As interest rates have reached historic lows, many homeowners have had to watch from the sidelines. These frustrated homeowners have been told time and time again they can't refinance because plummeting home values pushed their mortgage underwater. Yet many of these homeowners are gainfully employed, have maintained solid credit and have dutifully paid their mortgage payments. President Obama and other politician likes to call this group the "responsible" homeowners. The revamped guidelines of the Home Affordable Refinance Program, better known as HARP, have opened the floodgates to millions of underwater homeowners that were unable to lock in the prevailing low rates.
This updated program is far from perfect - you probably have your own opinions by now and can poke some holes in the program. Yet the consensus is it's a big improvment from the original guidelines. The laxed eligibility requirments is much welcomed by fatigued, responsible homeowners who have not been able to refinance, even as they saw their neighbors struggle to make mortgage payments, only to modify their loan or get from underneath their unaffordable home through a short sale.
What this means is that marketing to HARP 2.0 prospects will produce an unusually high response rate. The prospect of a high response rate may ellic groans from loan officers and production teams because of the staggering number of homeowners that could not qualify under the previous program, primarily because of LTV or credit issues. At Datamark, we believe that an application that is unfunded is a total waste of time and money. Our focus is on PRE-QUALIFICATION so that you are getting in front of qualified prospects that sail through underwriting. Our prescreen, tri-bureau platform identifies homeowners that are most likely to survive the underwriting process. When building a database of HARP 2.0 eligible candidates, we'll drill down on some specific attributes:
- Unblemished mortgage payment history (zero lates in the past 12 months).
- Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac as investors in the current loan
- Origination date prior to June 1, 2009
- Credit scores north of 620 or higher.