HARP – Help for Underwater Homeowners

Underwater? We Can Help

Harp 2.0 is a federal government program designed to help millions of underwater or near-underwater homeowners refinance into a fixed loan with a lower monthly payment. There are some key eligibility requirements to this program that need to be reviewed as this program hits full stride on March 17, 2012:

• Only loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are eligible. Underwater borrowers who have FHA, VA or other types of mortgages are not. Both companies’ websites —http://www.fanniemae.com and http://www.freddiemac.com — offer “look up” features that tell you whether they own your loan.

• Your mortgage must have been purchased or securitized by either agency no later than May 31, 2009, and must have an LTV ratio in excess of 80%.

• You must be current on your loan with no 30-day late payments during the six months preceding application and no more than one late payment during the last 12 months.

It must be noted that not all mortgage lenders are participating in this program.

Inlanta Mortgage COO, Jean Badciong stated that, “Inlanta Mortgage is proud to offer the HARP 2.0 program. This program is aimed at helping homeowners who have persevered through the economic downturn – yet still fell victim to plummeting home values and were not able to take advantage of historically low rates before now.”

By month’s end, most mortgage lenders are expected to “have their HARP 2.0 operations fully up and running,” said HUD Secretary Secretary Shaun Donovan in a February 28th Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs. Inlanta Mortgage is definitely among this group.

If you are interested in finding out if the HARP 2.0 program is right for you, please contact a licensed mortgage loan officer near you for more information.

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016.


Are We There Yet? Mortgage Rates and Other Good News

Mortgage Loan Rates – Record Lows!

According to Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year fixed loan decreased to 3.89 percent from 3.91 percent, in the week ending today. This mortgage rate is the lowest in records dating to back 1971. The average 15-year rate dropped to 3.16 percent from 3.23 percent.

There has been no better time to refinance or purchase a home. Click here to find a licensed mortgage loan officer near you. Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Click here for more information on Inlanta Mortgage loan programs.

The Good News Doesn’t End with Record Low Mortgage Rates

According to Commerce Department figures released Dec. 23rd, new-home sales jumped to a seven-month high in November. According to a Fannie Mae forecast, new home sales will improve in 2012.  Who’s Fannie Mae?

Sales of existing homes rose in November to a ten-month high, according to the National Association of Realtors. According Fannie Mae’s Douglas Duncan and Orawin Velz, sales of new and existing homes are expected to increase by 3.5% and housing starts are projected to rise by 16 percent – giving our economy a long overdue (though modest) boost.

Home-loan applications climbed 4.5 percent as of January 6th, according to a Mortgage Bankers Association index. The Mortgage Bankers Associations’ measure of purchases rose 8.1 percent from a three-month low, while its refinancing index increased 3.3 percent.

And finally…more good news….The U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.5 percent in December. This is the lowest reported unemployment rate since February 2009, according to the Labor Department.

Is consumer confidence on the rise? Is the U.S. headed for a recovery? Let’s stay optimistic as we head into the weekend – and hope that these recent tidbits of good news are an indicator of things to come!

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016.

Inlanta Mortgage is not acting on behalf of or at the direction of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the National Association of Realtors, or Mortgage Bankers Association.





HARP 2.0 Questions & Answers

Underwater Homes

In a previous blog post, we discussed the White House’s recently announced revisions to the Home Affordable Refinance Program – also known as HARP. To further clarify HARP we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers about this program.

Q: What is HARP?

A: HARP stands for the Home Affordable Refinance Program.  HARP was rolled out in 2009 to help borrowers who were current on their mortgage payments, had loans backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and wanted to refinance but didn’t have enough equity in their homes to do so because the value of the home had declined.

The HARP program is designed to help qualifying homeowners refinance into a new mortgage at current (lower) interest rates.  A HARP loan is a new loan, not a modification of your current loan.

Q: What is HARP 2.0?

A: Several changes have been made to the program to help more homeowners qualify for the refinance opportunity and help lenders manage the refinance process more efficiently. The program is intended for homeowners who are “underwater” – meaning their LTV (Loan-To-Value) is more than 100%.  That means the amount of your current mortgage is MORE than the value of your home, and you may be eligible to explore refinancing your home under HARP.

Example:  You owe $130,000 on your mortgage (this is your Loan Amount) Yet the value of your home is $100,000 (this is the current value of your home) Your LTV is $130% (you owe $30,000 more than your home is currently worth).

Q: How do I know if my loan qualifies for the HARP program?

A: There are some basic guidelines to qualifying for HARP:

• You must have originated your loan before May 31, 2009
• Your loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
• You must be current on your mortgage payments, and have not made a payment more than 30 days late during the past year
• You must demonstrate the ability to continue making payments on the loan (demonstrate that you have a job or other consistent source of income)
• You must owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth (see LTV definition above)
• A refinance must help the affordability or stability of the loan (this means the refinance must make the loan either more affordable, or make the payments more consistent over time

Q: If I have already refinanced under HARP, can I refinance under the program again to take advantage of even lower interest rates?

A: Unfortunately, no.  Once you have refinanced your home under HARP, you will not have another chance to refinance under the program.

Q: How much will it cost to refinance under HARP?

While the costs to refinance have changed under the new HARP guidelines, each borrower is different and you will need to contact an Inlanta Mortgage loan officer to get specific information about your situation. To request a no obligation free consultation with a licensed Inlanta Mortgage loan officer click here.

Q: What kind of loan can I refinance into?
A: You must be prepared to refinance into a 30-year fixed rate loan.

Q: When can I apply for refinancing under the HARP program?
A: Final information and details are expected to be announced in mid-November and some servicers expect to begin accepting applications under the new HARP program in early December.  You should check with your Inlanta Mortgage loan officer in November to find out more specifics.  The deadline to apply for HARP has been extended through 2013

Q: Are second homes eligible for HARP?
A: No. The HARP program is only available for your primary residence.

