HARP Loans- Perfect for Investment Properties

Many people who own investment properties don’t believe they can refinance their rentals due to equity (or lack thereof) .  Since rental property loans require 25% equity on a traditional Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan, I understand why so many landlords do not attempt to refinance.

 

Landlords also believe that many of government programs, such as HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) offered exclusively for homeowners are not for investment properties.  Well, I have some news for you landlords, not only can you do a HARP refinance on a rental property, they are PERFECT for rental properties.  Let me explain.

 

When HARP was first released, it had similar risk-based pricing that regular conventional loans had.  Many homeowners were discouraged to find out they qualified for HARP but the new higher credit requirements for conventional loans made these loans too expensive.  Homeowners would hear about 4.5% 30 year interest rates but were often offered 6%+ rates.

 

The government then implemented an adjustment cap to help homeowners who had these lower credit requirements.  This cap was equivalent to about .5% to the homeowners interest rate, meaning if 30 year fixed HARP loans were at 4.5%, everybody who qualified for HARP would only pay 5% or less depending on their qualifications.  It was a noble cause to make sure all homeowners could get a decent rate.

 

However, this is what makes HARP perfect for landlords.  HARP doesn’t have special guidelines for rental properties, meaning lenders who offer 105% of a homeowners value on a primary residence usually offer the same limit on investment properties!  Also, the .5% cap for HARP loans applies to all HARP loans.  This means landlords can refinance their investment properties at .5% above the best HARP rates regardless of credit, property type or equity!  This is, of course, as long as they are still within HARP guidelines.  I believe it’s probably an oversight, as I doubt the purpose of this cap was to offer amazing rates to property investors.

 

Today, I helped a homeowner who had two rental properties lock interest rates for their house and their two rentals. The rates we locked were 4.5% (owner-occupied 4.6% APR), 4.875% (Fannie Mae backed rental 4.995% APR) and 4.875% (Freddie Mac backed rental 5.007% APR).  None of the properties had more than 10% equity and one of the rentals was near 100% of the value!  What was the client’s credentials?  Well, if the credentials weren’t perfect, he may have had to pay a higher rate on his primary residence but it would’ve bared no change to his rental property rates.  Crazy, isn’t it?

 

If you have a rental property you’re trying to refinance, check to see if it’s owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  If it is an d you’re paying more than 5.5%, then call your loan officer and lower that rate.  How often does the government help you improve your cash flow?

 

TIP FOR FREDDIE MAC INVESTMENT LOANS

Some of you have read my posts on HARP and realize that HARP is a product you can apply for with your current lender but can also apply with outside lenders.

 

Freddie Mac has a version of HARP for your current lender that is different than the version for outside Freddie Mac lenders.  If you have converted a primary residence into a rental, your current lender CANNOT do a HARP loan for you but you CAN get this done with an outside Freddie Mac lender.  I’ve confirmed this with several lenders.  A few veteran loan officers at banks may have access to the outside-Freddie Mac version of HARP and still help but not often.  If you have a primary residence converted to a rental property and have a Freddie Mac loan, look for a Freddie Mac lender who can help you.

 

UPDATE March 11, 2012:

The government extended the HARP deadline from June 30th, 2011 until June 30th, 2012.  I hope they modify the program to help more homeowners but if they do look into modifying the program, there’s a chance they may change the price cap that helps rental property loans price so well on HARP.  I would recommend refinancing your HARP eligible rentals as soon as possible.

http://www.keaneloans.com/2011/03/11/harp-extended-until-june-30th-2012/

 

UPDATE 11/21/2012

HARP 2.0 will improve the price adjustment for Fannie Mae investment properties since the fee cap will be lowered.  Freddie Mac is keeping their fee cap the same for investment properties, only improving the cost for non-investment HARP loans.

For homeowners looking for more information on getting approved for a Freddie Mac HARP investment loan, please read this post:

http://www.keaneloans.com/2011/10/14/how-to-qualify-for-a-freddie-mac-harp-refinance-on-a-rental-property/

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417 comments to HARP Loans- Perfect for Investment Properties
  • Joanna

    My home is a Fanie Mae loan and originally my primary residence. I tried to sell the property 3 years ago and was not able to so i rented it. I lose $623 a month on the property. The value is around $200000 and i owe $250000… From the sounds of this would i qualify for HARP refi?

    Thank you,
    Joanna

  • Joanna,

    Yes, but I rarely see rentals approve above 105% loan-to-value. I would do a close analysis of your home value and make sure you have unsecured loan options to cover the difference if you pursue refinancing.

    If you’ve been renting it for more than 2 years and claiming it on your taxes, the loss counted against you won’t be as much as most people think it is. The rental loss probably isn’t that big of a deal.

  • As a Newbie, I’m all the time looking online for articles that can help me get additional ahead.

  • Please sign this petition and help homeowners refinance their PMI serviced loans under HARP

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/harploans/

  • Josefina

    I don’t know about this. I have a rental with a mortgage that is serviced by BAF (I was a Countrywide customer before). This property was originally my home, so it still holds an FHA at 6%. I wanted to refinance.
    The original price was %100,000. THat was the original mortgage for. Currnetly I still owe $86,000. The value of the property has gone down to about $85,000 to $86,000. The BAF officer did not even bother talking with me. He said “your value is $84,000 and you need 20% down to refinance.” I am shocked, how do they establish this without appraisal? Anyway, I do not have that money down and I said I wanted to benefit from the 105% refinance from the government program. He said it is not for rentals but I could do a modification. I do not want a modification, as it damages credit as well as it takes forever. I want to refinance. Who should I talk to to benefit from what you mention here. The mortgage is owned by Fredie or Fannie. I know that.

  • JB

    How does the credit have to be for a n/o/o refi? Have a client with terrible credit due to multiple rentals, slow pay tenants, but he has managed to hold. Has 4 properties, two w/o mi and rates @ 7% for those. Small loan amounts so don’t think its worth it, but open to exploring. Thought this was hands off for landlords.

  • JB,

    Here’s the thing…as long as he qualifies, the rate will be great. See this post about “pricing caps”.

    However, HARP loans will not go through if the property owner had mortgage lates in the past 12 months.

    Remember, HARP is for clients who would’ve qualified for a refinance but cannot refinance due to equity. Like a regular conventional mortgage, property owners with mortgage lates and poor credit will have a harder time qualifying.

  • Jake

    I was laid off my job in 2006 and forced to leave my home in South Florida to take a job in New York. I was unable to sell at the time as the housing market was beginning it’s free-fall. The original loan was for about $239k and while I still owe about $210k, it appears the house (townhome) is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $130k. The loan carries a PMI and rents for about half my monthly payment.

    If I understand this I’m still not likely to be eligible for HARP. Please tell me if I’m wrong or if you have any suggestions.

  • Jake,

    With a 125% max, HARP doesn’t appear to be a solution for you. Having PMI only makes it more difficult because they’ll likely reject re-issuing the PMI policy as a rental property.

    Sorry, I wish I had better news for you.

  • Gina

    We are renting out our CA home at less than half of what we pay in mortgage costs and are very interested in refinance options on our first loan (had to relocate for job to the East Coast where we are currently renting). The loan to value is about 92% (for two loans). Our first loan is with B of A and is Fannie Mae. We have a second loan at Wells Fargo. We’ve checked with 3 mortgage brokers and they have all had issues with the fact that it is non-owner occupied with a 2nd loan behind it. The only one who came up with anything said the best he could do would be about 5.4% on the first loan, which is close to the 5.75% we already have, and he said he didn’t recommend the refinance at this high rate. Does this sound about right to you? We have excellent credit and are not late on the mortgage, but seem to be having trouble finding refi options. Do you recommend moving back into the house in our situation? If so, how long does one have to stay in a previously rented home (documented on our tax forms) before being able to refinance the loan? Thanks!

  • Staff

    I tried to qualify for HARP for my primaty resident. I haven’t miss any payments for this property. I was told because I was late on rental property mortages I don’t quatify for HARP. Do you where I can find the detail guildlines?

  • Staff,

    You can find details on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s selling guide, which includes guidelines. No mortgage lates in the past 12 months.

  • Gina,

    Sorry for the delayed response.

    You don’t need to move in. The brokers aren’t pricing with the right lenders.

    Even with rates going up, a non-owner loan at your value should be about .5% lower in rate than what you were quoted.

  • Claudia

    Great information. I have refinanced my owner occupied residence under the HARP streamline program and was told I could also do the same on my second home. No income qualifying. I have tons of equity (40% LTV), no late payments, great credit scores, condo, no cash out, Fannie Mae. Just looking to lower the interest and extend the term back to a 30 year term; I’m 15 years into the existing loan. I am being told, by Chase, it needs to be a full qualifying loan. What are the rules? Can I do this loan without tax returns? Maybe with another lender?

  • Jack

    I have a rental property that is upside down. The 1st has a balance of 220k, is at 5.625%, and is Fannie Mae. The second is a HELOC with a balance of 250k. The value is around 250k, probably 300k with a desktop appraisal (the actual square footage is less than shown in public records). I have great credit, no late payments and want to refi the first. The LTV for the first fits the 105% requirement, but not if you include the second. Would HARP work?

  • Jack,

    Yes, that should work. There isn’t a limit to how much your loan loan-to-value is with your loans combined, only your first mortgage is limited to 125% limit(105% was the old limit and what MOST lenders are still currently using). The key is to use a lender who has good pricing for an unlimited COMBINED-LOAN-TO-VALUE, which does fit under HARP.

  • Brian

    I’m confused. According to the HARP eligibility information directly on the government’s website, the home must be your primary residence (owner occupied) in order to qualify for HARP. See: http://makinghomeaffordable.gov/refinance_yes.html It says:
    You may be eligible for HARP if you:

    * Own a one- to four-unit home that is your primary residence;

    Yet Mr. Ng indicates here that “HARP is perfect for landlords”. What gives? Thank you. -Brian.

  • Brian

    Also, the mortgage on my rental property was recently sold to American Home Mortgage (original lender TBW went out of business). I spoke to them today and they indicated that I may qualify and directed me to a mortgage broker partner (Prospect Mortgage) who they are working with to execute these government “making homes affordable” programs. Prospect mortgage told me that I do NOT qualify because the property is not owner occupied. -Brian.

  • Brian,

    Trust me, I had to double check with my secondary department over and over again. That was many months ago. I’ve closed many of these for my clients since then. It is not a requirement. I’m even helping another loan officer refinance their rental property right now. You can do it. Tell me what state you’re in and I’ll find a lender licensed in your state that can help you.

  • Staff

    I call Fredric Mac and the no lates on mortgages only applies to the mortgages that you are trying to refinance with Harp. Mortgages don’t mean all the mortgages you have. If you have multiple mortgages on your home, the word mortgages must be used. It’s doesn’t state all the mortgages you own. The bank has misinterpreted the rule as always. I never been late on my primary resident. How can I get the lender to follow the rules for Freddic Mac?

  • Brian

    Keane – thanks for the reply. I’m in IL and would appreciate a lead on a lender who you think can help me. -Brian.

  • Staff,

    It could be that they’ll allow you to do a loan on a mortgage that hasn’t been late but the credit impact of a mortgage late in the last 12 months is difficult to overcome regardless. If it’s your existing servicer, it’s their call. If it’s another Freddie Mac lender, they run your file through an underwriting engine called Loan Prospector, which evaluates the risk of your loan under Freddie Mac guidelines including debt-to-income ratio, loan-to-value, credit, etc. Maybe you should try a different Freddie Mac lender and have them run it through this engine. They can always show you the results if they wish.

  • Jen

    I don’t currently have an FHA loan on my second house which used to be my primary residence? I owe 275K and the house is worth approx. 330K. I also have LOC for 50K. The house is currently rented since I couldn’t sell it after I got married. I would like to refinance the 275K since it has a interest only loan with a high interest rate. Do I qualify for anything? My mortgage company says no?

  • Jen,

    HARP is conventional loans. Did you check to see if your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? You won’t be able to tell unless you do research. The tools to check are on this blog post:

    http://www.keaneloans.com/2009/12/18/homeowners-guide-to-harp/

  • Owen

    Hi,
    I started a refi with BofA on my condo (owe 188K, value now is 165K). At first, all was well as I was going to bring money into escrow (to meet the 105% LTV). The original loan was owner occupied and now they told me that since is it now rented, and the new loan would be non-owner occupied, it does not qualify under Freddie Mac rules. I cannot see that from my research. Is there anyone who knows a broker that can help me>
    I live in San Diego.

    Thanks, Owen

  • Cimone

    I need some serious help! The bank has denied my request twice. I have two rental properties and requested the HARP program assistance. The reason I’m struggling is due delinquent property taxes and lost wages. The bank took it upon themselves to pay the property tax bill without my request. According to the treasurer I had 5 years to pay my taxes but because everyone is hurting financially the treasurer notified the bank and they paid up which caused an increase in my mortgage payments.

    I’ve been seeking to assistance for both rental properties. The bank supposedly has no government programs for investment properties and because of my credit score I’m not able to qualify for a refi. I had to move out due to a pay-cut. Though I’m negative $1,500 per month and need any assistance you can provide-HELP!

    How do I approach the bank for the 3rd TIME and receive assistance? Thanks! :)

  • Cimone,

    The only thing I see in your story that may impact you is the hardship. HARP is for homeowners who wish to refinance but need expanded guidelines little to no equity. Did you go late on any of the mortgages in the past year?

  • Owen,

    I just emailed you.

  • Jack

    Can I get a referral for someone in Southern California (Los Angeles) who can help?

  • Jack,

    I just emailed you.

  • Fred

    Can I get a referral for someone in Illinois? Will county?

  • Bonnie

    I want to refi a rental in CT. The purchase price in 2007 was 347k with a loan of 278k at 6%. I could add some to the equity. Can I get a Harp loan at 5% or lower? The credit rating is close to perfect.

  • Bonnie

    I want to refi a rentalcondo (the condo is a townhouse, 5 buildings 2 units each) in CT. The purchase price in 2007 was 347k with a loan of 278k at 6%. I could add some to the equity. Can I get a Harp loan at 5% or lower? The credit rating is close to perfect.

  • Bonnie,

    The lender pricing the loan and the CURRENT value will determine the answer to your question. HARP loans follow the same bonds that affect regular cnonventional loans. When other loan rates are low, HARP rates are low.

  • sandra

    Hi, I’ve been having trouble trying to refi a home that I own, but my parents live in. I married and moved out about 1 year ago, and am being turned down due to the fact that although I own the property, I do not reside there, and the loan is a Freddie Mac. My loan is through Chase, however, they are showing no leniency as well. If I am not behind on my payment, they claim there is nothing they can do. Would HARP be an option that I can consider???

  • Bonnie

    The current value of the house is between 260 and 270. Maybe as low as 255. The loan is probably about 265 now. Can the loan be refinanced wihtout 25% down? I thought that is the point of HARP. Again near perfect credit rating.

