With fluctuation in the housing market, some find their mortgage rate is too high. Many also are finding that their home’s value has depreciated rather than increased. For many, this predicament has resulted in an underwater mortgage, where they owe more money on the home than the market value. When this happens, looking at mortgage quotes can often help ease monthly budgets while the housing market stabilizes.
In the most traditional sense, refinancing is designed for those who have equity in their home, not those with an underwater mortgage. However, as more people are in the position of struggling with their mortgage there are a couple different options that many people can take advantage of.
The first refinancing option that will allow people to make payments based on a lower mortgage rate is through the government’s Making Home Affordable Program, also known as Home Affordable Refinance Program or HARP. With this program, some people can refinance based on as much as 125% of their home’s value. However, those who are considering this option should start looking at mortgage quotes early in order to maximize their chances of qualifying for a good mortgage rate. In order to qualify there can be no delinquent payments on the mortgage in the past year, and foreclosure should not be on the table either. The HARP program is good for borrowers who may feel strapped by their current mortgage rate, but have been able to keep up anyways.
Of course, not everyone is perfect when it comes to keeping up with a mortgage, especially when their mortgage rate is higher than it should be. At times, even those who have struggled with payments might qualify for Home Affordable Modification Program, HAMP. Those who can prove a hardship and who are in risk of default can sometimes lower their mortgage rate through this program. Some mortgage providers participate in this program in conjunction with the US Treasury. Strictly speaking, HAMP isn’t actually refinancing, but is designed to lower mortgage rates for up to 60 months so home owners have a chance to catch up because they can lower their payments. The government offers incentives to lenders that participate in this program, but it is far from universal. Because of this it is important that home owners not wait too long before requesting mortgage quotes.
Before the HARP and HAMP options became available many people were facing financial struggles and losing their homes to foreclosure. While this still happens, these options give those with an underwater mortgage an opportunity to turn their financial struggles around while they can potentially save hundreds of dollars with a lower mortgage rate.