There are new guidelines being released. YES. And more people will qualify for this program than ever before. YES. The question remains, as everyone I talk to asks... "BUT, Will I?" Here is how you can begin to know....
You need to know if your loan is owned by either Fannie Mae (FNMA) or Freddie Mac (FHLMC). It is not something you will know off the top of your head. You must check the websites below AND call your lender to ask, "Who OWNS my loan?" You are trying to find out who the investor is and this is a different party in many cases from the company that collects your payments (the servicer). Enter the information into each of the forms through the links below and also call your current servicer.
If, at some point, you get a YES answer to either of these questions: "Does Fannie Mae own my loan?" or "Does Freddie Mac own my loan?"then you can proceed to step 3.
If you are getting a NO answer to the above questions you need to continue to try both links repeatedly (as FNMA and FHLMC both acquire loans) AND you need to call your lender. A NO answer generated from the forms on these links does NOT necessarily indicate that your loan is NOT owned by either of these entities. Just entering information differently (IE misspelling, typos, abbreviations or missing information) from how it is in the lender's system can produce a NO answer...
If you get a NO you will still want to consult with an experienced broker who works with many different lenders and can ascertain whether or not there is another program available to you. There ARE other programs available that do not involve either of these entities.
If you get a NO you can also ask your current lender if they participate in the federal Making Home Affordable Program.
A definitive NO here is the end of the road for a HARP refinance for the time being but be sure to keep in touch with those sites and with an experienced lender to determine if something has changed. If one thing is for sure, things change! It has happened again and again over the last half decade as these programs have rolled out.
Your loan IS owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Now what?!
The first answer is TALK to an experienced lender, maybe even more than one. Each lender offers a DIFFERENT VERSION of this product, therefore going to one bank, with one set of guidelines, may not be your solution. One bank will still only go to 105% of the current home value while another bank will go to 125% of the current property value. Also, having a second mortgage changes what you qualify for as well. Again, some banks will go higher on the COMBINED loan to value (meaning the balance now including the second mortgage loan balance versus the current propert value). I must also add: there are situations where I refer a client back to their original lender because the guidelines and/or the pricing might be better but I would definitely prefer to talk through the situation with the client FIRST to determine what makes the most sense for their particular situation. Sometimes a lender will have different guidelines for their borrowers with loans already with them versus loans that are owned by a different lender as well.
I am seeing pricing and guidelines vary GREATLY from one lender to another. Just because Fannie or Freddie "release" new guidelines does not mean that any lender will offer the program as they release it. Lenders have overlays, rules in addition to the guidelines that will sometimes limit what is available through their bank.
AND, just because your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac does not mean you qualify otherwise. You will still have to meet certain credit score minimums (