  • Irene

    I called Fannie Mae to find out if my rental property would qualify for HARP refi. It is a 30-year conventional fixed rate loan from 2003, did not require mortgage insurance, and I have about 60% equity in it now. They told me I could not since it is not homeowner occupied. Called twice, same answer. I just refinanced another property with same bank, same kind of loan, it was tagged HARP eligible. But this other loan is not tagged that way. Cant figure out why?

  • Hi I have two investment properties with my husband. We have maintained 6-7 years of errorless payments. We owe roughly $135k (80-10-10) on each. The values are at least $225k. I have phoned Freddie Mac confirmed that. We have good income, but as we get older, it’s going down. We wish to refi our 6-7% interest rates now, for the remaining 20 years we have left.
    I am told HARP does recognize investors. When I read the rules, it doesn’t seem to make it clear. I am in NJ an would love a referral for Monmouth County. By helping me, I will in turn be able to help about 20 others in my same scenerio. Thank you

  • Claudia

    Keane,
    I have talked to you on a couple of occassions about refinancing my second home and rentals. I am a mortgage broker and cannot get anyone to refinance these properties without full qualification/documentation. I have pleanty of equity and good credit and I have had the loans for 10 years. I recently ran across an article by the California Association of Realtors. The article stated that some lenders are doing “Re-amortization” loans or “Recast” loans. There is a catch; $150 fee and a $5,000 principal reduction…..the loan will be recast at the original term and interest rate The up side is no closing costs or other fees. In most refinance situations, there are closing costs that come close to the $5,000. May as well pay down the principal. The article specifically stated that Chase and B of A are doing these loans.

  • Dolores,

    I’ll email you a contact in that area. Let me know how it turns out.

  • Claudia,

    I would love to hear more about what you find. I’ve talked to colleagues that work at large banks. I get the most helpful info from my Chase and Wells Fargo contacts. I know there is a version of HARP that some people qualify for that don’t even require a new deed of trust, just a modification of the existing note. It actually is NOT a HAMP modification either.

    From what I can gather, there are versions of HARP available from the existing servicer and some offered from outside lenders. Maybe what you’re talking about is the loan the existing lender is doing but I didn’t hear about it as a principal reduction. FHA is now a part of HARP and they have a principal reduction clause but only a small handful of transactions have closed that I’ve been made aware of.

    Share more if you have the time and info. I’d love to hear about it.

  • Sandra,

    I’ve heard that Chase isn’t helpful in these situations. What state are you in? Most Freddie Mac lenders who support HARP can help you.

  • Irene,

    I know that many of the HARP websites state this and Fannie Mae’s customer service agents may think this, but it’s not true. It is eligible. The Fannie Mae seller guide (over 1200 pages long) states it IS eligible and I’ve closed many of these loans.

    Another point, 60% equity doesn’t require HARP. You should be able to do a regular refinance.

  • Bonnie,

    Most lenders will allow up to 105% of your home value on HARP, including rental properties. Your loan sounds like it can be done.

  • Eric

    Keane,

    Here is my situation. I currently have a Rental Property that was originally my Primary Residence. 5 years ago I rented it out before I moved to another house. The mortgage was serviced by Countrywide, now B of America. I have a 7/1 Arm 5,2,2,5 at 4.85 that will adjust this July. I would like to refinance under HARP but they are telling me that because the loan carries PMI and my LTV is high (95% to 100%)and the ownership type is still under owner occupied Fannie Mae doesn’t allow switching of ownership type unless I can bring down my LTV to 80%. The residence is in Illinois. Is what they are telling me sound accurate? Are there any banks that can Refinance me with these circumstances?

    When the rate adjust I believe it will be based on Libor 1 year plus 2.25 margin

  • Eric,

    Your figures sound right. When it adjusts, it would go down about 1.5% if the index were to stay the same.

    The factor that’s likely stopping you is the PMI. If they won’t insure the non-owner refinance, you’re stuck. Also, B of A doesn’t do PMI HARP loans. I’ve had one person on this blog get one done but that was pure persistence. Their policy is to not refinance PMI HARP loans.

  • Dawn

    Hello Keane!
    We own a two-family rental property in Massachusetts and are very interested in using HARP to refinance (My husband’s job moved us out of state and we just bought another home, our now primary residence, in Texas). Our Massachusetts mortgage broker of years insists that we cannot use HARP to refinance our rental property. If you please, could you recommend a broker in MA who might help us and/or a lender who understands HARP the same way you do (our first loan is with Chase and our second with GreenTree). Thank you soooo much for posting!

  • Eric

    Keane,

    Thanks for the reply. Do you know of any Banks that will refinance a loan like mine? Once again I am in Illinois. Please let know. Thanks.

  • Eric,

    I don’t unfortunately. Bank of America CAN do it but they’re choosing not to at this time. I would set a reminder to contact them every 3-5 weeks to see if they’re policy has changed because it is something that may be updated. Many of the hurdles with closing a HARP loan have been removed after enough complaints have been filed.

  • Dawn,

    Have you already checked to see if your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?

  • Ty

    Keane,

    I have two rental properties, one in Ohio and one in Connecticut…long story. The one in Connecticut has a 5.675% loan. Is it worth refinancing this one? The one in Ohio has a 8.5% loan on the first mortgage. Can you give me a broker reference?

  • Ty,

    Did you check to see if it’s backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? This is the first step. Also, do you have mortgage insurance?

  • Ty

    Keane,

    Yes, both are backed by Freddie and both have PMI. Is there an issue with PMI?

    Ty

  • Ty,

    The PMI is likely your biggest roadblock. The PMI company needs to be willing to reissue the policy on your refinance. A broker won’t be able to do your loan, only your existing lender can IF the PMI company is willing to help.

  • Dawn

    Dawn
    January 23rd, 2011 at 8:17 pm
    Hello Keane!
    We own a two-family rental property in Massachusetts and are very interested in using HARP to refinance (My husband’s job moved us out of state and we just bought another home, our now primary residence, in Texas). Our Massachusetts mortgage broker of years insists that we cannot use HARP to refinance our rental property. If you please, could you recommend a broker in MA who might help us and/or a lender who understands HARP the same way you do (our first loan is with Chase and our second with GreenTree). Thank you soooo much for posting!
    Keane

    January 24th, 2011 at 9:27 am
    Dawn,
    Have you already checked to see if your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?

    Hi Keane,
    We are backed by Fannie with no PMI. (hooray!) Next steps us?…a Massachusetts broker you can recommend or should we contact a particular bank ourselves? Thanks so much!

  • Dawn

    UPDATE:

    Just want to thank you for all of your postings. My husband called Chase and they are ready and willing to lower our rate by over a full % point…down to 5.25. I was a little surprised at the $4600 to close…of which they are willing to roll $4300 into the re-financed 30 year mortgage. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am….how can the govt allow them to benefit financially (roughly 30k) from this subsidized program?!? Before agreeing to it, we are going to contact our broker and see if he can find a better situation for us.

    Our second mortgage, we are told, is not eligible for HARP b/c 1. it is not backed by FM or FM and 2. it’s a second mortgage. Maybe that will change soon?!

    In the meantime, thank you so much for your willingness to post and answer questions. We would have never known otherwise.

  • Dawn,

    That’s great news! The 2nd mortgage will never be incorporated. The idea of HARP is to allow you to refinance since the investor, Fannie or Freddie, isn’t increasing their risk position.

    Don’t worry about the profit side of things. That is part of the reason HARP is successful. The banks profit and can utilize existing employees to facilitate the transaction. They don’t have to create a department to handle this, they have loan officers, underwriters, etc. It’s smart for them to do it this way because it’s just a new program for the client and since they designed it for any Fannie/Freddie lender to do it, you have the right to shop it around.

  • Lisa Brown

    Prior to the RE market crashing, my husband, my daughter and me bought a single-family rental home. Since then, my husband and I have gotten a legal separation and he quit claimed his interest in this property to me. The 1st mortgage is with GMAC and has a $207,907 loan balance. The 2nd mortgage is with Wells Fargo and has a $51,356 loan balance. Zillow shows the current value of the home at $202,500. There is not Fannie Mae or Freddy Mac backing on this property.

    We would like to refinance this property with a HARP loan but my husband and I have another property in default. Is that going to ruin our chances of getting a refinance on this property even though my daughter is also on the loan, has good credit, and other than the one bad loan, my huband and I also have perfect credit?

  • Lisa,

    Mortgage lates will probably keep you from qualifying. Did you talk to GMAC? If you used the Fannie/Freddie links above and you have 3 owners on the property, there’s a good chance your loan IS backed by Fannie or Freddie and we just need to do some research.

    Your best bet is seeing if your daughter can qualify on her own. Don’t worry about the rental losses or debt-to-income ratio yet. Since you’ve rented that property for a few years, there’s a good chance you may qualify. Email me if you want to get some ideas.

  • Claudia

    I just refinanced my second home / rental. My loan was with Chase. They did what is called a “Recast”. No qualifying. There is a catch ! The rules: a minimum principal reduction of $5,000 and a processing fee of $150. The loan was recast for the remaining term of my 30 year loan at the original interest rate. Because I was in to this loan for close to 15 years of the original 30, it reduced my payment close to $400.00 per month. I made this request by phone and was required to make this request in writing. In approx. 7 days I received a letter showing the new payments and instructions on how to proceed. It was actually very easy. I was required to sign a one page modification of the new terms. I had been trying to refinance for months. This was the next best thing.

  • Lisa Brown

    Claudia, when you say principal reduction, do you mean you had to pay $5,000 on the balance of your original loan? There are supposedly some programs out there (although I haven’t found any specific ones yet) where banks are doing principal reductions (forgiveness of debt) so I’m just trying to clarify what you mean by principal reduction.

    Thanks

  • Claudia

    No forgiveness of debt! I wish! It was a principal reduction of the original loan. I’m not quite sure why they made this request, but it was better than paying closing costs. Paying closing costs would not have benefited me at all. . . . and no appraisal! It is a shame that the lenders are not allowing refinances on all types of properties, regardless of appraised value. If the loan is in good standing and the loan amount remains the same, the lender is not taking on any additional risk. In fact, they would be reducing the risk !

  • Claudia,

    I’ve never heard of anyone requiring a principal reduction. On Freddie Mac HARP loans, they have a $5k maximum amount of closing costs that can be ADDED to the principal balance when refinancing. Different versions of HARP and property conditions will possibly give clients an appraisal waiver but not always.

  • Claudia

    I agree. I had been trying to refinance my second home for several months on a non-qualifying/HARP loan. You may not remember, but I spoke to you a couple of times. My credit is spotless, no lates, and tons of equity. The CLTV was going to be 19% based on the appraised value. I was being told by Fannie Mae that the loan was eligible, but it was up to the servicer. Chase kept telling me “NO” because it was a condo and second home. I read about this “RECAST” option in the California Association of Real Estate news letter and it worked!!! No qualifying, no closing costs, no appraisal, nothing execpt the $5,000 principal reduction and $150 fee.
    Go Figure!

  • Claudia,

    That’s great news! I’m glad you got something to work.

  • Bob

    Keane,

    My wife and I purchased our first home in South Florida in early 2006 because I was being relocated for a project. We financed with Wells Fargo with a 7-yr ARM that will adjust in a couple of years. Since the RE crash the home value has decreased dramatically and we had to relocate for work in Aug 2009. Not being able to sell the home we are the proud owners of an underwater rental property in South Florida. Wells Fargo keeps telling me that because this is not my Primary Residence that I have no options and have to keep the loan. We are now forced to rent a home in South GA and I fear we will never be able to own another home. I have checked the Freddie website and our loan is backed by Freddie Mac. Do we have any options to your knowledge?? Thanks for any help you are able to provide.

  • Bob,

    Wells is incorrect, you can do a HARP loan but I am always told that this is something an OUTSIDE Freddie Mac lender must do. I’m doing a Freddie Mac Open-Access refinance for someone right now who was told the same thing. This is one of the instances where you’re better off using another Freddie Mac lender. Tell them you want an Open-Access refinance. You’ll probably be limited to 105% of the appraised value however, which may not be enough.

    Don’t give up yet. The fact you’ve rented the property and have claimed that rental income on your tax returns will benefit you in buying a new home. A good loan officer who knows how to evaluate a Schedule E on a tax return for the purpose of underwriting won’t care that the rental is underwater or if it loses a little cash flow.

  • Heather

    Keane,
    I am looking to refinance my 1st and 2nd into one loan. Everything is perfect. Credit, income, paperwork except my home’s appraisal. I only have about 5-10% equity with both loans combined. Do you know of a loan that would work for me without PMI?

  • Nobrusk

    Keane,

    Much like Bob who was forced to relocated due to job situation, I had to leave my condo, which is underwater now, and move to another state. My loan is with Wells Fargo, (Freddie loan) for $167K at 6.125% 10 year ARM. According to zillow, my condo is valued somewhere between $115-$120. I also have a 2nd mortgage with balance of $4000, which I can pay off. This is not my primary residence and the condo will be on the rental market. Are there any options available for me? I have not missed any payments and credit score is high 700s. I think HARP does require that primary residency. Current situation is not sustainable, as my wife’s unemployment just ran out and we have been dipping into our savings.

    Thanks

  • Nobrusk,

    HARP doesn’t require your property to be a primary residence. There’s different versions of HARP that are available. The HARP loan that only Wells Fargo can do does not allow an occupancy change. Freddie Mac does allow it on a HARP loan any Freddie Mac lender can do called Open-Access. What state are you in?

  • nobrusk

    Keane,

    Thank you for your prompt response. The condo is in VA. I am relieved to find out HARP can work with non primary residency. However, my I think I will exceed 125% limit. What would you suggest?

    Thanks

  • Nobrusk,

    I can find you a referral but on a non-owner, your max is likely 105% and probably not do-able. Is it two loans or one?

  • nobrusk

    I have 2 loans, but I can pay off the 2nd loan as it is only $4000.

  • Yuchi

    Hi Keane,

    I have an investment property in TX. The loan is backed by Fannie Mae, with PMI. It has been transferred several times and now with LBPS, a servicing-only company. From what you said previously, “A broker won’t be able to do your loan, only your existing lender can if the PMI company is willing to help” But since my loan is with servicing-only company, what would you suggest? Should I try to remove my PMI first? Does HARP apply to TX?

    Thanks,

  • Yuchi,

    Unfortunately, you call in a category of homeowners who cannot refinance.

    http://www.keaneloans.com/2010/10/14/i-want-to-a-harp-loan-but-i-have-pmi/comment-page-1/

    I put a petition on that link for you.

  • Yuchi

    Hi Keane,

    So if I successfully remove my PMI, will I qualify then in TX?

    Thanks,

  • The problem is the only way to remove the PMI is to pay down the balance to an acceptable loan-to-value, which is the same as paying it down and doing a traditional refinance.

