HARP 2 Condo Financing Trouble

by Jen from Colorado, Laura from Naples, Florida, Norris from Clearwater, Florida, and Patricia from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Ask Kate about HARP 2.0 condo financing trouble: We are in the process of trying to refinance our condominium which is our primary residence, under the Harp program. Our mortgage broker said that he has hit a snag because our address with Bank of America (our current lender) does not match the address on file with Fannie Mae.



Jen continues... Our condo's unit number is missing in FM's records.

Our broker told us that we have to get someone from BOA to contact Fannie Mae to correct this problem. He said, with his experience, this can be painstaking and could take a long time, if it happens at all. In the meantime, our loan is not sell-able with this FM address mismatch.

We would refi directly with BOA but they are offering a relatively high interest rate compared with our good faith estimate from our broker - 4.1% vs 3.75%.

We are great candidates for HARP and would love to get this refinance underway. We are also great candidates for a regular refi, but over 10% of our condo complex is owned by a single owner. (There are only 18 units in the complex and one owner owns 2 units!)

What should we do? Can I call Fannie directly? Do you have any advice in getting this change to happen quickly? Any advice you can give would be really helpful.

Kate Answers: HARP 2.0 Condo Financing Trouble

Ask Kate at Get-Your-Best-Mortgage-Rate.com
Dear Jen,

I doubt it offers little cheer but other homeowners of condominiums are reporting similar problems.

In a few cases, the street name is so lengthy, there is no available room to include the entire unit number. For others, it's a data-entry problem. Either scenario could be the culprit in your case.

Ask BOA to Help with Condo Address Correction

Regardless though of the reason, what should you do? First, make sure that the error is not a simple one. Call Bank of America and ask if they can see any words or symbols such as #, Unit, Apt., or No. before the actual unit number when they are verifying that your mortgage is backed by FNMA.

(The actual unit number should not be preceded by any symbol or word.)

Then take the opportunity to further enlist their help by asking for their contact name at Fannie Mae to streamline your next call. Yes, it's a long-shot but you don't have anything to lose by asking.

3 Ways to Contact Fannie Mae Mortgage Help Centers

If the bank won't lend a hand, call the free Fannie Mae Mortgage Help Center to make an appointment to speak with one of the FNMA housing advisors. They also provide in-person assistance. Unfortunately, there are no physical FNMA Mortgage Help Centers in Colorado. So assuming you'll need to have a phone conversation, call 1-800-7FANNIE.

Fannie Mae Mortgage Help Center Locations

Homeowners with Fannie Mae mortgages can meet face-to-face with a FNMA housing advisor. Their physical centers are found in Atlanta, Capital Area, Chicago, Dallas - Ft. Worth, Inland Empire, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Inland Empire, Miami, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, Saint Louis, and Tampa. Make a personal appointment to meet with an advisor by calling Fannie Mae at 1-800-7FANNIE.

Besides using the toll-free phone number or making an in-person appointment, a third way to get help is to fill out the online form found at Fannie Mae Loan Lookup. I suggest you attempt this to verify the incorrect address. If you also discover the foul-up, you will need to call FNMA directly.

Again, that phone number for a Fannie advisor is 1-800-7FANNIE.

Be prepared with a 3rd party verification of your address such as your title report that came in your closing documents when you got the mortgage. Ask Fannie how long it will take to correct their official records.

Most importantly, ask if they will provide you with a temporary document that verifies your home loan is owned by Fannie Mae so you can begin the refinance process and lock in your interest rate with your broker.

Good luck and best wishes,

Ask Kate

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Comments for HARP 2 Condo Financing Trouble.

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changing address with Fannie
by: Jennifer

Thanks for you advice in contacting Fannie Mae. Unfortunately, they are very adamant that they cannot change the address without the lender changing it in their SURF system.

I tried to make a phone appointment with a counselor - she was not helpful and did not know what I was talking about.

I had to speak with someone else at Fannie to get any information. The man said that there is nothing I can do, and that BOA has to change the address in this "SURF" system.

After a lot of run around with BOA, I finally (supposedly) got them to add our condo number in the SURF system. Unfortunately, I will not know if it has been done correctly until Oct 1st - the deadline for the next month was Sept 12th, and we changed it on the 12th.

Ugh - why are we paying the price for an obvious oversight on Fannie Mae's part?

Hi Jennifer, Kate here. I'm so sorry to hear of your continued difficulties. It makes me cringe. You were very thorough. I wish it could have yielded a more satisfactory outcome.

I encourage you to jot down the problems Fannie Mae has created and the unwillingness of the bank and FNMA to help. Send the correspondence to your reps in the government.

The noise coming out of DC regarding underwater mortgages is getting louder as the two parties prepare for presidential elections. Seems to me the only party not getting attention is the actual homeowner. Washington DC needs to be reminded that homeownership is the backbone of our country and contributes greatly to the strength of our economy.

Best wishes for the address change to actually stick so you have the opportunity to get an affordable mortgage payment.

