Home Affordable Refinance Program 

If you are current on your mortgage and have been unable to obtain a traditional refinance because the value of your home has declined, you may be eligible to refinance through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). HARP is designed to help you refinance into a new affordable, more stable mortgage. HARP is unique in that it is the only refinance program that enables borrowers who owe more than their home is worth, to take advantage of low interest rates if their home is already financed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Desert Schools is currently participating in this program and has already helped hundreds of members with negative equity refinance their Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC) home loans.

What exactly is HARP 2.0?

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, along with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, recently announced a series of changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) in an effort to attract more eligible borrowers who can benefit from refinancing their home mortgage.  These refinance options are designed to assist borrowers who have demonstrated an acceptable payment history on their existing Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage loan, but may not have been able to refinance due to the value of their home, to obtain a lower payment or move to a more stable product.



What were the enhancements made to HARP?

The new program enhancements address several key aspects of HARP including:

  • Eliminating certain risk-based fees (closing costs) for borrowers who refinance into shorter-term mortgages and lowering fees for other borrowers.
  • Removing the current 125% Loan-to-Value ceiling for fixed-rate mortgages (30 years or less) backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Eliminating the need for a new property appraisal in most cases.
  • Second homes and investment properties will be added to the program, although different rates and fees may apply.

Is Desert Schools participating in the HARP Program?

Yes, Desert Schools is refinancing loans that are currently owned by Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC).  We refinance loans currently serviced by Desert Schools, as well as those serviced by other financial institutions.

How do I know if my loan is owned by Fannie Mae (FNMA) or Freddie Mac (FHLMC)?

Use these links to find out if your loan is currently owned by FNMA or FHLMC - Fannie Mae: http://www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup/ or Freddie Mac: https://ww3.freddiemac.com/corporate/. Be sure to enter your address exactly how it appears on your current mortgage statement.

When did the program become available?

The full program enhancements became available in March 2012.

How long will the HARP program be available to consumers?

The program has been extended until December 31, 2015.

Does the property have to be my primary residence to qualify?

HARP applies to primary residences with LTVs greater than 80%. You will be able to apply for similar refinancing options for second homes and investment occupancies with the recent changes made within this program.

Is it true that the value of my home does not matter when using this new program?

Loan-to-value requirements vary based on the terms of the new loan as listed below:

  • All loans under this program must have a LTV greater than 80%.
  • No maximum LTV for fixed-rate mortgages with terms up to 30 years.
  • Maximum LTV of 105% for fixed-rate loans with terms greater than 30 years up to 40 years.
  • Maximum LTV of 105% for ARM’s with initial fixed periods greater than or equal to five years and terms up to 40 years.

How do I know if I’m eligible for HARP?

In general, borrowers must meet the following criteria:

  • The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
  • The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.
  • The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009.
  • The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%.
  • The borrower must be current on the mortgage at the time of the refinance, with no late payment in the past six months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.

To complete a more detailed self-prescreen for HARP, visit desertschools.org/HARPeligibility.


For any additional questions, we encourage you to contact one of our mortgage loan officers at your closest branch, or by calling (602) 433-HOME (4663) for more details.

Next Steps after a Successful HARP Prescreen

If you have successfully completed the HARP prescreen process at desertschools.org/HARPeligibility, you can move forward in the application process one of four ways:



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