California HARP 2.0 Refinance Program

The government launched round 2 of the well known HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) AKA HARP 2.0.   The California HARP refinance program (which also exists nationwide) will allow homeowners who meet certain criteria to refinance without an appraisal and take advantage of record low interest rates.

In order to be eligible for a California HARP refinance, the below basic criteria must be met.

  1. Your existing mortgage must be backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (click here to check)
  2. Your mortgage must’ve been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac by June 1, 2009
  3. You mortgage must be current (no lates in the last 6 months; a 30-day late okay in 12 months)
  4. This must be your first HARP refinance

FAQs about California HARP Refinance

1. Will I have to pay for an appraisal? 

In nearly every case you will NOT have to pay for an appraisal.  Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have built in value estimates used to determines your home’s value.  Because the loan-to-value ratio on the HARP mortgage program is unlimited, the value of your home can be much lower than your mortgage balance.


2. What if I have challenged credit?

The guidelines of the California HARP refinance program are more forgiving than those of a traditional loan.  We have seen cases where lower fico scores and higher debt-to-income ratios still pass the automated approval.


3. What will my new interest rate be? 

Rates on the California HARP refinance program vary a bit from situation to situation.  In most cases we’re able to offer a significant drop in payment and rate compared to where homeowners are now.   The savings can be substantial and homeowners can also shorten the term of their mortgage and pay off their home much sooner saving a lot of money over the term.  Get a FREE quote here


4. I have heard of lenders having overlays.  What are these and how do they affect me?

Overlays are additional restrictions over what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require that lenders impose as a way to manage risk.   I am pleased to announce that for our California HARP refinance program we do not have these overlays as the loans we originate go directly to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


5. How long does the process take?

Typically, the process runs 4-5 weeks.  Much it depends on how quickly homeowners are able to supply the necessary documentation and respond to requirements throughout the loan process.


6. Can you consolidate my 2nd mortgage (or my 2nd and 3rd mortgages) against my home?

The short answer is no.  The California HARP refinance is only for 1st mortgages.  We can ‘subordinate’ the 2nd (and 3rd) mortgage, but they cannot be combined.  This process will likely add some time to the overall process.


 If you, or someone you know, is upside down in their home and wants a complimentary evaluation, please call Justin Lees at 916.899.6868 or 916.276.7618 or Chris Lees at 916.899.6900 or 916.316.8945


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