The Home Affordable Refinance Program

If you are having trouble paying your Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage, HARP might help you refinance and get a loan you can afford.

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is part of the federal government's Making Home Affordable initiative that began in 2009. Making Home Affordable's goal was to help homeowners stay in their houses and avoid foreclosure. Most programs under the Making Home Affordable program have already expired, but HARP is still going strong as of 2017.

HARP is the refinance option under the initiative. Under this program, you can get a lower interest rate, get a shorter loan term, or change from an adjustable to fixed-rate mortgage.

History of HARP

Although the HARP program was intended to significantly decrease the mortgage default rate and stabilize home prices, after two years it was clear that it was falling far short of expectations. Of the four million to five million homeowners the plan was supposed to help, only 900,000 borrowers successfully refinanced through the program. As a result, in November 2011 the federal government announced changes to HARP that loosened the eligibility requirements in the hopes of helping more homeowners. In 2013, more changes were made to the program, thereby increasing the pool of eligible borrowers.

To find an interactive map showing the general number of HARP-eligible homeowners as of 2017 by metropolitan area, county, or zip code, go to www.harp.gov and click on “Are You Eligible for HARP?” and then “View Eligibility Map.” You can also find a lot of good information about HARP on this website.

Eligibility for HARP

To qualify for a refinance under HARP, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. (If you’re not sure whether Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owns your mortgage, use the look-up tools at www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup and https://ww3.freddiemac.com/corporate.)
  • You are current on your mortgage, with no 30-day or more late payments in the last six months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.
  • The home is your primary residence, a one-unit second home, or a one- to four-unit investment property.
  • Your loan was originated on or before May 31, 2009.
  • Your current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%.

    Go to www.harp.gov to learn more.

    When Does HARP Expire?

    HARP is scheduled to last through December 31, 2018. To find out if you are eligible for HARP, call your mortgage servicer.

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