  • Yuchi

    How about Flagstar Bank? I read your link it seems like they can refi loans from other lender w/ PMI? or just their existing Flagstar customers?

    Thanks,

  • Yuchi,

    Flagstar is doing PMI refinances on Flagstar serviced loans only.

  • Shawn

    Keane,
    Nice work and good information for people in need. I have a investment property in FL (was primary then got job transfer)and is with Freddie Mac, no PMI as I put 20% down at purchase in 2006. Home is still underwater as I owe 275K and value approximatly $250K. I have 30yr fixed at 5.875% with BOA as servicer currently. My concern is 105% CLTV limit and closing cost are high in Florida. Can you suggest lender to 125% or would it be worthwhile with the adjustments to rate above 97% CLTV and a high cost state? I currently live in Utah.

  • Shawn,

    You’ll need to go an outside servicer. Freddie’s HARP loan for servicers does not allow occupancy change from primary-residence to rental but an outside lender can do it. I’ll email you a referral.

  • Layla

    I bought a condo in AZ in 2006 and did an 80/20. I spent the entire year of 2009 (calling about every 2 weeks) trying to talk to Wells Fargo about HARP or any other options. They often said they couldn’t help and hung up on me or just told me I wasn’t eligible but wouldn’t tell me why. I did finally get in touch with someone that told me I wasn’t eligible because my mortgage was sold from Taylor Bean to BofA and then to Wells. I don’t understand why this is a problem because the Freddie Mac website said I was backed by them.
    I have sense moved out of state and am renting the condo out, but I was wondering if anyone has tips for getting Wells Fargo to take me seriously. My rate goes variable in 9 months so I need to do something NOW.

  • Layla,

    Read my “Freddie Mac Tip for investment loans” above. You can’t change occupancy on Freddie Mac if you talk to your current servicer. An outside Freddie Mac servicer can likely help you. I’ll email you.

  • Lisa Brown

    Has anyone see this? http://www.youtube.com/user/fiercefreeleancer
    Makes sense now why banks aren’t trying very hard to help people…it’s more profitable if they don’t.

  • Jack

    Keane,

    I have a multi-family (4 units) rental property in MA, which used to be a primary residence. I have a first mortgage with Chase ($180,000 at 5.875%, Freddie Mac) and a second with Sovereign bank ($55,000 at 7.43%). The property is valued at $200k – $215k. Talked to AIMLoan.com and was told Freddie won’t allow change of residency for HARP. Any insight or references you can provide would be helpful.

  • Lisa,

    That only applies to modifications and short sales with Indymac. HARP is a sellable loan for a lender and they profit, so it doesn’t apply for this program.

    However, if they were right about Indymac, that’s horrible.

  • Jack,

    It’s funny you mention that. I’m doing a loan for a client in the exact same situation. It was also a previously occupied 4-plex.

    Freddie Mac has two versions of HARP, one for the servicer and one for outside servicers. The one for the servicer does NOT allow change in occupancy as you stated but if you apply for an outside Freddie Mac lender who has access to their HARP program (called Open-Access), they CAN do this refinance as a rental and it will price very well since HARP has a pricing cap.

    If you can lock in at a rate near 5%, it’s probably worth it. Especially if you plan on keeping it. You need to make sure that Sovereign Bank will subordinate if you refinance. Email me if you want me to refer you to a lender in your area that can do this.

  • Dennis

    Hi, Keane,

    I found your website to be very useful. I have several rental properties in houston, TX and
    the loans are owned by Fannie and Fredi. the loans are serviced by Chase, BofA, Wells Fargo
    all the rental properties have more than 20% in equity ..

    I would really appreicate if you can refer me to lender that can help me to
    do HARP refinance for my rentals

  • Bill Carter

    This site is awesome, very informative! Here’s where I’m at: I’m in the process of buying a larger home ( short sale), due to running out of room. My current house is approximate 800sf without a basement. When I bought it, I was single, now married with one child and another on the way. Anyway, I originally bought the house for 84,000 in 2003. In 2005 I refinanced with countrywide (15 year note @ 5.875). I currently owe about 56k on the house. I don’t have a clue what it would appraise for since houses aren’t moving in my area, with the exception of foreclosures.

    So my only option would be to rent this place and wait for either the market to recover, or pay down the balance enough to unload it. Would I be a candidate for a harp refi in this case? My loan is a Freddie Mac loan, now serviced by BOA. If so, is there any loan officers you could recommend in Michigan (Detroit area)?

    Thank you so much!

  • Anne

    Keane…been getting very discouraged with every lender telling me that I cannot refinance…I am currently at 6.75% (7-year arm that expires in 2014) with a balance of $225k (it is Fannie Mae). I also have a HELOC with a different bank at a balance of $28k. The value of my condo had declined (probably worth $225-230k now) and I also lost the job in which I had a much higher income than I do now (I make half of what I did then). I had to move out of the property and rent it out (live with my boyfriend now and pay no rent) so now it’s considered an investment property. I’ve been told by countless people that I’ll never be able to refi because of having a 2nd and that it would never appraise…I’d have to pay off my 2nd to be able to do anything. In actuality, I cannot pay if off–if I had $27k cash in my pocket to pay it off, i don’t think I’d be in this situation…lol. They all also tell me that no bank would subordinate a 2nd if my LTV is that high on my first. Are there any options for me?

  • Anne,

    Wow, I actually think your loan is perfect for HARP as long as your 2nd lien holder will subordinate the HELOC you have.

    Did you already file your 2010 returns? Did you claim this property as a rental property on a Schedule E? If so, you likely can refinance.

    Let me know what state you’re in so I can find someone to help you.

  • Kim

    Hello,

    I own 2 properties with sub-prime adjustable loans and have never been late. Both properties are underwater and I have used the HELOC to stay current. I’ve tried to Refi and Modify and been denied. I’m trying to save one or both through HARP and/or HAMP. I have good credit and gross 6k per month. Here’s the info for each property:

    1) Condo (Freddie Mac) which is currently rented out. (Was not claimed on 2010 Taxes.) The appx Market Value is 250k and the mortgage is 312k (6.4% Interest only/Adjustable). CHASE says it’s eligible for a HARP loan if I move back into it. They offered me a 30 yr fixed loan at 5.25% with minimal bank fees.

    2) SFD (not Freddie or Fannie) where I currently live. The estimated value is 475k. The first mortgage is 445k (3.25% adjustable) and the HELOC is at 50k (3% adjustable). Last year I tried to refi/modify and was denied. Now CHASE says I can Refi with a co-signor and 95k to paydown the loand (which I don’t have).

    My question is this. If I Refi the Condo through HARP, can I later do a Loan Modification (HAMP) on the SFD (assuming they are both owner-occupied at the time)? I could live in the condo for 6 months and then return to the SFD. Basically, are there restrictions or limits for using these programs on 2 properties?

    If I can only save one, I’d like to keep the SFD, although it’s the most expensive and I can’t afford it on my income alone.

    Thank you.

  • Gisela

    Keane,

    Thank you for having valuable information available for refinancing rental properties. As you know it very frustrating trying to have a straight answer from lenders..My husband and I have two rental properties that want to refinance. One is in GA, its a fannie mae loan, 120K loan, we put 20% down but with the current housing prices, probably will appraise at 120K. We bought it originally as our primary but now is a rental.

    The other rental is in FL. 85K balance and 33K heloc taken a year after purchase. 113K appraisal estimated. It was a freddie mac loan two years ago (I found it out at the freddie mac look up search), but a few months ago when I called Wells Fargo they told It is not a Freddie mac loan and I have no options to refinance this rental unless I have 20% equity. How can this happened? Can I still do a harp loan in this property?
    I would appreciate very much If you can refer us to a lender or broker who can help us refinance these two properties (GA and FL). We have good credit.
    Thank you so much!

  • Claudia

    I too had an issue with a conflict. My lender did not agree it was a Fannie or Freddie loan. I contacted Fannie/Freddie, and they had one extra digit or an extra space before or after my loan number in their system. This was only determined when I spoke directly to a person at Fannie/Freddie. Thankfully the person I spoke to was smart enough to think this may be the reason my lender could not determine my existing loan was a Fannie/Freddie. Once she corrected it, I contacted my lender again, and they were able to determine my loan was Fannie/Freddie. Hope this helps. Also, keep in mind you can do a recast if all else fails. $5,000 principle reduction/same interest rate, no fees/recast for the remaining term of your existing loan.

  • George

    Dear Keene,

    I own a home in Pensacola Fl which I turned into
    An investment property after moving to another
    City for a new job. My LTV is less than 100%

    The interest rate is 6.375%. It appear that my mortgage
    with Suntrust is not Freddie or fan backed.

    I’d like to refi. Any advice? My credit score >760.

  • Gisela,

    If it was backed by Freddie Mac and isn’t any longer on their system, you may have to play with the way you enter your info in the Freddie Mac site to get the property to show up.

    The one in Georgia sounds like a slam dunk. Very easy HARP loan for a good loan officer. I’ll email you a contact.

  • George,

    Suntrust is likely just your servicer. The Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac lookup tools only work 80% of the time. If you entered the address on their site and it didn’t show up, call Suntrust. If they say it’s not backed, you can also check Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Click the link to the “Homeowners Guide to HARP” post and it gives all the instructions on how to check to see if your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

  • George

    My loan is owned by Suntrust. Any advice??

  • George,

    Unfortunately, this won’t be HARP eligible. Suntrust would need to decide on your scenario if they want to help. It’s 100% in their hands if the loan is a portfolio loan.

  • Mike Tucker

    Wow, your website gives me a lot of hope.
    I refinanced a condo with Wells Fargo in 2008 when it was my primary residence. My family moved to a new home and converted the condo to a rental. We have a 5.75% 30 year fixed, no PMI, we owe $240K, and Zillow says it’s worth about $290K. It’s with Fannie Mae. Wells Fargo said they couldn’t help due to the LTV ratio. I want to lower our expenses because my wife is now staying home with our baby. What’s our first step? We live in San Diego County, CA. By looking at your previous posts, I think I need to contact an outside servicer. How do I find one for Fannie Mae?

  • George

    How much equity do I need to have or ltv
    to refinance conventionally since I won’t be eligible
    for HARP?

  • George,

    You’ll be limited to 75% of the appraised value for a regular conventional/conforming loan.

  • Mike,

    That sounds perfect for HARP. You just need a lender who can do a HARP loan. I’ll email you.

  • Pamela

    We would like to refinance our former primary residence (in Colorado), which is now a rental. While we have been late with at least 4 payments within the last year, none have been more than 30 days late. After a consult with our mortgage company…. Wells Fargo advised us that we qualify for a streamline refi….but we have to live in the home. Would we qualify for HARP?

  • Lisa Brown

    I can’t find my rental home on the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac websites. Does that mean I’m not eligible for a HARP loan? My lender also doesn’t seem too intersted in helping with any kind of refinance. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Pamela,

    It won’t be considered “late” for credit purposes. The “streamline” refinance they’re talking about is likely a HARP loan.

    This also means your loan is probably backed by Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac has a guideline stating that if your CURRENT servicer is doing the HARP loan, you must be occupying (if it used to be your primary residence). If you apply with an outside Freddie Mac lender, you can do a HARP loan and keep it as a rental. Your best bet is to find a Freddie Mac lender who does “Open-Access” HARP loans.

  • Julie

    I have a 15 yr conventional mortgage on a home that was my primary residence, but now I rent it out for less than the mortgage payment. My servicer is Chase and it is a Fannie Mae loan. On the original deed, there was myself and my ex, however we filed a general warranty deed with the county clerk’s office (through an attorney) transferring all her interest (50%) to me. She is no longer on the deed. We are both still on the mortgage, though. I called Chase and they said I was eligible under HARP refi and I paid them $395. Now they say I can’t do it because can’t alter interest. My thought is, that that has already been done. Harp clearly states you can remove a borrower from the mortgage provided I can prove I’ve solely made the payments for the past 12 months, which I have, but Chase is saying not eligible because has to be due to a death or divorce. I found evidence where that was initial the case, but it has been revised. My existing mortgage as two people, but I am the sole owner now. As long as I have the recorded deed proving that, can they use the HARP program? Also, if I use the HARP program to refi an investment property, can they only mortgage 75% or appraised value or does that depend solely on the lender? Must I use my existing servicer with HARP or can I use other if they do a DU Refi Plus? The property is in Texas, but I now reside in Nevada.

    Thank you so much for your help, I’ve enjoyed your site and have gotten a lot of useful information.

    Julie

  • Julie,

    You should be able to do this loan. Fannie Mae’s property vesting requirement may not allow a change on the version of HARP through your current lender but you can go to any other Fannie Mae lender and get this done. Chase may be able to do this as well if you talk to the right person. Email me if you need a contact.

  • Julie

    Thank you. Chase has since researched the HARP program and has now stated that I can do it. I appreciate your response, though and go a lot of useful information from you website. Thank you and have a great day,
    Julie

  • Angie

    The loan on my rental property is NOT owned by either Fannie or Freddie. I understand FHA only deals with primary residences. I am not military. What other alternatives can you suggest to refinance? I am at 112% right now but am willing to pay off a portion to bring down the balance to 105% if necessary. I am in Southern Ca by the way and the property is in Arizona. Would appreciate any assistance or referral. Thank you

  • Angie,

    Government backed loans, such as FHA/VA/USDA are all designed for primary residence.

    If you used online websites to check the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac eligibility, please note that they fail about 20% of the time.

  • Michael

    Keane,
    I’m glad I found your website.
    I have an interesting one for you.
    I(61 years old) and my wife are Peace Corps volunteers in Bulgaria(since May of last year). I took an early retirement option at work because my job was going away with the space shuttle program. Our primary residence and only property (in Florida) has a house and an efficiency apartment and the house is currently rented to help with our payments. We keep the efficiency free for our use in case we visit home. We have a FannieMae 1st with Citimortgage with ~$95,000 and a HELOC with Chase at ~$87,500. Not underwater yet, but still heading that way. I have not yet turned on a small pension payment – as rent payments and cash on hand have kept us current. I would like to do a HARP refi from my current 15 year to a 30 year mortgage which will drop my P&I to $500+. Rental income is $950 and at this point I am willing to turn on my pension payment which would also cover payments. The improved cash flow will help us focus on the HELOC. Can a HARP refi be done here?
    Backstory: I tried to refi with Citimort back in 2010 while I was still working and Murphy’s Law prevailed in such a way that the process stretched beyond my “retirement” and our joining the Peace Corps. In the end the underwriter declined the loan after the lock date (I was trying to extend)for lack of income while I was trying to get some official paper from the Peace Corps. Peace Corps income for us is an ~$600/month stipend and $550/month deferred income paid to us on our return (unless otherwise arranged). We do not pay rent or have any car or other significant payments. I just recently talked to a representative at Citimort and was told that their underwriter would not sign on HARP refi EVEN IF I turned on my pension revenue stream(because the pension income was not established for two years (?)). Would this be a Citimort policy beyond what I understand from the HARP eligibility guidances?
    So do you think I can HARP my house? I would appreciate any advice and guidance.

