You may have heard on TV or the radio about interest rates so low you wonder if it’s true and if it is something available to all homeowners, including those who are “underwater” in their mortgages.
Yes, interest rates are at record low, and yes, the rates may be available even to homeowners, whose mortgages are more than the current market value of their houses.
These homeowners are allowed under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) to take advantage of the current low interest rates.
Homeowners who take advantage of HARP are able to lower substantially their mortgage payment. Savings can range from $100 to $400 a month in many cases.
They may also be able to shorten the term of their mortgage from 30 years to 20 years or even 15 years with the same amount of monthly payment or with a minimal increase in payment.
To be eligible for HARP, the homeowner must have made the last six mortgage payments on time and must not have been more than one 30-day late in payment in the last 12 months.
Also, the mortgage must be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The first step for the homeowners is to check if their mortgage is now owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. This can be done by visiting these websites — www.FannieMae.com/loanlookup or ww3.FreddieMac.com/corporate.
Early this year, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) introduced the FHA streamline program that reduced fees for homeowners who have FHA mortgages purchased before June 1, 2009.
This program requires no appraisal and needs only a few verification documents.
Homeowners availing themselves of this program are able to lower the interest rates with low closing cost. This is a great opportunity for those who have FHA mortgages.
If you have any questions about the refinancing program, you may call the author of this article, Gigi Olegario of Huron Valley Financial, at 734-572-2981.