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HARP 2.0 Is Not Working For Us

HARP 2.0 is not working refinance mortgage

How low can the rate go???

UPDATE: If you are looking to refinance, be sure to keep an eye on the National Foreclosure Settlement. It should be rolling out soon and you might be able to get a good deal. The qualifications are different than HARP 2.0 so you need to see which one will better for you.

It’s amazing, but mortgage interest rates keep dropping. If you are stuck with a higher rate, now is the time to refinance. The Home Affordable Refinance Program has been revamped to include more home owners and many more people should qualify for refinancing. I called around and see if we could refinance under this program and while we could, the numbers are not working out.

First let’s go over HARP 2.0

  • The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. You can check if they own your loan by following the links.
  • The current mortgage must be closed before June 1st, 2009.
  • No underwater limit. Under the previous program, the home loan to value (LTV) ratio must be under 125%.
  • The loan must be current with good payment history over the past 12 months.
  • Eliminating appraisal and underwriting so home owners do not have to pay those fees. I will have to check on this with the bank.
  • If you don’t pay PMI (mortgage insurance) now, then you won’t have to pay PMI after refinancing.

I verified that our loan is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae so we qualified for HARP. Both of our credit ratings are excellent and we don’t have any consumer debt. Our home’s value is about the same as the loan amount right now since the price dropped so much. We are not paying PMI at this time and won’t have to pay PMI if we refinance under HARP. Our mortgage is currently a 30 year fixed rate mortgage @4.75%.

I called CHASE and after 30 minutes I got the bad news. The best they can offer us is a 30 year fixed rate mortgage @4.625%. The only thing we have to pay out of pocket is the $400 application fee. However, the refinance will cost $3,000, but they will roll that into the principle so we won’t have to pay out of pocket. I was a speechless after I heard this offer. Seriously? A 0.125% saving? That is pathetic. I see most 30 year mortgages are now at less than 4% interest rate.

I checked online and most lenders are not participating in the HARP because it is voluntary. With LTV of around 100%, the lenders do not want to take the risk. The banks who are willing to take the risk charge more points and fees and makes the loans not worth refinancing. I’ll call a few more places and see if I can get a better deal, but I am not optimistic. All the loan officers are inundated with people trying to refinance so they don’t even call back. I’ll probably have to drop by and make an appointment.

If we can refinance at around 4% with minimum out-of-pocket fee, then it would be worth it. Otherwise, we’ll just have to keep our 4.75% mortgage. Alternatively, I can put our $50,000 reserve fund into the loan and get it under 80%. This should make it easy to get the best rate and points. That is our emergency fund and I really think it is a bad idea to throw this into the mortgage. We don’t even know if the home price will start to recover in 2012.

Have you refinanced under HARP? Were you able to get a good rate? Which bank should I talk to?

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, the job became too stressful and Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.

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{ 230 comments… add one }
  • Patrick Stoy November 30, 2013, 7:01 am

    Seeing that nobody has updated this in a while, I wanted to give you an update on where this program is as of right now. I am a mortgage broker in NC and have been involved in the industry for over 14 years. The rules just changed that the closing(note date) only had to happen prior to June 1st 2009. Prior it had to be that Fannie or Freddie had to purchase your note prior to that date so this will allow more people to qualify. The investors that we deal with have really opened this up recently as there now is no LTV limit for primary residences and 2nd homes and invesment properties are being refinanced much easier. Mortgages with PMI’s are now easier to be transfered and we are seeing alot of property inspection waivers(No Appraisal required). Be sure to check and see if your invesment propeties qualify for this also.
    If you have any specfic questions please feel free to email me at [email protected]

    Patrick Stoy

  • Chris March 19, 2013, 4:18 pm

    I am a loan officer for Devon Bank in Chicago. We are a community bank that lends in Illinois and surrounding states. We are one of the few lenders that will go to 150%LTV. We have 30 day turn times on most HARP loans and a lot of experiences doing both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac HARP deals. We might be able to help on some higher LTV HARP loans or with deals that are taking 2-3 months to close with the big banks. Thanks…

    Chris McAuliffe
    cmcauliffe at devonbank.com

  • Lona Rose March 13, 2013, 7:01 pm

    I completed the HARP 2.0 program in less than 45 days and I sincerely think it is because Indy Mac/One West knew that I was copying the Escalations Supervisor at MHA Help, as well as Fannie Mae, with all correspondence. I didi this to keep them honest!

    Initially I did not get any cooperation from Indy Mac but as soon as they knew I was in contact with MHA Help they mysteriously contacted me almost daily to complete this process. It was the best home purchase or refinance that I ever completed. Fannie Mae did the appraisal at no cost to me. The only charges that were worked into my loan were for filing fees of maybe less than $400.00.

    My interest rate went from 6.75 to 2.75% which made my monthly payment go from $3,200. to $2,300. My loan was literally cut in half regarding the costs.

    I urge everyone to try for this program. The only requirements I know of are you have to have made at least the past 12 months of your mortgage payments timely and a portion of your loan must be owned by Fannie Mae.

    Finally, a program that actually helped the middle class! I was extremely frustrated because it seemed as if the only people being helped by these programs were the people who had loans they knew from the beginning they could not afford but they went with the crazy financing anyway, OR the people who simply stopped paying their mortgage because it seemed as if that was the only way they would get help.

    It took an email to the President of the United States for me to get help. About 6 weeks after I sent my email I was contacted by MHA Help. I still can’t believe someone at the White House read my email…

  • Rob March 12, 2013, 8:32 am

    I live in Northern NJ and my wife and I are refinancing through the HARP loan.
    Our current loan fixed 30 yr at 6.125%
    we were offered $369,000 30 year fixed at 4.625% and $7400 closing costs. This is the first time after many times trying to refinance that we were accepted. Is this a good deal? Closing costs seem high and was hoping for a bit lower rate but since this is the first that we have been accepted we feel we may have to jump on it.

    • jon March 12, 2013, 9:35 am

      Closing costs are WAY high, unless your considering your escrow account in that figure. I wouldnt expect closing costs to run on the high end $1800.. And seeing you dont need an appraisal I would expect somewhere around $1500-1600. Make sure those are actually closing cost and not your escrow account as well. Also if one lender approves the HARP, most other should as well, they dont have a magic wand that only allowed them to approve your loan. Be cautious with those costs IF they are only actual closing costs.. Also Rate IMO seems high as well……

      • Rob March 12, 2013, 10:42 am

        Ok I have some more info that will help you let me know if this is good or not
        REFINANCE AMOUNT : $364,000

        PREPAID ITEMS: $4,395.93
        Break down
        Hazard Insurance: $180 4 months
        County Taxes: $2,935.96 4months
        Interest Amount: $1,279.97 27 days @ $41.41

        ESTIMATED CLOSING COSTS: $3,044.00
        Application Fee: $725
        Tax Service: $66
        Compliance Audit/Quality Control: $90
        Attorney Fee: $400
        Title Exam: $436
        Closing Fee: $50
        Lenders Coverage: $887
        Recording Fee: $390

        TOTAL COSTS: $371,439.93

        LOAN AMOUNT: $369,000

        Can only roll $5,000 into mortgage so $2,439.43 out of pocket
        So in actuality Closing Costs are $3,044. Thought the Prepaid items were part of it. Are the Prepaid items the norm?

        • jon March 12, 2013, 10:59 am

          Escrow and pre paid interest are norm, the pre paid interest will change depending on the day you close and fund. Example: If your loan funds on the 28th of a 30day month you will only have to pay 2 days of interest on the new loan. Personally Ive never seen a compliance fee charged to a client, I am in Illinois though so I dont know exactly the laws for your state. Also the Attorney fee? Are you getting an attorney? if you arent I dont know why thats on their unless you title company and your state requires one.. And again I still think that rate seems high, and there isnt any credits for the rate they gave you? Lastly if there is a 5k max to the new loan amount you must be owned by Freddie Mac because Fannie does not go by that rule. Keep in mind if you currently escrow you will get that money that is in your account back after your lender is paid off. I would take a couple days to see if you can get anything better than that deal, the escrow information shouldnt change, but maybe there are better rates and costs out there for you, cant hurt to find out, once you refi under HARP you cannot do it again, you will have to do a full qualifying next time, which means appraisal and everything. So make sure your getting the best beecause chances are youll be in that loan for some time.

          • Rob March 13, 2013, 4:33 pm

            Thank You Jon for your feedback, it was very helpful. I have taken your advise and in the process of calling some more lenders to try and get a better rate. Thanks again!!

        • retirebyforty March 13, 2013, 3:38 pm

          Can you have them close on a different date so you will pay less interest (27 days)? My lender didn’t mind it.
          The closing cost seems ok to me, but I think the rate is high.
          How much do you own on the home?
          Thanks Jon for answering the questions.

          • Rob March 13, 2013, 5:15 pm

            I will look into the closing date and did you mean owe on the home? If so $364,000. Thanks

  • sivani February 19, 2013, 1:59 am

    I just got denied for a home modification, and find out that my Freddy/Mac backed adjustable arm loan taken out in 2008 does at least qualify for HARP and did qualify for the last 2 years during which I have asked BofA if there was some way I could refinance and told no. Now I just retired with a low fix income (part of the reason I should have qualified for the modification, but that is another BOA nightmare) and am concerned that now my income is too low. I have two years left on my 5.75 % arm, and then the shittith hittith the fannith. I have mostly taken the interest only option as I knew there was a good chance I would have to walk away if I could not figure out my finances. I currently owe $268k, and am unsure what my current home value is. It got as low as $200k, has rebounded some, Freddy Mac said $318k(when pigs fly) and someone else I checked with said $258. Should I consider another arm that might be lower if I am not wanting to live here forever?

    Since I have just retired, I no longer need to live in this area and would like to relocate, but since i don’t have enough reserves to buy a home outright, feel with my now low income I would have trouble buying somewhere else. Excellent credit, no late payment history, just confused on next move. Now B of A says I do qualify for HARP. They offered a 30 year APR with an annual 4.35%, and total costs in the $5000 range for fixed 30 year. My interest only payment was around$1800, this should come out at about $1770 but pays off principal. My new loan would be for $271, 500. I didn’t lock in but he said the main changes would be point fluctuation. (AT the time I checked it was -.25%, and it should take 2 months. I do have to continue a PMI that is included.

    • jon February 19, 2013, 8:46 am

      You may be better off not getting that loan modification anyways. Most people do not understand the negative effect this will have on your credit in the long run. If this is the only way to afford payment and cant qualify for a HARP, or regular refinance then I see this is the only option to save your home. Loan modfications will haunt your credit for years, lenders now look at a loan modification like a foreclosure, why, because most people who obtain them show the unability to pay their obligations. No new lender is going to come in knowing this and offer a new loan. the only way this loan modification does get an exception is if the modification was only rate reduction, if the new lender see’s (which they will ask for a copy of the modification) that any mortgage payments were added to the back of the loan they will most likely deny the new loan. Again this I feel is the very last resort people should use. Not to mention I heard of lenders telling people to go three months behind – now thats just crazy. anyways I am here in Illinois and do offer HARP and all other standard loans, if your in Illinois feel free to email me or visit my personal site.

  • Krish January 25, 2013, 8:33 am

    Just completed harp 2.0 refinancing in AZ thru a mortgage brocket . Ltv is 124. Got 3.75% and 0 closing cost. The whole process took 3 mths . Phew !

    • retirebyforty January 25, 2013, 8:46 am

      Great job! That’s a great rate with 0 closing cost. Congratulation!

  • danu January 7, 2013, 3:02 pm

    I tried refis. As soon I say PMI, the conversation is over. Sounds like a disease!

  • HARP 2.0 Customer December 12, 2012, 7:56 am

    My current loan is with IndyMac who is now OneWestBank (OWB). They were not helpful with me until I raised a little commotion with the White House. I sent an email to the President on the White House website letting him know his options to date were not helping me, part of the middle class, because I was not near or in foreclosure. That led to the MHA Help Escalations Officer calling. After discussing my issues, I was advised I qualify for the HARP 2.0 program. I then advised OWB that I DO QUALIFY and I submitted the application; it was addressed to OWB with a copy to MHA Help and Fannie Mae. I wanted to make sure OWB knew I was trying to hold them accountable.

    It was an easy process, as someone before commented, because they already have my info. I am signing my new loan doc’s on Friday which is taking me from a 6.375% interest rate to 3.875% and the loan is based on current market value as determined by Fannie Mae. My monthly payment is being reduced by approximately $1,000.00.

    As stated above, your credit score has nothing to do with this loan in any way! That’s part of the program. OWB has provided me a detailed explanation of their $4,600 “settlement charges”, which is mainly filing fees and a $3,200 escrow account for taxes & insurance. I need to find out if this is an extra escrow account or not as I already had my insurance impounded in my loan.

    Anyway, I submitted my application 10/12/12 via overnight mail with return receipt and I will be signing the loan docs this Friday. Not bad. And virtually painless. πŸ™‚

    Good luck to everyone!

  • joe h November 30, 2012, 2:14 pm

    My harp with Citi….the original servicer of my loan……just closed after 94 days. I really do not want to support the big banks anymore but it seems like I had no other choice.

    • Greg November 30, 2012, 11:18 pm

      Similar here with Citi. They are my current loan servicer and HELOC lender. They made the HARP 2.0 refi pretty painless. Filled out a web form on their site. Received a few packages in the mail with GFE and doc requirements. Didn’t require anything further of me, though, since they have all my docs already.
      A couple phone calls and about 4-6 weeks into it, and I’m signing the papers next Friday. Sounds like it’ll be another 4-6 weeks for it to then close.
      Going from 5.75% and 22 years remaining to 3.75% and back to 30 years.
      But the $500 monthly drop in payment will give me some good breathing room now to get working on that darn 29.9% credit card πŸ™‚

  • Jack Higgins November 8, 2012, 11:49 am

    Getting a refinance deal through GMAC that almost seems too good to be true. They are offering me a new 30 year fixed rate of 3.875 with ridiculously low closing costs. My closing costs not including escrows and interim interest are about $9,000 but they are giving me a credit towards this of $8,200. Anyone know what I could be missing. I’m thinking it might be an advantage I’m getting since my loan now is already with GMAC.

