Making Home Affordable
by Ken from Toms River, New Jersey USA
Ask Kate: Making Home Affordable Refinance Program Hi Kate, Can I refinance my second home using HARP? I am trying to refinance through the lender that holds the original mortgage on my second home.
I am told that new guidelines do not permit cash out refinances over 75% for vacation homes and they are subject to new guidelines set forth by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
I am also told they are exploring an option to refinance me under the Home Affordable Refinance Program, HARP.
Any advice, guidelines you can offer? Does this make sense? Would the refinance rules change if the house was not classified as a 2nd home? Kind regards, Ken
Kate Answers: Home Affordable Refinance Program
Dear Ken, You asked, "Can I refinance my vacation home using HARP?"
In an attempt to stabilize the housing market, our government is offering the opportunity to take advantage of low interest rates in spite of declining real estate values through Making Home Affordable Refinancing Program (HARP).
The program is available to homeowners with a 1st mortgage owned or guaranteed by FNMA or FHMLC and that is no more than 80 to 125 percent of the value of their home.
There isn't a lot of information given by the government specifically addressing acceptable property types with the exception of the sister program, Making Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) which indicates mortgage modification on primary homes only.
But to the best of my knowledge, HARP will at least entertain refinancing a second home. As you suspect, lending guidelines are usually stricter for second homes and investment properties. For more information regarding the Making Home Affordable Program, counselors are available at 1-888-995-HOPE.
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