Honestly, I have no idea.
Let that sink in for a second. Because I’m serious.
Oh sure, I know HARP is the federal government’s program to help underwater home owners refinance. But I have no idea why everyone is talking about it now. I blame football season.
Fortunately for you (and admittedly, me) I knew who to ask about this mystery. Shanna Wroten-Tucker of Benchmark Mortgage here in Boise.
HARP Q and A
Q: Why all the talk about HARP now? Hasn’t it been around since 2009?
A: It has. But the program wasn’t really helping the way people thought or hoped it would when it was introduced. So last month the Obama Administration announced they were going to give out new guidelines that would help more home owners be able to refinance at today’s low interest rates.
Q: That sounds like a good thing. Who can qualify to re-finance under HARP?
A: It could be a good thing for sure! HARP is only targeted at home owners who have mortgages that are owned (or are otherwise guaranteed) by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. And those loans had to be sold to Fannie or Freddie before May 31st, 2009.
Q: Is there an easy way I can find out if my loan qualifies?
A: Shockingly there is! Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have setup websites where you can check your loan.
Q: What restrictions are there on HARP?
A: Well, truthfully, we don’t know the whole story yet. November 15th is the day we should hear the full story. What we do know is that it’ll only open to home owners who have had NO late payments in the last 6 months and not more than 1 in the last 12 months.
Q: So what should I do if I’m interested in this program and want to learn more?
A: The best thing to do would be to contact a Mortgage Professional and we can help you through the process. It really could be a good deal for certain home owners who want to stay in their home but take advantage of these really low rates we have right now.
The Wrap Up
The new program sounds like it could be a great program for home owners who want to refinance their existing mortgage. It also sounds like there are still a few unknowns. But don’t hesitate to contact me–or even better, contact Shanna, and get the ball rolling from there!