Reservations about Refinancing
Kudos to CNBC anchor Becky Quick for her Fortune column in the February 25th issue about homeowners not taking advantage of the government-sponsored HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program), which has been expanded several times to allow for more homeowners to qualify. The plethora of mortgage scams and wrongdoings has made consumers weary of even government-sponsored programs, leaving them to conclude that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
HPF frequently sees the same level of trepidation among homeowners when they first call our housing counseling HOPE Hotline at 888-995-HOPE (4673). Homeowners are initially reluctant to reach out for mortgage help for many reasons: they no longer trust their banks and servicers; the processes and programs confuse them; or they are fearful of being rejected for a program for the first, second, or third time. Underwater homeowners, many of whom purchased their homes at the peak of the market and may owe hundreds of thousands more than their homes are now worth, may feel trapped and not know that programs like HARP are available. And seriously struggling homeowners often tell our counselors that they are afraid to contact their servicer because they think it might speed up the loss mitigation process. The reality is, the sooner a homeowner reaches out for help, the more solutions that are available.
When the HARP program was announced as part of the Making Home Affordable initiative, which also includes HAMP (the Home Affordable Modification Program), HPF was designated to be the “call-to-action” for the program, meaning homeowners interested in either program can call HPF’s Hotline to speak with a housing counselor who will guide them through the various options and help begin the application process. Working with an independent third-party counselor is proven to have better housing outcomes, making it the best option for those who are looking for any form of mortgage relief.
For more information on mortgage refinancing or modifications via HARP or HAMP, please call HPF’s HOPE Hotline at 888-995-HOPE (4673).