With so many mortgages underwater, the federal government has created programs to help certain homeowners cope. One of the programs, the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), has recently been updated in the hopes that more homeowners will qualify for relief.
Until now, many of the programs intended to assist homeowners in trouble have been difficult to navigate and successfully complete by the homeowners. HARP, for instance, has enrolled just 900,000 homeowners; its goal was four or five million. A Tampa mortgage modification lawyer can discuss changes to the program with you to determine whether your mortgage qualifies a modification.
HARP Plays a New Tune
HARP’s criteria for eligibility include who owns the loan: the loan must reside with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, entities that are overseen by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). This has not changed with the new HARP guidelines.
The major difference in the revamped HARP is a higher ceiling for the ratio of mortgage amount to home value. FHFA says that the more inclusive program could bring in 900,000 more homeowners, doubling the number of people who benefit from the program.
The Value of HARP for Florida Homeowners
A home that is underwater is one that is worth less than the amount owed on its mortgage. Although HARP will not reduce the mortgage amount for underwater homeowners, it can reduce the interest rate on the mortgage. For those who qualify for a modification under HARP, a reduction in interest rate can mean a reduction in your monthly payment.
Underwater homeowners in Florida and beyond have encountered frustration and complexity while applying for HARP. The change to the program may ease some of these complaints, although it does not appear that the majority of the procedural aspects of the application process have been simplified. The broader eligibility rules, however, may provide hope for many frustrated homeowners.
Pursuing a loan modification under HARP or HAMP is one of many tools that Florida homeowners have to fight or avoid foreclosure. Florida foreclosure defense attorneys can discuss whether defending against a foreclosure, attempting a short sale, offering a deed-in-lieu or pursuing a modification program is in your best interest as a Tampa-area homeowner.