Making Homes Affordable Act Helps Homeowners Refinance at Low Rates SPONSORSHIP

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Over 4 million American homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans have taken advantage of historically low interest rates thanks to the refinancing flexibilities offered through the Making Homes Affordable program. Since the program started, homeowners with a Fannie or Freddie loan have saved an estimated $150 per month on average, for a total of $7 billion in savings.

If you still have a mortgage that's at 6 percent or higher, or if you have an adjustable rate mortgage, what are you waiting for? You'll likely never see rates this low. It makes sense to refinance now. The only reason not to refinance would be if you're planning to move in the next two years and can't recoup the refinancing costs.
For homeowners who are having trouble making payments, there's refinancing advice and help available through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), even if you are unemployed. There's also additional help if you're in one of the five hardest hit states in terms of numbers of foreclosures -- Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada.

Here are the basic eligibility requirements to take advantage of HARP:

--You own and occupy a single-family home or are the owner-occupant of at least one unit in a two- to four-unit home.
--The loan on your property is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
--You're mortgage payments are current, which means you haven't been more than 30 days late on your mortgage payment in the last 12 months. If you have the loan for less than 12 months, you must never have missed a payment.
--The amount you owe on your first lien mortgage does not exceed 125 percent of the current market value of your property.
--You can pay the new mortgage payments.
--The refinance improves the long term affordability or stability of your loan.
--You can check to see if you're eligible at the Making Home Affordable website.

With rates as low as 4.61 percent for a 30-year fixed loan and 4.09 percent for a 15-year fixed loan, there's no reason to wait any longer. As long as you can lock in a fixed rate or cut your mortgage interest by at least 1 percent you likely will break even on the refinancing costs within two years thanks to the interest you'll save.

First, figure out how much you can save over time with an online refinancing calculator. The next step is to find the lowest-cost refinancing option. Start with your current lender, but don't hesitate to shop around for rates.

If you want help, don't hesitate to contact a HUD housing counselor through the makinghomeaffordable.gov website. A counselor can help you pull together the documents you'll need to refinance and can even contact your mortgage company on your behalf if you prefer. The counselor can also help you develop a budget to be sure you'll be able to afford your new mortgage. There is no charge to work with a HUD-approved counseling agency.

So don't delay: Start your refinance now and take advantage of the historically low mortgage rates.

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