FHFA Announces Expansion of HARP

By Todd Abelson NMLS #180858 on .

On October 24, 2011, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (the “FHFA”) and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the “GSEs”) announced an expansion of the Home Affordable Modification Program (the “HARP”), or so called “HARP Phase II”, in an effort designed to assist additional “underwater” borrowers.

While the program is limited to loans originated and sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to May 31, 2009, one intriguing feature of the program is the limitation of required representations and warranties from lenders making such loans to the GSEs. This feature could lead to a reduction in repurchase demands for a certain segment of GSE loans refinanced under HARP Phase II.

Prior HARP refinances were subject to a maximum LTV of 125%. That limit has been removed for fixed rate mortgages; adjustable rate refinances are still subject to a maximum LTV of 105%. In addition to the lessening of representations and warranties, the removal of the upper limit on LTV ratios, and the current low interest rate environment could provide this program momentum producing results beyond those of past HARP or other Making Home Affordable programs.

The GSEs plan to issue guidance with additional details about the program changes mid-November. Participation in HARP is not mandatory; therefore, mortgage entities wishing to participate will have time to review program amendments and implement necessary operational changes.

Eligibility criteria for HARP Phase II loans are as follows:

  • The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae;
  • The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009;
  • The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009;
  • The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%; and
  • The borrower must be current on the mortgage at the time of the refinance, with no late payment in the past six months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.

Other program features include:

  • Certain agency fees will be waived if a borrower elects a shorter term with the new loan (for example, choosing a 20 year loan term when the prior loan had a 30 year term);
  • If there is a reliable AVM estimate of value provided by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, a new appraisal will not be needed; if there is not a reliable AVM value, a new appraisal will be required; and
  • Certain lender representations and warranties will be waived.

A copy of the FHFA release may be found at the following link: http://fhfa.gov/webfiles/22722/HARP%20release%20102411%20Final.pdf

Also, FAQs about HARP Phase II may be found at the following link: http://fhfa.gov/webfiles/22723/HARP%20release%20102411QandA%20Final.pdf

The FHFA and the Department of the Treasury instituted HARP in early 2009 as part of the Obama Administration’s Making Home Affordable program. HARP provides borrowers that have a depressed home value the opportunity to refinance their mortgage into a lower interest rate loan.

While HARP is only one of several refinancing options available to homeowners, HARP is unique because it is one of the few refinance programs that allows borrowers who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth to take advantage of a lower rate refinancing option.

Call Todd Abelson at Sunstreet Mortgage in Tucson Arizona for all your mortgage needs! (520) 331-LEND (5363)

Upside down on your mortgage? HARP Enhancements Announced!

By Todd Abelson NMLS #180858 on .

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac have announced enhancements to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) that are intended to make it easier for lenders to refinance the mortgages of eligible borrowers. Interested borrowers are being encouraged to contact their current lender or any other mortgage lender offering HARP refinances. Guidelines for Fannie Mae seller/servicers, including implementation dates and details, will be available on November 15, 2011

Click here to read the actual release

Call Todd Abelson, Licensed Mortgage Professional, for all your mortgage needs! (520) 331-LEND (5363)

Adding kids as “Authorized Users” on your accounts

By Todd Abelson NMLS #180858 on .

Adding your children on as “authorized users” of your credit cards can help them establish credit history and will serve them well.

But be aware that this is not always the best option and certainly not intended to be long term.

Click here to read a fine article on this topic, created by Advantage Credit of Colorado.

Call Todd Abelson at (520) 331-LEND (5363) for all your mortgage needs!

MANY changes to Gov’t insured loans effective 10/1/2011

By Todd Abelson NMLS #180858 on .

The following bears repeating so you’re not caught off guard – changes to all Government Insured loan programs take effect October 1, 2011:

VA LOANS – Up Front VA Funding Fee is reduced on PURCHASE transactions. Click here to see complete chart for details

FHA LOANS – Temporary increased loan limits are eliminated; Pima County is back down to $271,050

USDA LOANS – Up Front Loan Guarantee Fee is being reduced from 3.5% to 2.0% BUT they are adding monthly mortgage insurance of 0.30% annually.

Be aware and don’t get “caught short”.

Call Todd Abelson, Licensed Mortgage Professional, at (520) 331-LEND (5363) for all your mortgage needs!