Home > Mortgages > Home Affordable Refinance Program Extended

Comments 5 Comments

Houses_Kevin_Law_CCFlickrI wrote previously about the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), one of the best kept secrets for homeowners who want to take advantage of low mortgage rates, but who don’t have a lot of equity in their homes.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHA) has announced the program will be extended through June 30, 2012.

HARP allows a homeowner who has suffered from a decline in home prices to refinance their mortgage into a more affordable, fixed-rate loan. This is not a government loan, however. Loans for principal residences, second homes and investment properties are available, and there is generally no minimum credit score requirement.

[Related: Making Home Affordable Programs Offer Help for Homeowners]

In addition, FHA announced a change that allows homeowners whose mortgages were acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before June 1, 2009 to participate. (Previously the cut-off date was March 1, 2009). This means homeowners who may have previously been told they are not eligible may in fact be able to use HARP to refinance.

The program has been criticized for falling short of the goals set for it. Could it be because hardly anyone knows about it? Since my first article about it ran, I’ve heard from borrowers who had no idea the program existed.

Fortunately, I’ve also heard from some who are taking advantage of HARP to refinance their mortgages. One borrower, “Jessica,” told me she was able to use it to lower her monthly payment by about $300 even though her credit scores aren’t terribly strong. In fact, when she first learned about the program, she thought it was a scam because it sounded too good to be true.

If you’ve tried to refinance your mortgage but have been turned down because you don’t have enough equity, or if you have been told you must pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI), you may want to find out whether you qualify for HARP. A free evaluation is available at YouCanRefi.com or you can talk with any Fannie or Freddie- approved lender who participates in HARP. Unfortunately, not that many do.

[Featured product: Shop for prepaid debit cards]

Image: Keven Law

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Beverly Cornish

    I would like to know if you are able to get your loan refinanced if the lender is in the process of trying to foreclosed on your home?

    • http://www.credit.com Gerri


      I don’t have any easy answers for you. However, if you have not already talked with a bankruptcy attorney, that would be my first suggestion. The attorney may be able to help you use bankruptcy to catch up on your home loan payments, and even in conjunction with a loan modification. Visit nacba.org to locate a consumer bankruptcy attorney in your area.

  • Abhi

    Do you guys really think Obama’s plan will work? This guy has an interesting outlook on it: http://www.benzinga.com/node/2011587/

  • Chad

    Hi Gerri,
    Do you have any idea if the HARP program will be extended again, and in particular, the mortgage acquisition date cutoff? I closed on my home July 1, 2009, so I’m sort of in no-man’s land insofar as the program goes.
    Thank you!

    • Gerri Detweiler


      HARP 2 has been launched, but it has the same cut-off date that you are referencing so I doubt that will change anytime soon. Is your loan owned by Ally/GMAC, Wells Fargo, Chase, Citibank or Bank of America? If so perhaps you will qualify for assistance under the national mortgage settlement.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team