Making Home Affordable consists of six major government programs which may assist you with refinancing your home. Some of them are designed to assist homeowners who may not qualify for traditional refinancing in the current economic climate. Others provide assistance to homeowners who are currently in financial hardship or facing foreclosure.
Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
HARP is designed to help homeowners who no longer qualify for traditional refinancing because the value of their homes have fallen and the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is now too high. You may be eligible for this program if your mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, and if your home’s current LTV ratio is greater than 80 percent.
To access this program, contact Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae to find out if your circumstances qualify. Also contact your mortgage servicer. All of the major banks participate in HARP, but many smaller mortgage companies don’t. Standard refinancing fees will apply.
Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
HAMP is designed to help homeowners who are having difficulty making mortgage payments. HAMP assistance is no longer restricted by debt-to-income ratio, but you must have sufficient documented income to support a modified payment.
You may be eligible for this program if you are in danger of falling behind on your mortgage payments. If you do not live in the property, then you must already be delinquent in your mortgage payments.
To access this program, contact your mortgage servicer to determine if the company participates in HAMP. Many mortgage companies that don’t participate in HAMP may offer you their own mortgage modification options, but only if you ask.
Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP)
UP is designed to help homeowners who are temporarily unemployed with payments on their mortgages. Mortgage payments may be reduced to 31% of current income, or they may be temporarily suspended.
You may be eligible for this program if you are unemployed, eligible for unemployment benefits and if you have not previously received a HAMP modification. You must also have held your mortgage since before January 1, 2009. This program is not available to homeowners with mortgages held through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
To access this program, contact your mortgage servicer. You may qualify for HAMP reduction after UP expires.
For more information on any of these programs, call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673). You will speak with a HUD-approved housing counselor who can find the right program to fit your needs. There is no cost for this service.