Starting today, some homeowners who are “under water” with their mortgages can refinance under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), but the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers that banks and mortgage companies aren’t the only ones gearing up for the rush of applications.
“Whenever there is a new or updated government program that may be a bit confusing, scammers come out of the woodwork to take advantage of that confusion,” said Kim States, BBB President. “There are already hundreds of websites claiming to be able to help homeowners through the HARP process, but many of them are rip-offs and scams.”
BBB is warning all homeowners who are thinking of applying for a HARP refinance to:
The changes to the HARP program were announced by President Obama in October to allow homeowners to refinance at lower interest rates, even if their home is currently worth less than their mortgage. The new HARP rules apply to homeowners who are current on their payments and whose loans are backed by either FannieMae or FreddieMac. Some lenders will begin accepting applications as early as today, although many will take a few weeks or even a few months to roll out the program. More than one million borrowers are expected to apply for the program, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the two major mortgage lending programs.
If you have credit problems, find a credit counseling agency in your area by calling 800-388-2227 (en Espanol 800-682-9832).