HARP is a government-backed program designed to help homeowners who without it might find their mortgage refinance applications declined. You’re especially likely to benefit if you have “negative equity” (the market value of your home is less than the balance left on your mortgage) or if you have only a small amount of positive equity. It’s also important to know that there are no minimum credit score thresholds. Even so, not everyone qualifies for help through the program. Read on to see if you’re eligible, or take a shortcut by filling out our form.
Of course, you’ll probably want to talk to your existing lender early on in the process. During that call, ask whether it participates in the HARP program. If it does, explore some other questions.
Does it think you and your home are eligible? If not, why not? Does it impose its own rules over and above HARP’s official guidelines? If so, what are they? What refinance rate would it offer you? However good that rate sounds, and however happy you are with the amount you could save each month, still shop around for competitive quotes. You might find even lower rates and even bigger savings.
Don’t give up if some lenders (including your current one) put up barriers. Keep looking, and there’s a good chance you’ll find one that will help.
You can find online many estimates of how much a HARP refinance could save you. Some suggest $200 a month on average. Others estimate savings of $60,000 or $70,000 over the life of a 30-year loan. But how much you personally will save won’t become clear until you’ve found the best possible deal, and compared your new monthly payment with your existing one.
In the meantime, you could try modeling some scenarios using the LendingTree refinance calculator and refinance payment calculator. Naturally, if you refinance an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate one, or if you refinance to a 15-year or other shorter term loan (both of which are possible under HARP guidelines), you may actually pay more each month – while likely reducing the overall cost of your borrowing. But however you choose to use the savings you make with a new HARP mortgage, you’re almost bound to benefit a great deal.