The Harmonica Gems Harp Blog | The In’s and Out’s of Harp 2.0
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14 Nov The In’s and Out’s of Harp 2.0

What You Don’t Know About HARP 2.0

Earlier this year, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced a plan to “market” the Home Affordable Refinance Plan to the public more aggressively. Like many others, the groups believe that HARP-eligible homeowners are either unaware of the program, its benefits, or both.
Here are some of the common HARP misconceptions.

I can’t refinance with HARP if I have a second mortgage.
Yes, you can refinance with HARP if you have a second mortgage. However, in accordance with HARP guidelines, you cannot combine your two mortgages in a cash-out refinance.
To refinance your first mortgage via HARP, but leave your second mortgage unchanged, your second mortgage lender will agree to subordinate its mortgage, which is a fancy way of saying that second mortgage lender will give permission for you to replace the existing first lien on title.

I have no equity in my home so I can’t refinance with HARP.
Yes, you can refinance your home via HARP if you have no equity. That’s exactly the premise of the program! Via HARP 2.0, homeowners can refinance no matter how far underwater they are with their mortgage. This is among the reasons why the HARP refinance has been so popular in Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; and other hard-hit areas. HARP is the “underwater mortgage program” — of course you can use it when you have no home equity.

I was already turned down for HARP. I won’t get approved if I apply for HARP again.
Even if you’ve been turned down for HARP, it would make sense to apply for HARP again. This is because HARP-approved lenders often use in-house variations of the official HARP guidelines and those variations are different between banks. You may be approved for a loan for a loan

I can’t refinance my home via HARP because it’s not my primary residence.
HARP 2.0 can be used to refinance homes of any occupancy type. Investment properties can be refinanced via HARP, and so can second homes and vacation properties. HARP can be used in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories.

I can’t use HARP because my lender doesn’t offer it.
Not all lenders offer The Home Affordable Refinance Program; this is true. However, U.S. homeowners are free to refinance with any HARP-approved lender. This freedom was among the improvements of HARP 2.0. There are thousands of lenders making HARP 2.0 mortgages. You can get mortgage rates for a HARP loan here.

I can’t use HARP because I am not behind on my mortgage payments.
The HARP refinance program is not meant for homeowners who are behind or delinquent with their mortgage payments. HARP can only be used for homeowners who are current. The HARP program is not meant to save a person’s home from foreclosure. Homeowners facing difficulty with payment should contact their loan serviced immediately.

I can’t use HARP because my loan has mortgage insurance.
You can use HARP 2.0 for loans with existing private mortgage insurance (PMI). This is a change from HARP 1.0 and applies to loans with both borrower-paid mortgage insurance (BPMI) and lender-paid mortgage insurance (LPMI). However, it can be difficult to find banks to offer a PMI program. If you try to refinance your loan with PMI and you are turned down by a lender, apply again somewhere else. You may get a better outcome.

Are You HARP 2.0-Eligible But Don’t Know It?
There are an estimated remaining 4-plus million households nationwide who could refinance via HARP, but haven’t. Some of these 4 million households are unaware that HARP 2.0 exists. Others are unaware that they’d qualify.

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