Sincerely, Kate

HARP 2.0 Condo Financing in Florida
by: Laura from Naples, FL

Hi Kate, I am currently working with FBC Mortgage LLC in Orlando under HARP guidelines. I bought my condo in December 2005, estimated LTV (based on Corelogic) is 134%.

I've been told I am perfect under the HARP 2.0 guidelines (never been late on a payment, good credit and income, current interest rate is 6.5%, loan owned by Fannie Mae.)

My question is, if the condo is attached to another in Florida does that limit the maximum LTV? Or is it at the bank's discretion what the maximum will be. I ask, cause I spoke with Fifth Third Bank and they said due to the property type the maximum loan-to-value is 125%, while the mortgage broker in Orlando said there basically is none.

Also, we are trying to submit through Fannie's Desktop underwriting and it gets kicked back saying not owned by Fannie Mae. I have spoken to Fannie Mae, I have their loan number and they confirm it is their loan. But after a week of trying, the mortgage company still can't get it through.

I had so much hope under HARP guidelines but am becoming increasingly confused and concerned it may not happen at all.

Thanks! Laura

Hi Laura, Kate here. I have been hearing often from Florida condominium owners in similar situations. Sorry you are having such trouble getting your HARP refinancing to go through.

Although HARP 2.0 created more opportunities for condo homeowners to refinance their mortgages, as you are finding out, lenders' reactions to condominium financing is less than stellar.

Since your condo was originally approved by Fannie Mae, the loan process should be streamlined. However with lender overlays (additional requirements to Fannie Mae guidelines), the process is still tedious.

You will find help for dealing with Fannie Mae on this page (see above) for errors in addresses and unit numbers. Additionally, if you are not having any luck with the specific lender, you are free to shop others who may have less overlays.

Best wishes, Kate

Should I stay at my condo, or should I go?
by: Norris from Clearwater, FL

Hi! My name is Norris V. I'm 43 years old, I live in FL (credit score 740). I'd like to get your advice, so I could have my peace of mind and be headache free.

I don't know what to do and what would be more financially beneficial. (I also would like to tell you that whatever financial operation would be done, at this time, it would be borrowed money).

Bought my condo as a home, not as an investment property, would prefer to stay that way, but wouldn't want to stay as an idiot, when right next door the Bank is selling the same kind of condo for one third of the price.

Therefore all kind of questions appear and the answers can be given only from someone like you. I bought my condo in 2004 with adjustable mortgage rate for $105,500, in 2007 refinanced, and now have 5.75% fixed rate for 30 years, mortgage amount $111,000.

Possibilities:
1. Use HARP offer and refinance for 15 or maybe 10 years (fee for this $4,500).
2. Pay extra payment a year straight to principal (instead of refinance fee in option 1).
3. Do nothing, do not take any more loans for financial operations, not to over press family's budget, stay stable, pay the same mortgage
for the rest of 25 years at $670.00 rate a month (including property tax). Keeping in mind inflation, as in several years $600.00 value will
be a lot less.
4. Do you have any other ideas?

Do you have a financial institution in mind, if thinking about HARP option? Thank you very much for your opinion! Sincerely, Norris V

Hi Norris, Kate here. It is not an easy time for condominium owners, even more so in Florida.

Read through the letters and Ask Kate answers here on this page for further HARP condo refinancing suggestions, as well as alternate ideas such as how to altogether pay off your mortgage and be done with lenders.

As a last resort if you decide to walk away from your condominium, review the Making Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA). Find out the various options in lieu of foreclosure on Get Your Best Mortgage Rate at Strategic Default vs HAFA Deed in Lieu, Deed for Lease, Short Sale Foreclosure Alternatives.

Best wishes for your condominium decisions, Kate

HARP 2 Condo Refinancing in Florida - underwater and majority owned by investors
by: Patricia from Fort Lauderdale, FL

Hi, I have spent a lot of time trying to refinance my condo in Florida. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a lender that wants to refinance a condominium in Florida. And the ones that show any interest at the beginning quickly changed their minds when they found out that the community is mainly owned by investors.

BOFA is my current lender but want to give me a 4.75% rate and very high closing costs. I am not sure what to do at this point. Would you know a lender that would do this type of refinance? Thanks, Patricia

Hi Patricia, Kate here. Sigh. HARP 2.0 was supposed to clear up these kinds of issues for condominium owners. But since the lenders are stubbornly holding onto their overlays (see comment above), here are 3 options.

1) Keep shopping for lenders in hopes that you will come across one who is willing to help you with condo financing. If any condominium homeowners reading this have had success with HARP 2.0 refinancing, please leave a comment here for Patricia with the specific lender's phone number.

2) Attend a Homeowners' Association (HOA) meeting and ask your fellow condo owners who they've used to process their HARP mortgage applications.

3) Pay off your mortgage and wash your hands of lenders. Sounds far-fetched? Don't be so sure! See The Mortgage Freedom Project for more information.

Patricia, I wish you the best in getting an affordable mortgage, or better yet, paying off your condo financing. Kate

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