Is This Nationwide Mortgage Lender My Only HARP Refi Option

by Melanie from Mesa, Arizona, USA

Ask Kate, Is this nationwide mortgage lender my only HARP Refi Option? Hi Kate, I just went to my bank to talk over an option to refinance under the Making Home Affordable Program (HARP). It would allow us to refinance our house in Arizona where the houses lost more than $100,000 value in just one year.
Melanie continues... Of course we owe more on the house than its value now. We heard of the HARP program that allows people to refinance up to 125% of our home's value.

In the process we were "conditionally approved for a mortgage loan" by our nationwide mortgage lender and were told that THEY were the only ones who could offer us this opportunity.

After reading for 3 hours on the internet including your site, I am almost confident that is not true that our lender is the only one who can provide this refinance under the HARP program.

They ended up giving us a quote of "5.375% interest rate" with a payback program to us of 1% of the mortgage payment.

There would be several fees attached totaling approximately $2500.

Overall, this offer would not make a big difference if we paid $200 less a month in monthly house payments but needed to pay the $2,500 fees out of savings.

Are there any other companies or banks who could possibly provide a better offer? Or is this our only option due to circumstances and rules or regulations of the HARP program? Thank you Melanie

Kate Answers: Is this nationwide mortgage lender my only HARP Refi Option?

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Dear Melanie,

The Making Home Affordable Program has experienced growing pains. This has added to the confusion among distressed homeowners who deserve reliable sources of information.

I pride myself on providing just that and avoid shooting from the hip, which believe me would be tons quicker.

Quotes From Making Home Affordable Program

So as not to add to the rumors and panic floating about the internet when homeowners are least equipped to deal with uncertainty, I'll quote Making Home Affordable Program, the official program of the Departments of the Treasury and HUD. (The following use of caps is mine.)
Question: "How do I apply for a refinance under HARP?"

Answer: "Call your mortgage lender, or ANY LENDER approved to do business with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and ask for a Home Affordable Refinance application."

Question: "What are the interest rate and other terms of a refinance under HARP?"

Answer: "The rate will be based on market rates in effect at the time of the refinance and the homeowner will be subject to any associated points and fees quoted by your lender.

INTEREST RATES MAY VARY ACROSS LENDERS and over time as market rates adjust. The refinanced loans must have no prepayment penalties or balloon payments."

So according to the Making Home Affordable Program, you may in fact go to any lender approved to do business with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, depending on which entity owns your mortgage.

Compare Mortgage Rates And Lenders In Six Steps

Mortgage lenders set their own interest rates and closing costs for the HARP program. But does your nationwide mortgage lender have an exclusive offer that is worthwhile? There's one way to find out!

If your current home loan is owned by Freddie Mac, here a list of lenders who participate in the Making Home Affordable Program -- (this list has since been deleted from the Freddie Mac site.)

Give them each a call and compare their offers to your nationwide mortgage lender's offer that is claiming to be unique and advantageous.

I can help you with this. Go to my article -- Compare Mortgage Rates And Lenders In Six Steps which will help you organize your comparisons.

Don't Dilly Dilly With Your HARP Application

By the way, I am asked this question frequently. How long will HARP be available? As of today's date, April 29, 2011, the program is said to expire on June 30, 2012.

Because of the volume of HARP and HAMP transactions, the refinancing process is lengthy. So if you intend to take advantage of the Making Home Affordable Refinance program, do not delay your mortgage application.

Comment and Link To This Page

Melanie, did this answer your question? I'd like to hear back from you. I wish you all the best comparing your HARP refinance.

You (or anyone else reading this) can comment on Is this nationwide mortgage lender my only HARP Refi Option. Or Ask Kate another question.

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Best wishes,


Comments for Is This Nationwide Mortgage Lender My Only HARP Refi Option.

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Harp refi
by: Ruthann

I am in the process now of seeking a refi through my current lender, my current home is like most, underwater. I have not been happy with my lender over the years (5) and would like to refi with someone else.

But since I also hold a second mortgage due to piggy backing my loan, I have been told by many other lenders they could not refi for me. I was also told that my loan would have to be resubordinated.

So it looks like if a person has a second mortgage, you are stuck with your original lender unless you want to go through the hassle or subordinating???

Note from Kate - Yes, herein lies the difference between what is allowed and what is practiced. Homeowners don't get to pick their loan servicers yet in times of need or a servicing glitch, who the lender is can make a great difference.

Yes, 2nd mortgage have to be addressed. But please refer to Special Edition of Making Home Affordable Options to discuss with your lender. Don't assume they keep track of all available programs.

My best wishes for a successful conclusion, Kate

by: Melanie Palmer

My sincere thanks to you, Kate, for answering my questions by quoting actual text from the written documents about HARP.

It helped me realize I could continue to research other financial services for refinancing my home using HARP to see if I could refinance with lower fees.

I will continue to seek options and let you know if I use the program. Thanks again! Melanie

Hi Melanie, I'm so happy to hear back from you and appreciate your kind words. Please don't hesitate to ask another question or add comments to others' letters! Wishing you the best, Kate

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