    • retirebyforty November 8, 2012, 8:45 pm

      Wow, that’s great. I think the rates are now a bit lower, but if you don’t have 20% equity, it’s hard to get the best rates. The loan cost is really low. Nice!

    • Greg November 19, 2012, 7:11 pm

      Sounds similar to me, but I’m guessing your house value us much higher compared to my numbers.
      I’m about halfway through a Citi streamline HARP 2.0 refi.
      It’s been painless so far.
      Refi is for just a bit over $250,000, and market value is probably just a bit over $200,000 right now.
      They’re doing it for 3.75%.
      And cost was about $1600, which they adjusted down by about $800, and my interim interest is about $800.
      I’ve heard interest rates have dropped since the election, but when I asked the lady today she said not for my offer.
      If I cancel the current refi attempt, might they send another offer for 3.25% in a few months? The impression I’m getting is that the housing market might be starting to show some signs of having bottomed out (I’m no expert, just second hand things I heard from others), so I should probably just stick with the 3.75 and put the monthly $500 savings towards that 30% credit card πŸ™‚

    • Greg November 19, 2012, 7:49 pm

      I’m also curious on how credit score affects the rate being offered, although I’m not sure it’s something many want to share.
      But, for what it’s worth, mine was at about 716 a month ago when I started the refi with Citi.

      • [email protected] November 20, 2012, 3:30 pm


        I would really consider your refinance now, really that rate isnt all that bad if your under water. Everyone no matter what has the same “start rate”, then all the adjustments come out from Fannie or Freddie -Factors include- credit score, ltv, cltv, type of property, investment, 2 unit, etc..etc….. If you are satisfied with the new payment and financially it makes sense, take it. Like I said in my post below, you can only do this program one time so make sure its right. Also your closing costs aren’t really that much, it seems to me they are disclosing their points (%) as part of the origination charge, then the rate they sold you gives you a credit of XYZ which lowers your total cost (covering their points). There are NO free loans out there really what clients are doing is taking a higher rate than you actually qualify for by doing a “no cost loan” (they raise the rate to cover your closing costs – aka increase rate premium)- Lastly, credit score+loan to value adjustments change between the following: 620-639, 640-659, 660-679, 680-699, 700-719, 720-739, 740+. hope that helps.

  • Ray October 24, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Harp2.0. I’m so frustrated. We are 130 LTv. Credit is 760 and 780. We are threw boa. I found a broker who got us an offer of 4% with a credit of 137. Well that was back in may. Our lock has expired July 26 and with out asking us they granted us another 30day lock I was not happy because rates have dropped since then. Then August 26 rolls around and the agreement once expires. Same thing another 30 day with out out permission. And the rate drops again. Then sept 26 another extension I keep asking for a new lower rate. Now today they finally want us to close mon or Tuesday. And the rate lock expires Friday. And I keep asking for a new rate. Rates in Illinois are 3.49 now I’m upset because every time I asked my broker for a new lower rate they just simply blew me off. Now I have been corrsponding with my broker threw email so I have everything documented. So I’m not sure if I should continue with the company or start searching over. The rate will be 4% but the new GFE’s looks like they are jacking p the apr to 4.98 seems high to me? Second how can the harp 2 rate be 1/2% higher than prime? And is this considered a dective mortgage practice? Should I be contacting IDHA or the Attorny general office? Any guidance would be great.

  • Kainani September 9, 2012, 5:01 pm

    I was wondering if you have any advise or suggestions for my problem.

    My loan is with BOA and I found out I have LPMI on my loan when I tried refinancing with them. However because of LPMI, they wouldn’t refinance. I finally found a lender that will refinance under HARP 2.0 even if I have LPMI. The new lender asked me to contact BOA and get a copy of my MI certificate or any information regarding the mortgage insurance. BOA has not been helpful nor have they been able to provide me with the necessary documents pertaining the LPMI. The new lender was able to find out that PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. holds the certificate. They suggested I try to contact PMI directly. I did via email (as to that is the only option available). They responded with this: “The LPMI certificate is between PMI and the lender. Unfortunately, this isn’t something I can provide you with.” The email went to inform me that I said contact my lender. Which I did again, but still they can’t find anything.

    I am at wits end. This has put my refinance in limbo for a few months now. I have no idea weather the LPMI was paid up front or if BOA is paying it monthly. And for reasons I’m unsure of, the new lender seems to need this information to proceed.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.


    • retirebyforty September 12, 2012, 8:24 am

      I’m sorry, but I don’t know much about LPMI. Hopefully someone with more knowledge can answer your question.

  • Stevan August 10, 2012, 6:19 pm

    Greetings great blog lots of info I would like to pick your brains if I may my situation is a little complicated so let me explain.

    I currently owe BofA 230k on a 30 year loan with 22 years to go no PMI and am curently at fixed 6% . I checked the link from fannie may and it says they do hold my loan.
    I would like to refi into 15 year and was in the proccess of a traditional refi with a local bank . They had approved my loan and credit ( low 700s average score I had a chapter 7 discharge 4 and a half years ago since which I have never had a late mortgage payment nor I have I incurred any additional debt ) got thru underwriting and was only waiting for an apprasial $420.0 which needed to come in at 276k . The appraisal came in at 235k due to the drop in property values in my area and the lower selling prices of homes there in the last 6 months .

    The mortagae broker has treid to call me back but im still pretty frustrated about the apprasial fee and the amount of closing costs they wanted to charge me (about 5100) though perhaps this is a blessing since it sounds as if the closing costs are cheaper with many of these Harp loans .

    What I am asking for mostly is advice/ recommendations in terms of a lender ( hearing alot about quicken both good and bad )and perhaps some feedback on your closisng costs and how smooth your loans have gone > would it be worth my effort to start with BofA since they are currently administrating my loan . Thanks again

    • retirebyforty August 11, 2012, 6:35 am

      You should at least call BofA to see if they can offer you a no fee refinancing. They are a part of the national foreclosure settlement and should have some kind of program. I had a loan with Chase and they offered me a no fee refinance deal, but it was too late because I was almost done with Quicken loan by then.
      I paid around $3,000 in closing cost with Quicken. I don’t think I had to get an appraisal, but I need to double check.
      I would call BofA first then perhaps try Quicken loan. Quicken loan likes to use high pressure tactic, but they are fast and the rate was competitive.
      Good luck!

  • Thomas August 10, 2012, 6:36 am

    Greg, am I missing something here. I know taxes are complicated and I don’t know your situation but I would think you would still make money refinancing. If an additional $5400 boosts you into a higher bracket remember the higher rate doesn’t apply to your entire income only the incremental amount that is now in the higher bracket. Your actual rate would probably be still very close to 15%. For 2012 a married couple in 15% bracket is between $17,400 and $70,700 of income. If you earn $75,000 then your tax should be $70,700 x 15% + $4,300 x 25% which is $11,680. $11,680/$75,000 = 15.57% tax rate. So for your situation even if the entire $5400 is taxed at 25% you would still be ahead of the game by $4,050.

    • Greg August 11, 2012, 9:20 pm

      Thank you Thomas – I think you answered my question and it was a piece I didn’t understand. I wish the tax code could help me understand it so well.


  • Gregory Thomson August 3, 2012, 9:02 pm

    I’ve been passively watching to try to understand if a HARP refi makes sense for me.
    My mortgage is at 5.75 for about $255,000 – 22 years left.
    And a HELOC at $25,000.
    House is worth at most $200,000 at the moment.
    Citi’s last UPS delivered offer was a no-cost re-fi to 4.125%
    Keep the same length at 22 years left and the monthly reduced from $1680 to $1464.
    Re-fi to 30 years, and the monthly reduced from $1680 to $1230.
    I’m not a high-income earner – about $65,000.
    And because of mortgage interest and a side business, usually I end up with a 15% fed income tax rate.
    But if I re-fi and end up paying $5400 less in interest yearly, I end up in the 25% tax bracket, and the money goes to income taxes instead of mortgage interest. A zero-sum result. Unless I spend more on the side business to get me back into the 15% taxable income rate. So any way I look at it, the money is going out to somebody else.
    Is that maybe the underlying concept of HARP? Lower monthly interest costs for the mortgage, but higher fed taxes because of less mortgage interest writeoffs, unless you spend more on growing your business? Wasn’t the reason the founders came to the US and fought against the Redcoats, to get away from all these things? (Sorry, just watched a wonderful series on Netflix – The History of US – and it triggered an impulse post :-)).

    I’m curious, though – has a HARP re-fi affected your net income in negative ways due to less mortgage interest paid? Sounds odd, but once I added that into the picture for me, I’m not so sure a re-fi makes sense.


    • Bill Clifford August 6, 2012, 6:09 pm

      That’s crazy that an extra $5,400 in interest will jump your tax bracket up by 10%! I guess the question to ask yourself is how much you expect to be making in the years to come. If your salary goes up by $5,400 you are going to have the same dilema. If you do refinance and pay discount points you can write those off which may at least keep your taxes down for one year plus you will end up with a better rate for the next 22 years. Just a thought. Good luck with whatever you do decide.

      Bill Clifford
      Open Mortgage
      NMLS 289148

  • Jenn August 2, 2012, 9:01 pm

    Hi all – just wanted to give an update from when I posted a couple months ago. I went back to Wells Fargo (current mortgage co) and inquired what my options were to refi with them (since my loan is held by Ginnie Mac, and don’t qualify for HARP 2). I was told I qualified for a Streamline Refinance FHA program and was able to reduce my rate from 5.5 down to 3.87, with no out of pocket costs. Due to PMI rates being higher my net payment ‘only’ decreased by $200/month, but I’ll take that $2400 in my pocket πŸ™‚

    • retirebyforty August 2, 2012, 10:53 pm

      Wow, that’s great! Congratulation.
      When your PMI is gone, it will be much better, right?

      • Jenn August 3, 2012, 5:58 am

        The payment will drop by almost $400 when PMI is gone πŸ™‚

  • David Lu August 2, 2012, 5:18 pm

    HARP 2.0 was absolutely USELESS to my family. We are sitting at almost 100% LTV in a 5.75% mortgage on $279K. Fair credit, times have been tough, but I thought this program was supposed to be helping folks like myself. Went through the whole application process, but Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter wouldn’t give us a Property Inspection Waiver (PIW) that seems to be required by any lender. Tried several different brokers, but they all use the same system for HARP. I would have been better off missing a few payments to qualify for modification under HARP 1.

    • mswright August 3, 2012, 11:15 am

      HARP 2.0 works it is the lenders that don’t. HARP qualifications are to be current on present loan (I’ve own two homes never been late or missed payment on neither), must owe more on home than fair market value of home (LTV owed 325700 valued 28400) Told initial quicken loans Rep we had zero up front cash out of pocket, he ran credit asked a few qualifying questions said could drop interest from 5.75% to 3.99% reducing payment from $2500 to $2000
      He also said no appriasal was needed under the HARP that meant no out of pocket money to me. Late afternoon the following day I got an e-mail notifying me that they were unable to help me for the following reasons ” Product/Program not available”. Excuses I got when I called to get an explanation were: 1.HARP has cap on LTV, Fannie Mae informed me they have no cap it was the lenders using different guidelines. 2. the misterious desktop underwriter which is the lenders not Fannie Mae says we need an appraisal this is strange since the program which is insured by Fannie Mae doesn’t require one and in addition would require upfront cash ( for the record Quicken loans did an appraisal last year on our home valued at $28400 but not under HARP we dicided not to take the higher interest rate) on this loan they entered $271000 which they said wasn’t high for the underwriting progam to accept, where they got this figure I do not know. Although they have over 100 programs they only used one to make this loan decision This coming from a company we previously (6yrs ago) had a loan with and paid it off.
      Finally it is my opnion that finance lenders use the program to seek out people and steer them to different loans (steering an illegal practice in the real estate market by federal law) what is thier gain fees, higher interest rates which add burden to the person looking for relief from their current situation they are killing a program thats entended to help. I’m not standing for it I’m
      currently researching. what legal avenues are available maybe I’ll get lucky and find a solution to a big problem maybe someone higher up will care and do something about it. It happen once before.

      • Bill Clifford August 6, 2012, 6:04 pm

        I’m sorry to hear that you have had such a tough time with this. I thought I’d pass along a couple of bits of info for you. Desktop Underwriter (DU as it is referred to) is a Fannie Mae automated loan platform. The first step in HARP approval is running your file through the DU. You are right about some lenders having additional guidelines on HARP loans that go beyond what the program requires. Typically that is a Loan To Value (LTV) guideline. Most of the lenders out there are capping the LTV at 125% but not all of them. It sounds like Quicken is one of those with that guideline and that is why they are asking for an appraisal.

        HARP does sometimes require an exterior only appraisal. The DU has a built in valuation model that assigns a value to your home. Sometimes it is not able to find sufficient comparable data to come up with that value so in that case it would ask for a limited appraisal. Typically this happens in a situation where the comparable sales are very wide ranging.

        As for “steering”, this term as it refers to real estate is when an agent is trying to keep a certain race client out of a certain neighborhood, or into a certain neighborhood. It has nothing to do with loan programs.

        I totally understand your frustration. The underwriting for HARP is very inconsistent and there is a ton of conflicting information out there. My advice is to try another lender. If your home is in one of the states that my company works in I’d be happy to try to help you. If I was not able to I would at least be able to be very clear as to why. Otherwise, call a broker or a direct lender rather than a big company like Quicken. Check their references to make sure you get someone reputable and see what they can do. As a broker I’m able to work with dozens of different lending institutions and there are still a few out there that do not add additional guidelines onto their HARP programs. Best of luck!

