Real people, real lives changed: HARP
As a homeowner you may have heard something about HARP. No it is not a musical instrument. Although it may be music to your ears. The Home Affordable Refinance Program, better known as H.A.R.P, was created to help homeowners who are underwater, or close to under water on their mortgage. What does it mean when your mortgage is under water? It means your home is worth less than the present mortgage amount. Basically the value of your home has declined. This could be for a variety of reasons, but very often it is driven by local economic trends and other factors beyond your control.
So far, over 3.4 million people have benefited from HARP*. Those are real people, saving real money. I’m talking about food on the table and gas in the tank. A 2013 survey by Freddie Mac, a leader in mortgage financing, estimates the average homeowner will save $358 a month, or $4,300 in the first year.** However other analysts say borrowers can save anywhere from $1,200 to as much as $6,000. The reality is, If you get approved, your specific savings will depend upon the terms (duration, interest rate) of your new HARP loan compared with your current loan.
Imagine what you can do with that kind of money. Pay down debt. Build up savings. HARP can be a life changer for many homeowners.
There are a couple of ways that HARP can help save you money:
Use HARP to lower your interest rate on a loan with the same duration (30 years).
Refinance a long-term fixed or variable rate for a short-term fixed-rate (15 years).
Many people are still eligible for HARP. And if you have already applied but were turned down, I strongly suggest that you apply again. The government has modified the requirements for eligibility. You may find that you now qualify. And if for some reason you don’t, you may have time to rectify the issues to meet eligibility requirements. Consult with a mortgage expert. You’ll find that they are on your side. They are full of ideas that may help. Yes, it’s their job and they make money refinancing your mortgage. So what. They make money and you save money. If I ever saw a win-win situation, this is it. So try not to be suspicious of HARP, it can mean real money in your pocket.
If you want to see what kind of savings you could be looking at, take a look at some of these mortgage calculators. They may give you a better idea if refinancing is right for you.
Now here’s the kicker. The deadline for HARP is September 30, 2017. Yep, that’s right around the corner and there really is no time to waste. Some people expect that the government will extend the program, but no one knows for sure. Why take the chance on missing out on this limited time opportunity? Why wait? Like I said, HARP is not a musical instrument, but you might be able to play it to the tune of $358 of savings per month.