HARP Mortgage Refinance - Hopes and Frustrations

by Severely Underwater in Miami, by Stacy B in FL, by Irene in CO and by G

Ask Kate if HARP 2 refinance fulfills hopes or creates frustrations: I think I've heard it all, the anticipation of saving a beloved family home, the fear of becoming homeless. But as Ask Kate letters continue to pour in, I realize no two situations are the same. I'm humbled at the opportunity to answer your questions. I promise to do my best. Now meet 4 homeowners struggling to keep their homes.


Q 1: What Does Making Home Affordable Offer for Fannie Mae Loans

By Severely Underwater in Miami, FL

Hi Kate, I looked on the Making Home Affordable website and found tons of options - like HAMP loan modification, PRA, and FHA Refinance etc
where they help even underwater homeowners. But we do not qualify for many programs because we have a Fannie Mae loan.

There are tons of options for homeowners that do not have a Fannie Mae backed loan like the National Mortgage Settlement, and Principal Reduction Alternatives, etc


I can't seem to get any help at all from our servicer Bank of America, they keep giving my family and I the run around without any true options.

Is there any chance they will be replacing the head of FHFA Ed DeMarco with someone more willing to help the homeowner?

I am severely underwater over 200% loan-to-value and don't know what to do. Do we keep fighting or just walk away? I really need an affordable home for my family and my sanity. Thank you

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate answers: What Does Making Home Affordable Offer for Fannie Mae Loans

Hi Severely Underwater,

If you were to ask underwater homeowners with non-Fannie and non-Freddie home loans, they'd say the government focuses too much on HARP refinance for Government Sponsored Entity loans (GSEs).

With the exception of HARP 3, we don't need too many more options for either category of homeowners. See Special Edition of HARP, HAMP, and Other MHA Options.

The greater challenge is that lenders have little motivation to implement the existing programs until their feet are held to the fire which is what happened with the National Mortgage Settlement and Independent Foreclosure Review.

Although I'm not sure of an overnight solution, I know that homeowners can influence Washington DC. But that means each of us must speak up and make our voices heard. See 4 Quick and Simple Ways Homeowners Can Make Their Voices Heard and Bring About Change by scrolling down to the comment section.

Feel free when you write your elected official to point them to Ask Kate at Get-Your-Best-Mortgage-Rate.com. If we band together, I believe we can bring about change. And please don't forget to request the removal of Ed DeMarco while you are at it.
April 18, 2013 National Mortgage News: Ed DeMarco, acting director of FHFA is in the hot seat with the Senate. Strike while the iron is hot. Write your elected reps in DC!
With a loan-to-value (LTV) of 200%, I can imagine you are not welcomed by lenders with open arms. All I can say is to fight until you can fight no longer. Then make other living arrangements for your family and meanwhile be proud of what you've been able to accomplish in these bleak times for homeowners.

Whether you opt for a short sale (see Short Sale vs Mortgage Foreclosure - The Agony of 21st Century Homeownership) or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, request the $3000 provided by Making Home Affordable to help lessen the cost of the transition.

Best wishes for your decision-making,


Q 2: Assumption Hinders HARP Program

By Stacy B in Florida

Through a divorce decree, an assumption was done on my mortgage to remove my ex-husband from the loan. Nothing changed on the loan (rate is the same, loan number is the same, amount of loan is the same).

But because the assumption was finalized in 2010 after the May 2009 deadline, the HARP program views the assumption as a refinance and I do not qualify, though I do every other way.

Can you tell me if there are changes to this problem? or what can be done to rectify this situation. Thank you!

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate answers: Assumption Hinders HARP Program

Hi Stacy,

It's mortifying to me that our banking system has sunk to such lows. I truly believe banks are so desperate that all common sense has flown out the window.

Put on your boxing gloves and go for it. You have a fight ahead of you. But if you have the time and the tenacity, work your way up the ladder until you locate a person at the bank with half-an-ounce of smarts who will listen to you.

If you'd like to read about other homeowners running into assumption snags, go to Mortgage Modification Snags and Insults.

Best wishes for a HARP refinance,


Q 4: HARP 2 - Money in the Bank - No Mortgage Company Will Refinance Without My Showing Income

By Irene in Colorado

Frustrated. No income. Have money in the bank. Excellent credit scores. Fannie Mae. LTV less than 17%.

Cannot find any mortgage company that will do a HARP 2 loan without my showing income. None will accept money in the bank. Existing mortgage company will do a HARP 2 but they want to charge an exorbitant loan origination fee, exorbitant title fees.

Wanted to lower my interest rate currently at 6.65% and change from a 30 year fixed to a 15 year fixed. They have quoted me 3.625% for a 15 year fixed with APR 4.055%.

Are these fees reasonable? Interest rate applicable for a 15 year rate?

Are there any mortgage companies that will refinance without income verification but money in the bank verification?

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate answers: Money in the Bank - No Mortgage Company Will Refinance Without My Showing Income

Hi Irene,

Fannie Mae guidelines now accommodate no income verifying guidelines. But I doubt that's a surprise to you. The shock is that the banks apparently haven't received the memo. (tongue-in-cheek humor)

What's the hang-up? The infuriating HARP Refinance Overlays.

One solution at this point in time is to petition for change. If homeowners make their voices heard, we can bring about change. See 4 Quick and Simple Ways Homeowners Can Make Their Voices Heard and Bring About Change by scrolling down to the end of the page in the comments section.

As far as the pricing, there are so many variables, I can't reliably comment. But you should investigate further if your gut tells you something is off. See Savvy Shoppers Compare Refinance Fees.

Best wishes for your refinance,


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Loan modification after a Refinance
by: G

Hi Kate, We were able to refinance our loan via the HARP program in 2012. However, in January 2013 I lost my job. I have been unable to find work at same pay. I took a job with pay at 60% of prior job. Do I have any options to keep our home? G

Hi G, Kate here...

A 60% cut in pay? How that must hurt. But I admire that you took the job anyway.

Call your loan servicer to discuss modifying your mortgage terms today. If they don't respond in a timely fashion, call a free HUD counselor and ask for help.

Best wishes for a job in your field,

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You can also ask Kate about your mortgage at How to Find Your Mortgage Lender.

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