7 Things To Know About HARP 2.0

The government is going on the offensive.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently launched a HARP public relations campaign meant to educate U.S. homeowner about the HARP program’s benefits.

The agencies believe that the majority of HARP-eligible homeowners are either unaware that the program exists, don’t know about the program benefits, or both.

This website receives a lot of emails from homeowners wondering about HARP and whether they’re eligible to refinance. Here are some of the common HARP questions (and their sometimes-surprising answers).

1. Can I refinance with HARP if I have a second mortgage?

Yes, you can refinance with HARP if you have a second mortgage. However, in accordance with HARP guidelines, you cannot combine your two mortgages in a cash-out refinance.

To refinance your first mortgage via HARP, but leave your second mortgage unchanged, your second mortgage lender will agree to subordinate its mortgage, which is a fancy way of saying that second mortgage lender will give permission for you to replace the existing first lien on title.

2. Can I I refinance with HARP even through I have no equity in my home?

Yes, you can refinance your home via HARP if you have no equity. That’s exactly the premise of the program!

Via HARP 2.0, homeowners can refinance no matter how far underwater they are with their mortgage. This is among the reasons why the HARP refinance has been so popular in Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; and other hard-hit areas.

HARP is the “underwater mortgage program” — of course you can use it when you have no home equity.

3. I was already turned down for HARP once. Can I actually apply for HARP again?

Even if you’ve been turned down for HARP in the past, it can make sense to apply for HARP again. This is because HARP-approved lenders often use in-house variations of the official, government-issued HARP guidelines.

These variations, which are officially known as “investor overlays”, differ from bank-to-bank. If you were turned down by Wells Fargo, for example, you may be able to get approved by Quicken.

If at first you don’t succeed, apply, apply again.

4. Can I refinance my home via HARP even though it’s not my primary residence.

HARP 2.0 can be used to refinance homes of any occupancy type. Investment properties can be refinanced via HARP, and so can second homes and vacation properties. HARP can be used in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories.

5. If my lender doesn’t offer HARP, can I apply with another bank instead?

Not all lenders offer The Home Affordable Refinance Program; this is true. However, U.S. homeowners are free to refinance with any HARP-approved lender.

This freedom was among the improvements of HARP 2.0. There are now thousands of lenders making HARP 2.0 mortgages.

6. Can I use HARP even though I am not behind on my mortgage payments?

The HARP refinance program is not meant for homeowners who are behind or delinquent with their mortgage payments. HARP can only be used for homeowners who are current. The HARP program is not meant to save a person’s home from foreclosure. Homeowners facing difficulty with payment should contact their loan servicer immediately.

7. Can I use HARP even though my loan has private mortgage insurance?

You can use HARP 2.0 for loans with existing private mortgage insurance (PMI). This is a change from HARP 1.0 and applies to loans with both borrower-paid mortgage insurance (BPMI) and lender-paid mortgage insurance (LPMI).

However, it can be difficult to find banks to offer a PMI program.

If you try to refinance your loan with PMI and you are turned down by a lender, apply again somewhere else. You may get a better outcome.