Refinancing For Underwater Homes Ends Next Year

Dec 7, 2014

The Home Affordable Refinance Program, HARP, is rolling into its last year.

The program run by the Federal Housing Finance Agency is a critical help for some South Florida homeowners.

Federal Housing Finance Agency hosted a panel discussion at Miami Dade College North Campus about HARP for borrowers whose homes are underwater. From left to right: Laura Reichel of Ditech Mortgage Corporation; Robert Koller of Fannie Mae; Yvette Gilmore of Freddie Mac; Mark McArdle of the Homeownership Preservation Office; and Joseph Cvelbar of Consolidated Credit Solutions, Inc.
Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

Verna Roberts has lived in her Broward County home for about 22 years. For the last year and a half, her property has been underwater -- she has a mortgage higher than the value of her house. Roberts still lives there.

"I would like to be able to sell it, but it's a difficult situation," says Roberts. 

She attended one of several panel discussions about the program that have been happening around the country -- this one at Miami Dade College North Campus.

Yvette Gilmore works for Freddie Mac, which is working with HARP.

"We're out here getting the word saying it's only around for another year," says Gilmore. "Help us help borrowers help themselves because this is easy money."

Enrique Soto was one of many local homeowners asking the panel questions about HARP.
Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

She says that the program can save South Floridians in particular a significant amount of money -- on average $217 a month, she says.

But it’s only for people like Verna Roberts who have kept up with their mortgage payments. It’s a kind of reward for good behavior.

"I'm hoping that the HARP program will be able to help me out," says Roberts. "If not, I will just rent the property and move as I desire to."

Borrowers whose homes are underwater have until December of 2015 to refinance through HARP.