Mortgage help: Is HARP 2.0 right for you?

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- If your mortgage is held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you were excluded from last month's $25 billion settlement designed to help underwater homeowners.

Starting Monday, however, HARP 2.0 -- Home Affordable Refinance Program -- kicks in and it's just for people who have loans owned by Fannie or Freddie.

"This program is allowing you to refinanace -- regardless of the value of your home -- down to a current market rate," Mike Metz of Sun State Loans explained.

Those current rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage are running in the 4-percent range. That's about 2 percent less than the rates many borrowers currently have, according to Metz.

There are four basic criteria you have to meet to be eligible for HARP 2.0.

  1. The exist­ing mort­gage must be guar­an­teed by Fan­nie Mae or by Fred­die Mac
  2. The exist­ing mort­gage must have been secu­ri­tized by Fan­nie Mae or Fred­die Mac prior to June 1, 2009
  3. The mort­gage pay­ment his­tory must be per­fect going back 6 months
  4. The mort­gage pay­ment his­tory may not include more than one 30-day late pay­ment going back 12 months

It's important to remember that HARP 2.0 is not a loan modification program. For that, you have to go through your loan servicer, the company or bank to which you make your mortgage payments. HARP 2.0, which runs through Dec. 31, 2013, is strictly about refinancing to lower interest rates.

For more information about HARP 2.0, visit