        Bill Clifford
        Open Mortgage
        [email protected]
        NMLS 289148

  • Graeme Black July 20, 2012, 10:18 am

    Quicken is now offering 4.375% and working with Seterus. This may be a bit higher than the going rate (around %3.5) for a 30 yr. fixed, but there is no PMI, and they will cover second homes and investment homes. When we financed our rental six years ago, we ended up paying about 1.5% higher due to it not being owner occupied, so we ended up with a 6.375% rate. Our new payment will be about $200 less on a $350,000 mortgage, including amortization, whereas our previous payment was interest only.

  • Thomas July 19, 2012, 7:09 am

    Just got a refinance offer in the mail from Chase. 4.125% fixed on 188K and they waive all fees. My original mortgage was 5.125% ARM which now 7 years later has adjusted to 3.125%. It will adjust again in Sept. and if libor stays where it is currently it would set at 3.375%. So by refinancing I would be raising my rate from 3.375% to 4.125% but it would be now be fixed. My house is worth 220K and I have very good credit. Anyone think this is a good deal. I’m thinking I will pass for now as I figure the bank wouldn’t offer me out of the blue a good deal.

    • retirebyforty July 19, 2012, 8:48 am

      It depends how long are you planning to live there. If you plan to live there for 20 years, then I would go with the fixed rate. If you are planning to move in 5-10 years, I would stick with the ARM. You can call them and see what the interest rate is for the ARM. You can probably get 3.125% and lock it in for 5 years.

      • Bill Clifford July 30, 2012, 12:25 pm

        Good advice RB40. The interest rates are as low as they have ever been. If you are looking to stay in the home long term then you definitely want to lock in a fixed interest rate now. It may be higher than what you are paying now but that rate is going to go up once the market starts to rebound and programs like HARP will start to go away. Also, don’t be affraid to look into a loan with slightly higher fees and a lower interest rate if you are planning to stay in your home for a long time. Maybe you finance an extra $3,000 – $5,000 into the loan amount but are able to get a rate closer to 3.5%. The savings will outgain the cost in the long run plus “loan discount” fees that reduce the rate are also tax deductible. Also, I’d recommend talking to some other lenders besides Chase. In most cases a mortgage broker or smaller lender will be able to get you a better loan and also will normally provide different cost options to consider. I’m a little bit biased because I work for a smaller lender but I can tell you from experience that 9 times out of 10 I’m able to beat the big banks in terms of interest rate and fee. Good luck!

        Bill Clifford
        Open Mortgage
        [email protected]
        NMLS 289148

  • Ann July 14, 2012, 11:59 am

    Desert Schools Federal Credit Union is doing lots of them. The LTV doesn’t matter and their interest rates are good & closing costs are low. They couldn’t do mine because I have lender paid mortgage insurance but I would give them a call to see if they can work with your loan.

    • joe July 16, 2012, 6:46 am

      Thank you very much for answering Ann. I forgot to mention that Desert Schools told me they only do Fannie Mae and not Freddie Mac loans. I have Freddie Mac.

    • Gretchen Hoffman July 27, 2012, 1:36 pm

      I have been trying since mid March to close a Harp 2.0. Our rate expired the other day and they told me instead of the newer lower rate now they have paid for an extension of the higher rate we locked into in April. Is this right? Why couldn’t they offer me a lock at the new lower rate? She said if I cancelled (and it is already expired) that I would have to wait another 30 days to lock in due to their policy. I told her that wasn’t very customer service oriented. I have been very disappointed in this experience with this institution. The loan officer in particular has been noncommunitive. It doensn’t seem like the right thing to do.

      • retirebyforty July 27, 2012, 11:19 pm

        You should try another lender. When the rate went down, my finance guy was able to get me a bit lower rate although I already locked at a higher rate. This is at a local bank with really great service though. Maybe try a credit union in your area.

        • Bill Clifford July 30, 2012, 12:16 pm

          I agree. You should not have to put up with a lender who does not return your phone calls. Sometimes they may not have any new news as most lending institutions (especially the big banks) are running very slow in underwriting right now. Regardless, they should be calling you back. Also, paying to extend the interest rate makes no sense in this market especially if rates have come down since you locked your loan. Keep in mind that you may be extending your refinancing process by another 45-60 days depending on the lender that you use so I would talk to some other lenders, get a quote and a time frame then weigh your options. Good Luck!

          Bill Clifford
          Open Mortgage
          [email protected]
          NMLS 289148

  • joe July 14, 2012, 8:04 am

    Is there anyone in Arizona who has used or will be using HARP with a high LTV. It seems that other people are finding banks to underwrite but I cannot. Please help me anyone in arizona. Thank you.

  • Joe July 13, 2012, 9:19 pm

    Thought I will pick your brains here on a HARP refinancing I am getting done through a local bank. I have a 5.85% interest rate on my first mortgage and an even higher rate for my second. My LTV is 200%. I locked at 3.250% (3.386% APR) for a 15 year fixed loan of 176,600, with an appraisal waiver, and a lock expiration date for 7/27. The GFE shows the appraisal for $390 but I have been assured in writing that it will come off at closing. The closing cost estimate was $5,207 including escrow minus appraisal. The subordination of my second mortgage was approved last week. Today I got a new GFE with a changed circumstance letter that reduces the rate to 3.125% (3.395% APR) if I pay a $1,575 discount charge. I am being asked to lock new rate. The lock expiration date remains until 7/27 with closing costs to be rolled into loan. I also have the floating rate option now. Any suggestion as to how I should proceed??

    • Thomas Schuerer July 14, 2012, 11:15 am

      $176600 at 3.250% vs 3.125% saves you about $11.00 a mont in mortgage payments. At $1575.00 discount charge it will take you 13years and some month to break even.

      I might be looking at this wrong, but that doesn’t sound like it’s worth it to me.

      I’m also in the process of refinancing under the HARP 2.0. I was mainly looking at a 30 year fixed, but i been crunching the numbers on doing a 7year ARM and using the difference between the payments to pay down my 2nd mortage, which is a pretty high interest rate, and i have been unable to get refinancing for it.

      • Joe July 14, 2012, 5:19 pm

        My thoughts exactly and I wanted a second opinion. Thanks. I have decided to ask them to lower the rate to 2.95% for me to accept that amount. Yours sounds like a good strategy if you can get a bank to go for it. Good luck. I have decided to address my second loan by paying it off with a loan from my 401k, and then paying it back with interest (to myself) in 5 years.

  • joe h July 6, 2012, 12:37 pm

    I just talked with a loan officer at Sunstate in Phoenix. My ltv is 200% He said there is only one bank in the U.S. that will underwrite my loan. He said other banks will not yet because the gov will not guarantee the loan against default but there is a bill on the senate floor to do just that. For high ltv people like me, just wait to see what happens with this or walk away.

  • Thomas S June 21, 2012, 9:40 am

    Not an expert by any means, but i don’t think HARP 2.0 has anything to do with payoff. It’s just did a HARP 2.0 refinance (have closing coming up soon). You dont get any money back, except maybe some of the closing cost fees or some escrow.

    If your principle balance changes, i would call it a loan modification.

    You could always call them and find out more, just don’t give them any personal information.

  • Gregory Thomson June 21, 2012, 12:15 am

    I want to look to doing a HARP 2 refi, but haven’t had the time to really look into it well yet.
    I got a letter yesterday that I think is a scam-type offer.
    It came from metromgi.com, and says Citibank (my mortgage servicer/owner) is accepting settlement offers.
    And that they will ‘work with Citibank to Negotiate the Payoff’.
    This was a key phrase in the letter too – ‘Citibank in a negative equity position may accept less than you owe. In return, you get a new fixed rate FHA loan…’
    And second notable phrase in the letter –
    ‘Your new FHA loan amount will be 98.75% of the current appraised value’
    And, third…

    I think my loan amount could be in FHA range.
    I owe about $250,000 + $24,000 HELOC, on a house that’s market value $200,000, and am at 5.75 for the primary.

    To me, this letter seems like a scam, and similar to those orgs that promise to repair your credit score in x days. And the way they go about it may actually ruin my credit score based on what they do.

    Aside from HARP, are there other programs going on that may let a person refi as an FHA loan at a lower principal value without it being treated as a short sale or with the conditions that were initially put on the loan modification type refi’s?
    I’m not looking for anything tricky.
    And not looking to move or walk away.
    Just want to find a way to get refied on the lower rates.


    • Bill Clifford July 16, 2012, 11:25 am

      Hi Greg,

      This does sound like a scam but I’d be curious to see what they have to say. The thing is that the only way to get your loan balance reduced is with a loan modification or by negotiating a short payoff which is basically like a short sale. It sounds sketchy though. As for an FHA loan, they carry high MIP rates so probably don’t want that type of loan anyway if you can qualify for the HARP 2 program with no MIP.

      Where are you located? I’d be happy to help you out or put you in touch with someone close to you who could. Best of luck!

      Bill Clifford
      Open Mortgage
      [email protected]
      NMLS ID 289148

  • Katharine June 20, 2012, 10:04 am

    I have Seterus and have received letters from Quicken Loans, recently. I finally called Quicken and they said I was approved to refi under the HARP Program, they brought my rate down from 5.75 to 4.375. It would save me roughly $313 per/month. Should I still keep my taxes and homeowners insurance rolled in as escrow or pay on the side and not have it in my mortgage payment. I just get nervous that I may not be able to save on my own. Do you think this is something I should take advantage of and is the rate good they gave me. I hope I am not jumping in quickly, they sent me a link to sign electronically already. Does anyone know if I can ask them for a better rate or if I wait a little longer will the rates come down? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


    • Bill Clifford July 16, 2012, 11:33 am

      They may not offer up a better rate but you certainly should contact one or two other lenders to see if what they are offering is competitive. I would recommend paying your tax and insurance through your monthly payment if you are not great at saving. Also, the cost of your loan should be 0.25% less in fee if you have the impound account included. I would be happy to help you, or put you in touch with someone close to you. Where are you located?

      Bill Clifford
      Open Mortgage
      [email protected]
      NMLS ID 289148

  • Jeanine June 12, 2012, 5:24 am

    If you have a HARP loan for your home mortgage, are you still able to deduct the interest you pay on the loan for federal tax purposes?
    Also, in shopping for a HARP loan, how can you determine the actual cost of the loan if the bank ups the interest rate to cover some of the costs?
    Does Freddie Mac charge anything?

    • Bill Clifford June 12, 2012, 12:06 pm

      Hello Jeanine,

      You are still able to deduct your interest in a HARP loan. You probably will not have as much interest to deduct because the program will reduce your interest rate, but you still are able to deduct the interest.

      As for the cost of the loan, the best way to look at this is by looking at your loan amount, interest rate, and money out of pocket to close the loan. Basically, if you are bringing any money in to close the loan add that to the new loan amount for your evaluation. Which ever loan has the lowest loan amount and lowest interest rate is the best one. It is common for brokers or lenders to give you a slightly higher interest rate in exchange for lower closing costs, if you are willing to pay some closing cost for a lower rate you should ask your lender for a couple of different options showing one with higher rate and one with lower rate and higher cost.

      Bill Clifford
      Open Mortgage
      [email protected]
      NMLS 289148

  • Deb June 8, 2012, 8:08 am

    We are in the process of a Harp 2, our first mortgage is 5.625 (with a 2nd mortgage higher). Excellent credit and LTV around 100% (not sure, no appraisal). Just received a GFE (updated) showing a lock at 4.625. Am surprised, thought I’d hear from them before they locked, was hoping for a lower rate. Told weeks ago that was good to wait to lock in and we’d see what the rates were then. It’s been submitted to underwriting with conditional approval.
    Someone else we had contacted earlier had called recently and said if we don’t get it
    down to 4.25, to contact him. Not sure what to do now, is it too far along, is this a good rate, should we contact the other guy? Any thoughts/advise would be much appreciated!

    • Bill Clifford June 12, 2012, 11:54 am

      The lender should contact you before locking the loan, it was not your choice to select that rate. That is a terrible way for a lender to do business. I’d call the other lender. 4.625 is too high for this program, especially if you are under 125% LTV.

      Bill Clifford
      Open Mortgage
      [email protected]

  • Thomas June 7, 2012, 11:13 am

    Trying to refinance my 1st Mortgage (53rd) via the HARP 2.0. After some phone calls, the first thing they send me is a from for a $495.00 application fee. After another phone call i get a couple documents to fill out, and one shows the interest rate as 4.25% 30yr fixed.

    Is it normal to pay that much for the application fee?
    Is 4.25% high? Bankrate lists the rates for 30yr fixed at 3.77%.
    Shouldn’t i be getting a GFE with all the expected rates and fees before i even think about paying them for the application fee?

    • Bill Clifford June 7, 2012, 1:40 pm

      You should not have to pay any sort of application fee. The only fee you should ever have to pay before the loan closes would be an appraisal fee, but that would not be until later in the process after you have completed the loan application and and the loan has been submitted for underwriting. On a HARP loan the appraisal is often waived so you most likely would not have to pay that. 4.25% for a HARP loan is not bad. The rate you see on Bank Rate is for a normal conventional loan with points. A typical conforming loan with no points right now runs between 3.875% – 4.0%. The HARP loan is going to carry a slightly higher rate because it is a more risky loan due to your equity position. If you would like some more detailed information I’d be happy to talk to you further about your scenario.

      Bill Clifford
      Open Mortgage
      [email protected]
      (310) 515-9993 x 303

    • Thomas June 8, 2012, 12:26 pm

      Well i got an update: Got it down to 3.99% (if i use their checking account for auto-payer). The $495 is for the appraisel, and closing cost should be around $795.00.

