New rules aim to simplify refinancing for troubled homeowners

If you are a troubled homeowner hoping to refinance, pay attention next Tuesday as details come out on a new federal program that could make it easier starting in late December or early in 2012.
In the meantime, be sure you keep up with your mortgage payments so that you can qualify for the new deal.
The revised Home Affordability Refinance Program (HARP) could apply to a broader base of people.
If, for instance, you owe $100,000 on a house that would appraise at just $50,000 – too deep underwater for a conventional refinancing – you might be able to refinance under the new HARP. That was not true under the old HARP, launched in 2009, which had a 125 percent maximum on loan-to-value ratio.
The new plan is expected be a big help for many homeowners in states that have been hard hit by drastic drops in home values, such as Michigan, Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada.

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