Chances are, you or somebody in your family was severely affected by the downturn in the housing market.  Millions of Americans have been forced into foreclosure, short sale, or bankruptcy.  Millions of other Americans struggle to pay their mortgages at inflated rates and are unable to refinance because their home has lost too much value. 
Last month a program was rolled out that changes everything.  The revamped Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0) is designed to help borrowers who owe significantly more on their home than what it’s currently worth.  The program allows for unlimited loan-to-value and has no minimum credit score requirements.  To qualify, borrowers must have either a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae backed mortgage.  I have included additional information on the attached document.  If you are one of many who were caught in this situation, I would be happy to help you.  If not, please pass this along to somebody who may need it    
 What is the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)?
Announced in March 2009, HARP is a federal government program designed to help 5 million underwater or near-underwater homeowners refinance into a fixed loan with a lower monthly payment. However, as of Aug. 31, only 894,000 borrowers have refinanced through HARP. On Oct. 24, 2011, President Obama announced an overhaul to the HARP program with the intent of reaching more underwater homeowners. The expanded HARP program (also referred to as HARP 2.0) includes borrowers with a loan-to-value ratio of greater than 125 percent.
Why didn’t the original version of the HARP program work?
The original version of HARP had many roadblocks that made it difficult for homeowners to refinance. For example, the program only assisted those with mortgages with a loan-to-value ratio between 80 percent and 125 percent, but in many hard-hit housing markets across the country, homes have lost more than 50 percent in value making those homeowners ineligible for the program.
How did the HARP program change?
Some of the major changes to the HARP program include:
 Unlimited loan-to-value on fixed rate loans Borrowers will now be able to refinance regardless of how far their homes have fallen in value. Previous loan-to-value limits were set at 125 percent.
 Eliminating appraisals and underwriting Most homeowners will not have to get an appraisal or have their loan underwritten, making their refinance process smoother and faster.
 Modified fees Certain risk-based fees for borrowers who refi into shorter-term loans will either be eliminated or modified.
 All property types – primary residence, 2nd home, investment properties accepted.
 Mortgage Insurance now accepted
 Extended deadline The end date to get a HARP refinance has been extended to Dec. 31, 2013.
 How do I find out who holds my mortgage?
To be eligible for the HARP program, your mortgage must be held by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
To “look up” your mortgage, check Fannie Mae. If you can’t find your mortgage there, check Freddie Mac.
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