Quite a few people seem to be searching for more information on “Obama Refinance Program in 2013″ and based on the amount of times I see the media talking about it and calling the HARP refinance program the “Obama refinance”, it doesn’t really surprise me.
But is there a refinance program called the “Obama Refinance Program”?
The official name of the Obama refinance is the Home Affordable Refinance Program – but still quite a few people call it the Obama refinance and lenders have now gotten used to the idea that people will call them up and ask for more information about the Obama refinance.
The Obama Refinance Program: HARP Refinance
The HARP refinance program was designed for homeowners who owe more on their house than it is worth due to falling real estate values to be able to take advantage of lower interest rates and refinance and save money. Highlights and some general lender guidelines of the HARP / Obama refinance program include:
- Current mortgage must have been obtained before May, 31, 2009.
- Some lenders have loan to value restrictions, some don’t
- Some lenders have minimum credit score requirements, some don’t
- Some lenders may wave a required appraisal
- 1-4 Family Primary Residence, Second Home, 1-2 Family Non-Owner Occupied, and Condominiums & PUDs are eligible
- Private Mortgage Insurance transfers are allowed with certain mortgage insurance companies
- Most lenders will require that subordinate liens (second mortgages) be re-subordinated
- Most lenders require no late payments in the last 12 months
- Most lenders will not allow a bankruptcy or foreclosure in the last 7 years
HARP Refinance Requirements
Each lender will have slightly different rules about what you need to do in order to qualify for the HARP refinance, but generally speaking, lenders will make sure that you benefit from the transaction in order for you to do it. Generally speaking, lenders will require that you benefit in one of the following ways:
- Reduction in the monthly principal and interest payment
- Reduction in the interest rate
- Reduction in the amortization term
- Move to a more stable product, e.g. ARM to Fixed-Rate
First Step: Find Out Who Owns Your Loan
The easiest thing that you can do before speaking to a lender to see if you qualify for the HARP program is to first find out who owns your loan. If your loan is not owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, then you will not be eligible for HARP. Both have tools on their websites to see if they own your loan. To see if either one holds your mortgage, you can check Fannie Mae. If they don’t have your mortgage there, then check Freddie Mac.
Shop For The Best Rates
The single best way to save money when doing the Obama refinance is to shop multiple lenders. Shopping multiple lenders will make sure that you have the best chance to get the best rate and lender fees and close your loan in the shortest possible timeframe. When you shop around, you might be surprised at how much money you can save from one lender to the next. Any number of lenders are helping people with the HARP program – and you can easily see the differences in lenders pricing when you shop more than a couple.
Get started here with a free HARP / Obama Refinance quote today!