      My only quarrel is that i currently get 3.00% which is about ~ $490 (inc taxes and insurance) on my adjusted arm, with the new 3.99% i will go up to ~$750 (inclused taxes and insurance).

      Do i stay on the arm, ride it out for a while, and get a refi later. Or do i bite the bullet, pay the extra and have a 30yr fixed. How long will the rates stay this low? Will i even be able to refinance in another year or so, with being almost 40% underwater on my 1st & 2nd mortgage.

      • Bill Clifford June 12, 2012, 12:17 pm

        Well 3.99% is good for the HARP program, especially with your loan being so far underwater. I’d ask them about the possibility of an appraisal waiver. The HARP program is only supposed to have an appraisal in limited circumstances. The lender does have the right to add their own requirements but it’s worth asking.

        As for the question about what you should do, that ‘s really up to you. It looks like you should be able to still use this HARP program at least through the end of 2013, but there is always a chance that banks will decide that they don’t want to participate in the program. There is also a chance that rates will go up or terms will change. It’s like playing the stock market, the prudent thing to do would be to take the loan (as long as you can afford the increase) or you can take the risk. $490 per month is not peanuts. At the same time if you go to do this next year and the rate is 4.5%, the $6,000 you saved will be lost over time with the higher rate…

        Bill Clifford
        Open Mortgage
        [email protected]
        NMLS 289148

        • Thomas S June 12, 2012, 1:16 pm

          Well, after looking over the statement some more, because the diff in loan payments just did not add up i figured out why it was so much higher.
          My current payment of $490 only covers interest and tax/insurance. It looks like only the last 4 month of the year actual had an impact on my balance. (Once the escrow account was full)

  • Jenn June 6, 2012, 12:13 pm

    Great blog! Question – Can anyone explain more about the PMI rates that apparently have gone up? From what I have read, the pmi rate is determined by the LTV%? My current lender (WF) said that mortgage insurance rates had risen twice since I closed (in Aug09) – and a friend said her mortgage broker told her to hold off for a couple months to refi, until the rates came down. What gives with this PMI stuff?

    • Bill Clifford June 6, 2012, 3:37 pm

      Hi Jenn,

      I work for a lender and it sounds like you have an FHA loan. They did recently reduce the PMI for people who’s loans closed prior to May 31, 2009. For everyone else the rate increased again. Unfortunately there is not much you can do about it. HARP loans are only for people with conventional loans, the FHA program is called the FHA 203b Streamline Refinance. Even if you wanted to refi with the higher PMI you still may not be able to because the FHA requires that your payment + PMI be reduced by 5%. In order to do that with the higher PMI your rate needs to come down by about 1.25%. Hope that helps.

      Bill Clifford
      Open Mortgage
      (310) 515-9993 x 303

    • retirebyforty June 6, 2012, 5:48 pm

      From what I understand, if your LTV is 80% or below when you initiate the mortgage, you don’t have to pay PMI. Even when the property value go down and the LTV is worse, you shouldn’t have to pay PMI when you refinance. I’m not sure about the cost of PMI.

      • Jenn June 6, 2012, 8:51 pm

        Yep, we only put down 10% for the down payment and that was almost 3 yrs ago, so I’m pretty sure we’ve got even less equity then that inital 10% πŸ™ . We knew going in that we’d be paying PMI – but silly us, we thought we were somewhat close to the bottom of the market. I also knew we had the FHA loan, but think that going down 1.25% from 5.5% shouldn’t be impossible? When I contacted someone at WF, she wasn’t exactly the friendliest person and gave off a very specific ‘ I don’t really want to help you figure out what your options are’ attitude. It sounds like from many of the posts above that I should call around and keep asking.

        • Bill Clifford June 7, 2012, 10:05 am

          You should be able to get an FHA loan with little to no closing costs at 3.75% right now. FHA carries lower interest rates than HARP. If you are in California I would be happy to help you personally. My company lends in 22 different states so if you are in one of those other states I could point you in the right direction. Where are you located? Whether you call me or someone else, you should be able to reduce your interest rate enough for a new loan to make sense. The other thing to keep in mind is that the MIP will only be on your loan for 10 years or so from when you got the original loan so that leaves you with 20 years where you will be paying nearly 2% less than you are now.

          Bill Clifford
          Open Mortgage
          (310) 515-9993 x 303

          • Jenn June 7, 2012, 10:46 am

            We are in NJ – do you have any branches here ?

          • Jenn June 7, 2012, 11:00 am

            I just ran some numbers…we only plan on being in this house another 4-6 yrs, so no guarantee that we will get out from under the PMI. Reducing my mortgage interest rate (keeping in mind I can deduct 100% of the interest since we make less than $166k), doesn’t make sense when I cannot deduct any PMI (which will definitely increase if I refinance, and we make over $109K). My overall mortgage payment will be reduced, but more of the payment is allocated to PMI than to interest. I’m thinking that a refi is not a good idea, actually.

      • Bill Clifford June 7, 2012, 10:15 am

        This is true for the HARP program. Any loan that was opened without PMI is not subject to new PMI even if they now have an LTV over 80% currently. FHA loans all have PMI when they are initiated, and the FHA Streamline program still has PMI until the loan balance is paid down to 78% of the original value/purchase price of the home.

        • Bill Clifford June 7, 2012, 11:56 am

          We don’t have any branches in NJ. I understand your concerns about the tax deductions, but I think it may still be worth finding out how much you would save by refinancing. I wouldn’t know how to go about determining the difference in the tax benefit, but the reduction of 1.75% could be pretty significant even with the increased PMI.

          Just an example, if your loan is $400,000 you would save $200/month on your total payment with the higher PMI. That saves $2400 per year out of pocket. Your total interest payments (write-off) would decrease by about $4800 per year. I’m not sure how much you are taxed on that additional $4800 that you are not writing off but if it is less than 50% you still come out ahead I would think.

          Just a thought. Hopefully the conversation was helpful…

          • Jenn June 7, 2012, 12:11 pm

            Thanks, Bill, apparently great minds think alike – I just pulled up my TurboTax return from 2011 and fiddled with some numbers. I decreased the amount of mortgage interest by about $3k and my refund decreased approx $600….if my reduced payments put about $2400 in my pocket/yr, that’s still a net gain of $1800. I do appreciate your insight and help, I wish I lived in CA so we could make this refi happen !

            And thanks RB40 for the forum πŸ™‚

          • Bill Clifford June 7, 2012, 1:42 pm

            Excellent! I’m happy to help. If you have any other questions or feel like you’re getting jerked around feel free to ask. Good Luck!

  • Mei May 20, 2012, 1:21 am

    I am living in CA but have a home in Nevada. The LTV is > 125%. The primary loan is under NationStar which offers me a loan w 4.625% on 30 fixed term and the closing fee is ~$5k to refinance the existing one w 6.5% and 25 years remaining under Harp2.0. I was turned by Wells Fargo and Quicken Loan to refinance the home due to the high LTV. Since LTV is so high, it seems i won’t be able to get refinance somewhere else. 4.625% is better than 6.5%. Should I wait to see whether the rate will go down further in next few months? Plus, the closing fees seem high after reading the message above.

    Any suggestions will help. Mei

  • Chris May 18, 2012, 4:35 am

    Just wanted to post an update. My current servicer is Seterus, and im @ 7.65%. I was turned down by Quicken, started working with Wells Fargo, and got a off of 4.5%. This is for investment property. Looking for a few opinions if I should jump on this? Im not getting offers from other banks right now.

    • Bill Clifford June 6, 2012, 3:39 pm

      That’s not bad for an investment property. What is your LTV (loan to value ratio)? If you don’t know, how much do you owe on the property, and how much is it worth? That will play a big role in determining your interest rate.

      Bill Clifford
      Open Mortgage
      (310) 515-9993 x 303

  • Dave May 10, 2012, 12:14 am

    I think I had the same guy and he tried that same crap with me. He also wanted to charge me $5100 in closing cost and wanted a same day decision. He shouldn’t have a job acting the way he did. He got very defensive and told me that he was worth that money and with my 800 credit score that I was a high risk and that no one else would help me. I am working through a local credit union where it is going to cost me $600 in closing cost and give me a 4.12 rate compares to his 3.99 and $5100 closing cost. That guy needs to be fired.

  • Robert Lord May 9, 2012, 8:12 pm

    I’m super confused by one thing – if you qualify for the HARP refi, how is the rate set? Here’s my story. My Fannie Mae loan is serviced by Seterus. We owe about 210k on a house worth around 180-190k. I’ve been getting mailings from Quicken Loans, who apparently is working with Seterus for HARP. I called Quicken last night and they offered me a 20 year loan at 4.75%. The broker was super pushy. He said he needed a commitment today, less than 24 hours. I told him I needed to do more research and couldn’t commit in that timeframe and he pulled the loan offer and claimed I am β€œexempt from the program moving forward”. I’m a bit stunned by all of this. Is this some sort of sales tatic, or can I really be blacklisted like this for needing more time to decide? He told me there is no way I will do better than 4.75 because the rate is set by Fannie Mae. Is this true as well? I’m really confused… And now a bit scared as well…

    • retirebyforty May 9, 2012, 9:17 pm

      Sorry to hear that. I’m sure they can’t black list you. You can just call Quicken loan again and talk to another loan guy. There are other loan outfits so I’m sure you can find something. Call around a few places and see what rate you can get.

      • Robert Lord May 10, 2012, 3:29 am

        Well, that’s a bit of a relief then. Sorry to hear others are getting the same experience, but I feel a little better to know I am not alone. I get it that this guy thought he was getting a sale, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for a little time to consider something that literally involves hundreds of thousands of dollars and 20 years of my life…

        I would rather take my business elsewhere, but I am super green at this. How do I know what other places I should even call? Cold call local credit unions?

        • retirebyforty May 10, 2012, 5:48 am

          Yes, call your local banks and CU, but they probably will not refinance you because the property is underwater. It is worth a try anyway. Someone else above recommended Guaranteed rate.com. Try that and see if they can give you a loan. Did you try calling Seterus? From what I’ve heard, they don’t refi, but still worth calling.

    • Anthony May 9, 2012, 9:25 pm

      I had the same experience tonight when I called QL about my Seterus loan. Very pushy, and I asked the guy about what my interest rate would be and he said 4.5% (for a loan > 150% LTV which isn’t the best). My problem is that I’m EA-III in FannieMae’s system, so I don’t know what use it was to try and move forward.

      I’d stay away from QL – I’ve gotten quotes from other companies at 4% or 4.125% (but I got canned after my EA-III rating came in, despite my >750 credit rating).

      • Alex May 12, 2012, 3:41 pm

        I work for a broker. We have banks that will work with an EA-III, especially with a 750 credit rating. Rates are more than competetive and usually no lender or broker fees

    • Gregory Thomson May 10, 2012, 1:08 am

      This is a little off-topic, but salespeople like that really irk me.
      A few years back I wanted a very bare-bones new little pickup – reliable, but no extras – we’re talking no extras whatsoever. Walked across the street and the salesman was similar to what you are saying – you’ll never get anything better, lets get this done right now, or the price may go up (i.e. urgent), etc…
      I lived across the street.
      Walked home, and did one of the Internet-based quotes for new car quotes.
      Within an hour I had a few. Drove about 20 minutes, and drove home with a new barebones truck about an hour later.
      $3000 less than the guy across the street, and better trade-in amount, and no negotiating needed.
      I got a postcard a few days later from the guy across the street – again telling me I’d never find one at the price I wanted, so let him know when I was ready.
      I sent him back my own card, and let him know I bought the same thing for $3000 less about an hour after I talked to him, and a trade-in that was about $1000 more.
      It felt good πŸ™‚
      Whenever a salesperson makes it seem urgent that it gets done right now, usually it seems like a bad deal, at least to me. And that’s when I go elsewhere.

      • David Drake May 12, 2012, 11:18 am

        That’s awesome! That is so true too. That and when they act like they are your best friend and like they have known you all your life.

  • jim May 8, 2012, 2:21 pm

    We did a harp refi in March, 2012. Got our interest reduced to 3.37 % on a 30 year loan (which we should have paid off in 5 years or so) and there were NO costs involved – no points, no appraisal, nothing. We signed some paperwork, they sent us a “book” of documents to sign, did that, sent it in and a couple of weeks later the old mortgage was paid off and the new one began. The entire process took about 5 weeks. This was through Wells Fargo, who held our prior mortgage. At first, we were very wary ’cause it sounded too good to be true – but it actually worked out.

    • retirebyforty May 8, 2012, 5:28 pm

      I had a no cost offer from Chase, but their rate was 4.37%. I think the problem was the home was underwater…
      It’s great to hear about your experience. It means at least some people are getting good service from the big banks.

    • Jose May 9, 2012, 12:21 am

      Wait, so you have 5 years or so left to go on your orginal loan and decided to refi it for another 30 years? That does not sound like a deal to me even without any closing cost and lower int rate. Please clarify.

    • Asela May 9, 2012, 10:17 am

      Like Josew, I am suprised too. At the tail end of your mortgage when you pay the least interest, you decided to refi??? What am I missing?

  • Doreen May 1, 2012, 7:35 am

    I just learned about the HARP 2.0 program. We currently have a LTV of 103%, 1st mtg of 6.5% with $241k balance, 2nd mtg 9.875% with $42k balance and money combined payments of $2300. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to lower interest and payments.

    My question is, we have a few negative hits on our credit reports from 2006 and they will drop off in 2013. Is it best to wait until our credit report is clean next year and pursue the HARP or is there no minimum credit score required for HARP?

    • Asela May 1, 2012, 11:59 am

      I got 4.675 for a rental with FICO 650 with HARP 2.0. Note that I have aPMI and rate for investment property is normally higher.

