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Home Affordable Refinance Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I know if I'm eligible for HARP?
  2. How do I find out if Freddie Mac owns my loan?
  3. How do I find out if my lender offers HARP?
  4. I tried to refinance through HARP when the program was first introduced, but I owed more than 105% of the value of my home. Should I try again?
  5. If I owe more than my house is worth and don’t have the money to pay my loan balance down, can I still refinance through HARP?
  6. It is very time consuming to pull together all the paperwork to refinance. Do I need the same amount of paperwork to refinance under HARP?
  7. I’ve had my loan for seven years and don’t want to start all over again with a 30-year mortgage. Can I refinance into a shorter term loan?
  8. Is there a benefit for homeowners to shorten the terms of their mortgage?
  9. Can I refinance under HARP if my property isn’t my primary residence?
  10. I live in a condominium. Can I refinance under HARP?
  11. Freddie Mac's guidelines indicate that I should be eligible for HARP, but my lender said I am not. Why?
  12. My loan was previously modified, can I still refinance under HARP
  13. Will refinancing through HARP reduce the principal amount that I owe on my loan?
  14. Is HARP the only refinance program available? What if I am not eligible?
  15. Are offers from companies promising to help me get a HARP loan legitimate?

 

  1. How do I know if I'm eligible for HARP?

    In general, you must meet the following criteria to be eligible for HARP through Freddie Mac:

    • Your mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac. Visit our secure Loan Look-up Tool to see if Freddie Mac owns your loan.
    • The note date on your mortgage must be on or before May 31, 2009. If Freddie Mac does own your mortgage, the Loan Look-up Tool will tell you this date if you are unsure.
    • You must be current on the mortgage at the time of the refinance, with no 30-day+ late payments in the last six months and no more than one in the past 12 months.

    Visit our interactive tool to see if you may be eligible for HARP.

    It is important that you reach out to your lender to discuss your eligibility for the program. In addition to Freddie Mac’s HARP requirements, lenders participating in the program may have additional requirements that you must meet in order to be eligible.

  2. How do I find out if Freddie Mac owns my loan?

    We have a secure Loan Look-up Tool to help you quickly determine if Freddie Mac owns your loan. After entering basic information (e.g. name, address) into the tool, you will receive an immediate response indicating whether or not Freddie Mac owns your mortgage. If Freddie Mac does own your mortgage, it will also tell you the note date on your mortgage to help you better determine your potential eligibility for HARP. We recommend that you print this page and keep it for your records.

  3. How do I find out if my lender offers HARP?

    We encourage you to call your lender as soon as possible and ask them if they participate in HARP.  For your convenience, we provide contact information for many lenders that work with their existing borrowers on HARP. If your lender is not listed here, it doesn’t mean they don’t offer HARP – reach out to them using the contact information on your mortgage statement.

    If your existing lender does not offer HARP, there are other lenders that you can contact. Review our list of additional participating HARP lenders to find a lender in your area that can discuss your options and eligibility with you.

  4. I tried to refinance through HARP when the program was first introduced, but I owed more than 105% of the value of my home. Should I try again?

    Yes.  HARP has been enhanced several times since the program was first introduced in 2009.  Now, HARP allows borrowers who owe significantly more than their house is worth to refinance and take advantage of today’s low interest rates.

  5. If I owe more than my house is worth and don’t have the money to pay my loan balance down, can I still refinance through HARP?

    Yes.  HARP allows you to refinance even if you owe more than your house is worth, eliminating your concern about paying down your loan balance in order to qualify.  If you refinance under HARP and your new loan is a fixed-rate mortgage, there is no maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio.*   If you refinance under HARP and your new loan is an adjustable rate mortgage, your LTV may not be above 105%. To calculate your LTV, divide the outstanding mortgage balance by the approximate value of your home.

  6. It is very time consuming to pull together all the paperwork to refinance. Do I need the same amount of paperwork to refinance under HARP?

