HARP 2 Mortgage Plan Nuts and Bolts

by Nancy in NM, Joy and Jack, Roseanne in PA, and Bill in MA

Ask Kate for HARP 2 Mortgage Plan Nuts and Bolts: Is Nancy getting honest HARP mortgage rates? Why is Roseanne quoted a boatload of points for a HARP refi? Joy and Jack ask if HARP is possible after settling their 2nd mortgage. How often can you refinance with HARP? Bill asks if he has too little equity left for HARP and will he be required to add PMI.

Hi there Kate, what are HARP refinancing rates? My bank called me right before this past Christmas to offer me a a 4.5% rate on my Fannie Mae Loan currently at 7%. This has to be closed before March 23rd. Thinking rates were a little lower, I asked if they would extend the new lower rate to me. I know, very naive...

Anyhoo, have mortgage rates really gone up on the HARP Program refinances since December or am I being hoodwinked once again by my favorite corporation? Nancy in Espanola, New Mexico

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate about HARP refinancing rates: Hi Nancy, I appreciate your sense of humor during stressful times for homeowners. The real question is, are mortgage interest rates higher today than they were in December?

There is no such thing as THE HARP INTEREST RATE like VA home loans practiced many years ago. So I think this will be of interest to you. Freddie Mac reported the average 30 year fixed at 3.94% on December 15, 2011 and 3.90% on March 1, 2012. Hmmm... good to know, right?

Never be hoodwinked again! Keep track of nationwide mortgage rates at my Best Mortgage Rate Blog where I report weekly averages.

Kate, are we eligible for Harp 2.0 after settling our second mortgage? I believe we would be eligible for Harp 2.0 refi except that due to a job loss, we were late on our second mortgage payments. We eventually settled for less than owed in October 2011. Do you know if this would this cause us to be ineligible? Thanks, Joy and Jack

***zz-portrait-left-empower.shtml*** Ask Kate if we're eligible for Harp 2.0 after settling a second mortgage: Guidelines for the new Harp do not impose a specified waiting period after bankruptcy or foreclosure. One late mortgage payment is allowed in the past 12 months, but none in the 6 months prior to applying. In addition, there is no minimum credit score cut-off.

However, because traditional underwriting standards still apply to HARP mortgage refinance approvals, you won't know until you try.

Go here for more details: November 2011 HARP II Eligibility Requirements Announcement and updated December 2011. ***zzz-link-harp-mini.shtml***

Kate, can I have another HARP loan? I refinanced to a HARP loan over a year ago at 5.3%. Can I refinance to a lower mortgage rate on the HARP program? Anonymous

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate about another HARP loan: Guidelines state one HARP refinance per property. The mortgage must also have been securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before May 31, 2009.

Go here for more details: November 2011 HARP II Eligibility Requirements Announcement and updated December 2011. ***zzz-link-harp-mini.shtml***

Kate, do mortgage relief loans penalize homeowners? We are refinancing with our current mortgage provider under a mortgage relief loan. Our loan is backed by Freddie Mac. Our loan-to-value is 105%.

They say we have to pay $2800 in points for 4% because our LTV is over 100%. Is this accurate? I find it hard to believe a relief program for underwater mortgages would penalize homeowners by making them pay points. Our credit scores are in the high 700's. Thanks! Roseanne in Lititz, PA

***zz-portrait-left-empower.shtml*** Ask Kate if mortgage relief loans penalize homeowners: Hi Roseanne, If by a relief loan you mean HARP, this may be a good time to shop lenders. HARP mortgage closing costs should be priced similar to a traditional refinance and loan-to-value restrictions have been lifted.

Go here for more details: HARP Mortgage Closing Costs Reduced.

Kate, is HARP Refinance possible with EA-1 mortgages? Under the new HARP 2 guidelines, do you think that an EA-1 mortgage loan will be eligible for refinance? I would be at about 110% LTV based on today's valuation and therefore would need PMI. I currently have borrower paid PMI. Bill in Plymouth, MA

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate if HARP refinance is possible with a EA-1 mortgage: Hi Bill, In most cases, if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you've jumped through the first hoop.

Having Borrower or Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance is no longer a hindrance to refinancing with HARP. Additionally, for mortgages currently without private mortgage insurance, regardless of how low your home has dropped in value, HARP does not require PMI.

Best wishes,


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HARP Rates and lowering the Locked In Interest
by: Nancy in Espanola, NM

When I asked the loan originator this past December if the interest rate could be lower, (this is before I agreed to lock in at 4.5 percent), he said I would have to buy down the rate. Now I see that Freddie Mac was quoting 3.9 percent! Do Freddie and Fannie's rates run competitively? Mine is a Fannie Mae.

So meanwhile, the "Corporation" is finally ready to close, but I told them not until the we're nearer to the end of the month... not as much interest will have to be paid.

My question is this: Can I still negotiate with them even if the rate is locked in?

Hi Nancy, Kate here. Fannie and Freddie have similar mortgage rates. You can negotiate rates whenever you like! But locking in your mortgage rate can make further negotiations more difficult.

Keep in mind, Freddie is quoting average rates across the nation. Individual qualifications can impact the final outcome.

Nevertheless, Freddie's quotes are very helpful for monitoring ups and downs. If someone tells you rates have gone up, you can use my blog updates to monitor mortgage rate trends yourself.

Good luck! Kate

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