16 Apr 2018

The HARP Loan in a Nutshell

Piggy bank, paper house, and stacked coins

In March 2009, the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) was introduced. It targeted debtors with little to zero equity, promising a refinancing arrangement that could prove more affordable sans the need for acquiring added or new financial insurance.

The harp loan program has seen several changes since its inception. For instance, lenders in 2011 removed the required 80% or greater loan-to-value ratio (LTV).

In 2013, borrower eligibility increased through the cancellation of the loan’s mandatory eligibility date. These changes meant to make the loan more accessible to a wider market.


The HARP loan is available only to borrowers with mortgages owned by Freddie Mac or Frannie Mae. You can use online loan lookup tools to check whether you pass this precondition. Aside from this core requirement, interested applicants had to meet other qualifications. These include the following:

  • You must be on a mortgage plan, without late payments beyond 30 days in the past six months, and no late payments in the past 12 months.
  • Your property should be a primary residence or a 1- to 4-unit second home or investment.


As with other types of loans, the costs associated with the HARP loan program is dependent on several factors. For instance, if you have a good credit rating, chances are you will get an offer for a better interest rate.

Same goes if the current value of your property is considerably bigger than the loan amount you are applying for. There are ways to circumvent these preconditions, such as by paying “points” to lower your interest rate — which could cost at least a few hundred dollars.

The HARP loan program exists to provide borrowers financial leeway. If you want to learn more about this program, you may visit your nearest loan provider for expert advice.

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