Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Homeowners: I'm HARPing on You!

Have you owned a home for more than five years? Would you like to save some serious money? This is not a pitch or a scam.

Do you

  • Own a home with a mortgage from 2009 or prior?
  • Current on your payments, with no late ones?
  • Have a loan-to-value ratio of 80 percent or more--even  underwater?
  • Have a mortgage insured by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae (about 40% of the loans issued during the boom were Freddie or Fannie; their websites have tools to help you find out)?
  • Have an interest rate at least 1.5 points higher than the current rate (about 4.12%)?
The above, pretty much, are the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) criteria to qualify to refinance your mortgage to current rates. If your interest rate right now is more than that and you haven't refinanced through HARP, you're throwing money away.

Why careth the Captain, you say? Because 676,000 owners nationwide are HARP- eligible and could save, on average, $200 a month according to this article in the Washington Post. Included, for example, are more than 7,000 borrowers in Oregon, 34,000 in California, 5,000 in Colorado, and 82,000 in Florida, to name a few states.

Hello? Whaddup, people?

What should you do? Call your lender. Call a mortgage broker. I mean, come on, call somebody. Don't just sit there and pay out money you could be saving. Or spending. Or paying down your principal. Or investing.

And it might pay to get going on this. The HARP deadline has been extended several times, but there's no guarantee it will happen again.