  • Angie

    I already called Fannie and Freddie. My loan is not owned by them. What other alternatives do you know of? Thank you for your time and attention.

  • Angie,

    It’s not that I don’t trust you’ve done the work, but I know the people that answer those phones are not always very knowledgeable. I would also check your servicer, try the online tools and lastly, apply with a lender. Mortgage credit reports often show if the loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

    You’re probably right but it’s worth a shot.

  • real estate sunshine coast

    yes i too agree with you
    ==========

  • Michael,

    That sounds strange because Fannie Mae HARP loans don’t require income documentation. I would try calling them again.

  • Dennis

    Does it preclude you from walking away from a company whose policy for rentals is that you must live in this to do a mortgage modification? I’m not certain how to go about holding open a spot for my properties which we don’t live in in longer.

  • Keane

    Dennis,

    Some versions of HARP, if applied for with the current servicer, require you to be occupying the property. Have you determined if your property is backed by Fannie Maeor Freddie Mac? If it is, you can get a HARP loan from an outside lender on a rental property.

  • Mary

    Hi Keane,

    You’re website has really helped me. Do you have a referral for a freddie mac lender in the Sacramento, CA area?

  • Keane

    Mary,

    I’ll email you directly.

  • Misty

    Keane,
    Thanks so much for all your information. My Washington home is currently being used as a rental. My loan is backed by Freddie Mac, I would love to refinance this property so I can lock into a 30 year fixed. I currently have an ARM that is going to adjust next year. How can I find a lender who does “open access” HARP loans? And what does “open access” mean?
    Smiles,
    Misty

  • Keane

    Misty,

    I’ll email you directly as well.

  • Linda

    Hi, I also need a referral for a Freddie mac lender in Boone, NC (or Hickory or Asheville or Charlotte). I have a house in another state that I bought as a second home for my son to live in. He is now in Afghanistan and his ex-wife is living there with my grandchildren, but she is paying me rent. It’s not as much as I owe on the house and I’d love to be able to refinance, but I have no equity. The house is worth about the same as I owe on it. I bought it at the top of the market and then put another $30,000 into it and all that is gone.

    If I could refinance with a Harp through Freddie Mac, it would solve a lot of problems. Can you send me that information?

    Thanks

  • Jim

    Hi Keane,

    I have a condo in Seattle that I’d like to refinance. I originally bought it as my primary residence, but I’ve since moved down to California for work. I’m renting out the condo, but it doesn’t quite cover the mortgage and HOA. I’m currently at a 5.625% rate. Will I be able to refi using HARP?

    Thanks,
    Jim

  • Jim

    Btw, my loan is a Freddie Mac loan and it’s at around a 97% LTV.

  • Jim

    Also, there’s no PMI on the loan as the LTV was less than 80% to begin with.

    Great site and blog!

  • Jim,

    Yes, you’re in great shape to refinance. You just need to apply with a lender other than your current servicer to qualify. Any Freddie lender who can do Open-Access can help you.

  • Cynthia

    Thanks for the great info. Wish I had found it before starting a HARP with our current lender. We are ready to close. When starting the process the loan officer told us we could lock in then, or at close. Rates have been dropping in the paper, so we want to lock at close. Funny, the processor tells us we can buy down the rate to 5% for $1850 (doesn’t sound like a rate drop to me) or let it expire. What if we let it expire? The rate is 5%. That sounds more like a rate drop. Where can I find the trend of HARP rates so I haggle for a lower rate or do I start a nnew app, or go to another lender?

  • Cynthia,

    I’m not sure when you locked your loan but remember that these refinances can be shopped around like a regular refinance, so it’s always good to get a second opinion.

  • AJ

    Keane,

    Thanks so much for all your information. I have a 2nd home in the Phoenix, AZ area that I would like to now refi under the Freddie-HARP program as an investment property. The current mortgage does not have PMI and is owned by Freddie. Will this qualify? I’ve never been late on the mortgage. Thanks for your help!

  • Keane

    AJ,

    If your occupancy changed, you won’t be able to go to your existing servicer to do a HARP loan. The Freddie Mac HARP loan for your servicer doesn’t allow occupancy change but any Freddie Mac lender who participates in their non-servicer HARP program (called Open-Access) can do this refinance.

    If you want details on how to find a lender, email me and I’ll forward some details on how to find a lender.

  • Carol PImentel

    Keane,

    I am in a similar situation as AJ (July 15, 2011) The original/current Freddie Mac loan was shown as “primary residence,” but I changed my mind and stayed in my original residence instead of moving to the new place, and have rented it since I bought it. Paperwork wise, I’ve changed uses, so can’t do the HARP through the existing lender. Any pointers how to find another lender will be appreciated! The property is in Asheville, NC.

    Your reply to AJ on July 15 was:

    “If your occupancy changed, you won’t be able to go to your existing servicer to do a HARP loan. The Freddie Mac HARP loan for your servicer doesn’t allow occupancy change but any Freddie Mac lender who participates in their non-servicer HARP program (called Open-Access) can do this refinance.

    If you want details on how to find a lender, email me and I’ll forward some details on how to find a lender.”

  • Bonnie

    I wold also like the info you send to Carol. I am in a similar situation.

  • Keane

    Carol and Bonnie,

    Do you mind emailing me the states you live in so I can find someone for you?

  • Linda Campbell

    I live in NC too, close enough to Asheville -or Hickory or Winston-Salem. I’d appreciate knowing of a lender (for a Freddie Mac loan).

  • Josh

    Hi Keane,
    I have a rental that is killing me. The Bank of America appraisal tool lists it as having a possible value of 114K. I owe 164K (this is after I have paid off over 50K of the original note). My interest rate is 7.5%. It is a Freddie Mac loan. My wife recently stopped working so a case could be made that we have had a considerable drop in income. We own 3 houses total. Our primary residence is a considerably more expensive home than the rentals.
    Is there anything that can be done? can you do some sort of magic trick and reduce my interest rate?
    Thanks,
    Josh

  • Josh,

    Did B of A say you can go to 125% of their estimated value? It’s not enough to pay off your loan but maybe use a 401k loan to cover the difference?

  • Lisa Brown

    I own a rental property that I have double checked is not backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The balance on the first mortgage is $207,900 and the second mortgage is $52,000 ($259,900 total). The current value of the home is $198,00. The payment on the two loans is $1,927 per month and the rent is only $1,300. With a loss of over $725 per month and the property worth $61,900 less than I owe on it, are you aware of any modification or refinance programs that would make holding onto this property worthwhile? Although it would ruin my credit, it almost seems like it would be worth give it back to the bank and relieve myself of the monthly financial burden.

  • Lisa,

    I wouldn’t make any decision on that unless you talked to an attorney. I’ve spoken to attorneys and I know there’s more potential risk if there is a 2nd mortgage.

  • Ryan

    I own one property in NC but I had to move for a job out of state. I originally put 20% down but most of that equity is probably gone so it would be tough to sell the home. I have renters in it now and am currently a renter in my new location. I have excellent credit but would like to refinance my ARM into a Fixed using HARP. My current lender won’t talk to me since it is not my “primary residence” anymore even though it’s the only home I own, have excellent credit, and a great income/job. I would love to lock in and refinance using HARP. Do you know of any lenders in NC that could help me? Thanks a lot!

  • Ryan,

    Did you confirm that the loan is backed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? Who is your servicer?

  • Ryan

    Yes, my loan is Fannie/Freddie backed. It has been checked and verified by the bank. I tried to refinance before under HARP as my primary home since I didn’t understand what that term meant until I called the bank. They verified my home and myself were eligible for HARP. And then, as I described to them my story about having to move to Florida from NC for my job, they told me that even though it was the only home (and debt) that I have on my credit report, that it is not my “primary home” because I was not living in it and so I don’t qualify for HARP anymore. I asked them what my options were. They told me that I could accept a much higher rate (equivalent to what I currently already had) and refinance as an investment property with higher origination fees and up to only 75% of the “new” appraised value meaning that I would have to bring even more money to the closing table. It was not a deal and made no sense.

    So now I’m not sure what to do and I read your website which differed from what my original bank told me.

  • Ryan

    Also like to add that I have no PMI. Only one loan which was 80% of the value when I purchased since I put the standard 20% down.

  • Keane

    Ryan,

    Your loan is probably backed by Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac has a version of HARP for the current servicer and a different one for outside Freddie Mac lenders. The guidelines are similar but have subtle differences. One of the differences is occupancy change. The current servicer cannot refinance if the occupancy has changed. Any Freddie Mac lender who can do an Open-Access HARP Refinance can do your loan up to 105%. HARP says 125% but I’ve never seen Freddie Mac accept anything over 125% for rental properties.

    Email me if you want me to refer you to someone who can help you.

  • Brenda Schwab

    I have a home purchased in 2005 in North Carolina with 1st mortgage at 6.85 interest only and 2nd mortgage line of credit interest only . Purchase price was $220,000. I currently owe $170,000 on 1st and $37,000 on second. Looks like current appraised value would be around $200,000. I took a job 100 miles away and hoped to sell this home so I purchased a smaller home via FHA in my new location. When I could not find a buyer for my 1st home I had to lease it out. It has been leased for almost 18 months. However, Now I am almost underwater due to the falling real estate prices. This is a Fannie Mae backed loan and serviced by Bank of America. I have excellent credit with a score of 765, never late on a payment. Is there any option to be able to refinance the first property. The interest rate is really high and I can’t seem to get ahead on this one.

  • Keane

    Brenda,

    If your current loan on the rental does not have PMI, the only hurdle you face is the subordinated 2nd mortgage. Most lenders will subordinate.

    Let me know if you want me to refer you somebody who can help you with your refinance.

  • Gwen

    Hello,
    I’m tired of searching for lender, who can refinance my loan. LTV is about 109% ,and a couple of lenders rejected my application. because per lenders, the guideline for condo – (converted to rental recently) is LTV, 105%. However, HARP guideline says 125%, OMG!!
    my loan:
    San Diego, CA, zip 92128
    2/2.5 2-story town house style CONDO
    $315K loan balance
    $345K originated balance
    $280K market value, upside down
    rate 6.625, 30 fixed, pmi included w/ Fannie Mae
    currently rented

    Every lender told me to move back and apply to a different help-program? I think that this doesn’t help, if they still require 105%. please help. mortgage is current, but monthly loss is $1200, but I can’t refinance this property.please give me a lender contact if there is anyone can refinance w/ 125% LTV threshold.
    Thank you so much

  • Dennis

    We have 5 homes financed through Wells, one of which is our personal residence and the others are rentals. One of the rentals also has a 2nd mortgage through Wells. The rentals pretty much cash flow and we have never had an extended vacancy. We have been attempting to sell our personal residence for 3 years without any luck. We finally had a purchase and sale agreement executed on our personal residence, so we applied to Wells for HARP loans on the four rentals. Wells did not like our high expense to income ratios and will not grant us the HARP loans until our primary residence has been sold. Unfortunately, the deal on our residence fell through because the buyer got cold feet. Additionally, we have drawn out all of our 401K in order to keep making our payments on time. Our credit is good, but we are staring at a refi with Wells that comes up in 2013-2014 on all of our properties. If the rates are too high at that point we could lose all of our properties. I was forced to retire from my job early a year ago because of health concerns. Thus the reason for the upside down ratios. What do we do now?

  • Gwen,

    I can get you a lender who can do PMI loans but I’m almost certain you’ll need to pay down the principal to at least 105% of the appraised value, if not more. Lenders rarely approve anything over 105% when the property is converted to a rental. Especially with PMI, you’ll likely be limited to 95%. Let me know if you want me to refer somebody.

    Dennis,

    Wells is likely telling you that you must sell the property so you’re not over 5 properties financed. This may be a Wells Fargo overlay but I do know Freddie Mac does have a strict 4-property-limit. If you have any properties backed by Freddie Mac, you’ll need at least one of them sold to qualify.

    If your loans are backed by Fannie Mae, you can apply with another Fannie Mae lender. If you tell me what state you’re in, I can find somebody for you that can help.

  • Earl Dillard

    Keane, After reading through all FAQ’s, my question is I have an FHA rental (13 yrs) rate 8.5%, do I have to qualify to get a HAR loan? My loan is through CITI Mtg. I am a R. E. invesyor & have a couple of foreclosures on my credit, due to our mkt last 3 yrs, excellent credit now. Do I qualify? thanks for your help. Enjoyed your article.

  • Shawn

    Dennis

    My loan with B of A was originally approved through B of A. Everything was in and then they emailed to say they could not do it do to it initially being a primary residence and I now rent it. I qualify everywhere else. Can you email me a list of of approved Fannie Mae Harp loan lenders?

  • @Earl,

    Please make sure your loan is backed by FHA. That rate seems too high for a FHA loan. FHA loans are only eligible to be refinanced with no appraisal on a “FHA Streamline” refinance which requires owner-occupancy. Please double check it is a FHA loan.

  • Shawn,

    Bank of America recently told me that they no longer participate in closing any HARP loans where the property is an investment property. Any Fannie Mae lender who participates in the Fannie Mae “DU Refi Plus” program can help you. I’ll email you a referral.

  • Earl Dillard

    Keane, since last night I found out Freddie Mac has the loan. CITI mtg says since it was bought as owner occupant & now used as rental I can’t use HARP. I also have an FHA loan used as rental for 13 yrs. I assumed non q. loan in 96.& moved a year later. any help would be appreciated. thks in advance

  • Tommy

    Keane,

    Great info.
    My second loan is NOT through Freddie nor Fannie. I can refinance my first large loan but what can be done to the second?
    Second loan info: $35,000 at 8.5%
    First loan: $185,000 at 6.7%
    I’m underwater by $50,000

    thx

  • Dennis

    Claudia, are you saying that a 2nd mortgage may also be included in a Freddie Mac Refi or is it just that the total amount financed has no LTV restriction?

  • Earl,

    Freddie Mac has two versions of HARP. One is for the existing servicer and one is for any Freddie Mac lender. Freddie Mac’s Same-Servicer product does not allow for occupancy change, which is why Citi is not doing your refinance. If you can get a Freddie Mac Open-Access refinance from another lender, you should be able to refinance. Let me know what area you’re in and I can refer you to a lender.

    Tommy,

    HARP is only for Fannie/Freddie loans. Prior to September 2010, FHA refinanced non-FHA loans to a FHA loan (first-mortgage only) to near 97.15-97.75% of the appraised value with a 2nd mortgage over the value of the home. That has since changed and unfortunately, there aren’t any options other than trying the FHA Short Refinance program, which has been a failure up to this point. Also, FHA only finances owner-occupied properties, so if this is a rental property, you may be out of options.

