harp-basicsThe Home Affordable Refinance Program or HARP is a program by the federal government to help homeowners in refinancing their mortgages. If you are current on your mortgage payments and still did not get traditional refinancing, maybe because the value your house has declined, HARP can help you refinance.

This program by the Federal government is designed to provide you with a new, more stable, more affordable mortgage. If you want to refinance through the program you must know that it requires a loan application and underwriting process along and certain other criteria that define eligibility

Eligibility Criteria For HARP

  • You should be current on your mortgage, with not more than 30 days late payments in the last six months and not more than one in the last twelve months
  • Your home must be primary residence, single unit second home or a one to four unit investment property
  • Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac should own your loan. There are loan look-up tools present to check it
  • Your loan must have a note-date of May 31, 2009 or before
  • Your current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio needs to be greater than 80 percent


You can ask the company to which you make the mortgage payments for the availability of HARP, i.e. whether they participate in the program or not. The company you pay might have set up the loan for you but there is a high probability that, if you have a conforming loan, they have sold the ultimate title to the loan to an institution that holds mortgages and investments. Alternatively, you can determine your eligibility by simply contacting Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.

Steps Which Will Lead You To Affordable Refinance

By using their respective look-up tools, you can determine if your loan is owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or it is owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mae, which is one of the important criteria for eligibility for HARP. Moreover, to enquire about HARP, contact your current mortgage servicer or contact any other, which is approved by Freddie Mac or is approved by Fannie Mae if your servicer does not participate in the program. To compare costs and rates with additional mortgage companies in order to ensure best refinance terms.

The Coming Update Of HARP 3.0

The points or changes included in the next update of the program, HARP 3.0 are still being debated. Hence, it has not been instituted yet. Some of the changes likely to be included are:

  • Allow mortgages that are not backed by Freddie Mac or not backed by Fannie Mae to qualify for HARP 3.0
  • Shift ahead the HARP eligibility dates out from May 2009 to 2011
  • Waive or loose credit, income and employment verification guidelines
  • Allow homeowners who already have refinanced under HARP to refinance under the program again


As of the writing of this article, the HARP is scheduled to end on December 31, 2015.