Q: What if I have a second mortgage on my home?
A: Borrowers with a second mortgage (example:  A Home Equity Loan or a balance on their Home Equity Line of Credit) may be able to participate in HARP, your Inlanta Mortgage loan officer should be able to help you determine if your second mortgage owner will agree to “re-subordinate” that loan before you can refinance the first mortgage.

Q: How do I know if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac own or guarantee my loan?
A: You can use the links below to help determine if Freddie or Fannie own or guarantee your loan.

Q: Who can help me with a HARP Loan?
A: Please contact us for more Information about refinancing with a HARP loan.

Although program details have yet to be announced, Inlanta Mortgage loan officers are anxiously awaiting forthcoming announcements that will help them better serve you.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have adopted changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and you may be eligible to take advantage of these changes. If your mortgage is owned or guaranteed by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, you may be eligible to refinance your mortgage under the enhanced and expanded provisions of HARP. You can determine whether your mortgage is owned by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae by checking the following websites: www.freddiemac.com/mymortgage or http://www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup/.

To find an Inlanta Mortgage loan officer near you, click here.

Underwater & Overwhelmed?

If you have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed loan and have little to no equity you may still qualify to refinance at today’s low interest rates according to a recently announced initiative from the White House.  Is it possible that there is help on the horizon for the more than 10 million homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages?

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) was create in 2009 to assist almost five million homeowners refinance their loans and avoid foreclosure  – yet only 822,000 homeowners have benefited so far.  This begs the questions….If it didn’t help that many people in 2009 – why should it work now?

Today’s announcement by the White House detailed some major changes to the HARP.  Here’s a few:

  • No More Cap on Underwater Amount – any borrower, no matter how deep underwater, will be eligible for HARP.
  • Lowered Costs to Refi – Elimination of certain risk based fees Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac charged for refinancing and reductions in number of homeowners who need an appraisal, and reduced costs of title insurance should help to reduce cost associated with refinancing.
  • Insurance Coverage to be Transferred to New Loan – major mortgage insurers have agreed to automatically transfer coverage from old loans to new loans

The deadline for the HARP program has been extended to December 2013. The Obama Administration is optimistic that addressing these key issues will help many more homeowners to refinance and save as much a $2,500 a year. To view the formal press release issued by the Federal Housing Financing Agency on the HARP program click here.

To speak with a licensed mortgage loan officer and to find out if these major changes to HARP can help you refinance call 877-326-LOAN, visit us on the web at Inlanta.com or click here to find a branch near you.


Rates Keep Dropping…but for How Long?

According to Freddie Mac, rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.15 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Aug. 18, down from 4.32 percent last week and a 2011 high of 5.05 percent in February.

These are new historical lows for 30-year fixed rate loans not seen since the week of November 11,  2010 when 30-year fixed-rate mortgages hit 4.17 percent. Rates on 15-year fixed rate loans haven’t been this low since 1991.

All these rate drops and the Mortgage Banker’s Association says that the demand for mortgages are down 13.5% from a year ago. Refinancing applications accounted for nearly 8 of 10 loan requests and up 8% from last week.  Some lenders are having a hard time keeping up with the refinancing boom – but not Inlanta Mortgage. Consult a licensed mortgage loan professional to discuss if refinancing is an the right option for you.

Mortgage Rates Fall – Refinancing on the Rise, Homes More Affordable

Many homeowners are taking advantage of record low mortgage rates. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, refinance application volume has increased by 63% over the past month – up 21.7% from last week. If you own a home, have a good job, and can qualify for a mortgage – refinancing has the potential to reduce the amount you pay in interest over the life of your loan, reduce you monthly mortgage payments, and whittle down your principal mortgage balance faster. Obviously not every homeowner is in the same boat – so our licensed professional mortgage loan officers are ready to help you determine if you are in a good position to refinance.

S & P’s downgrade of the U.S.’s credit rating, the subsequent drop in stock market values, and European debt concerns have contributed to record low mortgage rates. Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of conforming interest rates lists 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates at 4.32% for the week ending August 11th (today).  According to the National Association of Realtors affordability index – homes have never been more affordable than any other time since the group began keeping track.

Refinance? New Purchase? For more information, contact an Inlanta Mortgage Loan Officer here or locate a branch near you here.

Mortgage Rates are Historically Low!

Fifteen-year fixed rate mortgages and five-year adjustable rate mortgages hit record lows this week due to speculation that the U.S. economy is weaker than previously thought.

According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates are averaging 3.54 percent compared to 3.66 percent last week and 3.95 percent one year ago. Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.18 percent, down from 3.25 percent last week and 3.63 percent a year ago. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages also fell, averaging 4.39 percent, their lowest level for 2011.

Many people aren’t taking advantage of low rates because they fear they will not qualify as a result of stricter financing requirements. Other people feel that prices have yet to bottom out. If you are considering a mortgage, it may be best to consult a professional mortgage loan officer to see what the scoop really is. Every person’s situation is unique and there are many mortgage loan products. A professional can help you discover what options are best suited to your needs.

Consult a qualified mortgage loan officer for more details on mortgage loans and rates. Rates are subject to change at any time.  To speak with an Inlanta Mortgage Loan Officer contact us here.

Refinance Process

A happy Inlanta Mortgage customer after a successful loan refinance process:

“A hearty commendation to all of you who worked on my refinance processing. I am impressed by your service on my loan process and will recommend Inlanta Mortgage to anyone I know who needs a loan. You have all worked very hard with me through the ups and downs of the process. I want you to know we appreciate the great effort. Thanks for helping me get the year off to a good start.”