Government Refinance and Home Purchase Assistance

Information and Updates on Government Mortgage Programs

[Update -- The Fed and Obama administration have been compressing mortgage interest rates for some time now. Due to those efforts and other market factors, mortgage rates and APR's on most 15-30 year fixed government-backed mortgages have recently been coming in between 3.25 and 4.75%. But mortgage interest rates may be moving significantly higher soon so contact us today to learn more and get the process started.]


There are several government-backed home purchase programs designed to make it easier for Americans to buy a home. The goal of these programs is to allow for low down payments and to make it easier for people with less than perfect credit to qualify for a mortgage. With mortgage interest rates near historical lows and housing prices increasing across the country again, now is a terrific time to look into buying a home. Fill in the contact form on the right to learn more about the available government-backed purchase programs and to get pre-qualified for a home purchase loan.


For Homeowners Who Have Equity

There are several superb government-backed refinance programs for borrowers who have even a little equity in their homes and there are various good reasons to seek a refinance:

Contact one of our counselors to be pointed in the right direction on these options.

For Homeowners Who Are Underwater Or Upside Down On Their Mortgage(s)

There are several options for the millions of U.S. homeowners who owe more on their home than the property is currently worth. Here are a few:

1. FHA Streamline Refinance — If you are upside-down/underwater on your mortgage and currently have an FHA loan, refinancing to a better FHA mortgage through the FHA streamline program is an excellent option. Fill in the contact form on this page if you have an FHA loan and would like to learn more about the FHA-to-FHA streamline program.

2. HARP Refinances — With President Obama’s HARP program, qualified homeowners can refinance a conventional first mortgage which is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac no matter how underwater they are. (See here to find out if your conventional mortgage is backed by Fannie or Freddie.) As long as the current Fannie or Freddie loan was acquired prior to May of 2009 there should be no loan-to-value (LTV) limits. Further, while the HARP 1.0 program did not work well for people currently paying mortgage insurance (PMI), the changes in the HARP 2.0 program allow borrowers with PMI to participate. The HARP program does not allow second mortgages to be combined with first mortgages but will allow the first mortgage to be refinanced with the second mortgage remaining in place as is (called a subordination). See here for more on HARP 2.0 guidelines, features, and requirements. Contact us to learn more.

3. VA streamline (IRRRL) Program — For borrowers who have a VA loan now, the VA to VA streamline (also known as the IRRRL program) is a terrific, low cost way to significantly reduce payments and interest rates, even for borrowers who are underwater on their homes. If you have a VA loan contact us to learn more about the IRRRL program.

4. Loan Modification Programs — If you are unable to qualify for any other refinance program or if you are delinquent on your mortgage payments and are on the verge of foreclosing your best bet is often to seek a loan modification from your current lender. Loan modifications normally reduce mortgage payments by lowering interest rates or extending the loan period. Obama’s new “Home Affordable Modification Program” (HAMP) gives lenders incentive to modify troubled loans as well. See this page or contact us in the sidebar if you would like to discuss strategies for seeking a loan modification.

5. Principal Reduction Programs — It is possible to get a principal reduction in some rare cases. Contact us to be pointed in the right direction on that.

6. Other Alternatives — In some cases seeking bankruptcy protection is the best option for a family when it comes to saving their home and getting back on their feet financially. Contact us at this page to learn more about that process. Or see this page for ideas on dealing with credit card debts.

Be sure to bookmark this site and check back for the latest updates on government-backed efforts focused on alleviating the housing crisis in the US (see stories below). To contact us about your options just fill in the contact form in the sidebar.



Filed under Government Mortgage Financing Programs News

Escalating armed conflicts Israel and Ukraine has been spooking global investors over the last few weeks. When investors get spooked they generally start moving funds into safe investments like U.S. treasuries. That compresses the yields on treasuries which in turn lowers mortgage interest rates. While we haven’t yet seen a big drop in mortgage interest rates, we are seeing the rates staying at 12 month lows and the recent headlines have been creating even more downward pressure on rates.