    Dennis,

    Freddie Mac will not allow you to refinance the 2nd mortgage in HARP, only the first mortgage. Even if the 2nd mortgage was a purchase-money loan, HARP is limited to a first-to-first mortgage refinance program.

  • Earl Dillard

    Keane I live in Memphis, Tn. Blues capitol of the South. I really appreciate your help.

  • Paul

    Keane,

    Thanks for sharing your expertise. I own a Georgia investment property with the following details:
    2005 Purchase price $305K as Primary residence, but
    Schedule E Investment property since 2007
    Current Zillow $274K (but may be too high)
    Total Mortgage Balance $271K
    Primary mortgage: FreddieMac Wells Fargo 30yr 5.875% balance $224K
    Second mortgage: Non-FreddieMac Compass Bank 15yr 8.14% balance $47K
    Current monthly payments $1905 & $593.

    There is a negative $1,400. cash flow on the home and I am burning thru my savings to stay afloat. I think a FreddieMac Open-Access Relief Refinancing Loan would help to greatly lessen my monthly payments, but my questions are:
    1. Even though the second is not owned by freddie mac, can it be subordinated to a primary OpenAccess Relief Refinancing Loan?
    2. How reliable are Zillow estimates, and is there another source for reference. If it came down to it, I would hate to find that the required appraisal would put me above 125% LTV.
    3. Given the circumstances, what are the chances of finding a lender who could make a $271K loan.
    4. Can you help me directly, or can you recommend a lender.

    Thanks,
    Paul

  • Paul,

    Here’s the answers to your questions:

    1. Even though the second is not owned by freddie mac, can it be subordinated to a primary OpenAccess Relief Refinancing Loan?

    Yes, and most lenders will subordinate. Check with your 2nd lender before you pay for a subordination.

    2. How reliable are Zillow estimates, and is there another source for reference. If it came down to it, I would hate to find that the required appraisal would put me above 125% LTV.

    Remember that the 125% limit is for the first mortgage only. However, Freddie Mac will have restrictions when you run it through their Loan Prospector system which is required for an open-access refinance, so your lender will need to run this for you to see what your true limitations are.

    3. Given the circumstances, what are the chances of finding a lender who could make a $271K loan.

    Decent. The key is the loan-to-value, credit, etc. I’ll email you a recommendation.

    4. Can you help me directly, or can you recommend a lender.

  • Melissa

    This is some very useful and helpful info. My situation is that I relocated to TX from FL and was unable to sell my FL townhouse as I owe $114k and it’s worth about $70k. I’ve been renting it for the past two years. My Freddie loan is serviced by Chase 5.75% APR who I contacted today. They are not willing to refinance as there is not equity. I have excellent credit and would like to know if I have any options for refinancing, programs available, and costs associated. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

  • Melissa,

    You’re eligible for a Freddie Mac Open-Access HARP loan but your value is too light for that program as they indicated. Are you able to pay it down to 125%?`

  • Cara

    Dear Keane,
    I have recently refinanced one of my rental properties and am in the process of refinancing another through Chase, but have read something in the “Important information regarding Chase’s mortgage loan products” section. Under the documents you will be requied to sign – Mortgage or Deed of Trust, it states that we must “seek thier consent before selling the property”. This is a huge red flag and concerns me – is this normal? I have never heard of having to “seek consent” from the mortgage company when if I wanted to sell my property? Is this new or specific to the HARP program, Chase, or have I just never noticed it before?

  • Keane

    Cara,

    I haven’t seen this before. Are you certain the loan officer setup the loan to be for an investment property?

  • Keane, my original loan was as a primary residence. I have rented it for 2.5 years because I had to move for work and couldn’t sell it. The appraisal is 300K and I owe 372K on the loan. I need to refinance this to investment property and would like a 30 year fixed. I have a 5/1 ARM which expires 2013. I believe it is owned by Freddie Mac and it is serviced through Chase. I would like a referral to someone who will refinance me as an investment property. CAUTION: I also don’t want my current loan taken away if they find out it isn’t owner occupied and is rented. Could the loan become payable immediately? How does that work? I hate to expose the occupany if I can’t refinance…then what do I do?

  • Also, this loan was originated 5/2008. Is it even eligible? Is there any program that will refi this home?

  • Keane

    Jill,

    Is all of the money you owe on this property on a first mortgage?

    You won’t lose your current loan for applying. Changing occupancy is fairly normal.

    Freddie Mac only allows you to change occupancy if you refinance under their “Open-Access” HARP program which any lender can do. I’ve noticed they’ve been more limited on the loan-to-value on these scenarios lately but you’ll never know what you’re eligible for until you apply.

    What state are you in? I can refer you to someone.

  • Alix

    Keane,
    Thanks for the very helpful information. We also have a primary-residence-turned-investment-property in Gilbert, Arizona, that qualifies for HARP (it is Freddie-Mac owned). Can you refer me to a list of Open-Access Freddie-Mac HARP lenders in Arizona? Thanks so much.

  • Melissa

    Hmmm, to recap and confirm what options may be out there, are there any programs that provie assistance or guidace tho lose of us above 125k maxx.

    Anone with any insigt on this circumtance si grealy appreciated; plus ai think thee may be others wanted to make informed decisioslll

  • Kumar

    Keane,
    Thanks for sharing your expertise. I own a California investment property with the following details:
    1. 2005 Purchase price $493K as Primary residence, but investment property since 2011
    2. Current Zillow $272K
    3. Mortgage Balance $327K (I have only one loan)
    4. Current Rate: 30 year fixed @ 5.625%
    5. There is a negative $600 cash flow on the home and I am burning thru my savings to stay afloat.
    6. My lender is not doing any type of refinance. I have never done refinance or loan mode. The current mortgage is the original mortgage.

    What are my options to improve the cash flow? Can I qualify for refinance, if yes then which program?

    Thanks,
    Kumar.

  • Kumar

    Keane,
    Also, one more info to add:
    7. Its a FNMA property.

    Can you help me directly, or provide list of lenders.

    Thanks,
    Kumar.

  • Kumar,

    I just emailed you.

  • Would you mind mailing me a list of vendors who provide COLORADO HARP loans? Also, I found out that some of the online mortgage brokers (quicken and aimloan) will only offer 95%ltv on a rental property/HARP, but another vendor will offer 105%. Haven’t found anyone who will go up to 125% yet. Thought I should talk to a few more vendors. Are the HARP ltv’s set by the vendor or Freddie Mac??? Also, can the property be on 11.97 acreage (non agricultural) and still qualify? One lender was not sure if it would qualify because of acreage > 10 acres? This is a new twist.

  • Jill,

    Acreage is not a disqualifying factor but if the land far exceeds the home value, a lender may not want to do the loan.

    There are Freddie Mac lenders who will go to 105%. If you’re doing the Freddie Mac Open-Access refinance, it’s likely Freddie Mac is limiting you. Most lenders only go to 105% but even if they allowed for over 105%, Freddie Mac usually denies the file when ran through their system (Loan Prospector).

    It sounds like you need a Freddie Mac lender in Colorado, correct? Let me know who your servicer is and I’m happy to refer you someone.

    I would also take the time to read this post:
    http://www.keaneloans.com/2011/10/14/how-to-qualify-for-a-freddie-mac-harp-refinance-on-a-rental-property/

  • Shelia

    Can you get HARP if you current on your primary property with $70,000 equity but, have late payments on your rentals?

    Do anyone know a lender that can help in Tenneesee.

  • Shelia

    Can you get HARP if you current on your primary property with $70,000 equity but, have late payments on your rentals?

    Do anyone know a lender that can help in Tenneesee?

  • Shelia,

    HARP loans require that you be on time with your mortgage payments in the last 12 months. If you apply with your current servicer, they may only review your payments on your mortgage with them since they do not need a credit report.

  • Joe

    I have tried this about 4 times. Each time I have failed due to LTV issues, lender paid MI, or the fact that I purchased this as a second home and had to convert it into a rental property due to inability to get stationed were the home was located to occupy it. House is in Nampa Idaho. I owe 138k and the last appraisal was 116k. I am losing 400 dollars a month and have been for about 2 years now. We have excellent credit and the funds to pay closing costs, however no lender is ready to give us anything more than 90% LTV. Our current note is held by CENLAR and they only service the loan, so we cannot use them to Re-Fi. Dont know what else to do except give the loan up and stop paying. But we havent missed a payment yet, but it seems hopeless for us as we continue to serve our country???

  • Keane

    Joe,

    The first thing we need to figure out is who is your LPMI company. If their ltv limit is too high for them to issue a new pmi policy, don’t spend anymore time.

    If they will issue a new pmi policy, then look for a lender who will close on the loan. Email me if you would like a referral.

  • AJ

    Keanna,
    I am desperately looking to refi my rental property (originally my primary, but I had to turn it into a rental due to relocation for a job). My house is at roughly 125% LTV in Durango, CO. It is held by Freddie Mac. Your help in finding a loan officer who will look at it would be much appreciated!
    Thank you!
    AJ

  • Mike

    I am looking to refinance 2 rental properties in Minnesota, one loan currently with US Bank the other with CitiMortgage. I have minimal equity in each property. Looking to lower my interest rate significantly. Can you refer a lender?

  • Rajagopal

    Hi Keane,

    Thanks for sharing your expertise. Here are the details of my case:

    1) Purchased the property in Fremont, CA in 2005 for 436k. I paid 10% down payment with 80% loan with Wells Fargo and 10% home equity with Chase. The 10% Chase home equity is paid off.
    2) The current balance with Wells Fargo is 307k.
    3) The home appraises for around 260k.
    4) This has become an investment property since 2009. As the house in underwater, I am unable to sell.
    5) Wells denied doing HARP refi on the basis that it is an investment property.

    What are my options? Whom should I contact? Appreciate any referrals.
    Thanks,
    -Raj

  • Rajagopal

    Forgot to mention that it is a Freddie Mac loan – Thanks, Raj

  • All referral requests replied to via email.

    The FHFA released a news bulletin outlining some of the changes coming for HARP.

    http://www.keaneloans.com/2011/10/25/obama-gives-harp-a-necessary-boost/

  • Bonnie

    I just found out my condo (my brother’s) is still a second home so the status is the same as when the condo was purchased in 2007. I live here. I am in Norwalk CT. He has excellant credit. We (He) purchased for 347k in 2007 with 70 down. I believe the condo will appraise at 270 to 300.
    Can we get a HARP loan?

  • Keane

    Bonnie,

    It likely is eligible. Check to see if the loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. You can find those instructions here:

    http://www.keaneloans.com/2009/12/18/homeowners-guide-to-harp/

    Email me if you would like a referral if the results are positive.

  • David

    Hello,

    There is some great advice on here. I currently have a property that used to be my primary residence. I obtained the property with an 80% 20% loan. The 20% loan is an equity loan but by doing this I have no PMI. My primary loan is about 82K (6.375% interest) and the secondary is about 24k (9.625% interest). My home was appraised early this year at 111k. I have contacted multiple lenders but they are all telling me that I can’t do the HARP program and that I have to have 20% equity in my home. They are only offering me an option to refinance my primary loan. I have excellent credit. Is there any banks that you know that can help me consolidate both loans into one mortgage payment?
    Thanks,
    David

  • Hanta Ralay

    Hello,

    I am hoping you can help us.

    We’ve got a rental property, 414 E 28th St., Baltimore, MD 21229 with Everhome Mortgage.

    Loan Balance is: 134,996
    Rate: 6.125 adjusting this June
    House valued at about $118k

    Can you help us with your HARP program?

    I am about to refinance my current property with CitiMortgage $200,000k at 5.5% 24 years left to 4.125% for 20 years. Cost is only going to be $450 + $75 with Wyndam Capital Mortgage. Is this good?

  • Geoff

    Keane,

    Good article, thanks. Are there any options for those of us with investment properties that are underwater but not held by Fannie or Freddie?

    Thanks,

    Geoff

  • jim

    Keane,

    Great info and advice here. I have 2 rentals and a vacation home that need Refis – all in Wisconsin. Only one I have confirmed as Fannie owned. I echo Geoff’s post, what are the options for non Freddie/Fannie loans? Any referrals in my area(Milwaukee)? Thanks, Jim

  • Keane

    David,

    Please check to see if your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. If it is, then then let me know what state you’re in and I’ll be happy to refer you to someone who can help you.

  • Keane

    Hanta,

    I emailed you my thoughts. I think it’s a good loan. I would take it.

  • Keane

    Geoff,

    Unless you have 25% equity, unfortunately not.

  • Keane

    Jim,

    See my post to Geoff. Unfortunately, no options without 25% equity on non-Fannie/Freddie loans.

    Email me if you want a referral for the Fannie loan.

  • David

    Keane,

    It’s a Freddie Mac loan. The property is located in Ohio.

    Thanks,

    David

  • John

    Interested in lenders that will do OPEN ACCESS Freddie Mac for my second home which is rented. Home in Virginia , primary residence in Florida. Virginia loan is with BB&T.

    Would you expect that rules will change to allow same servicer do Open Access HARP

  • Jess

    Hi! I was just informed by makinghomeaffordable.gov, that because I my home is an investment property,I do not qualify for HARP. I owe about 250k on my first Freddie Mac backed loan and about 80k on a HELOC. My home is valued around 310k. We are current, we’ve never been late, my husband has a steady, well paying job. The only reason we are attempting to re-fi is because of a balloon. If we do not re-fi, we may lose the home. Can you clear things up for me? Thanks in advance!

  • Jess

    Also, the home is in California. It was originally our primary residence, then converted to a rental in 2008!

  • Nell

    Keane,

    I have one rental property (non Freddie/Fannie Mac loan) in the metro Atlanta, GA area that need refinancing before March 2012 (ballon due). Current approx value is $75K, but owe $95K. Excellent credit with no late payments. Do you have any refinance referrals in my area?
    Thanks, Nell

  • Keane

    John,

    Your servicer can participate in both versions of HARP, but most don’t. Chase is the only lender I know who does both, but most of their loan officers don’t know the difference between the two.

    You can apply for an open-access with any lender. I’ll email you a referral.

  • Keane

    Jess,

    You are eligible for a HARP loan. The Making Home Affordable website has the info wrong. If the property was always an investment property, you can do both versions of HARP from Freddie Mac. If it was an investment property, you must do an Open-Access.

  • Jennifer

    Thanks for such a great blog! I have a rental property that is financed with our first mortgage through Citimortgage and is owned by Fannie but we have an equity loan with Beneficial. My question is, can you refinance with HARP for both loans or only the first mortgage? And will I have to use a different lender than Citimortgage since it’s now a rental property?

  • Melissa Leal

    Do you know any banks that have these programs in Mass?

    bought a condo 2008 100,000
    owe about 94000 6.75% 30 yr mortage
    Probably worth 100,000.

