.   I encourage you to apply early and be very patient.   Washington State home owners can apply using my secure on-line application under "Favorite Links".

The bottom line is, if your home is in Washington I can at the very least help point you in the right direction and at the most, I can help you with your new refinance.


  1. Making Home Affordable, to me, is still a work in progress. In theory, it is a pretty good plan, but sad to say not everyone will find it useful or will be able to utilize it for their own mortgage problems.

  2. My mortgage is owned by fannie mae so I contacted my mortgage sevicer citimortgage, but they are too busy to sevice their own accounts and sent me to a broker for my refinancing options. When I contacted the broker that citi recommended they said that they are not participating in the home affordabe refi-plus program. The broker suggested I try Wells Fargo.
    When I contacted Wells Fargo they are very interested in refinancing my fannie mae owned mortgage. If you have a fannie mae owned loan i would try Wells Fargo.
    They will at least take the time to look at your needs.

  3. mike, home owners can start with any mortgage originator who has the ability to underwrite mortgages with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. There will be times when they are forced to return to their mortgage servicer or bank.

    It’s interesting to hear that (if I’m understanding you correctly) Citi is not participating in Obama’s making home affordable program…especially after all of the Gov help they’ve received.

  4. Hi,

    Thanks so much for your advice. I do have a question for you though and I hope you can help.

    My mortgage is not owned by Fannie Mae OR Freddie Mac nor is it a FHA/VA loan (it was a special program through Bank of America). I’m at an adjustable rate and would love to get in on the new programs that are available. Is there anything out there for someone like me?

    In terms of the debt:income ratio and LTV requirements for the new program, I believe I qualify. But my loan isn’t owned by the above parties.


  5. Gary, what do you think your loan to value is? If you’re above 95%; I recommend going back to your mortgage servicer (BOA) to see if they will work with you. If your 95% or less, you may qualify for a tradtional refinance, including conventional or FHA.

  6. Hi Rhonda,
    We have a condo in Seattle currently in interest-only period, and would like to refinance it to fixed rate. Our mortgage is not owned by Fannie Mae OR Freddie Mac. The issue now is that we moved to China and rent our property out. In that case, what rate do you think we can get? Thank you!

  7. Anna, your home would receive non-owner occupied rates which would vary depending on your credit scores and loan to value.

  8. I noticed that the information above re: Lender paid PMI eligibility in HARP or other government programs.

    I have had a difficult experience with Bank of America who now has my loan through thier merger with CountryWide.
    I have spoken to B of A on multiple occasions who have told me that I qualify for the re-finance in every way, except that my lender paid PMI Insurance dis-qualifies me from the program. I have been told that B of A has not recived any guidelines from the government re: lender-paid PMI.

    They mentioned that my only other option is to use the standard re-finance process, but since my home is so undervalued, I would have to put down $40K to do so. Of course, my whole purpose of using the “Make Home Affordable” program is because I don’t have that kind of money in savings right now due to my financial hardship.

    Does anyone know if I have any other alternatives? I REALLY cannot afford to continue paying the 7% interest right now and would like to take advantage of the low interest rates in the market.

    Thanks in advance!!
    – Kristin

  9. Hi,
    my girlfriend and I signed a “joint tenant in common” agreement when we bought our new home in Feb of ’08. We have broken up and she wants her name off of the mortgage as I want to keep the house. This is great, except that I don’t qualify for the mortgage on my income alone and our house is currently underwater by about 10%-15%. Can the “making home affordable modification program” work to help me re-fi on my own? Is there another way? Thanks!

  10. Chris, you will need to check with your mortgage servicer (who you make your payments to) to see if they will modify your mortgage.

    It’s likely that your only option will be to sell the home…if it’s underwater, this will impact both you and your ex-girlfriend.

    I’m sorry.

  11. Krisin, LPMI has been really difficult with the home affordable refi. Do you know if your mortgage is owned by Fannie or Freddie?

    In late June, Fannie Mae’s Announcement 90-20 states: “Additionally, lender-paid primary mortgage insurance (already eligible for the manual Refi Plus option) will now be eligible for DU Refi Plus.”

    With that said, if Bank of America is stating they can’t do it…it could be a bank requirement. You might want to try speaking with a manager…good luck.

    This recent article from the Wall Street Journal also covers how difficult this program has been:

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