There is currently a little-known government program called the Home Affordable Refinance Plan (HARP program) that could benefit millions of Americans and reduce their monthly payments by as much as $4,264 each year. Of course, the banks aren’t too thrilled about losing all that profit. You can bet that they secretly hope homeowners don’t find out before time runs out on this brilliant program later in 2015.
While the banks bide their time and wait for this program to end, the government is making a final push and urging homeowners to take advantage. The program is set to expire this year; but the good news is that once you’re in, you’re in for life. If lowering your payments, paying off your mortgage faster, and even taking some cash out with your accrued equity would help you, it is vital that you act now.
Close to a million homeowners could still benefit today. Sadly, however, many perceive the HARP program as something too good to qualify for. Actually, HARP is a no-cost government program that was designed to be very easy to sign up for. It is absolutely FREE to see if you qualify.
To help homeowners get through the recession beginning in 2008, the government created the HARP program to give middle class homeowners the opportunity to reduce their mortgage payments. Even homeowners who are underwater, or owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth, can refinance to a lower rate.
Certain requirements such as minimum credit scores and equity requirements have also been relaxed to help homeowners and make it easier to qualify. Of course, the banks did not advertise this program out of self interest; so homeowners were not made aware of this amazing refinance opportunity by the very institutions that were in a position to help them the most. Luckily, there is still time to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity before it slips away. Why are homeowners missing out?
According to a recent survey by Fannie Mae, 50% of homeowners have not refinanced their mortgage in the past 3 years. Oddly, this is during a time when mortgage rates have been dropped to all-time lows. One of the common reasons being cited by homeowners is that they believe they would not qualify for a refinance. This could not be farther from the truth. The good news is that if your mortgage is less than $625,000, your chances of qualifying and taking advantage of the HARP program could be high. In other words, if your re-fi loan would be a conventional size loan and not a jumbo, then you have cleared one qualification hurdle already.
The HARP program is one of the best opportunities to reduce your monthly mortgage payments. Jumping on this specially designed benefit for the middle class is a no-brainer. Even if you have applied to refinance before and been turned down, it is still worth a second look and reapplying under HARP. Home values have only continued to increase steadily since 2009, with most homes at or above their pre-recession values now. Your increased equity may now allow you to qualify for these amazingly low rates.
Cash up front, and more money at the end of the month: Who doesn’t want that?
To find out if you qualify for the HARP Program please visit the HARP Eligibility website.
Update: It was recently announced that the HARP Program has been extended through December 31, 2016. For more information on the HARP extension, please check out the article by Dan Green at The Mortgage Reports: Government Extends HARP Refi Program, Effective Immediately
Update: Recently, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that the HARP Refinance Program has been extended through the end of 2018.