Home Affordable Refinance Program
HARP is a government program that came into play in 2009 after the housing bubble burst. The government saw how many home owners were in a situation where they owed more money on their homes than the homes were actually worth in the current market. The goal was to provide more flexibility to borrowers and lenders so that people could keep their homes. In the past, refinancing a home once the borrower was under water was not an option. HARP has changed that.
HARP has seen a few updates since its inception. Currently HARP offers the following improvements-
No loan to value limits
Borrowers can now refinance regardless of how far their homes have fallen in value. Previous loan-to-value limits were set at 125 percent.
Eliminating appraisals and more flexible underwriting
Most homeowners will no longer have to get an appraisal or be required to have their loan underwritten, making their refinance process smoother and faster.
Certain risk-based fees for borrowers who refinance into shorter-term loans will either be eliminated or modified.
The end date to take advantage of HARP refinancing has been extended to Dec. 31, 2015.