A HARP For All Seasons

Back when I was in high school we used to joke about underwater basket weaving courses – classes that were fictitious yet represented something easy and fun.  Basically a guaranteed “A” as it were.

In 2011, there is nothing easy or fun about being underwater as it pertains to homeownership.   The fact that the problem persists is not due to lack of effort on the part of the government.  Each time a new acronym starts being used in our daily vernacular as Mortgage Bankers you are virtually guaranteed that this is the result of a new effort on the part of some Federal Agency.  First there was Hope for Homeowners.  Then there was HARP.  Then came the FHA underwater mortgage program.  And now?  We have HARP II.

HARP II is not yet official but we do know that there will be greater flexibility for consumers that are upside down in their mortgage.  Currently Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow refinances to be closed at up to 125% of the current value of the home.  It’s my understanding that this limit will be lifted altogether.

One of the other persistent issues involves consumers that have two mortgages or customers that have loans that are not guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  Mortgages that are not guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie cannot be paid off using the current HARP program.  I don’t anticipate this will be changed with the new version.

If you or someone you know would like to see if your mortgage is guaranteed by Fannie Mae, click here.  For Freddie Mac, click here.

Further details are being released in the next couple weeks.  Let’s hope that a few more consumers can take advantage of this program.  And let’s hope it’s easy for all of us.


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