    Currently live with bf at his house. Plan on renting it out the condo, but no one has lived there for the past yr.

  • Erol

    Keane- Do you know of any lenders in CA that will do 125% Fannie HARP loans on primary-flipped-to-rental properties? Thanks!

  • Keane

    Jennifer,

    Fannie Mae allows rental refinances on both versions of Fannie-HARP refinances. The most important thing I would do is find a lender who has experience in handling refinances where they must process the subordination of your 2nd mortgage. Improperly handling the subordination can cost you extra money and time depending on when they order the appraisal and lock your rate.

  • Keane

    Melissa,

    From what you mentioned, it sounds like your loan has PMI on it. See my “Homeowners Guide to HARP” to find out if your loan is Fannie/Freddie backed and let me know if you have PMI on your loan.

  • Keane

    Erol,

    I just sent you an email on the matter. Thanks!

  • Hanta Ralay

    Can you give me your contact person/referral in Baltimore, MD for HARP for our rental property? Thanks.

  • Jennifer

    Thanks Keane, that doesn’t mean that my 2nd mortgage will be included, it just means that they have to agree to the HARP refinance, correct? Do you know any Virginia Beach area lenders that specialize in HARP refinances that may be able to help me and avoid the improper handling on the subordination? Does both versions of the Fannie-HARP refinances mean through my current lender as well as finding another lender? Thanks again!

  • Bonnie

    How do I email you directly. I would like a referral for a 2nd home refi in Norwalk CT. HOme is about equal to mortage, maybe better. Loan in Fanny Mae with Wells Fargo. Loan was 270k in 2007. Condo in now worth between 270 and 300k.

  • Melissa Leal

    Thanks Keane for getting back to me. No I currently do not have PMI. And yes my loan is a Frannie loan.

  • Bonnie

    Keane,
    I called Wells Fargo and they looked up the loan and said it was eligible as a 2nd home loan. The property is a condo in CT owned by my brother – excellant credit. WF quoted 4.75 interest and $1500 closing costs. That seemed high on both counts. Can I do better with a broker? Can you please give me a referral. We are ready to refi now.

  • Melissa,

    I’ll email you a referral :)

  • Bonnie,

    I’m also going to email you as well. All referral requests should be answered.

  • Melissa Leal

    Excellent! Thank you!

  • Dan Williams

    Keane, I own a town home that I use as an investment property and rent. It has 80% ARM held through one bank, and 20% through another. I owe 96k on it and it is currently appraised at about 90k. Does 2 banks owning the loans affect my ability to get a HARP loan? Freddie or Fannie (I don’t recall which) owns the mortgage.

  • DJ Dean

    Keane, here are the facts for my situation:
    -Purchased rental property in TN in 2005 for $423K
    -Original loan amount $270K (interest only)
    -Refinanced in 2007 to 30 year fixed 6.15% (current balance $253k)
    -Property is now probably worth between $210k-$240k
    -Fannie Mae backed loan/ financed with Merrill Lynch Home Loans
    Can you send me a lender who I can refi with in TN? Excellent credit and no late payments. Thanks for your help.

  • Keane

    Dan,

    You can apply for a HARP loan from your 1st mortgage holder or anybody who’s participating in HARP loans. Either way, you’ll need permission from your 2nd mortgage holder to refinance. This request is called a “subordination”.

  • Keane

    DJ Dean,

    I would apply for a loan with a Fannie Mae DU Refinance lender who accepts appraisal waivers. I would then have them run the file through Fannie Mae’s underwriting engine (DU) where the estimated value is at 105%. I would then see if the DU results show you’re eligible for an appraisal waiver. If you get a “yes”, then you’ll be able to refinance without an appraisal.

    Email me and I can refer you to a lender who can do this for you.

  • DJ Dean

    Yes, please email me a lender. Thanks for all the great information.

  • Jeff

    Will my present lender (Wachovia) be looking at debt to income ratios to determine whether I qualify for a rate reduction using the HARP program for investors/non-owner-occupants? I have a perfect credit history and some equity but a very poor debt to income ratio and am currently unemployed and a student collecting unemployment compensation. Do I need to wait to be employed to qualify or will I qualify based on flawless credit and income from investments only Thank you!

  • Keane

    Jeff,

    If you acquired this loan as a rental, then they will not calculate debt ratio.

  • AR

    I have a loan with chase. House was bought as primary home then converted to rental. Freddiemac owns the loan. Loan amount is $228K. House is probably going to appraise at $130K. Is this eligible for refi through HARP or other program?

  • Keane

    AR,

    Freddie Mac states this is available through the Open-Access program up to 125% loan-to-value. We’re way over that mark using the values you listed. The changes to HARP coming will lift that cap but I worry the occupancy will still be near 100%, which is where Freddie Mac is limiting most rental properties when ran through their Loan Prospector program.

  • Nyla

    Keane,

    I’ve contacted BB&T and Bank of America in South Carolina and neither would approve mine because of not meeting the 75% LTV ratio needed for rental properties. I’ve tried to challenge this because of what I’ve read, but no luck. Am I contacting the wrong lenders? The home was my primary home, then turned into a rental home in 2008. I’m guessing the LTV to be more like 95%. Current loan is with Bank of America, but it is a Freddie Mac loan. Can you help? Maybe I need the right lender who will approve this refinance?

  • Keane

    Nyla,

    Yes, you are not talking to the right lenders. You need to talk to a Freddie Mac Open-Access lender. Your occupancy change does not allow you to go back to your servicer unless they participate in this program too, which most don’t.

    This post is very relevant for your situation. I would read this closely. Email me if you want me to refer someone to you.

    http://www.keaneloans.com/2011/10/14/how-to-qualify-for-a-freddie-mac-harp-refinance-on-a-rental-property/

  • Bala

    Keane,

    I converted my primary residence in IL to a rental as I had to move due to job relocation to MA. I am now paying 6.5% on a 30 yr loan. My lender does not participate in HARP, are there any lenders in IL or MA who can help me refi through HARP? I cannot afford to put down more than 10%.

  • Keane

    Bala,

    The occupancy change may require you to work with a lender other than your servicer anyways.

    Do you know if your loan is a Fannie or Freddie backed loan?

  • nate

    Thanks for all the great info here. I seem to have the opposite situation of many commenters. When I bought my house, underwriters insisted on an investment property loan (3 unit house, and they wouldn’t believe I was going to live there). It is my primary residence (easily provable now), and BoA (my primary lender, fannie mae-backed) is telling me that they can’t do a HARP refi b/c it’s an investment mortgage (not sure that’s the correct terminology – no one seems consistent about it). They say to wait for the new guidelines to roll out and see if they can do it then, but I’m concerned by the minimum 80% LTV in the new guidelines (I’m at about 75%LTV but about 105% combined w/HELOC). Do I just need to talk to a different lender, or is BoA right? And if they are right, do you know if the min 80% will be a combined LTV? Thanks in advance.

  • I have been renting my former home since I had to move for my job and can’t sell it. Loan is 372K, value is 470K. I have a 5/1 ARM at 5% and the loan is owned by Freddie, serviced by Chase. I’m currently in underwriting but my file just got “sent to US Bank” because it is 11.97 acres (single family home on small acreage). Is there some sort of underwriting criteria that requires special review of properties of greater than 10 acres? Should I be worried about this extra step?
    Also, I am asking for 380K to cover closing costs. Is this extra 8K considered “cash out” and does it change anything vs. just refinancing the 372K of the original loan?

    Thanks for your help on these two questions.

  • Jeff

    Wells Fargo told me that the original documents on my Fannie Mae loan require DU underwriting and thus, full documentation, including an appraisal, and an owner-occupancy rate in excess of 50% in the complex my rental townhouse is located in (and it is only slightly better than 30%). Being that my debt to income ratio is likely too high and the owner-occupancy rate is too low am I out of luck or would it be better to find another lender, talk to a manager, or? I tried talking to a counselor from the HARP website who told me they were 99.995% certain that non-owneroccupied investment properties do not fit HARP, that HARP is only for owner-occupied properties. HELP!

  • Deb

    Keane,
    I’ve a 30-yr Fannie Mae loan with Wells Fargo for a property which used to be our primary residence but we just moved out a couple of months back and have rented the property out. Will we be eligible to participate in HARP?

  • Heidi

    Keane,

    I would like to refinance with HARP.
    This is a Fannie loan, I purchased the house in AZ and lived in it for 2 years, but then moved out of state (to FL) for employment. I now have renters (but take a loss each month). My loan balance is $177K, and the house is worth about $143K-$150K. I have excellent credit and have never been late on mortgage payments.

    I called GMAC, and was told they will look at my DTI ratio. However, they will not consider the fact that I have a roommate with whom I split expenses such as rent, utilities and groceries with. They will calculate my DTI ratio as if I pay for these myself, which is not accurate. Therefore, my DTI will be too high. Any suggestions?

  • lori

    Keane,

    Thanks for all the great info!

    Do I have to wait until the new lender guidelines come out in December for HARP 2.0 or can I refinance now under the current guidelines?

    My situation details:

    My spouse and I bought a duplex in WA in 2006.
    Purchase price $225,000 with 20% down at a rate of 6.875%.
    30 year fixed mortgage, no PMI.
    Mortgage owned by Fannie Mae.
    We lived in one unit and rented the other.

    We moved out of state in 2010 and now rent out both units.
    Have been unable to sell because of falling values.
    Property professionally appraised a few months ago for $220,000 but zillow shows it currently at $163,000.
    We owe $168,000.
    We have excellent credit and no late payments.
    We also own investment property in CA and a primary residence in TX.

    I have talked to a couple of mortgage brokers in the past year, but they all said I needed 30% equity to refinance an investment property in WA. None of them seemed to know about HARP at all. Thanks.

  • CAK

    I have two rental properties that are both Fannie Mae, one with Chase and one with Wells Fargo. I have excellent credit and no missed payments. Chase called me a couple of weeks ago offering a HARP refi at 4.8%. I had always been refused a good refi rate on rental property and thought they were joking. I checked this out, did the application, and signed the refi papers today. I contacted WF about the other rental and they took my info last week, fedex’d preliminary estimates yesterday and I spoke with a loan counselor today. WF locked in around 4.8% too. Chase charged $395, WF charged $11. All other costs are rolled into the loans. No PMI if you do not have it on the original loan. No appraisal fee. Both loans I had were around 6.5% so I was happy to get the lower rate. However, being suspicious of banks ‘offering to help’, I am wondering what is different about new regs coming out effective 1 Dec and if waiting would have made any difference.

  • Keane

    @Nate,

    B of A should’ve been able to do this but obviously they’re giving you a hard time. This is an easy loan to do with another lender who offers Fannie Mae HARP loans (DU Refi Plus for outside lenders).

    Feel free to email me the state you’re in and I’ll pass along a referral.

  • Keane

    Jill,

    With your equity position, I’m surprised the acreage is being brought up. Most HARP Fannie Mae loans with your equity position are eligible for an appraisal waiver. I would see if an outside Fannie Mae lender can get a waiver approved, which isn’t unheard of. Many Fannie Mae HARP loans are eligible for an appraisal waiver.

  • Keane

    Jeff,

    That’s not entirely true. Fannie Mae HARP loans do not require any version of a project approval on condos since the loan is already backed by Fannie Mae, including DU Refi Plus which requires a Fannie DU approval. DU Refi Plus does require credit, income, asset and possibly an appraisal but project approval is not needed.

  • Keane

    Deb,

    Your Fannie Mae loan with Wells Fargo should be easy to get done. If they give you a hard time, you can apply for a DU Refi Plus, which is Fannie Mae’s HARP for all lenders which does allow occupancy change.

    Let me know if you need someone to help you with this.

  • Keane

    Heidi,

    I’ve confirmed with GMAC that they only participate in DU Refi Plus for clients who have loans with them, but they will allow up to 125% loan-to-value which is needed for your scenario.

    The only way they can count your rental income is if you claim the income on your tax returns via a Schedule E on your taxes. If you have not claimed this income on your taxes, then you can do this on your 2011 returns in a few months and add this income back to help qualify. If they ask for 2-years of taxes, ask them to give you their DU Findings. Fannie Mae doesn’t always require 2-year returns and they often only require 1-year. If you have been claiming the rental income on your tax returns on a Schedule E, they should count it.

  • Keane

    Lori,

    Your rental sounds perfect for HARP and is eligible. I would need to hear more about your rental in CA to know if its eligible.

  • Keane

    CAK,

    The banks are offering this because even though the rate is lower, they do make money when originating new loans by selling them back to the investor (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac).

    The new guidelines will lower the cost associated with HARP loans but it’s negligible if rates worsen when HARP 2.0 is in full effect. I think the loans you got were well priced and you should be okay closing on what you were offered by both lenders.

  • ed

    Hi I appreciate the valuable information obtained in your website. This is my situation

    #1 Primary residence BAC Fannie mortgage. 5% 7 year adjustable rate. First adjustment occurs in march 2012 to Libor +2.25. First mortgage $140,000, second 60K. appraisal $160 using gov sites. BAC will refiance to 4.875 with 7K closing costs. Rate will drop 2% in march because Libor is so low now but I want the security of a fixed rate mortgage.

    #2 Investment condo way upside down. Wells fannie Mortgage, 6.75% waiting for new HARP rules but for now Wells wont refi because of 125% rule and because its investment property. I lived in it as primary residence for a year but it began and is now an investment property.

    #3 investment property. 7.25%. It was intended to be retirement home in N.C mountains. 2nd home until 3 months ago. It is now rented. Freddy Wells loan, not upside down. Mobile home on 6 acres. Wells wouldnt fefi earlier because it was a mobile home on acreage, now say they would if it was not rental property.

    Can you recommend mortgage company in my primary area (Orange Park Florida) that can assist me with the first 2 propertys in orange Park and with the vacation home in N.C.

  • Heidi

    Thank you for the great information, Keane. I have 2 follow-up questions. I read the new release on the HARP requirements that came out yesterday (11/15). Did I interpret it correctly that evaluating the DTI ratio will no longer be necessary?

    My current lender is GMAC. Should I call other lenders as well, and if so, do you have any referrals (My house is in AZ, I live in FL).

    Thanks again,
    Heidi

  • Stephen

    Keane, Thank you very much for the info. Been trying to read the new Fannie and Freddie HARP 2.0 guidelines, but I am confused with regards to my current situation (“accidental” landlord).

    My wife and I have a property purchased in 2005 in MD. It was our primary residence until moving for a new job in 2007. We now currently rent it to help pay some of the mortgage. We have not refinanced it since the original loans in 2005. If we try for a HARP 2.0 refinance, are the LLPA caps for this going to be 2.0% (investment property) or 0.75%? Also, assuming it makes monetary sense for us, when can I expect a lender, mortgage broker, etc. to be ready to move forward?

