HARP changes put refinancing in reach of more homeowners – Appeal-Democrat: Real Estate

HARP changes put refinancing in reach of more homeowners

When the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program HARP launched in 2009, millions took advantage, but many other homeowners found they couldn’t qualify to refinance their underwater mortgages. Today, significant enhancements have made the program more accessible for homeowners and a great opportunity to lower payments or build equity faster.If you owe as much or more on your home than its current value, you’re considered “underwater” or “upside-down” on your mortgage. For some homeowners, the situation has led to foreclosure. Others, however, have stayed current on their mortgage payments, and those are the people HARP is intended to help.You may be eligible for HARP if: You are current on your mortgage. Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backs or owns your mortgage, and they acquired your mortgage on or before May 31, 2009. Use Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s online tools to find out. The mortgage is for your primary home, a single-family second home or a one- to four-unit investment property.

via HARP changes put refinancing in reach of more homeowners – Appeal-Democrat: Real Estate.

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Federal Government Looks to Spread Awareness of Refinancing Options – Press Release – Digital Journal

Federal Government Looks to Spread Awareness of Refinancing Options>PRWEB.COM NewswireChicago, IL PRWEB October 03, 2013The Federal Savings Bank is continuously informing current lien holders of various refinance opportunities. With refinance activity on the decline, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is doing all it can to spread awareness about the Home Affordable Refinance Program.However, theres more to the FHFAs awareness campaign than just spurring on mortgage activity. The government agency has said that too many Americans who are eligible to benefit from the program have not done so due to a lack of knowledge regarding HARP.”Theres a perception among some that youve got to be delinquent in order to have some government-sponsored program that can help you,” FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco told Bloomberg on September 23rd. “What we want to do is correct that misperception.”

via Federal Government Looks to Spread Awareness of Refinancing Options – Press Release – Digital Journal.

Why a Short Sale Blog?

After earning my CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) designation I was fired up. The landscape in my profession had changed drastically over the preceding 4 years. People were hurting…lots of them.

Our homes are one of the things we tend to take for granted and if there’s one thing this recession has taught us, it’s just how central a role our homes play in our lives.

Not knowing if you can continue to stay in your home, and being worried about where else you could live if you lost it, is a tremendously stressful ordeal to go through.  Add children to the mix, and it is pure misery.

The CDPE training showed me just how many options people had.  The problem was that no one wanted to own up to their situation.  When your security is shaken to the core, the appearance of stability affords you a comfort you are reluctant to give up, even if it is only the appearance and not the reality.

So, I started this blog with some definite standards…

  • Put all this great information from my training out there
  • Be unbiased and present ALL the options (not just Short Sales)
  • Allow people to access it in privacy without having to sign up
  • Be current
  • Give links to helpful sites
  • Alert readers to potential pitfalls

The blog has helped me too.  After months of wading through the morass of a tortured real estate market this blog gave me an outlet to do something positive. Being able to make a difference, even if I don’t know the person I helped, was such a relief

Things are improving, gradually.  First with the Robo Signing settlement, then the refinement and improvement of some government programs, as well as changes in both federal and state laws that protect the homeowner and help to level the playing field between them and their lenders.

I am happy you found your way here, and it is my sincere hope that the information here helps you.

Awesome New Site for Fannie Mae Mortgage Holders!

Fannie Mae site helps you find your way through…

Confused about what options might be available to you and if you even qualify for them?  Fannie Mae’s Know Your Options site will get you rolling in no time!

First, to be sure your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae, start with the Loan Look Up on the very top menu line.  Once you’ve confirmed this, you have a literal plethora of assistance in sorting out what options may be open to you.

Their Option Finder makes this all easy!  You answer simple, focused questions and come out the other end with your options!  If there is something you are not sure about, you can contact them for assistance from a real person!  

Included are…

  • How to refinance with little to zero equity
  • How to modify your loan
  • Options to stay in your home
  • Options to leave your home
  • What to do if you are already in foreclosure
  • A Resource list for Mortgage Assistance & Government Programs that may apply

Another great feature are the calculators made available on the site so that you can get an estimate of your monthly payments would be on a modification or refinance.

Check it out now at www.knowyouroptoins.com!

HARP 2.0: What it is; What it isn’t

HARP 2.0: What it is; What it isn’t

October 26th, 2011 in CDPE by Alex Charfen

When the Obama Administration announced a series of changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) early this week, our phones started ringing with inquiries from the media for our input concerning the impact. And we had even more questions about HARP during our CDPE Advanced Broadcast yesterday afternoon.

The new HARP is by no means a game changer.

Here’s essentially what we’ve had to say about the revamped government mortgage refinancing program:

HARP 2.0, as the media has started to refer to it, has some merit, but it’s scope is very limited and it will have little or no impact on foreclosures or the estimated 6.4 million homeowners nationwide who are behind on their mortgage payments. The new HARP just expands the net of those who were eligible for help under the original version.

HARP was created in April of 2009 to help borrowers whose loans were backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, but did not have enough equity or negative equity to refinance. Under the original version of HARP, borrowers who were current on their payments and owed up to 125 percent of the current value of their homes could refinance their mortgage.

The original HARP fell short of expectations. Over the past two and a half years, only 838,000 homeowners have benefited from the program. The new HARP has broadened the base with looser eligibility requirements.

Borrowers with FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages that were sold to Fannie or Freddie before May 31, 2009,  will be able to refinance, no matter how far underwater they are. Banks will only have to verify that borrowers have made their last six payments, that they’ve haven’t missed more than one payment over the past year, and that they have a job or another source of regular income.

Other key changes:

  • Appraisals are no longer required if there is a reliable automated valuation model (AVM)–a significant hurdle in the previous plan.
  • Risk-based fees have been eliminated for borrowers who refinance to 15-year mortgages.
  • Existing mortgage insurance coverage can be transferred much easier than under the original HARP.

While the new HARP won’t help homeowners who are behind on their payments and at risk for foreclosure, it is a welcome relief for homeowners who have been caught in the Catch-22 of not being able to refinance because they owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth, and at the same time, don’t qualify for a short sale or a loan mod because they are current on their payments and still have income and assets sufficient to cover their costs.

More money into the pockets of this segment will mean more dollars back into the economy, potentially heading off strategic defaults and keeping and stemming the tide of homes entering the foreclosure pipeline.

via HARP 2.0: What it is; What it isn’t | CDPE Blog.

Come In Out of the Cold

Come In Out of the Cold

Most likely you found your way to this site looking for answers for yourself, or for someone you know, about what can be done when a Homeowner is in danger of losing their home.  Financial hardship is draining and it’s easy to feel like you’ve failed.  But you haven’t, and you are not alone.

The way through is to make good decisions and for that you will need good, up-to-date, information.  With every bank reacting differently and policies literally changing daily, who has time to keep up with their own life AND make sense of all that is going on in the real estate world.

There are even cash incentives to help you relocate after the house sells.

The good news, and there is some, is that it is getting easier to Short Sale your home if you are not able to continue to keep up with the payments and falling further and further behind.  The really good news is that, compared to a foreclosure, the Short Sale process is much easier on you and on your credit rating.  You can potentially be in shape to purchase another home in as little as two years vs. seven years with a foreclosure.

So, welcome.  If you have questions about your own situation and would like a private consultation, contact me.  I am here to help.

Sheila Lawrence

e: sheilaklawrence@gmail.com

p: 707.478.7240

w: SheilaLawrence.com