June 30th, 2009 3:16 PM by BILL WILBANKS
HOW CAN FLORIDA OWNERS BENEFIT?
Many folks apparently can. Part of the problem in many markets around the country, and certainly in Florida today is the decline in real estate values we've all seen from the highs we experienced in 2006. Many homeowner's desiring to refinance have found they are now required to have PMI because property values have fallen in many cases or are not able to do anything at all due to finding they owe more than the current fair market value of the property based on a new appraisal. Think about it. Say you bought a home a couple years back and put 20% down at that time. If the market value has fallen 10%, 15% or more, then today a refinance would likely require a PMI premium, and that's if you weren't upsidedown (owe more the the value) on equity.
The new HARP programs will not help everyone. But, you may still be able to refinance through one of these programs as long as your loan-to-value (LTV) on the new loan generally does not exceed 95% of the current fair market value and even up to 105% in some cases (premium pricing will apply in all instances above 95%) and are able to meet the rest of the program guidelines. I should note that it is apparent after the May 1, 2009 rollout LTV's greater than 95% appear to have been harder to get accepted through the system. These loans must currently fund by June 10, 2010.
Why does this help? Simple, as long as you didn't have PMI on the existing loan, you would not be required to have it on the new Refi Plus loan on LTV's greater than 80%. That can be quite a payment savings. You may be improving your position by getting out of a product like an ARM, balloon or simply a higher rate or getting a longer term in years to lower your payment. It may be your only option to take advantage of refinancing today. Unfortunately, if you currently have PMI then this option is not available and you have to try to meet the normal PMI requirements and guidelines. If you are at 80% financing or below now then a standard conventional loan would be your best choice.
Click on the "HARP ELIGIBILITY" button In the left column for more details now.