    • retirebyforty May 1, 2012, 11:59 am

      You should check around and see what rate you can get. With 103%, you won’t be able to get the best rate.
      It seems to me that you can definitely do better than 6.5% and 9.875% though. Who is your loan with? Call your bank and see what they can do.
      If they won’t give you a good rate, try Quicken loans.

  • Alan April 24, 2012, 11:28 am

    24 Apr 2012. I feel the big banks are taking advantage of HARP 2.0 to extract excessive fees and higher than average interest rates. My current loan with GMAC is ~87% LTV and 6.375%. My credit scores are above 800. GMAC will refinance at 4.519 APR 0 pts or 4.218 APR with 2 pts. Time to close ~45-60 days. I called my local mortgage broker and he can provide 3.889APR 0 pts with closing ~mid May. Does the bank really need the 0.63 % or the 2 percentage points as a fee?

  • Asela April 3, 2012, 3:26 pm

    I have an single family investment proprety-rental. Mortgage with GMAC. Has PMI. About 160% underwater. Seems others-Quicken including -wont/cant do. Had to go with my lender. Advise try with your lender first.

  • Asela March 25, 2012, 7:05 pm

    I was one of the people referred others to Quicken, but I must admit they seem also have become like the rest of the big ones. What I see hear about them do not impress me. I will rather go with a smaller lender.

  • Chris March 25, 2012, 11:17 am

    I am also with Seterus and they referred me to Quicken. I was told my LTV was too high, and therefore do not qualify (LTV is only around 115%, well under new HARP guidelines). It looks like lenders are adding in their own discretionary rules.

    Anyone from Seterus have luck with another lender?

    • allison March 30, 2012, 9:54 am

      Seterus is my loan servicer as well. I was contacted by Quicken Loans about refinancing my home. I currently have a 6.375% loan with LPMI and 26 years left to pay on it. Quicken Loans offered me a 2o year loan at 4.5% with $2800 closing costs rolled into the loan. I have tried a couple other lenders, but because of the LPMI or that I am not a current customer, I wasn’t even considered. I decided to go with Quicken Loans. Everything has been approved and I am just waiting for a closing date. I know it is frustrating because of the situation with Seterus but hang in there. Good Luck!!

      • Dave March 30, 2012, 10:24 am

        Check with your local credit unions. My situation is very similar and Quicken wanted me to pay $5400 in closing costs. I have found a 4.12% on a 15 yr fixed with $1039 in closing costs and that includes $400 for an appraisal. The key is to look at your local banks and credit unions.

      • Jesse M March 31, 2012, 11:45 am

        Is your LTV over 125%? I was told my Quicken I wasn’t eligible through them for this reason…..

        • allison March 31, 2012, 1:08 pm

          My LTV is around 113%. Even though we had initially a 30 year mortgage, because of our age (>50) we knew we had to have our house paid off before we could retire so we have been paying $200-$300 more on our principal each month. With the new interest rate we are on track to have it paid in 10 years….I hope!!

    • Chris April 3, 2012, 1:49 pm

      Also I am hearing that if this is not your primary residence, the LTV ratio will probably be well under 125%. I have been denied HARP by quicken for my ‘investment’ property (condo i was living in before married). I am now working with BOA to see what they have available since my wifes mortgage is with them.

      • Chris II May 30, 2012, 5:00 pm

        Funny, I have the same thing. Did you have any luck with BofA?

  • Rick March 23, 2012, 6:44 am

    My mortgage is with Seterus (unfortunately) and they referred me to use Quicken Loans for the HARP 2.0. Everything was good until they advised me that my LTV is too high therefore I’m not qualified (Bank discretion). Why roll out this program if the banks are not going to abide by the program guidelines/criteria?? I’ve called the other big lenders but they will only assist those that already have loans with them. So now, after waiting many months for this program to roll out, I still can’t get anywhere.

  • Jesse M March 21, 2012, 4:18 pm

    Another question for you all – does anyone know of any programs that help to reduce the principal owed if your home is wayyy under water??

  • Jesse M March 21, 2012, 2:49 pm

    I am so frustrated right now…. hopefully someone can offer some words of wisdom. My husband and I bought a house in 2006 with a 30 year 6.0% loan with 10 years of interest only (I know, not very smart – but we were young and didn’t know any better…) Our homes value has dropped from around $260k when we bought it to 178K as of right now. We are trying to refinance to get a conventional loan with a lower interest rate under HARP 2.0. We have been told by Quicken that we are not eligible because the LTV is over 125%, was just told by Wells Fargo that we are not eligible because our loan has PMI on it, was never able to get through to Citi after being on hold for an hour. Does anyone know if we have any options to refinance. We have never had a late payment and are current on all of our bills with excellent credit scores.

    • retirebyforty March 21, 2012, 3:54 pm

      Who is your lender? See if they are part of the national foreclosure settlement program.
      I thought HARP 2.0 removed the 125% cap. I guess the lender participation is still voluntary.
      Keep trying and don’t give up.

      • Jesse M March 21, 2012, 4:01 pm

        Our loan is serviced by Seterus as it was sold off from our original lender years ago…. they have told us they don’t do any refinancing they just service the loan. And it was also mu understanding that the new Harp removed the cap, and according to wells fargo we were eligible, but because we have PMI we are not (thought my understanding of the new harp also says you are eligible with pmi). And according to Quicken we are not eligible if over 125% even with the new Harp because they still make there own decision even though the harp guidelines have changed…… And I have talked to both of them this week about it.

    • Vim March 21, 2012, 3:56 pm

      It is my understanding that mid-march the LTV ratio was unlimited. I watched a info clip on this just last night that one of the top dogs did from Quicken. Try going on YouTube & searching for Quicken/HARP 2.0. I have looked at so much stuff during the past two weeks that I feel like I dream about it at night… BOA is pressuring me to send stuff before Friday but I want to see what Quicken can offer. They gave my sister a great deal recently… I won’t hold my breath. πŸ™

      • Jesse M March 21, 2012, 4:02 pm

        It seems like banks are setting there own limits regardless of the Harp guidelines, based on what I have been told this week. πŸ™

        • Vim March 21, 2012, 4:10 pm

          The YouTube video is under Quicken Loans Chief Loan Officer Bob Walkers talks about the new HARP 2.0 Roll Out. I am on my I-pad so am unsure how to copy the link? I am Apple-challenged. πŸ˜‰ Nothing surprises me with any of these lenders. The BOA butthole loan officer’s manager was just as rude as the loan officer. He chastised me when I said I planned to look at other lenders & was really pissed that I demanded the 2 other rates they quoted in writing. He told me BOA doesn’t do this. I spoke with a competent loan officer with BOA in June who emailed 3 closing cost worksheets before we were even off the phone. Lies, lies, lies….

    • Alanl March 22, 2012, 12:03 pm

      Just as a helpful tip to those reading thios post from a loang time loan officer. If you are paying PMI regarldless of harp 1 or HARP 2 pretty much the only lender that will refinace your loan is the current servicer servicer of the loan because they need to get the PMI company to reissue the existing mortgage insurance policy. The PMI companies are very limited in who they will reissue to. It is less about the banks and more about the PMI companies. So if you are paying PMI start with the current loan servicer.

      Virtualy any lender can offer your a HARP refinance if you are not currently paying PMI. In those situatuion you can shop that around wito get the best deals. Quicken loans typically has rates at the upper end of the market so while I am happy people were able to use them to drop their rate you can typically do better with a smaller mortgage banker or even mortgage broker.

      If you have PMI and have extra funds avialable I would highly reccomend calling your current servicer to see how much you would need to pay your principle balance down to to get out of PMI. Remeber typically you can get out of PMI if you pay the loan down to 80% of the initial appraised value, not current appraised value. So it might be less than you think. ( Not always, btu again worth a call and making the customer servce rep look it up for you) Then you can do a HARP loan without PMI even if your loan exceeds 80% of the current market value.

      Good luck.

      • Asela March 29, 2012, 6:11 am

        Not sure if this comment is true. I thought with HARP 2.0, you CAN use any lender even if you have PMI . Can someone confirm. I thought that was a big deal and a major reason why 2.0 is better than old HARP.

        • Jesse M March 29, 2012, 8:04 am

          All that I know is that I currently have PMI on my mortgage (serviced by Seterus) and Seterus does not refinance under the HARP program. And the banks I have called so far have turned me down both because my LTV is over 125% or because I have PMI, even though the new HARP guidelines are supposed to make it still possible, but apparently the banks can still set their own guidelines. It is very frustrating to me so far. I am still trying and hope to get some help somehow.

          • Anthony March 29, 2012, 8:15 am

            It’s true that banks can still set their own rules. That said, I had to call about 10 mortgage companies before I found two that would refinance my loan which has a LTV above 125%. I don’t have PMI either, so I’d expect you might have to contact even more lenders (forget the big banks they won’t help) than I had to. I’d suggest local or regional mortgage companies.

  • D in AZ March 21, 2012, 12:51 am

    The whole thing is a joke. Nothing is mandatory except that for we the taxpayers it was mandatory for us to give the banks money. I applied with Bank of America for a HARP loan back in August. I offered $40K to split what was under water and should have qualified under the HARP program. The loan officer said that I didn’t qualify for the loan because the HARP program wasn’t mandatory and that BAC didn’t participate in HARP. I was told that I needed to have a LTV of 105% so I would need $75K plus another $5K or so in loan processing fees to qualify for a lower interest rate loan. I was repeatedly told that I had 3 choices. 1. Continue paying the mortgage. 2. Go behind on my mortgage and I might and he repeated might qualify for a lower interest rate loan. 3. Rent an apartment or house and go through foreclosure.

    He said this over and over with a cocky attitude with every question I asked and said you only have 2 choices unless you want to rent an apartment or house repeatedly. At this point I was furious. I told him you forgot about option 4 and 5. He just laughed and asked what those were. 4. To get a loan from another lender which he laughed again. 5. To buy a home outright and never pay you another dime. His response to this was “Are you familiar with Bail and Buy Law?” I not only responded but explained the whole law to him. From there I let him know that Bail and Buy doesn’t apply to a cash purchase but only to a loan secured by a mortgage. He laughed again and said if you can come up with 6 digits then why don’t you apply it to your loan? I then laughed and said for just $20 to $30K more than what you want for me to refinance I can own my home and leave you with the one I’m at now and have a lifetime of security and emphasized to him that only an idiot would do that with the other option that I had. He laughed again and said he heard that all the time but people don’t have that kind of cash and that everyone needs credit sometime. I then responded back that I offered you $40K from my broker account, don’t you think I just might also have a 401K to take a loan from? The laughter stopped. I let him know that I would either have a loan by October 1 or the bank would have their home back. He then repeated that if there was something that he could do that he would.

    It’s now almost April and I haven’t paid a dime and I’m in a 3,000+ sq ft home compared to my old 2,300 sq ft home. I used the Fair Debt and Collection Act so they can’t have any bill collectors call me. I’ve received tons of mail from them asking me to call them on the HAMP program. I don’t qualify for HAMP. My mortgage was only 12% of my gross income. If you live in a non recourse anti-deficiency state like I do, you don’t have any second mortgages and you have some cash, you really don’t have to deal with the bank. Become your own bank and call all the shots from that point on. The bank only wants to keep you paying your entire paycheck to the bank with the mortgage, car loans, credit cards and whatever other financial instruments they can sell you. I don’t have any car loans and before this never had any credit card debt. Oh my, I need to pay back $5K in credit cards, what will I do? Lol. Hmmm, $1,440 a month mortgage payment gone, I think I’ll manage.

    There was a law passed way back in 2007 called the Home Mortgage Relief Act which states you don’t have to pay income taxes on the debt forgiven by the bank for your primary residence. It was suppose to expire in 2010 but was extended until the end of 2012. Many attorneys think it will be extended throughout 2013 but it’s not certain. There was also a very interesting paper written by a professor at the University of Arizona on why sometimes it’s beneficial to just walk away explaining that even banks have walked out on loans. It’s a pure business decision to a bank which it should also be for an individual. Here’s the link: http://www.scribd.com/thecynicaleconomist/d/23786148-Arizona-Legal-Studies It’s an article much worth reading, especially if you are from a non recourse anti-deficiency state. You really don’t have to take any crap from the bank if your finances are in order. Just tell them what you want and if they can’t deliver buy a house cash outright. It works far better than any Occupy movement. Imagine a life with no mortgage, no car payment and no debt. It’s the best thing that could ever happen to anyone. Life can be simple if you want it to be.

  • Dave March 20, 2012, 10:01 pm

    I have not received the paperwork yet to review but in working with Quicken Loans to refinance under HARP 2.0 they want $5400 in closing costs. This seems incredibly high to me for a $120,000 loan at 4.6%. For a 23 year loan.

    • Jose March 21, 2012, 12:41 am

      It sounds like they are charging you points to get to 4.6%. Closing cost on 120k refi should be no more than 3k–zero points. Look for no points as much as possible. I too called quicken loans before and they gave me a higher quote than citi and definitely higher closing cost. They also want 4 bills before anything else. Called 2 different guys and still higher quotes. Declined and settled with my original mortgage co–citi. Good luck.

  • MD March 19, 2012, 5:58 pm

    Applied to Harp 2.0 today and I am a bit confused. My current rate is 6.375% and I have excellent credit score, after spending close to two hours on the phone Wells Fargo, this is what I got…. 4.75% 30 year fixed.
    AND $3200 in closing costs.
    -$1400 title work
    -$1000 transfer tax
    -$400 County recording
    -$400-Appraisal Fee
    And extra $500 to get escrow up to the required $2500 threshold. Has anyone experience the same situation?Does this seem reasonable?

  • mary in ga March 15, 2012, 7:40 pm

    My husband and I closed on a Wells Fargo HARP refi yesterday. We locked in at 3.75% less than than 3 weeks ago. NO closing costs…not one penny!! WELLS FARGO was great. It was simple and quick. We did our closing online and it took 40 minutes. I can’t say enough good things about this whole process. Thank you WELLS FARGO and President Obama!!!!

