What You Need to Know about HARP 2.0: the Home Affordable Refinance Program


Yesterday, we received more details about the new and improved Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0) which is available for home owners who have a conventional mortgage that was securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June 1, 2009. (Securitized is different than your close date and takes place sometimes several weeks AFTER your loan has closed).  

I've written more information about HARP 2.0 here.  HARP 2.0 removes the loan to value cap of 125% and allows some transactions to take place without an appraisal. If your mortgage qualifies for this refinance program, it is well worth your time to obtain a rate quote to see if you can reduce your mortgage payment, shorten your term or fix your adjustable rate mortgage. If your home is anywhere in Washington State, I can help you with your home affordable (or any) refinance.

Here's what you need to know about HARP 2.0:

  • HARP 2.0 is effective for loan applications dated December 1, 2011 or later. Here's what you can do to prepare while you wait to apply for HARP 2.0.
  • For your primary residence, if you opt for a 20 year fixed term or shorter, there are no additional hit to fees (LLPA – risk based pricing). Should you select a 30 year fixed term, the "hit" to fee is limited to 0.75%.  Read more about Fannie Mae's LLPA's here.  What this means in a nut-shell is that HARP 2.0 will have lower rates than other conventional (non-harp) refis.  
  • Fixed rate mortgages will not have the 125% loan to value restriction (no maximum loan to value); however should you opt for an adjustable rate mortgage, the maximum loan to value will be 105%. [update: higher loan to values will be increased in phases for this program].
  • No mortgage lates are allowed during the last six months and only one late payment allowed during the last year (seven to twelve months ago).
  • YOU  DO  NOT  HAVE  TO  RETURN  TO  WHERE  YOU  MAKE  YOUR  CURRENT MORTGAGE  PAYMENT  TO  FOR  YOUR  NEW  HARP 2.0  REFINANCE.  …Yes, I'm shouting 🙂  If your home is located anywhere in Washington State, I can probably help you with your refinance. However…
  • Borrowers who currently have LPMI (lender paid mortgage insurance) need to return to their current mortgage servicer (who they make their mortgage payments to) for a HARP 2.0 refinance.
  • HARP is available for owner occupied, second or vacation homes and investment properties. It's okay if the occupancy type has changed from when you obtained your last mortgage. If your previous primary residence is now a rental, this is acceptable with HARP.
  • Condos should not require additional review as long as there is adequate insurance coverages in place for HARP 2.0.
  • HARP loan amounts are limited to current conforming loan limits and does not grandfather the previously higher "temporary" loan limits. The conforming loan limit in the greater Seattle area for a single family dwelling is $506,000 through 2012.
  • A Borrower may be removed from a HARP refinance (divorce, etc.) as long as they can document that the remaining borrower has been making the mortgage payments with their own funds the past 12 months. (This is not a new guideline). If the refinance's purpose is to "buy-out" the borrower, it will not qualify for a HARP refinance.
  • A few borrowers who previously refinanced using HARP may be able to refinance using HARP 2.0 (loans acquired by Fannie Mae between March 1, 2009 and May 31, 2009).
  • If you have a second mortgage or HELOC, the second lien holder still needs to approve the refinance and agree to be subordinated.

So now we wait for December 1st and for our wholesale lenders and banks to adopt Fannie and Freddie's revised HARP 2.0 guidelines. Here is what you can do to get ready before you apply on December 1, 2011.  We are preparing to accommodate your request for HARP 2.0 rate quotes and transactions – the more prepared you are will make your transaction progress more smoothly.

We are now accepting requests for HARP 2.0 rate quotes for homes located anywhere in Washington State. You are welcome to submit a rate quote request, which will be sent to you once the new HARP 2.0 rates are available (December 1, 2011 and later).

NOTE: For HARP 2.0, we are pleased to offer Fannie Mae DU Plus and Freddie Mac Open Access for Home Affordable refinances.

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