Dear PoP – Check Out HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) + Congress Renews $5000 DC First Time Homebuyer Credit

Photo by PoPville flickr user Brandon Kopp

“Dear PoP,

There’s something I wanted to pass on to the community. I just found out about a program called HARP (“Home Affordable Refinance Program “) that we are using to refinance our place without hardly any paperwork and at a much lower cost that a traditional refinance would likely have entailed. Basically, I think that, unless your rate is under 4.5%, you can probably reduce it using this program.

Just for comparison, for us, it will cost $395 up front (for the appraisal), and an additional 1600 rolled into the loan itself (various fees), but this means that we are able to shave some interest off our loan and save about $150 per month. So, yay, it pays for itself in less than two years and takes some pressure off each month. One of the reasons it works for us even in this crappy market is because, unlike a regular re-fi, the appraised value just needs to be within 125% of the loan amount (a regular re-fi requires 80% – which is often hard for people to get at the moment due to the reduction in home values across the board).

Anyways, it is always nice to save money, especially in this economy, and I thought I would pass on the info. For anyone who is interested I would suggest they call the bank that holds their mortgage and see what they say – I believe that by law they have to offer HARP options to you if you qualify (and unless you’ve been late on a mortgage payment in the past year, you probably do qualify). In fact, the only way we found out about this is because our bank called us out of the blue and told us about this program.

Some more info can be found here:

Anyone else use this program?

And thanks to DC Mud for sending word that, Congress Renews $5000 DC First Time Homebuyer Credit:

“The Federal tax credit is a $5,000 below-the-line credit against federal taxes for the purchase of a home in DC for taxpayers that did not own a principal residence in DC during the previous year.

The nationwide $8,000 tax credit for purchasing a home expired last summer.”

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