HARP 3 Refinance and Home Buying Mortgage News

by Geri in Bridgeport, CT, by Don in Bend, OR, and by Ashley in Bradenton, FL

Ask Kate about HARP 3 refinance and home buying mortgage news: President Obama is breathing new life into the HARP 3 proposal and addressing affordable homeownership. Geri is hoping the proposed underwater refinance program can rescue her home. Don is still struggling with HARP 2. Ashley asks how she qualify for a bigger mortgage to buy a home. Let's briefly look at President Obama's speech in light of HARP 3 and home buying.


President Obama's Speech: HARP 3 and Home Buying

HARP 3 can best be described as a compilation of proposals. Speaking in part about the homeownership crisis, President Obama said in his August 2013 speech, Reversing this trend must be Washington’s highest priority. Humph! Sorta makes you wonder what happens to projects that aren't prioritized, doesn't it? But I digress.

The Presidential speech had two points of particular interest to would-be mortgage borrowers.
  1. Help more Americans refinance into today's mortgage rates by passing a bipartisan plan. This refers to a more viable version of the HARP program, aka A Better Bargain for US Homeowners.

  2. Help more qualified borrowers buy homes they can afford. Afford is a tricky term in lending. Here is why you can't depend on your lender to determine affordability.
Okay, as I said earlier, let's look at the Ask Kate questions from Geri, Don, and Ashley.

Refinance and the Possibility of HARP 3 to the Rescue

By Geri from Bridgeport, Connecticut
Refinance and the possibility of HARP 3 to the rescue

Hi Kate:

I own and live in a home with my husband in Connecticut. My sister and I co-own a home in New York which is used as a family vacation home (no renters) that has been underwater since the real estate collapse.

We have a first mortgage and a HELOC on the property. We had tried to take advantage of HAMP and HARP but were not qualified because the loan is not Freddie or Fannie, nor is it a primary residence.

My question is: if HARP 3 does make it through Congress, do you think we will a chance of taking advantage of it?

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate answers: Refinance and the Possibility of HARP 3 to the Rescue

Hi Geri,

Under the HARP 2 program, both vacation homes and rental properties are eligible for refinancing.

So it goes to follow that HARP 3 should improve on the current program, not reduce opportunities.

But we are talking about a government project, you know. So please write your representatives in Congress today and make your wishes known. Send a copy to the White House also.

Go to Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2013 and scroll down to How to Contact Washington DC and Your State Government for help.

Best wishes,


Harp 2.0 Problems

By Don H. from Bend, Oregon
Harp 2.0 Problems in Bend, Oregon


I am 89 years old and twice Wells Fargo has approved a Harp 2 refinance.

Then had a second or third underwriter reviewed the loan and dis-approved it.

It is not valuation, nor income because my Son even climbed on as a co-borrower for income.

Do you know a Broker who can do a Freddie Mac Harp 2 refinance in Bend, Oregon?

The prices on property are approaching what I owe and I don't get this done soon, it can't be. Wells Fargo wasted a year and a half on this process, all the time saying no problem.

I need an honest loan broker, who will do the Harp 2, knows the ins and outs of the program on a Freddie backed loan. And will get it done quickly.

I am about to start with Quicken Loans but they seem to be pushing sending them fees and that does not thrill me.

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate answers: Harp 2.0 Problems

Hi Don,

I'm sorry to hear that your lender is being flakey. Quicken does not sound like a good alternative for you either.

If you know that your qualifications are strong, I would come out and ask Wells Fargo point blank if you are getting the run around based on age discrimination.

You would not be the first senior homeowner to encounter this illegal tactic.

I don't know lenders personally in Bend. But I do know someone you could call in Bellevue, Washington who is always willing to jump in for a good cause. Hopefully he can refer a couple of local lenders to you.

Go to List of Mortgage Companies in Washington and scroll down to Paul McFadden's contact information. I'll message him so he recognizes your name when you call.

Best wishes,


How Can I Qualify for a Bigger Mortgage

By Ashley from Bradenton, Florida
How Can I Qualify for a Bigger Mortgage

Hi Kate:

I am 23 years old and I purchased a home two years ago, in a short sale. Now that my home has appreciated in value from what I paid for it, I would like to sell it and buy a newer home, using the gain on my current home for the down payment.

My question is about how to qualify for the best home that I can. I am very good at managing my money, and only have a few bills besides my mortgage, but while I have a steady income (I work for Wal-Mart), I also have a relatively low income (I work for Wal-Mart).

I am wondering, if my boyfriend has all or part of his paycheck deposited into my checking account each time he gets paid, will it boost my chances of getting a bigger loan--even though his name will not be on the mortgage for the home that I want to buy?

He went through a nasty divorce two years ago...and long story short, he ended up filing for bankruptcy, and surrendering his home and a separate piece of property that he also had a mortgage on.

I'm pretty sure that the bankruptcy would hurt and not help my home-buying power, but I would like to use his income to buy the home, especially since he will be living there and helping to pay the mortgage.

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate answers: How Can I Qualify for a Bigger Mortgage

Hi Ashley,

Enjoyed your letter, both the fact that you are planning to buy your second home at the age of 23 and your humor!

More than likely (unless you have a substantial downpayment), you will be asked for both employment verification and income verification. While you may look at the deposits from your boyfriend as income, it's doubtful your lender will.

But guidelines are not always set in stone. So I would encourage you to get several referrals from friends and relatives who were satisfied with their last mortgage process. Interview the lenders, choose the most qualified one, and start the ball rolling on the pre-approval process.

Read about the importance of Mortgage Pre-Approval - Home Buying the Easy Way and what to expect from the process.

Best wishes,



Ask Kate about Your Mortgage

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HARP 3.0
by: Michael from Minnesota

I refinanced in October 2010, home underwater. Is there any verbiage in HARP 3.0 about changing the date for eligibility for those who are beyond the 2009 cut off date. Or should I just give up on hoping a new program could help?

Hi Michael, Kate here...

Actually there is no official verbiage yet - only a series of proposals. Even so, I have not seen any proposals addressing the cut-off date.

The cut-off date hints at the fact that if you got a mortgage after May 31, 2009, you knew you were financing at your own risk. I think that's insulting.

There was a petition to change the cutoff date. You can read more about it here: HARP 3 Update - Jan 2013 National Mortgage News.

But it's not too late to write Congress. (See help for this in above letter.)

Best wishes, Kate

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