Last Updated on April 15, 2021 by Maggie Sutton
If you are an emergency medical services worker or a medical professional, we understand that you have committed your life to helping others. Whether you are a teacher, a firefighter, a member of the Armed Forces, or a police officer, we know that you chose your line of work because you want to save lives and make a difference. We want to help you as you help others.
If you own a house and you owe more than the house is worth, you may be eligible for HARP.
What is a HARP Loan?
HARP stands for Homeowners Assistance Refinance Program. It is a federal refinance program that allows homeowners who owe more on their loan than their house is worth to refinance. Refinancing your home is difficult when you don’t have enough equity in your house. Thankfully, Homes for Heroes Lending Specialists can work with you to refinance your mortgage at a lower interest rate. You can also refinance into a shorter loan term or change your adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed-rate loan.
Do Heroes Qualify?
We understand that you chose your career path for reasons other than money. We also know that because of your commitment to helping your community, that you could use financing help when it comes to your home. Qualifying for HARP means you have the opportunity to build equity in your home faster. The good news is that if you’ve shown yourself to be consistent in your previous payments, and have a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loan from May 31, 2009, or earlier, you may be eligible for HARP. You don’t even need a specific credit score.
If your loan-to-value ratio is higher or equal to 80 percent and you have very little to no delinquencies over the last 12 months, you may be eligible for HARP. Your house needs to be your primary residence, a single unit-second home, or a one-to-four unit rental property to qualify for refinancing through HARP.
Unfortunately, you are not qualified for HARP if you have a Fannie Mae loan that you have already refinanced between March and May of 2009.
How Do I Check My Eligibility?
If you qualify for HARP, there are steps you need to take to complete the process. Once you complete those steps, you’re on your way to refinancing your home.
Make Sure Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac Back Your Loan
Both companies have ways for you to check on the owner of your loan. For Freddie Mac, click here. For Fannie Mae, click here. If you can’t find your mortgage on either site, then you are not backed by either company and therefore, not eligible for HARP.
Check The Start Date on Your Loan
If you do have a loan with Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, then you need to determine if your loan is old enough to qualify. You need to make sure your lender finalized your loan before March of 2009. You can find out what the start date of your mortgage was on your closing paperwork.
Check the Status of Your Private Mortgage Insurance
Homes for Heroes will work with you to refinance with HARP regardless of whether you have Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), so worry not. Typically, whatever your PMI is with your original lender, your new Homes for Heroes Lending Specialist will give you the same level of coverage. There is also a chance that you have lender-paid mortgage insurance (LPMI), so make sure you know who is paying the mortgage insurance on your loan before moving forward.
You Have to Be Current In Your Payments
To qualify for HARP, you have to have made your last six mortgage payments on time and can only have one 30-day late payment within the past year. Your Homes for Heroes Lending Specialist will verify this information with a credit report, so if you aren’t sure, request a free credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com to go over it ahead of time.
If you find that you have had a late payment in the last twelve months, see how long it will take until that late payment is past a year. If your most recent late payment was 11 months ago, you could wait two more months before applying for HARP.
Get Your Paperwork In Order
HARP mortgages are underwritten just like every other kind of mortgage, so you will need to provide the required allotment of bank statements, homeowner’s insurance paperwork, W-2s, pay stubs, and your driver’s license. Having this paperwork ready for your lender when they ask for it is essential because we want to get you refinanced as quickly as possible.
What If I Don’t Qualify?
If you do not qualify for HARP, ask your lender why and start working on fixing those problems so that you can re-apply at a later date. Don’t give up. If your credit is bad, pull your credit report and start working towards making payments on time, to bring your score up higher. You want to make sure you can show that you are a responsible homeowner and will make your payments on time every time.
Are Rental Properties Eligible for HARP?
If you want to refinance your rental property through HARP, you can do that as long as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac back your mortgage and you meet the previously mentioned requirements.
How Can Homes for Heroes Help?
When you work with one of our Homes for Heroes affiliate lending specialists, you know you will get the most maximized discount available in your area. Not only can our affiliates help you get a better mortgage, but we also offer you reduced lending fees. If you are or were a firefighter, teacher, health care worker, law enforcement, emergency medical service provider, or military, you can sign up today, and an affiliate in your area will contact you within 24 hours. There is no obligation, just a specialist on the other end of the line who wants to help you save money.