    • Jesse M March 15, 2012, 8:35 pm

      Wow, that’s awesome! We are talking to Wells Fargo Monday and hopefully can get the ball rolling on our Harp 2.0 refinance.

    • cs March 18, 2012, 8:31 pm

      What was your term? And were closing costs rolled into loan or true “no cost”? Inquiring minds want to know!

      • mary in ga March 24, 2012, 9:47 pm

        We got a 30 year fixed and NO cost at all. I was quite skeptical at first…delighted to find it to be true.

        • Jesse M March 24, 2012, 11:54 pm

          Would love to her about how you were able to get that!! Congrats!

  • Vim March 14, 2012, 6:08 pm

    I’m waiting for a call from the BOA market manager. The quack BOA loan officer still never sent my 3 options in writing & sent my loan application package with a major mistake throughout all the paperwork. My monthly escrow amt should be like $224.00 but he had $1,196.00 per month instead throughout then was asking me to fax it all to him even after I told him of the mistake. I would assume that this would make all the paperwork invalid. My case is going to be handed over to a manager. Hopefully they can help us…

  • Jose March 14, 2012, 1:48 am

    Just an update. We closed Monday and got the 4.5% 20 year fix with citimortgage. Total expense of refi rolled to the current balance was 3080. With a LTV of 112-116% –whereever they want to drop the appraised value. Coming from 6.5% 30 year fix in the past 3 1/2 years its a big savings for us. Current balance was 168118.60 to New loan balance of 171408.00 with 217.74 cash back. So as I calculated the savings in interest its about 134k. If I was to gamble it and waited for the feds to open the doors to all banks, and say I get 4% 20 year fix. All I’m saving is about 11k if my closing cost stays the same. I think I can live with that. I also calculated the tax shelter loss since our interest now will be lower than the standard deduction. I still save more in doing the 20 year vs. the 30 year fix. Good luck to all.

    • retirebyforty March 14, 2012, 9:23 am

      Great job! 2% drop in interest rate is a big saving. I jumped on the 4.25% 30 years fix when I had the chance. We could have waited, but like you I’d rather get the lower rate now than waiting with uncertainties.

  • vlm March 8, 2012, 6:24 pm

    I need advice. I spoke of BofA about HARP 2.0 this week. We have a home in FL & owe 145,000 30 yr fixed at 5.625%, the house was originally appraised around 197K. FL rates are horrid so I am unsure of the current appraised value. The BofA fast talking loan officer offered me 3 options (my hubby & I are both in the 800s as far as credit ): 30 yr fixed @ 4.125%, 30 yr fixed @ 4.5% wih less closing cost or a 20 yr fixed at 4.0 %. All sound good but I keep asking for the 3 estimates in good faith & am getting the run around by him. He said this would be in the welcome package. I get a call today from a closer stating she needed paperwork to close the loan. She stated it was the 30 yr option at 4.125%. I stated that I had not even chosen the option I wanted. She stated she would e-mail the loan officer and cc’d me. He then rudely sent back that the loan processor had contacted him and said that I refused to send in required docs. I sent back that I hadn’t agreed to the loan, that I wanted the 3 options in writing, etc… He responded back that he didn’t know what the “diss-connect” was (his spelling) but that I was locked into all 3 rates for 90 days & was to negotiate the rate through him and that the lady who called me processes the loan. If she said the loan was 30 yr for 4.125% then who the heck am I supposed to believe? I called my local BofA guy and have asked him to mediate, he is supposed to contact me tomorrow. Unsure of what else to do? This loan officer is full of himself and has been rude via e-mail to me more than once. I first contacted him on Wed 3/06/2012 so that’s rather bad for 2 days. Any advice would greatly be appreciated. πŸ™

    • retirebyforty March 8, 2012, 11:29 pm

      Did you already paid the application fee? Perhaps you can ask to change to a different loan officer.
      The big banks have pretty bad customer service in general, but your guy seems way out of line.
      It shouldn’t be a huge deal to give you 3 GFEs.
      Sorry, I’m not more help. Good luck!

    • Bill Clifford March 9, 2012, 8:37 am

      There should not be any fees at this point. I would work with someone else if I were you. All lenders will have access to this program in the next ten days. The rates have been steady for months so there is not much risk of them going up. Hold off for the next week and a half then call a couple of local lenders and you should be able to get better service and a similar if not better rate.

  • Frances March 7, 2012, 8:13 am

    How about the homeowners that the loan was sold to “Seterus”??? we have been
    knocking the doors of all banks, and even having Fannie Mae on our side, no bank
    want to refinance. We have banks before but they sold the mortgage to all this collection agencies, Who is behind this…. so we keep holding the cement slab so all the
    people that are going on forclousures, or perhaps taking advantage of the bad economy
    go through it and we keep paying but there is not hope for us. Stock with 7.25 interest and an upside down home in Florida (:……… is HARP 2.0 good for me????

    • Jesse M March 9, 2012, 9:43 am

      We have Seterus too (due to our loan being sold to them), and are having such a hard time finding a refinance through harp 2.0, or anything…… still working on it…

    • Anthony March 13, 2012, 9:20 pm

      I have Seterus and am about to refi under HARP 2.0 (when the program starts) with Quicken Loans. I’ve already got my loan number and everything, just waiting for the program to get started to get a final rate & fee quote and go from there. I cant start early because my LTV is above 125% so I have to wait for the software Fannie Mae uses (called Desktop Underwriter) to be updated which is supposed to happen this weekend upcoming weekend (March 17-18).

      I’m also trying to get quote from other banks but its difficult because they all want me to call back after the software is updated, but they’re going to have tremendous hold wait times then.

      • Jesse M March 13, 2012, 10:22 pm

        Thanks for the info, I will have to look into Quicken!

        • Jesse M March 21, 2012, 3:58 pm

          I was told by Quicken yesterday that I wasn’t eligible because my LTV was over 125%, have you heard diffrently.

          • Anthony March 21, 2012, 7:46 pm

            No, they called me back today saying they cant do > 125% LTV (which was different than what I had heard back in Feb when I started the process).

            They also said that they’re slowly rolling it out, you might want to call back every two months to check if anything has changed.

      • Cindy Gloria April 2, 2012, 7:04 pm

        I was told that I could refi with Quicken on my loan with Seterus and then they denied me because my LTV is above 125%. I can’t get refinanced anywhere else because of the PMI issue. I am so frustrated. Any advice?

        • Jesse M April 2, 2012, 9:24 pm

          I am in the exact same situation. It is so frustrating. My next step is calling the housing counselors at the Hope line and going to see if they have any advice to share….

        • Anthony April 2, 2012, 9:25 pm

          Keep looking! I was able to find two regional mortgage companies (both based out of California, but are licensed in many states) that would do my HARP 2.0 refi with LTV > 125%.

  • Sam March 5, 2012, 5:43 pm

    Gary – Is it a 15 year term? or 20? 0r 30? How many points are you paying? And what’s your Loan-to-value? My understanding is rate depends on LTV. If LTV is close to or less than the value of the house – rate is better. if LTV is >125% rate is higher (4.5 % for me for 30-year term).

  • Gary March 4, 2012, 7:32 am

    My wife and I were finally able to use the HARP 2.0.
    We went through Wells Fargo. Our original loan was through B of A.
    The rate we got is 3.875%. WOW!!!!! Very excited about it. Our original loan was at 6.125%. This will save over 660.00 a month. The total fees were close to 7,000.00 which I beilieve we will be able to roll into the loan. It seems like a very high fee to me, but we make it up in less than one year.
    I tried calling numerous banks back in October 2011 when HARP 2.0 was supposed to magically come available. Like eveyone else, I kept getting told to check back later. Something to do with the Fannie May And Freddie Mac computer system. I was begining to think it was just a stall tactic to wait for rates to rise. Looks like I was just being paranoid.
    We have the loan documents to sign right now, with the rate I talked about above. The fee does seem high though. Perhaps shopping around some more could have prevented that, but we trust Wells Fargo, and we know the loan officer.

    • Jose March 4, 2012, 10:47 am

      Looks like they charge you for points to bring it down that low. Or are you border line to the jumbo loan cut off?

    • retirebyforty March 4, 2012, 10:36 pm

      Congratulation! The fees is pretty high, but it’s worth the saving.
      3.875% is really nice. They probably purchased some points to bring it down.

  • cs February 28, 2012, 1:48 pm

    My loan is with WF and Freddie Mac. It started out at $560K (80% LTV but with 10% on a HELOC so really 90%) at 5.625 five yrs ago now pd down to $519K. They are offering me 4.25% for 30 yr fixed and 3.25% for 15 yrs fixed but with about $5K in closing costs so loan would now be for $525K. House now maybe worth $600-650K down from $700.
    They are charging me for an appraisal and asking to run credit report which makes me think they are not really doing it as HARP 2.0. 15 yr pmts slightly higher than current pmt. They would not wrap in the HELOC which is about 85K at 8.375% (!!!) for 25 more yrs πŸ™ but even though I had been considering large prepaid principal pmts towards the HELOC just to get rid of it, I ran the numbers and better to get the 15 yr at 3.25% and pay just some extra towards HELOC – total pmts stay the same but home is then free in clear in 15 yrs
    I am debating if it is worthwhile to shop around. My credit score is probably pretty good but very nice lady at US Bank who I called before WF said probably better deals with current mortgage holder since decline in value of property and original lender can do higher LTV.
    Also wondering if I should just sit tight and wait for mid March. If I went with the 30 yr, I would save about $600/mo so it is a little hard to sit tight and not just pull the trigger. $5000 to redo a mortgage that they already have a < 5 yr old title on with a payer who has never been late. I guess it is the LTV?

    • retirebyforty February 29, 2012, 9:03 am

      Some people reported that you can get better rate with Fannie than Freddie Mac loans. I’m not sure why the difference.
      If they are charging you an appraisal fee, then you’re probably not in the HARP 2.0 program. You might want to wait until WF rolls it out. They seems to be a bit behind Chase.
      I think credit check is still a normal part of refinance.
      IMO, I would wait at least until mid March to see if WF comes up with a better deal for you. Chase finally gave me a no fee refi, but it was too late since I already signed up with another loan. You shouldn’t have to pay more than $3,000 to refinance, but maybe it’s because your loan is jumbo. Good luck!

      • cs March 5, 2012, 7:12 pm

        House is in Hawaii so not jumbo but still conforming :). WF told me that if the loan is Freddie Mac, you can’t do the HARP 2.0 with any other bank than the originating one (?!?) I had called Quicken Loans and the kid (sounded like one) I talked to did not seem to know what he was talking about so I just said thanks but no thanks. WF said 20 yr loan is 3.875 – I might end up doing that one. They keep swearing to me the fees are estimated on the high side to avoid bad surprises and $1900 is budgeted for title insurance – I was hoping to use original title company so it would be a reissue and could be discounted some – this seems awfully high. Have to wait til we go back so I can look at old purchase paperwork and see what original title insurance cost. It’s helpful to see the real world quotes other people are getting

        • Bill Clifford March 6, 2012, 3:48 pm

          I don’t know if things are different in Hawaii for some reason but here in California your title insurance for a refinance would be closer to $900. Keep in mind that title insurance is cheaper on a refinance than it is for a purchase. It is also something that you should be allowed to shop for if you choose, just let the loan officer know that you would like to do that. The $7,000 in closing cost does not sound too bad for the rate you are getting at that higher loan amount. People can be very against paying points but if you plan on keeping the loan for the long term it usually makes sense as points lower your rate. Good luck.

          Bill Clifford
          Loan Officer
          Open Mortgage

          • cs March 31, 2012, 12:08 pm

            Getting cranky with WF now.
            I locked into a 3.375% 15 year a few weeks ago agreeing to the stupid $7000 in closing costs (somehow going to go from $518K current payoff amt to $526 on the loan so I guess there are probably even more garbage fees). They said with Freddie Mac HARP 2.0, you can only go with current servicer and the rate seemed good esp in light of the fact that my credit rating has plunged since having a dispute with a merchant and refusing to pay the credit card the disputed amt unless I win the suit against the merchant (interestingly enough, WF told me lower credit rating just increases interest rate on 30 yr loan, not if you decrease rate term to 15 yr). (yes I know, not a smart move but I tend to be a who cares about credit rating, I’m right and will just pay cash if I have to though I guess I do need credit when it comes to these sums)
            Now that the the loan has gone thru underwriting, the loan processor sends some boilerplate form that says how happy they are to do business with me and loan amt with 4% interest and no term specified (plus asking for some details incl re: dispute with cc/merchant). I have left 2 messages on phone for loan processor asking for clarification on term, rate and fees and all they have done is resent the same boilerplate form. In retrospect, I wish I had contacted my previous mortgage broker in HI to work with rather than calling the 800 number despite the time difference as she was great 6 yrs ago when I bought the place – I just never thought about it. They can’t change the rate once I have a 90 day lock, can they? I mean if the 4% is for a 30 year, I’ll take it but not for a 15 yr.
            Plus it is getting hairier b/c although the place is what I would call a single family home, because the land was not subdivided but CPR-d, it is considered a condo for finance purposes and has changed from my primary residence to a 2nd home 2 yrs ago.
            Anyway, not really looking for any actual answers though if anyone has input, I would appreciate it. I have definitely found that hearing details on other people’s experiences is very helpful in gauging if you are getting screwed or its just biz as usual when dealing with the big banks. Knowledge is power!
            Thanks all

          • cs March 31, 2012, 12:10 pm

            And was back in HI and found old title policy which only cost $1100 for both lender and me for original issue as opposed to the $1900 they are quoting for lender only on the refi. Gave the lender the old title co. info so hope that helps on closing costs.

