Revised HARP 2 Refinance Eligibility Date

by Raul in San Juan, Puerto Rico and by Di in Columbia, Maryland

Ask Kate about the revised HARP 2 refinance eligibility date: If you have been told that you're not eligible for HARP 2 refinancing due to the cut-off date, I have good news! Effective October 27, 2013, the guideline has been revised! In the past, eligibility was based on the date that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed your mortgage, not when your loan closed.


You can imagine the outcry of struggling homeowners after being hit with falling real estate values, only to learn they missed participating in the HARP program merely due to the tardiness of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac government sponsored entities (GSEs).

So while your mortgage must still be securitized by the mortgage giants to participate in HARP 2, the June 1, 2009 eligibility is now based on the date of your Promissory Note.

Now for HARP rules regarding appraisals and refinancing after Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge, let's meet homeowners Raul from Puerto Rico and Di from Maryland!

Harp 2 Refinance in Puerto Rico

By Raul R. in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Harp 2 Refinance in Puerto Rico

Hi Kate,

I took a mortgage in October 2005 for $112,000 with Banco Popular de Puerto Rico. I was planning on selling my condo until the appraisal came for $90,000. I owe the bank $99,000 on a 30 year 6.25% fixed rate mortgage.

Soon after this, and not being able to come up with the difference to sell my apartment, the bank (out of nowhere) called me to offer me a HARP, explaining to me that since I've been a good credit costumer, I was possibly able to qualify.

I use the word possibly, because as soon as I told them that recently I appraised my property and it came underwater by close to $10,000 they started telling me that I didn't qualify because of my loan-to-value ratio.

I looked up for information about HARP 2 and it states 'There's no longer a maximum loan-to-value ratio (previously, it was 125%), which means you can be far underwater and still refinance.'

I wrote my bank and explained this information and they basically told me that even though HARP in the USA doesn't require appraisal in other to approve a HARP, they do ask for appraisals to be done in Puerto Rico in order to build a database for the US Government.

Is this even true? I am mad, disappointed, and feel that I'm running out of options.

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate answers: Harp 2 Refinance in Puerto Rico

Hi Raul,

I'd be mad too because the HARP guideline for LTV was lifted years ago!

Even so, I couldn't say for sure whether there is truth to the appraisal explanation as it pertains to mortgages in Puerto Rico.

But I can tell you that banks are famous for adding their own rules on top of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac HARP guidelines. This infuriating practice is known as lender overlays. See more about lender overlays in the HARP program.

I'd try calling the HOPE hotline (for best results, read this first) with your loan number and home address to ask if this is a HARP guideline specific to Puerto Rico or whether it is a lender overlay. You might also compare the responses of other local lenders who participate in HARP refinancing because, hopefully, your lender is not the only game in town.

Go here to read more about HARP 2 Eligibility and Mortgage Guidelines.

Best wishes,


HARP after Chapter 7 BK Discharge

By Di P. in Columbia, Maryland
HARP after Chapter 7 BK Discharge

Hi Kate!

I'm having difficulty qualifying for refinance through HARP due to my bankruptcy discharge. My servicer told me that there is a 4 years waiting requirement from discharge date. My BK was discharged 2 years ago.

Any possible changes in HARP 3.0 that will waive the 4 years waiting requirement? This waiting requirement is the only portion of the existing HARP policy that's preventing me to qualify.

Thanks for your advice.

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate answers: HARP after Chapter 7 BK Discharge

Hi Di,

Fannie Mae's bankruptcy and foreclosure HARP policy says it all...
Fannie Mae is removing the requirement that the borrower (on the new loan) meet the standard waiting period and re-establishment of credit criteria in the Selling Guide following a bankruptcy or foreclosure.
Additionally, you are not required to go through your loan servicer for HARP. So shop other lenders to see if you come up with different results.

However, be aware of this. The HARP approvals are still underwritten based on credit history. But if your credit scores have recovered since the BK, you may have little to worry about in this respect.

Regarding HARP 3 proposals, oh don't get me started. The promise of this program, proposal piled upon proposal out of Washington DC, seems to be little more than a carrot on the stick to garner support of homeowners. Read the latest HARP 3 proposal and please follow the suggestions I give on the page.

Food for thought! I also recommend you read about mortgage reaffirmation after bankruptcy.

Best wishes,



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HARP 2 Cut-Off Date
by: Rose J.

Kate, I'm underwater with my house. I have a good payment record on my mortgage, excellent credit, but Fannie Mae says I can't get HARP because I was acquired by Fannie Mae in 12/11/2009 which is after the 5/31/2009 cutoff date.

A date is the reason no mortgage company will help me. Can you help me? I've gone to 10 mortgage companies and everyone says No because of Fannie Mae and this 5/31/2009 deadline date they are using against me.

I don't know what else to do. I'm close to retirement and I have no equity in my house and I can't afford to keep this high mortgage with a 6.4% interest rate into retirement. I have a 806 FICA score and no one cares. They are forcing me to walk away from my house and lose my credit so close to retirement. Can you please help me? Thank you.

Hi Rose, Kate here...

I'm so sorry to hear of your struggles to refinance your home. I understand how frustrated you must feel.

To the best of my knowledge, the guideline regarding the HARP cut-off date (which you can read about at the top of this page) is set in stone.

Perhaps an alternative would be to contact your loan servicer for an in-house modification or a HAMP modification. But you should know that HAMP also has a cut-off date similar to HARP 2.

Regardless, your first step should be to contact a free housing counselor for personalized help. Go here for details.

Best wishes, Kate

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