harp loan guide

HARP Loan Guide

Loan Type: HARP Home Loan

Specific Uses: Refinance, Lower Monthly Payments, Lower Interest Rate, Reduce Term Length, Lower closing costs.


What is a HARP Refinance?

HARP stands for the Home Affordable Refinance Program. This program was created to assist Homeowners that might have been affected back in 2008. The HARP Program allows Homeowners that have had their home loan since May 31st 2009 and that is held by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae to refinance with less stringent guidelines. The program is designed for just rate and term refinancing. No cash out is allowed. It is a great way to lower your interest rate, save money monthly and reduce the mortgage term. Ask your bank or lender if you qualify for the HARP refinance, it is set to expire at the end of 2016.


HARP Home Loan Summary:

HARP Refinance is geared to assist homeowners that have made their payments on time but may have been put in a tough mortgage position in the past. This program allows homeowners to get a new home loan with better terms. Many times this program allows the homeowner(s) to waive the appraisal, low closing costs, fast closing times, no specified income requirements, no minimum credit scores (cannot be currently delinquent on mortgage). This is not a Modification Program. There is a similar Modification Program called HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program). HARP and HAMP are not the same. HARP is refinance, HAMP is Modification.


Use these links to check and see if your Home Loan is held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac:

Fannie Mae Search:


Freddie Mac Search:


Even if it shows that it is not held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, contact your bank or lender if you are interested in pursuing this mortgage program.


HARP Loan Guidelines:

  • DTI: (Debt-to-Income) Ratio must not exceed: No Max%
  • Max Loan Amount: This depends on the county and its Loan Limits (Usually $417k)
  • Income: Not required, but must verify there is a monthly income.
  • Min Credit Score: None (depending on Lender)
  • Max LTV: (Loan-to-Value) on an HARP Home Loan % is unlimited depending on lender.
  • Max CLTV: (Combined Loan-to-Value) Is allowed. Any second mortgage must be Subordinated.
  • Collections: Any Collections must be paid or have made payment arrangements prior to closing.
  • Cash Out Max: There is no Cash Out option. Rate and Term Refinance only.
  • Down Payment: N/A – Only Refinance
  • Missed a Payment? Only one 30 Day Mortgage Late Payments allowed in the last 12 months.


HARP Home Loan Facts:

  • HARP Loan Interest Rates are about the same as Conventional Home Loan rates.
  • Lower Closing Cost refinance.
  • Many people benefit greatly from HARP.
  • If there is no Mortgage Insurance on your payment now, it will not be added with a HARP refinance.
  • HARP Loans can require Mortgage Insurance.
  • HARP Loans must be held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
  • HARP Loans do not cover Manufactured Homes. (Depends on whether Lender will cover)
  • No Appraisal may be required on a true HARP Home Loan.
  • No Minimum FICO (Credit Score) Required. Depending on the Lender HARP guidelines.


**HARP is a Loan Program designed to allow you to qualify better for future mortgages while simultaneously providing better mortgage terms for the time being. This program is set to expire by the end of 2016 unless it is extended.**



There is still much more information about HARP Home Loans. Reach out to your bank or lender for more specifics on what you can qualify for.


As we like to say here at HC:   Ask. Learn. Save.

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