  • Jesse M February 28, 2012, 10:46 am

    Last I heard from them (about 2 weeks ago) they said I would have to wait until March to be able to apply for the HARP 2.0…. What is the National Foreclosure Settlement?

  • Jesse M February 28, 2012, 1:13 am

    Wow, I am so happy I stumbled upon this blog post. I have been trying to find out how to get refinanced under HARP 2.0 and thought I was doing something wrong because I am having so much trouble. First called Wells Fargo and they were waiting for guidelines and said they would get back to me (was in Dec), then heard that they had gotten guidelines and would let me know soon and I could apply for it (this was in late Jan), and now the latest is that they are servicing loans already serviced by Wells Fargo for HARP 2.0, but not others like mine until March…. tried calling Citi today and never got through and my phone died before my hold time was over. I guess I will keep looking around and checking other banks to hopefully make this work. Thank you all for all your updates! I feel better that I am not alone in the troubles….

    • retirebyforty February 28, 2012, 9:29 am

      Glad you can join the party! πŸ™‚
      Did you hear back from Wells Fargo? They should have a better deal now with the National Foreclosure settlement.
      Keep working at it and you should be able to get something in the low 4% at least.

  • Sam February 26, 2012, 1:13 pm

    Hi RB40,

    Did you try aimloan or amerisave before going with quicken? Both seem to offer great rate (4% or less) for 30 year mortgage if ltv 125%. Wells Fargo is offering 4.5% (harp 2.0) for 30 years with no points and about 3k in closing cost. FICO > 800. Wondering if it would be worth waiting for March 17.

    • retirebyforty February 26, 2012, 1:29 pm

      That’s pretty good. I didn’t try aimloan. I should have made sure. πŸ™
      I think waiting a bit to see how the national foreclosure settlement works out is a good idea.

  • Jack Higgs February 16, 2012, 1:58 pm

    Thanks. Good luck to you as well.

    • Refi Novice February 17, 2012, 5:09 pm

      On Feb 16, I received a Good Faith Estimate from CitiMortgage for 30 yr @ 4.375%. My loan is with Fannie Mae. My credit is only 660. My LTV is roughly 110% at 140K. There is a $400 fee and closing costs are quoted at about $2,800 from what I can understand. My current rate over the last 4 year is 5.625%, so this isn’t great but better than what I have and it’s acceptable if there are no surprises. Heavy customer services challenges with Citimortgage. It has not been pleasant. On Wednesday, I was on hold for exactly 3 hours and 16 minutes to get to agent able to process my request for a HARP-2 refi…a new life record for me! It was interesting that they denied me within 2 minutes of running my credit until they learned I had a 401K that was higher than the value of the loan, whereby I was then magically accepted within 10 seconds. hmmm. My sister in law is a broker and feels this rate is high and felt I should be getting 3.875% as one of her customers got this rate this week. She was the one who told me about the HARP-2. Comments/advice?

      • retirebyforty February 18, 2012, 7:01 am

        3+ hours of waiting on hold is ridiculous. That’s why everyone hate the big banks.
        I think 3.375% is not bad. Is it a no fee refinance? That would probably make it worth it.
        In my opinion, you should wait to see what they can offer you with the National Foreclosure Settlement. I heard it will take 3-6 months to roll out so keep a close eye on it.
        I couldn’t get 3.875% from any big banks and went with 4.25%. I think the big banks won’t give people with high LTV the best rates. Good Luck!

  • Jack Higgs February 16, 2012, 1:06 pm

    Just got quote from Quicken Loans for 4.50% on a 30 yr. with closing costs not including escrows of about 3K. Told me I have excellent credit and am easily within 125% on my current loan. The problem I am told is that because my loan is with Freddie Mac I can’t get a lower rate. If it was Fannie Mae I would do much better. First I’m hearing of this one. This is a little lower than 4.625% I’m offered from my current lender ( GMAC) but double the closing costs. Makes one want to hold off until some facts can be found somewhere.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2012, 1:24 pm

      In my opinion, maybe you can hold off until you find out what GMAC has to offer with the National Foreclosure Settlement deal.
      Chase quoted me 4.625% about 3 weeks ago, but now they are offering 4.38% with no fee. That’s pretty good.
      Maybe GMAC will roll out something similar. Good luck!

  • Asela February 15, 2012, 11:59 am

    Just wanted to caution all about what all the big guys are doing right now. My neighbor was also sucked into a refi by GMAC for 4.99%. I think all big guys want people to refi before HARP 2.0 really starts and lenders start competeing your refi. I my self will wait. 4.625% is not for the smart guy!

    • retirebyforty February 15, 2012, 3:39 pm

      Talk to your bank again. The National Foreclosure settlement just came down the pipe. I got a mail from CHASE about a no cost refinance @ 4.38%. I would have taken this if I heard about it 2 weeks ago. πŸ™

  • Jack Higgs February 15, 2012, 9:17 am

    I just put in an application with my current lender (GMAC/ ALLY). They are offering me under HARP 2.0 a 4.625% 30 year fixed on my $290,000 mortgage in NJ with net closing costs of $1,570. Since I’m currently 6 years in on a 5.75 % 30 year fixed, I think I’m just gonna take it. Should be easier and cheaper to go through my current anyway. I think?

    • retirebyforty February 15, 2012, 9:28 am

      Did you try Quicken Loans? They gave me 4.25% 30 years fixed. That’s much better than Chase.

      • Bill Clifford February 15, 2012, 11:48 am

        As a lender myself I’d advise against the loan at 4.625%. That rate is way too high. You should be seeing rates in the 4.25% range like retirebyforty received.

  • Greg January 31, 2012, 12:23 am

    I’ve received several ‘urgent’ unsolicited refi offers from Citi – my current loan servicer. First one was in January – offer good until 01/13/2012 – rate was somewhere around 4.375 I think (30 year fixed.)
    Received another one from them today – offer good until 02/02/2012 – 3 days away. No hassle refi – just send in the paperwork.
    Rate is 4.875 (30 year fixed)
    My current rate is 5.75 – been paying about 7 years.
    I think these big banks are trying to get people locked in to a HARP 2.0 refi before the smaller banks are able to get involved and start competing at the lower rates. The smaller banks can’t get involved until the auto-processing aspect is available in March, from what I read. And you can’t refi twice via HARP 2.0.
    So, if I were to get my auto-refi through Citi right now for 4.875, I’m then stuck and can’t refi again through it once the smaller banks start to get involved in March.
    So I’m holding off looking until March, when more lenders can start competing.
    I was also under the impression, but fact-check this if important, that banks aren’t taking on a higher risk by a HARP 2.0 loan – they’re backed by the govt. right – so where’s the additional risk, to them?
    I have a feeling the risk to the big banks is that people will start to have more options in March, and will then refi with the smaller banks with lower rates. And that’s a risk they don’t want, so better to offer a little bit lower rate than they have now, and make it easy. But if I can get a 4.0 in March/April, from a smaller lender, makes sense for me to not take this quick/easy offer from Citi at 4.875. I think they’re just looking for the people that don’t look into the details. But isn’t that what got them into the trouble in the first place by taking advantage of people that don’t look into the deails and understand what they’re getting?

    • Bill Clifford February 8, 2012, 4:33 pm

      You have the right idea. 4.875% is well above market right now (I’m a mortgage lender). If the program has similar pricing to the initial version of the HARP program you should be able to get a rate in the low 4% range. March 17th is the date that this will be available to the smaller institutions.

    • Jose February 23, 2012, 2:49 pm

      I got the same offer from citi 4.875% no cost refi for our underwater mortgage. I decided to talk to their regular sales/broker and got it down to 4.5% with closing cost rolled to the principal–still under harp guidelines. We are coming from 6.5% 3 1/2 years ago. So 2 points down is good for us. My cousin in Berkeley has equity and refi for 4% so I figured that .5% is not bad for underwater no equity loan. Anyways, we just got approved by the underwriters and will be closing within a week or so. I am not sure if 4% is realistic for underwater mortgage like us. Maybe 4.2 or 4.3 is doable but .2 or .3 of a point may disappear if you go to a different bank that may charge higher closing cost. Check the reissue/revamp rate discount from your title company.

  • SmartMortgageNaperville January 26, 2012, 6:06 pm

    I am an Illinois loan officer and can personally tell you this program has helped a lot of clients. Typical closing cost are about $1350 being fair and basing this off of my averages and yes big banks do charge more their a retail bank and have tons of overhead, I am a broker and have been since 2003 and do very well. You have to keep in mind the rates you see advertised on the TV, Internet, or even the radio are the best rates that are out there, most likely paying costs as well. Those loans advertised are typically loans with 30% or more in equity, and 740 and higher on FICO score – it is out there but not for the majority. Streamline programs are not getting these rates, the higher the “risk” the higher the rate. low credit+ low equity =higher rate, its been this way since Fannie and Freddie Mac imposed “risk based” pricing years ago. I have done several HARP refinance loans, so banks are doing them – yes since the beginning. Also this new 2012 HARP is supposed to release the loan to value limit but also please keep in mind banks are the ones lending money not the Gov. I don’t charge an application fee either – and by the way most of the places that charge an “application” fee – ask them what that actually is, Ill almost bet its used for appraisal. if your in Illinois and want to know if you can do anything, ill let you know for free. email me [email protected] Good luck, Jon

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2012, 4:02 pm

      Thanks for your input! I’ll ask around more.

  • Asela January 26, 2012, 9:59 am

    Ok. Read your article. call Quicken Loans. I called all thses banks of America but not sure you understand this, they dont care!!! My lender was Chase but I didn’t even call them but instead called Quicken under old HARP (did 125%max) and reduced my drate from 6.3 to 4.3.

    You can call any lender to get HARP 2.0 done but for 2.0 you need to waits until March 2012.

    • retirebyforty January 26, 2012, 4:35 pm

      I called Quicken loans and they wouldn’t give any quotes unless I give them my SSC. I’ll keep them as a last resort. I have a few more contacts to try.

      • thisguy February 13, 2012, 5:26 pm

        i would call quicken, ranked #1 by JD Power and has an a+ rating with the BBB. Every company needs your SSN to pull credit to see what you qualify for, this should not push you away. Call Quicken, they just refinanced my parents and closed in 12 days under HARP

        • retirebyforty February 13, 2012, 10:04 pm

          I am working with Quicken. They are very fast, I am impressed.

          • Jesse M March 21, 2012, 3:53 pm

            Even with Harp 2.0 Quicken told me they won’t refinance unless the LTV is 125% or less…

  • My University Money January 25, 2012, 2:13 pm

    After today’s news, it looks like mortgage rates should be low for awhile. No raise in the fed rate until 2014! There is a big middle finger to savers everywhere eh? Gotta love free money.

    • retirebyforty January 25, 2012, 4:09 pm

      Not quite free, but still pretty nice.
      You can buy more properties to take advantage of the low rates. πŸ™‚

  • MoneySmartGuides January 25, 2012, 7:00 am

    I don’t qualify for HARP simply because my mortgage is not with Freddie or Fannie. And I can;t refi into one of their loans because in the development I live in, the condo association is not FHA approved. I’m stuck with an interest rate over 6% and can do nothing about it because my LTV is 100% because of the drop in prices.

    From my understanding after talking with a handful of lenders, is that outside of HARP, no lender will refi you unless you have at least 5% equity in your house. Added to that, the rates you see advertised, 30 yr fixed for 3.XX% assumes excellent credit, and at least 20% equity. That is why you are offered rates in the mid 4’s. You are a higher risk and as a result, the interest rate is higher. I was told even though my credit is excellent, if I had 5% equity, my rate would be 4.5%. The point of all of this: always read the fine print in advertisements.

    • retirebyforty January 25, 2012, 10:13 am

      Sorry to hear that. The Freddie/Fannie requirement is tough on many people. Hopefully they can change that somehow.

      • Bill Clifford January 25, 2012, 10:33 am

        The government is in control of Fannie and Freddie but not the mortgage backed securities that hold so many of the loans out there that were closed prior to the meltdown. In all of this political discourse going on right now Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are made out to be the bad guys but in reality, they always held a higher standard for borrowers than the Sub-prime and Alt-A market that was funded by the mortgage backed securities. Fannie and Freddie did relax their guidelines during the mortgage boom in order to be competitive with the private money loan providers but the true culprit is the politicians who deregulated the mortgage industry opening the door for the mortgage backed securities. If Fannie and Freddie are shut down it will cause another housing crisis without question.

  • Bill Clifford January 24, 2012, 3:08 pm

    Hi, I’m a mortgage lender and I think you may still have a chance. My understanding is that the big banks (Chase, BofA, Wells, etc.) have access to the new HARP guidelines already. For most of the other lenders and brokers out there we will not be able to offer the program until March. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are updating their automated underwriting systems to accommodate the new changes. I have spoken to a couple of Bank of America loan officers and there is a chance that they are simply taking applications at this point also and that the terms you were offered were under the old HARP guidelines. My advice would be to check in March with a broker or direct lender to see what they can do. Typically you will be able to find a better deal and a more knowledgeable mortgage professional. The guys at the bank don’t process any of their own loans and they don’t have much incentive to get your loan done unlike a commission only mortgage professional.

    There is a chance that the rates for this program will come in a little bit higher than a conventional refinance on a property that does have equity. I will not know for sure until we actually have access to the program in March but it is not uncommon for interest rates to be pushed up for higher risk loans and there is certainly a higher risk on a property with no equity. As for the fees, $3,000 is pretty typical to cover closing costs on any loan. Sometimes a lender will do a no cost loan but that just means that you are getting a higher interest rate than you would be getting if you chose to pay the fees. A good lender should give you a couple of different rate/fee options.