    Here are the numbers:
    FICO: ~780
    Original home value: ~$250K
    Current home value: ~$150K
    Primary Loan: $180K @ 5.875% FRM w/ BofA (Fannie Mae), (so LTV around 125 to 130%)
    Secondary Loan: $20K @ 7.323% FRM, w/ CitiMortgage
    No PMI, No escrow

    Thank you very much for your assistance and this website.

  • I have been renting my former home since I had to move for my job and can’t sell it. Loan is 372K, value is 470K. I have a 5/1 ARM at 5% and the loan is owned by Freddie, serviced by Chase. I’m currently in underwriting but my file just got “sent to US Bank” because it is 11.97 acres (single family home on small acreage). Is there some sort of underwriting criteria that requires special review of properties of greater than 10 acres? Should I be worried about this extra step?
    Also, I am asking for 380K to cover closing costs. Is this extra 8K considered “cash out” and does it change anything vs. just refinancing the 372K of the original loan?

    Thanks for your help on these two questions.

    Hi Keane – thanks for your response. this is a freddie mac loan. I guess the appraisal was required because they may have felt it wouldn’t make the 125%. But why would they have to send it through “special underwriting” with 11.97 acres? They seemed to indicate since it was over 10 acres it was a problem.

  • Tommy

    Everyone,

    We are all in the same boat.
    We are landlords upside down.

    I just need to know why Wells Fargo denied my Harp Refi last month; Simply because its a rental AND a townhouse!!
    Will Harp 2.0 help me?!?!

  • Bonnie

    Keane,
    Is it true that there is a 3 state rule where if the loan broker, the property and the owner are in 3 differant states that the bank (at least Wells Fargo) requires income verification?

  • Keane

    Ed,

    Here are some suggestions.

    Property #1
    If your credit is strong enough, I would consider shopping that loan. 4.875% and $7k in fees for that size of a loan seems high.

    Propety #2
    It’s unlikely, but I would also have an outside lender try running the value at 105% and see if you get a waiver. I’ve seen this done before with success, even if you think the value is less.

    Property #3
    Unfortunately, I don’t know of any lenders who can help you with this.

    I’ll email you a lender who can help you with #1 and #2.

  • Keane

    Heidi,

    HARP has always taken debt ratio out of the equation if you work with your servicer, but the same-servicer options are more limited for rental properties. The main change of HARP 2.0 is the lifting of the 125% cap.

  • Keane

    Stephen,

    The fee LLPA caps are .75% for all Fannie loans once HARP 2.0 is in full effect. Freddie Mac is also moving to .75% fee caps but will leave rentals at 2.0%, so there is a difference.

  • Keane

    Jill,

    I’m a little worried about your scenario. First, you can only do the open-access version of Freddie, which it sounds like is being done since your lender is discussing US Bank, which may be the investor they plan on servicing your new Freddie Mac loan. I would confirm this.

    Also, open-access does not allow your new loan to increase more than $5k above your principal balance, so if your costs are $8k, be prepared to bring $3k to closing. You will not be able to close at $380k and this may cause problems at the end.

  • Keane

    Tommy,

    The problem isn’t HARP 2.0. In fact, HARP 2.0 will likely not make any difference for your scenario. If Wells turned it down, its likely due to the fact that Freddie Mac is the agency owning your loan, which does not allow occupancy change if you go to your servicer. You need to find an outside Freddie Mac HARP lender who does Open-Access to qualify.

    As mentioned in the reply to Stephen, the LLPA cap for Freddie investment properties will remain at 2%. Unless you need more than 125% LTV, HARP 2.0 will not be different. However, it may be as simple as finding an outside Freddie Mac lender. Email me the state you’re in and I can refer you to somebody.

  • Keane

    Bonnie,

    I know that Wells is doing this but I don’t know if this is a guideline. I’ll find out and share with everybody.

  • Bala

    Keane
    November 10th, 2011 at 1:25 pm
    Bala,

    The occupancy change may require you to work with a lender other than your servicer anyways.

    Do you know if your loan is a Fannie or Freddie backed loan?

    >>>.
    Yes it is a freddi backed loan

  • Joe

    Ok, so what has actually changed with the HARP? When is things supposed to start changing? I was told by aimloan.com that I would have to wait until MARCH before I might be able to get into the new window of oppurtunity?? I have listed my situation prev with Idaho property that is a rental. Its a Freddie Mac loan. I have LPMI as well. My occupancy also changed from 2nd home to rental after I purchased based on my job in the military.

  • Joe

    Im also at $116k on appraisal value of my property, and I owe $138k. No one will do any loan with me more than 90% LTV.

  • keane

    Bala,

    You will need to work with an open access lender licensed in you’re state. I would read my more recent post about Freddie Mac investment harp loans. Email me if you would like me to refer someone to you.

  • keane

    Joe ,

    There’s no guarantee that HARP 2.0 will fix your current situation. HARP 2.0 guidelines did not indicate that rentals would be approved with lpmi. There’s a chance it improves but I’m not certain it will.

  • Thank you, I’ll check with my loan officer.

  • Holly

    I have a loan with Wells Fargo. They declined my refinance application because they say the property is an investment property because my mother lives there even though she does not pay rent or property taxes. After reading your website I called Chase and asked to apply to the Open Access HARP refinance, but they said they only offer that program to their existing loan customers.

  • Keane

    Holly,

    That makes no sense. Wells should do the loan.

    Chase only does HARP loans for loans serviced by them. Email me the state you’re in and I can refer you to a lender.

  • Linda Campbell

    Hi Keane,

    Can you explain why HARP has a deadline of May 31, 2009 for their HARP loans? Our house was just appraised for $200,000 less than it was appraised for two years ago! So now, it’s underwater. We were trying to get it refinanced conventionally because we thought we had no problem. But now, I can’t even get a HARP under the HARP 2 guidelines because our loan wasn’t sold to Freddie Mac until September 2009. We applied well before June, but everything was unstable and our bank couldn’t find an investor until fall. They kept putting us off, but my financial advisor told us that.

    So, now, again, I have another house I can’t refinance because of these restrictions and rules. I have looked online, but I cannot find out WHY it makes a difference when your loan was sold to Freddie or Fannie. Do the people that come up with these rules just enjoy tormenting us?

  • Gwen

    Hi,
    Does HARP 2 have PMI restriction? I have a rental proeprt(I moved out a few months ago). PMI was the problem when I tried to refi w/ Wells Frago in Oct. Loan w/ Fannie Mae, bal $313K, underwater home at appraisal @$280K w/30 yrs 6.625%. Again, shall I try agin? or PMI will be a porblem under HRAP2? thank you!

  • Keane

    Linda,

    The reason they put this provision is so HARP can be focused primarily on high-rate loans originated before the market down turned. Also, there’s a limited amount of funds for the program, so this is a “filter” to make sure they have enough.

    I do agree they should lift this date or move it to May 30th, 2010 at least, but I know they’re going to review how many new people close on HARP after the recent HARP 2.0 changes are coming before they make another change.

  • Keane

    Gwen,

    Wells Fargo will do PMI HARP loans. The restrictions you may face are more related to your PMI company but more PMI companies are lifting their limits to match the lenders.

    Let me know if you want a contact at Wells Fargo to help you.

  • Jon

    Hi,
    I’m looking for some clarification regarding if I can refinance an investment property with HARP if I have 5 outstanding mortgages, including the one I’m trying to refinance.
    Any thoughts?

  • Bonnie

    Keane,
    I have a client with a 413k mortgage with BOA and a 50k mortgage with wells fargo. The house is worth about 450k.Credit is good. Loans are current. The mortgae is at 6%. Can she refinance with a HARP?

  • Jon,

    Most HARP options do not have a financed-property limit. Especially Fannie Mae. Freddie Mac does have a limit on some versions of HARP.

  • Bonnie,

    If the loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, then likely yes.

  • Bonnie

    She asked at BOA and they said no because of the 60k wnd mortgage. Should she try someone else like wells or chase?

  • Bonnie

    She asked at BOA and they said no because of the 60k 2nd mortgage. Should she try someone else like wells or chase?

  • Gwen

    Hi Keane,
    Thank you for the referralat Wells fargo, but he asked me to provide nay gudleine that he can use for my unside down rental proeprty refi under HARP2.0. Is this program still not rolled out? many of lenders are still not approving the refi with three reasons -(1)rental property, (2)LTV and (3) PMI. who does actaully refi by using HARP2.0? or shall we all just wait and wait till next year spring?
    Thank you for your help

  • Marie

    Hi,
    Thank you for your website. Does the following situation qualify for HARP 2? Wells Fargo loan – Freddie Mac, LTV about 200%, interest only loan, no PMI, we have a second mortgage, originally purchased for my primary residence in 2006 … but is now a rental property, no late payments. Would like to convert to a conventional fixed 30 yr loan. This is the absolute best website I have found on this topic. Thank you!

  • Dwight

    Keane,
    I currently have a rental property in Nampa Idaho that is severely upside down. It has a Fannie Mae loan on it for approx. $150,000, and at best the property is apprasing for around $96,000, do I have any hope with this new HARP Program? I have excellent credit, will that make a difference?

  • Keane

    Bonnie,

    The 2nd mortgage does not disqualify people from HARP. The loan is either backed by Fannie/Freddie or its not. B of A was opting to not do HARP loans when they have to process a subordination. You should have the client talk to another lender. They likely are eligible.

  • Keane

    Gwen,

    Many of the HARP 2.0 changes have already been implemented. PMI is definitely the one hurdle that is difficult to overcome. The rental property occupancy shouldn’t be that difficult to overcome if you know the path. Be sure to read my post about Freddie Mac HARP loans.

  • Keane

    Dwight,

    There’s two ways you may qualify.

    1.) Apply with a lender who’s not your servicer. Have them run the application through Fannie Mae’s Desktop underwriter with an estimated value that brings your loan to 105%. Even though you estimate your value to be less, Fannie Mae may accept the value and give you an appraisal waiver.

    2.) If #1 does not work, wait until the Loan-to-Value cap on HARP has been lifted and re-apply.

  • Dwight

    Keane,
    First of all, thank you for the information! Do you know when the Loan-To-Value cap on the HARP program will be lifted? Secondly, does would your company be interested in possibly refinancing the loans on my properties both in Spokane WA and Nampa ID? Let me know.
    Thanks again,
    Dwight

  • Jrey

    Kaane,

    I was contacted by a loan company claming they could refinance my rental through HARP. My rental is underwater and my current rate is 5.75%. It is Freddi backed. I am concered that if i go through the process i will pay tons in fees and only drop less then a point and get stuck with another 30year loan. i have great credit, never missed a payment and make decent money.

    Please advise if i should refi or not. Many thanks!!

  • Keane

    Dwight,

    The loan-to-value cap is scheduled to be lifted sometime next year. No exact date scheduled.

  • Keane

    Jrey,

    Shop your loan around if your concerned about fees. This is a product other lenders can give you.

  • Ben

    Hi Keane,

    I have a rental property underwater with B of A. Purchased the new home over 4 years ago and has been a loss since interest rate was high at 6.75APR. I haven’t been able to re-fi giving me the run around. Original purchase price was $242K with 10% down. So my original loan was $215k. Currently owing $204K. Freddie Mac owns the loan. My tenants moved out and now making 2 full mortgage payments. What are my options? Walk away from it since I can’t get re-fi. I talked to alot of banks and they say I need like $75k to do it. That’s crazy. My house value at $138k on zillow. Some how I didn’t pay them PMI, I guess why rate was so high. B of A I couldn’t qualify for HARP last year.

  • Keane

    Ben,

    You likely have Lender paid mortgage insurance (LPMI) which will cause many problems. No lenders are lending on HARP loans over 95% on LPMI loans.

  • Linda Campbell

    What if you are even? In other words, I have LPMI (which I didn’t know about until this summer) from BOA, but I owe about what my property is worth. Are you saying that it’s possible to get a HARP loan with LPMI under certain circumstances? i would certainly like to know that and how to find a lender who would do it.

  • Lynn

    Is there a limit on the number of investment/rental properies one can have a mortgage on and still be able to use the HARP program for refinancing? If yes, are there any alternatives for those with more than the maximum allowable number of properties/mortgages? Thank you.

  • Alison

    Keane, Thank you for all of this information! I’m also having a difficult time finding a lender to refinance a rental house under HARP. First loan is ok with LTV, but there is also a home equity line causing the home to be underwater (both with BOA). Should this qualify? Can you send me a FL contact? Thank you!

  • Sean Johnson

    Hi,

    I checked in awhile back about applying for HARP but wasn’t eligible at the time. Right now I’m sitting at an unfortunate 170+ LTV and don’t occupy the home (had to move for work years ago). Am I still ineligible under the new rules?

    Thanks

    Sean

  • Sean,

    The LTV cap hasn’t been lifted yet but if your loan is backed by Fannie Mae, I would run the file through at a higher-estimated-value and see if you get an appraisal waiver.

  • Alison,

    Nothing you’ve told me says you’re ineligible. The underwriting engines for Fannie/Freddie do have issues if there’s too many negative factors, but until you’ve been told the combined loan-to-value is too high, then I would pursue an application. I’ll email you a lender.

  • Lynn

    Hi Keane, Thank you for the great information on the HARP program. Is there a limit on the number of investment/rental properies one can have a mortgage on and still be able to use the HARP program for refinancing? If yes, are there any alternatives for those with more than the maximum allowable number of properties/mortgages? Thank you.

  • Lynn

    Hi Keane, Thank you for the great information on the HARP program. Is there a limit on the number of investment/rental properies one can have a mortgage on and still be able to use the HARP program for refinancing? Thank you.

  • Lynn,

    For most HARP products, there are no limits to properties financed. Only the Freddie Mac Open-Access product has a limit, which is 4. All versions of Fannie Mae HARP do not have property limits and the Same-Servicer version of Freddie Mac HARP doesn’t have a limit. Many investors think they need Open-Access due to occupancy change but HARP 2.0 is allowing occupancy change on the Freddie Mac Same-Servicer product.

  • Sean Johnson

    A local Chase (my current lender) rep contacted me about taking my application for a HARP refi. As I mentioned earlier my LTV is in bad shape but the new rules should eliminate the requirement, right? Also I forgot to mention the PMI I’m paying on the loan…Will that still hinder my ability to qualify since this is now a rental property? (Was forced to move due to job loss in 2006).

  • Sean,

    It’s likely that Chase is your best bet. If the mortgage payments have been paid on time, they’ll be lenient on credit. The PMI could be an issue depending on which company is insuring your loan.

    Newer HARP guidelines will allow you to change your occupancy to a rental.

  • Doug

    Hi Keane,

    I bought a condo in Aug 2008 and started renting it out May 2011. I intend to move back in to the condo either June of this year or June 2013. I am trying to decide whether its better to:

    A) Do a HARP refi sometime this year as an investment residence and rent it another year.
    OR
    B) Do a HARP refi next June as a primary residence and move back in (I intend on keeping the unit as a primary residence for atleast another 2-3 years before renting again).