    HARP offers two refinance options that require different levels of documentation:

    • Refinancing through your existing lender if they offer the program. Your existing lender is the company to which you send your monthly mortgage payments. Since your existing lender already has the necessary files and documentation, there are fewer requalification steps unless your principal and interest payment goes up more than 20 percent.
    • Refinancing through a different participating lender. If your existing lender does not offer HARP or you choose to work with a different lender, more documentation and information will be required. Because a different lender will not have the documentation from your existing mortgage, they will need to requalify and re-underwrite your new loan.
  7. I’ve had my loan for seven years and don’t want to start all over again with a 30-year mortgage. Can I refinance into a shorter term loan?

    Freddie Mac allows you to refinance into fixed rate mortgages with terms anywhere from 10 years to 30 years. Check with your lender to see if they offer shorter terms and ask about refinancing into a 23 year or any other term mortgage.

  8. Is there a benefit for homeowners to shorten the terms of their mortgage?

    A shorter-term mortgage enables you to pay down the amount you owe much faster than a traditional 30-year mortgage. Furthermore, interest rates on shorter term mortgages usually are less than on 30-year mortgages. The lower interest rate may allow you to shorten the term of your mortgage without much change in your monthly payment and you will pay less interest over the life of the loan.

  9. Can I refinance under HARP if my property isn’t my primary residence?

    Yes.  In addition to primary residences, HARP allows you to refinance even if your property is an investment property or second home.

  10. I live in a condominium. Can I refinance under HARP?

    Yes, HARP allows mortgages on condominiums to be refinanced.

  11. Freddie Mac's guidelines indicate that I should be eligible for HARP, but my lender said I am not. Why?

    Freddie Mac purchases mortgages that meet our requirements from banks and other lending institutions. Lenders may have their own requirements that are in addition to Freddie Mac’s HARP guidelines. Because these requirements vary from lender to lender, we are unable to assess a borrower's eligibility for HARP from any specific lender.

  12. My loan was previously modified, can I still refinance under HARP?

    You may be able to refinance with HARP as long as your original loan meets the basic eligibility requirements outlined in Question #1 above.  It is best to speak with your lender directly so they can ensure you meet the other eligibility requirements for HARP.

  13. Will refinancing through HARP reduce the principal amount that I owe on my loan?

    No. HARP is designed to help borrowers get into more affordable loans, but will not reduce the principal amount you owe on your mortgage. However, refinancing through HARP or another refinance option can benefit you with a new loan that has more favorable terms such as a lower interest rate that will save you money by reducing your monthly payment and the amount of interest that you pay over the life of the loan.

  14. Is HARP the only refinance program available? What if I am not eligible?

    HARP is only one of several refinancing options that may be available to you. HARP is unique because it enables homeowners with little to no equity in their homes to take advantage of today’s low interest rates and other refinancing benefits. If you find that you are not eligible for HARP, we encourage you to contact your existing lender or another lender in your area to explore other refinancing options that meet your specific needs. Also, visit the Making Home Affordable website to learn more about options that can assist you if you are struggling to make your mortgage payments.

  15. Are offers from companies promising to help me get a HARP loan legitimate?

    Many borrowers have become wary of the multiple solicitations they receive to refinance their mortgage.  Legitimate offers often have specific information identifying your current mortgage, including the loan number your mortgage servicer uses with your mortgage – which is printed on your statement. For example, Freddie Mac has developed an information sheet that lenders can use in their solicitations to help explain some of the benefits HARP has to offer.  Lenders may use this or something similar when reaching out to you.

    • If you are unsure if an offer is legitimate, we recommend you call your lender before responding to third-party companies that advertise themselves as "mortgage experts" or "foreclosure specialists" to apply for a HARP loan. 
    • If you suspect a scam at any time, report it immediately by calling 888-995-HOPE (4673).

* The interest on any portion of your loan that is greater than the fair market value of your property is not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. Please consult your tax advisor for more information.

 

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