    What I’m trying to say is don’t get discouraged yet, there may be some help for you in a couple of months. I’d be happy to answer any other questions you may have too. Good Luck on your quest to retire early, I’m going to have to check out more of your blog, I just caught this post on Twitter. Also, I have a blog that I’ve started recently that talks about different topics related to mortgage and real estate, please check it out at OpenMortgageLA.com

    • retirebyforty January 25, 2012, 10:08 am

      Thanks for your comment. I’ll keep my eyes open for the upcoming changes. If we can lower the monthly payment by $200, we’ll pull the trigger.

  • Aloysa @My Broken Coin January 24, 2012, 1:50 pm

    I am surprised you didn’t get a better rate in this environment. It is disappointing that banks do not participate in this program as much as they actually should! I guess banks are being well… banks.

  • AverageJoe January 24, 2012, 11:53 am

    I didn’t know the specifics of the program. Thanks for the update. I like the fact that underwater limits are gone. Stinks that more banks don’t participate, but I totally understand why. Would you participate if you owned a bank?

    • retirebyforty January 24, 2012, 1:11 pm

      Of course I would participate. I would be grateful to the tax payers for bailing me out and by refinancing the bank gets refinance fee AND a better chance of getting paid. Home owner with underwater loans does not really want to pay mortgage and are looking for any excuse to skip out. πŸ˜€

  • Paul Willis January 24, 2012, 7:52 am

    I called Navy Federal Credit Union. They wanted 5.25% refi with my 160 %underwater ratio. Harp 2 is supposed to allow underwater mortgagees to take advantage of todays low rates (3.88%). Told Navy Federal “no thanks”. Understand President Obama is going to announce some changes to HARP 2 before the end of January. Will wait to see what he does.

    • retirebyforty January 24, 2012, 9:27 am

      That rate sucks! OK, thanks for the heads up. I’ll keep an eye out for President Obama’s announcement. Maybe that will help all of us.

    • AZ Ann May 11, 2012, 9:38 am

      Paul, I had the same experience with NFCU. They wanted to charge $8,000 in closing costs and an appraisal, for another $450, was required. Our local credit union approved us for HARP 2 with a 4.1% rate and $1600 in closing costs BUT as it turns out our loan, although it is a Fannie Mae, is not eligible. NFCU touts that they never charge mortgage insurance but, to our susprise, our loan does indeed have what is called “lender paid mortgage insurance” on it which makes ours — and probably all such NFCU loans — in eligible for HARP 2. Ironically, if there was mortgage insurance on our loan that we paid each month then we could refinance. I am so done with Navy Federal (I mean I wish I could be!!).

      • jen May 24, 2012, 11:32 am

        I’m in the process of refinancing with NFCU now under HARP 2.0. Originally, I bought under the Homebuyers Advantage 100% financing loan back in 2007 for 6.25%. Those rates are higher because borrowers don’t put down 20%. I locked at 4.625% 1 point and no origination fee. NFCU did say an appraisal was necessary, but they refunded the difference back to my account after the appraisal. The fee was only $355. I later learned the appraisal was necessary because if the home comes in too high, NFCU will not approve you for HARP 2.0 and require you refinance under another loan program that probably costs you more. I had the option of buying down the rate, but didn’t see the savings for 11 years, so I stuck with the 4.625%. Don’t forget, banks quote closing costs high to ensure borrowers show up to closing with enough money. Although NFCU quotes you $8000 to refinance, don’t forget, $5000 can be rolled into the loan, you skip a mortgage payment, and they refund your escrow account. I decided to roll $2000 into my loan, and the escrow+missed payment = the remaining closing costs, —so it’s a wash!

        • rs May 25, 2012, 3:31 pm


          what is your loan to value for this refi?


          • Jen May 31, 2012, 11:57 am


          • rs June 6, 2012, 4:28 pm

            Thanks Jen – very helpful. I am exactly in the same situations as you – 2007 loan at 6.25%. Current LTV is about 120%. I hope to get about the same rate from NFCU.

          • rs June 6, 2012, 4:30 pm

            Thanks Jen – very helpful. I’m exactly in the same situation as you – 2007 loan at 6.25% and current LTV of 120%. I hope to get about the same rate from NFCU thru their “HARP”.

      • Dana June 8, 2012, 9:31 pm

        HARP 2.0 DOES cover loans with lender paid mortgage insurance. It is explicitly spelled out in the government description of the program. We’re in the same boat and we have two lenders who are fine with it. You do need to find a lender (any lender, you can go to whomever you wish) who is willing to work with the mortgage insurance company which your former lender used.

      • Tim July 26, 2012, 9:15 am

        I am in the exact same boat with NFCU, going back and forth and finding myself ineligible due the loan being ‘coded’ with an incentivized rate for lender paid PMI. NFCU states that is strictly against their practices, but I can’t get within reach of anyone in there secondary loan underwriting dept and I don’t believe the low level intermediaries that I have been channeled to over the phone.. Have you reached any sort of resolution or alternative? Any help would be greatly appreciated as we are backed into the corner with a very poor interest rate.

  • Little House January 24, 2012, 7:07 am

    It’s a shame they wouldn’t lower your rate more than .165%, however, 4.75 is nothing to sneeze at. Still a good rate. πŸ™‚

    • retirebyforty January 24, 2012, 9:26 am

      I’ll check around with other banks. I think I can get it down to 4.25%, but that is still border line.

      • steve July 9, 2012, 10:20 pm

        hey i bank at a credit union i got a rate of 3.625 today.maybe check out a credit union .there not ran the same way traditional big banks are.

        • retirebyforty July 10, 2012, 9:42 am

          I talked to my credit union and they only refinance the loans that they already owned. So I wasn’t able to refi with them. That’s too bad.

  • SB @ One Cent At A Time January 23, 2012, 5:55 pm

    I had the feeling that people jump in to get you refinance. Don’t know what’s LTV though. Hope to learn all in time.

    • retirebyforty January 24, 2012, 9:25 am

      LTV is loan to value. How much you owe on the place divide by the value of the home. Since the value came down so much, many people LTV are way above 80%. I think 80% is the level that will get you the best rates, but I’m not exactly sure.

  • krantcents January 23, 2012, 3:18 pm

    I tried refinancing, but my mortgage is so small it did not make sense. I was even willing to take a 5 year ARM at 2.99% because I could pay off my mortgage in less time than that. I am glad I do not need the refinance.

    • retirebyforty January 24, 2012, 9:24 am

      Yeah, you can just pay it off if you want. πŸ™‚

  • Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog January 23, 2012, 2:41 pm

    Thats a shame that this program is basically useless for the people it was designed for. I feel like i’m in for a sharp learning curve when I buy a house

    • Dan January 23, 2012, 8:50 pm

      “this program is basically useless for the people it was designed for.” Often the case! I’m still a firm believer we are in for another correction up in the great white north. To me the housing market is too much of a crap shoot right now.

  • MoneyCone January 23, 2012, 10:07 am

    RB40, you would get a better rate even without HARP. Try other lenders as well.

    • retirebyforty January 23, 2012, 10:10 am

      Since the LTV is around 100%. I can’t get a regular mortgage.

      • MyMoneyDesign January 24, 2012, 8:08 pm

        RB40, MoneyCone is right. I am in the same boat as you where my LTV is around 100%. However, I was offered a refinance with 4.2% by a reputable, small mortgage business in the area. I too had no luck with the big boys like Chase, etc. Maybe try calling a few of the smaller outfits. I start my refinance process this Friday. Fingers crossed on that official appraisal!

        • retirebyforty January 25, 2012, 10:10 am

          I’ll try to find some smaller outfits. It seems most of the smaller places are not willing to lend. Do you have to pay PMI with this refinance? That’s one of the sticking point for us.

  • DollarDisciple January 23, 2012, 8:50 am

    4.75% is still pretty awesome! Even if you can’t get much lower, that’s still nothing to be depressed about!

    I don’t know the details of your house but putting a portion of your emergency fund might not be a bad idea if the payback period was reasonable. Given that your fund is 50k or so, you could take a portion of it and see how long it would take to recoup that portion out of the lower payments you would be making. Having lower expenses when you go into retirement will make it a LOT easier to STAY in retirement if something does happen.

    • retirebyforty January 24, 2012, 9:24 am

      I just hate leaving anything on the table. πŸ™‚
      If I put 50k in and lower the payment… It will probably take almost 10 years to recoup that with the smaller payments. It’s not a good use of that fund.

  • PKamp3 January 23, 2012, 8:14 am

    That’s too bad they didn’t play ball, but you aren’t in too bad a shape at 4.75%. What’s the break-even with $3,000 rolled into the loan @ 4.625%?

    • retirebyforty January 24, 2012, 9:22 am

      I haven’t calculated it out, but I’m sure it will take at least 3 years.

  • [email protected] January 23, 2012, 7:41 am

    We are on the same boat as you are. Our current mortgage rate is 4.75 as well. I haven’t started shopping for a refinance rate , but soon will.

  • Roshawn @ Watson Inc January 23, 2012, 5:47 am

    I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t qualify for a lower rate. What they offered is certainly discouraging given what is being advertised. Additionally, it sucks that you had to pay $400 just to find out the refinanced rate is not much lower and will cost you $3000 to do the deal. Ironically, it is kind of cool that I’m complaining about a mortgage rate that is less than 5%. What I am saying is that overall, these artificially low mortgage rates are awesome relative to what they have been in the past.

    Anyway, I feel you pain and would not want to eliminate my EF either.

    • retirebyforty January 23, 2012, 10:18 am

      We didn’t pay the application fee yet. At least they gave us the rate before we applied. Many places just want to pull our credit even before giving a rate. I say no those guys. Heh heh, that’s true about the 5%. Our rate of 4.75% is already better than what we have ever seen. I guess I am a complainer at heart.

  • Another Reader January 23, 2012, 3:57 am

    I know a couple in your position whose loan is serviced by Chase. Chase sent them an unsolicited letter, offering to refinance at a similarly above market rate with lower fees. Although the loans are owned by Fannie, the servicers apparently being allowed to charge whatever they want in fees and rates. In my friends’ case, they were at 6 percent, so they decided to do it.

    For reference, I am looking to refinance my primary residence with 50 percent equity. I use a broker I have used for 10 years and he shops the loan to all the major lenders. The best 30 year fixed rate on Friday was 3.875 percent with no points. There was no upcharge to lock the rate for 30 days. However, because that 0.5 percent upcharge on Fannie loans is about to kick in (the upcharge that is supposedly financing the payroll tax holiday), the 45 day lock is an additional 0.5 percent.

    Mortgages should always be comparison shopped. My broker is routinely lower than the retail rate you get when you walk through the door of your local bank in both rate and fees. There are good brokers and bad brokers out there. Ask around among your real estate-savvy friends for referrals.

    • retirebyforty January 23, 2012, 10:16 am

      I need to find a good mortgage broker. I’ll ask around and see if I can get any recommendation. The problem with our mortgage is the falling price. We have 0 equity right now so can’t get any regular loans. I don’t want to refinance if we have to pay PMI either.
      Thanks for your input. 3.875 is pretty good. I’ll have to read up on the .5% upcharge from Fannie Mae.

      • Another Reader January 23, 2012, 12:01 pm

        From the timing (2007) and your numbers, it looks like you bought your house for around $325,000 with an 80 percent mortgage of around $260,000. If that’s the case, your principal and interest payment is around $1,344. If you threw the $50,000 in and got a rate of 3.875 percent, your payment would drop to around $940.

        In your shoes, I might consider doing that IF I had some reserves left and I could rebuild the $50,000 fairly quickly. I would have to be comfortable taking a risk on repairs and maintenance on the rentals until I had replaced my reserves. Then I would throw everything at the cash reserves until I had $100,000.

        • retirebyforty January 23, 2012, 10:24 pm

          I don’t think that’s a good use of the $50,000. Anyway, I know the Mrs. will disagree with this.

      • Bill Clifford January 24, 2012, 3:10 pm

        The 0.5% upcharge has taken place but what that means is that it costs 0.50 points to get the same rate today that you would have gotten yesterday without the fee. If you translate it into the interest rate it typically equals about a 0.125% increase to the interest rate in order to avoid the points. Hope that makes sense.

  • Kirk Nathaniel - Option Alpha January 23, 2012, 3:11 am

    My family is in the mortgage business and you are exactly right that banks aren’t participating. Honestly I don’t think many people are going through with the HARP program because the push down fees from Fannie are too high for banks to justify the business. I would just go after a traditional refinance if you have some value and forget about the HARP program all together.

    • retirebyforty January 23, 2012, 10:12 am

      Our LTV is about 100%. We don’t have any equity because the price came down so much. If I can get a regular mortgage, I would have to pay PMI and that would make the payment go up again. If you have any recommendation on a particular mortgage broker, please share.
      I’ll continue to search for a good option. Thanks for your comment.

      • Michele May 1, 2012, 12:13 pm

        I qualify for the Harp 2.0 program and I have found that shopping for a refinanace rate that Quicken loans are charging a 1/4 point for a 4.25% 30 year conventional total costs $2,600 and they don’t do an appraisal but rather a PIW (property inspection waiver). They were pushy and wanted me to lock in a rate that day. I talked to Guaranteed Rate Inc. and they offer the same rate for free. They said it’s a rebate kickback. I could pay points to get an even lower rate if I wanted to. I’m currently at 6.25% so a 2% reduction which is a $250 a month savings for nothing is a no brainer.

    • lifeoverwork January 23, 2012, 11:09 pm

      Am I missing something? What is the point of this program if the banks aren’t choosing to cooperate?

      • retirebyforty January 24, 2012, 9:21 am

        I think the big banks are offering the programs, but they added on points and fees so it’s not worth it if your rate is not too bad. I don’t think the smaller lenders are taking chances.
        It would be a lot better if the government makes the bank offer a better rate. We did bailed them out!

        • Jesse M March 21, 2012, 3:49 pm

          Even the big banks aren’t doing it with a lot of things, like if you have PMI or if your LTV is over 125% based on what I have been running into this week…… I don’t get the point of it if no one will offer it.

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