    I ask because I hear rates between a primary and investment property can range up to 2% higher than when compared to a traditional refi (eg: as posted on bankrate.com, etc). Is that true? My current loan in through Nationstar Mortgage, i think its owned by Wells Fargo.

    Any suggestions or advice is appreciated. Thanks.

  • Doug,

    The difference between a rental rate and a primary residence rate should be about 2% in FEE, not rate. To cover this fee, you should only see approximately a .5% increase in rate.

    It may be easier for you to qualify for the refinance as a primary residence. I would check now what you can get. If you’re qualified and have strong credit, it’ll be up to you based on what you think rates will do between now and June.

  • Darren

    Just got off the phone with The Hope Hotline from the MakingHomeAffordable.gov. Was told that my investment property is not available for HARP. Unsure what can be done now other than to just stop paying the mortgage.

  • Justin

    I have been told the same thing on three separate occasions by the Hope Hotline. They keep saying that rental properties are not eligible for HARP or any other programs for that matter. I believe my LTV is around 95-100%. I know my loan is owned by Fannie Mae. My current rate is 6.375%. I have excellent credit and am up to date on my payments. House is currently rented. I have even called my lender (Bank of America) and they tell me the same thing.

  • Justin

    Forgot to mention that I am not paying PMI nor is the lender.

  • Darren,

    That is absolutely INCORRECT. Talk to a loan officer at your servicer our an outside company for eligibility.

  • Sean

    Hi again.

    Decided to refi under HARP 2 with Chase. I likely know the answer to this, but am I able to renegotiate PMI in the process? I know I can’t get rid of it, but can I ask about alternate providers or anything that might make a difference in the payment? Again, it’s a rental property now so will that limit my options?

    Thanks!

  • Sean,

    The only changes that are done with PMI is a conversion from LPMI to monthly paid PMI. This is only to help the customer qualify with some lenders but I would not go this route unless you had no other options.

    Other than that, no changes to PMI can be done at this time.

  • Tommy

    Hi Keane,
    Did the HARP 2 start refinancing already?
    I have a rental townhouse and cannot wait for HARP 2 to start.

  • Tommy,

    Yes, it has. It’s been in effect for servicers and only recently has been availbale with outside lenders (since last month).

  • Dave

    Hi Keane,
    I have a few rental properties that qualify for HARP, however Wells Fargo and Chase both told me yestrerday that they won’t refinance them because I have more than 4 investment properties. Do the loan officers not know what they are talking about or do I need to ask another lender?

  • Dave,

    If the loans are backed by Fannie Mae, there’s no limit to properties financed. If the loans are backed by Freddie Mac, you can only refinance through your current lender under the Freddie-Mac HARP program (Same-Servicer) your lender can offer. The Freddie Mac Open-Access program (for outside Freddie Mac lenders) does have a 4 property financed limit. If you applied with your servicer and they tell you they have a limit, that is an overlaying guideline.

  • Dennis

    Any movement by Freddie Mac to allow to refinance under HARP if there are more than 4 properties owned? Seems crazy that Fannine allows but Freddie doesn’t when both are now owned by the government. The rules should be the same.

  • Dennis,

    Freddie Mac has a 4-property financed limit on all of their programs except the Same-Servicer HARP program, which is only available from your loan servicer (who you make your payments to). Who is your servicer?

  • Dennis

    Any change on Freddie Mac policy of not allowing a refi under HARP if one owns more than 4 homes? Seems strange that with both Fannie and Freddie being owned by the government that one agency would have a restriction like this where the other doesn’t. If it still is a restriction, where can we contact Freddie to see what can be done to change this rule before June 30th HARP deadline?

  • Dennis

    Sorry for the subsequent post on 4/24, but didn’t see the 4/20 post. The servicer is Wells but they only will grant the HARP in this case only as an exception which requires financial information not required under HARP. If we had the financial strength at this point we wouldn’t need HARP. My question is with the government now owning both Fannie and Freddie, why are there two different policies and why are we being punished because Wells chose to put these loans with Freddie rather than Fannie?

  • CJ

    Im looking at buying another home as we speak and I want to rent out my current home but I would like to know if it’s possible to still purchase another home while attempting to go through with a Harp loan. Im currently 153,000 upside down on my current mortgage.

  • Dennis,

    Sorry the late response. I’ve heard some difficulties getting this through Wells Fargo but I know they will do rental properties now. You can go through Wells directly or an approved broker.

  • CJ,

    You can do this but be sure you tell your HARP loan officer that you’re doing this as a rental. It may be best if your do your HARP loan through your same lender that you’re purchasing with. This will help you qualify for more, since the purchasing lender will know what your new payment is (assuming it will be lower).

  • Ryan

    I just wanted to say that I used Keane and just closed on my refinance!!! I refinanced my investment property using HARP. The quick version: House was bought for $400,000 back in 2006. House appraised at $315,000 today. I owed $330,000 on the original loan. I got the full amount ($330,000) refinanced at a slightly higher than market rate 4 3/8% (since it was an investment, the rate is still slightly higher). That amount was re’fi’d was 105% of the appraised value (I could have gotten up to 125% if needed). I paid roughly $1500 for the re-fi fees which were rolled into the new loan. No worries. EASY! Thank you Keane.

  • Ryan,

    You’re very welcome! I don’t use my blog for marketing or soliciation, so I really appreciate sharing your experience with others here.

  • Mark

    Keane,
    Can you refer me to someone in North Carolina that can refi the loan on my rental house.I have contacted B of A and they only do
    loans which were originally theirs. Checking with Wells Fargo also. As you’re aware Chase won’t refi it because of the occupancy change.

    Thanks for all the great info &help you provide. !
    Mark

  • Mark,

    Is your loan with Chase now? Is your loan backed by Fannie or Freddie? I bet the right person at Chase can do this for you.

  • William Boehm

    Keane,
    Really appreciate your site. Wife and I are now renting our house in Idaho and now live in another home here in Oregon. Idaho home is financed through Citimortgage. Citi mortgage says they won’t allow HARP 2.0 for rentals. Freddie 30 yr, LTV 1.19. We have outstanding credit rating. Any thoughts.

  • William,

    That’s too bad because Citi could do it if they wanted. I’ll be sure to log that info. Thank you for sharing.

    You technically fit the guidelines for a Freddie Mac Open-Access refinance, which is eligible to Freddie Mac lenders other than your current lender. Your loan-to-value is high, so the Freddie Mac system may not approve you unless you do a shorter term loan like a 15 or 20 year. Let me know if you want me to connect you with someone.

  • Ed

    Today I was told by a loan co. (not my current mortgagor) that I had to refinance my rental through my current mortgage company because my rental property was too far under water (110k to 150k). They said HARP would only permit them to make loans on investment properties of upto 105% of current value. I’ ve seen nothing to confirm this. Is this a HARP requirement or the companies own invention/policy?

  • Darren

    I live in RI – bought my rental property in 2006 for 274000 at 6.5%, I have never missed a payment since. House is currently valued at 171,000. My wife lost her job last year. I have tried to get a load mod and a refi. I was denied both. I tried to contact Makinghomesaffordable – I was told that HARP 2.0 does NOT cover rental properties.

    I dont know who else to contact.

  • Darren,

    The information you received was inaccurate. You can use HARP for rental properties. Did you check to see if your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? If so, let me know who. Also, who is your lender?

  • Ed,

    Is your loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? Outside lenders have to run the loan scenario through a risk evaluating engine called an Automatic Underwriting System (AUS). The AUS for Fannie Mae is called Desktop Underwriter. The AUS for Freddie Mac is Loan Prospector. Freddie Mac is stricter on rental properties than Freddie Mac.

    Going through your current lender doesn’t require a lender to run the scenario through an AUS, which may be why your lender told you this. However, there are tricks to get an AUS to approve your scenario. You can read more about them here:
    http://www.keaneloans.com/2012/05/11/how-to-get-your-fannie-mae-harp-loan-approved-through-du/

  • Darren

    My mortgage is with Cenlar. It is a Freddie Mac loan.

  • J

    I have CENLAR and Freddie Mac and have been trying for over 2 years. I doubt you will find anyone to help you if its a rental like mine

  • david L

    Keane,

    I bought a house back about 5 yrs ago with an 80% 20% loan (wells Fargo) so I didn’t have to put any money down to buy it. I bought it as my primary residence initially. I have rented it the last three yrs. This is a Freddie loan and I am curious if I would be eligible for the HARP program with my circumstances. I am married but the loan is only in my name. My wife and I live in another state for work right now. She will be working as a telecommuter and is moving back into the property I am talking about. I am looking for jobs back in the state where the property is but do not have a job yet. Can I claim this property as my primary residence if my wife will be living in it? Will buying the place as a primary residence then a rental then back to a primary residence matter as far as HARP is concerned?
    Thanks,
    David

  • David,

    If you’re the only one on the loan and you’re not living there, this will be considered a rental. The good news is Freddie Mac now allows occupancy change on same-servicer and Wells should be willing to do this for you. I’ll email you a contact.

  • Joseph

    Keane,
    I work in North Carolina and am a renter, moved here for my job. I purchased a home in New Jersey six years ago and currently rent it out. Unfortunatly, my loan is not Freddie or Fanny and the rate is 5.6%. House value is ~ 190K the original loan was 170K and the princ balance on the loan is ~ 155K.

  • Joseph,

    Is it an FHA loan? FHA does allow FHA streamline refinances (no appraisal/value considered) if the property is converted to a rental.

  • Daniel

    I have an FHA backed loan that I have now converted into a rental property. I owe 109,000 on home and it’s worth about 112,000. Current interest rate is 7.1%. Every bank I talk to says they can’t help me refinance this loan. What Can I do? I’m in Alabama.

  • Daniel,

    FHA does allow streamline refinances on rental properties if you’ve converted your home to a rental. You’ll need to find another lender to do this if your current lender won’t do the loan. Here’s a post on the topic:
    http://www.keaneloans.com/2012/09/21/fha-streamline-refinances-on-non-ownerrental-properties/

  • Darren

    I am sorry if this offends you but every one that I have talked to at HARP or what ever the program is called this month, reports that they are unable to help on non owner occupied investment properties. My home that I bought in 2003 for 282k is now worth 178k …. and now the legislators in Providence, RI has decided to take away the homestead credit on my taxes … so now I am actually down $400 every month that I own the property.
    But no one seems to be able to provide me any assistance what so ever.

  • Darren,

    Have you determined if your loan is backed by Fannie or Freddie? Let me know what you find and who your loan is with. Perhaps I can connect you with someone who can help.

  • Julie

    Hi Keane, My load is through Freddie Mac, Sept. 1, 2005 was the settlement date. The home is a rental. I believe at that time in 2005, the loan was owner occupied. We currently use it as a rental. I’m on title for this home and also on another home. There seems to be something about “if the occupancy of the home has changed” you are out of luck. Citi Mortgage sent us a letter that we are eligible for HARP. I wasn’t sure how to answer some of the questions they had on their questionnaire, for example “how do you use your property? A. Investment property or Second home”. I want to be educated and not brushed under the rug by someone who isn’t creative enough to find a way. Any advice? Thank you!

  • Julie,

    That guidelines has since been waived if the lender has updated their guidelines. Your current lender and outside lenders can do your loan. You should apply as a rental and check a handful of lenders who can do this to ensure you get the best service and price.

  • Julie

    Hi Keane, You answered me on 12/12. We are in process with Citi Mortgage for the Streamline loan. The underwriter is saying today that because our occupancy changed (from own-occ to rental) that does not qualify. I read your other post about the FHA Handbook and that occupancy change shouldn’t matter, but the link no longer works to the gov. website (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/ref/sfhp2-19). So I don’t know how to argue that point with her. I’d like to quote some document or ask the right question of her to question her automatic No. Additionally, when my son was born, we created a Trust. I co-own this property with a friend. His name is unchanged on title. Now instead of my name, the title says the name of the trust for me. She’s saying the title can not have changed. Do you think I’ll be able to explain my was around this? Or we can just have our attorney change the title back. We were really hoping for this loan and they say we are approved based on credit and income. Any advice on what to say when we speak to the underwriter to reply to her inquires? Or anyone else to talk to at Citi that might know the occupancy doesn’t matter? Thank you, Julie

  • Julie,

    Is it a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan? Do you have to go through Citi? You shouldn’t have issues with both of your hurdles. The trust may require an attorney review fee from the lender. Ultimately, you may need to change it back but often lenders will just have the trust reviewed by an attorney and charge the fee to you. The occupancy definitely is an overlay. No HARP loans have occupancy change restrictions anymore, so it’s Citi that’s stopping you, not Fannie or Freddie.

  • Julie

    Hi Kean, It’s Julie from 12/12 and 1/23. My loan is through Freddie Mac, Sept. 1, 2005 was the settlement date. In your answer you say that no HARP loans have occupancy change restrictions. What about a Streamline? Have occupancy restrictions lifted for a Streamline? My refi with Citi is referred to as a Streamline. Thank you for your answer about the Trust, very helpful! I’m going through Citi because that is where my current mortgage is. I’d be happy to try another lender, any suggestions? Thank you, Julie

  • Julie,

    The streamline refinance you’re talking about is called Freddie Mac’s Same-Servicer, which is a version of HARP. Outside lenders have access to Freddie Mac’s Open-Access program, which is another version of a streamline refinance.

    Originally, the version for the current lender didn’t allow occupancy change. If you look up the fact sheet on Freddie Mac’s Same-Servicer program, you’ll see that occupancy change is allowed. Open-Access has always allowed it.

    Email me the state you’re in and I’d be happy to connect you to someone.

  • Julie

    Hi Keane,
    I’m in California. Thank you for the referral. Thank you, Julie

  • Troen Hulett

    Refinancing questions

  • Troen,

    If you have any questions, you can either ask publicly here on the forum so others can see your scenario (and possibly help them) or email me privately at keane@keaneloans.com.

  • Aimee

    Hi Keane,

    I appreciate all of the advice on your website for HARP refinances. I am looking to refinance my current loan under the HARP program. My current lender says my loan meets all of the requirements and quoted me 4.375% with .25% origination/0 points with approximately $2500 closing costs. My current loan amount is $160,000. This is a condo property and the condo unit values vary widely between $125K to $150k. My credit score is over 800 and I have never made a late payment. Do you think this is a good rate and offer for the HARP loan? This is the offer on a 30-year fixed mortgage. Or is there someone else in South Carolina that you would recommend I contact for a HARP refinance loan?

    Thanks so much for your help,
    Aimee

  • Aimee,

    I can’t quote rates in a state I’m not licensed in but the pricing seems to be reasonable based on where base pricing is for mortgages. Expect to pay slightly more than a traditional loan. You can shop it around.

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