Lender Mr. HARP Concerned California Homeowners Aren’t Aware of Low Refinance Rates for Their Mortgage

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As the government’s HARP 2.0 refinance program moves into its second month, an increasing number of mortgage brokers have expressed dismay regarding the large contingent of homeowners that seem to have no idea about its existence.

Mike Chiu desk2

San Francisco Bay Area mortgage broker Mike Chiu of BayCal Financial.

"Our biggest issue right now is that the potential beneficiaries of this program have no idea that the program exists," says Mike Chiu, a San Francisco Bay Area mortgage broker.

A record number of individuals with distressed homes are eligible to refinance under the HARP 2.0 program. This bodes well for homeowners looking to reduce their rates and lower the monthly mortgage payments. The only problem? No one seems to know it.

An informal survey regarding the HARP 2.0 program and its purpose has yielded a rather staggering response: What the heck is HARP 2.0?

"Our biggest issue right now is that the potential beneficiaries of this program have no idea that the program exists," says Mike Chiu, a San Francisco Bay Area mortgage broker.

According to Chiu, the less stringent stipulations of the HARP 2.0 program have yielded a very high amount of loan modifications thus far. Those homeowners with high LTVs (Loan-to-Value) and less than stellar credit scores have been able to successfully refinance their homes. His work on the program thus far has his colleagues referring to him as Mr. HARP for helping these distressed underwater individuals.

"Once people see the lower rates, they don't need to be convinced to utilize the program," says Chiu.

There are numerous ways to get information and use the program, but some can get homeowners better rates than others. One common misconception is that homeowners must use their current lender to take advantage of the HARP program. This is not true, and can in fact leave homeowners paying higher rates than necessary.

"Banks and lenders have the ability to contact their clients directly," says Chiu. "However, it would be very smart to shop around for the best rates. A lender like me, who has no overlays, can more often than not get homeowners lower rates and/or smaller closing costs."

Another thing that homeowners should keep in mind is that being declined by the bank does not mean they will not be able to find someone who can aid them in refinancing. Since many banks have to deal with overlays, they sometimes turn down individuals who qualify for the program. This should not deter homeowners from seeking second or third opinions from other brokers and lenders, including Mike Chiu.

“I have experienced numerous instances thus far where the bank or other institutions have turned down someone who I was ultimately able to help successfully refinance,” says Chiu. “I encourage these individuals, along with anyone else interested in the HARP program, to contact me to see if I can help.”

To get a no obligation quote or take advantage of the program, homeowners can contact Mike Chiu directly at mike(at)mrharp(dot)com or call him at (855) MR-HARP1. He is currently specializing in helping all California homeowners refinance their homes using the HARP 2.0 program.

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