WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The second phase of the Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, is expected to help millions of homeowners whose homes have lost a significant percentage of their values.
The program, dubbed HARP 2.0, is a less-restrictive mortgage refinance program that offers homeowners fixed interest rates and fixed payments on primary homes, investment properties and second homes.
"HARP 2.0 lets you refinance no matter how underwater you are on your loan ," said Paul Baltrun, director of the homeowner assistance division at the Law Office of Paul A. Krasker, P.A.
Baltrun said homeowners with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans qualified and, in some cases, could see interest rates drop to as low as four percent.
"It will have a significant impact on their monthly budget [and] give them more cash-flow," he said. "It could possibly give them more cash-flow to pay more toward their mortgage each month to pay down the mortgage balance quicker."
The program was expected to help Kenneth and Lori Revilla of Lake Worth, who watched the value of their home drop as they continued to make monthly mortgage payments.
"It's almost like, "Oh, okay. Go into foreclosure -- or get near there -- and then we can help you out," Lori Rivella said.
The monthly savings -- which could total into the hundreds of dollars for some homeowners -- were expected to help families like the Rivellas, Baltrun said.
"[If] these programs are able to help us … I think a lot of people would be willing to keep their homes," Kenneth Rivella said.
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