HARP 2.0 to the rescue

If watching home values fall and gas prices go up leaves you feeling like you’re caught in the middle and being squeezed real hard, it may be time to make some changes in the financial areas that you can control.  For most people, the place to start is with housing expenses.
If your housing expense is your largest expense, you may want to downsize or refinance.  Can’t refinance because your home is underwater?  Now you may be able to — thanks to HARP 2.0.
HARP 2.0 is a government program designed to facilitate refinancing even if your loan exceeds the value of your home.
Not every home owner can qualify for HARP 2, but the requirements are more flexible and favorable than the typical bank insistence on loans that do not exceed 80% of the value of the property.
So, what do you need to qualify for a re-fi? You must have a source of income, and your home loan must be:
• Currently owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae;
• Bought from your original lender by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae before 5/31/09;
• Current on your payments, with no late payments in the last six months, or no more than
one late payment in the last 12 months, and;
• Not  previously a participant in a HARP program;
• Appraised with a loan-to-value (LTV) that is equal to or exceeds 80%.
Why are you just hearing the buzz about Harp 2.0?   The lenders have been waiting for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make these new underwriting guidelines public, and that did not happen until recently.
Sound interesting?  How can you find out more regarding your specific situation?
• Speak directly to any HUD approved mortgage lender.  The brokers are eager to help.  According to Hans Bruhner, First Priority Financial, “Harp 2.0 is good for the borrower, and it’s good for the economy.  For some clients who were considering walking away from their homes, a lower interest rate was the difference in being able to stay in their home.”
• Speak with a HUD approved non-profit who will assist you in the process i.e. Fair Housing of Marin.  Here’s how to find an approved organization. fhttp://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/fc/
What if you have more than 20% equity in your home?  You do have choices, but we can’t cover them now.  There are some excellent government programs depending upon what is the source of the financial difficulty.  Here’s a place to get started.  Be sure to read to the end of the article:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/26/BU2K1NBMUS.DTL
Whether or not refinancing with HARP 2.0 is the financial solution for which you’ve been searching, it does give you one more option to explore.  Do all the  options send you into overwhelm mode?  There is a place you can turn for objective answers — an independent hourly financial planner.  My goal is to take you from overwhelm to confident.  Call or email me today.  I’ll do everything I can to make sure you are doing everything you can to move forward financially.

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