‘Even if you’ve been turned down, try again… the HARP program has changed and you may now qualify.’
Andre purchased his three-bedroom condo in North Brunswick, New Jersey, in 2005—at the height of market values, which have since declined significantly. Eight years and two children later, his family remains in his “starter home.” “I’ve been struggling since then either to refinance or to sell because my family has outgrown the space,” says Andre, “but I’m stuck because I can’t sell it.”
Andre had contacted his mortgage company several times over the years about refinancing the loan, but was told he couldn’t qualify because he now owed more on the loan than the home would appraise for.
In December 2011, his mortgage company offered something different, referring him to a lender participating in the federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), designed specifically to help underwater borrowers.
Even so, he was told he could not qualify because of certain program restrictions.
But in 2012, he tried again, and something had changed: “The HARP program had been enhanced to help more homeowners, and the mortgage company approved my refinance,” explains Andre. The application process was streamlined and the escrow officer met with the couple at their home to sign final documents. In just one month, Andre had closed on a new loan that’s lowered his mortgage payment by $387.
His advice: “I’d been turned down before, and I was skeptical. But even if you’ve been turned down, try again. The HARP program has changed, and you may now qualify.”