The upshot is that now is a terrific time to look into buying a home or refinancing to a lower rate. If you are looking into a refinance, contact us in the sidebar. For home purchase inquiries, contact us on our home purchase page.

Comments (0) Posted on Friday, July 25th, 2014

Filed under Government Mortgage Financing Programs News

Just over a year ago, in May of 2013, mortgage interest rates made a sudden upward jump on news that the Fed was planning on tapering its stimulus program. Since then mortgage interest rates have drifted back downward again. Rates on 15 and 30 year fixed mortgage are lower now than they were last summer and that is making refinances and home purchases extremely attractive again.

If you would like to lower the interest rate and payments on your current mortgage, contact us in the form in sidebar. Or if you are looking into buying a home, contact us on our home purchase page

Comments (0) Posted on Monday, July 7th, 2014

Filed under Government Home Purchase Programs

Over the last couple of years rent prices have been rising rapidly across the United States. Low vacancy rates have allowed landlords to hike rates at 2-3% per year. At the same time, mortgage interest rates have dropped over the last few months. In addition, home values have been steadily increasing again after the bottom fell out of the housing market in 2007-2008.

All of these factors add up to make purchasing and owning a home increasingly attractive to many Americans. In many areas of the country, mortgage payments are the same or lower than rent costs. And with home values steadily increasing, owning a home can mean owning an appreciating asset that can often be sold at a profit down the road rather than simply pouring money into rent.

If you have considered buying a home, contact us at our home purchase page today. Our counselors can point you in the right direction regarding available government-backed home purchase programs.

Comments (0) Posted on Monday, June 16th, 2014

Filed under Government Mortgage Financing Programs News

In a turn of events that has surprised Wall Street, U.S. treasury bonds have become surprisingly popular with investors again recently. As investors pour money into treasury bonds, the yields on the bonds are dropping, and as usual, mortgage interest rates have been dropping right in step with the yields on the 10-year treasury note. As a result of these global financial trends, mortgage interest rates in the U.S. have dropped to lows not seen in the last 12 months. While rates are not back to the lows we saw in late 2012 and early 2013, they have been slowly inching that direction for more than a month.

With mortgage rates at 12 month lows, now is an excellent time to contact us in the contact form in the sidebar about refinancing programs, or contact us about home purchase programs in on this page.

Comments (0) Posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2014

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The downward trend in mortgage interest rates that started a few weeks ago has continued unabated. Mortgage interest rates are now at new lows for 2014 and the downturn in the stock market stock market this week has helped that trend. A string of disappointing reports on the state of the U.S. economy has sent stock buyers running into bonds and that retreat by investors has lowered the yields on bonds which in turn is lowering mortgage rates. Mortgage rates are not approaching the all time lows on rates we saw in 2012 yet but this downturn in the market has created some of the lowest rates we have seen in the last 12 months.

If you have considered refinancing your mortgage, contact us right away in the form in the sidebar. Or if you are looking into buying a home contact us in the form on our home purchase page. There is no telling how long this current dip in rates will last so moving quickly is a good idea.

Comments (0) Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Filed under Government Mortgage Financing Programs News

On the heels of the recent surprisingly bad U.S. GDP report, mortgage interest rates have been dropping in the last week. That GDP news has driven investors away from stocks and toward bonds which in turn has been compressing the yield on bonds. As of Friday the yield on the 10 year Treasury Note was just a tenth of a percent above its 2014 low. As a result, mortgage interest rates are testing new 2014 lows this week as well.

If you have considered investigating a government backed mortgage, now is a great time to get the ball rolling. Fill in the contact form on your right for guidance on refinances. For help with government backed home purchase programs fill in the contact form on our home purchase page.

Comments (0) Posted on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

Filed under Government Mortgage Financing Programs News

Are you interested in seeing the trend in government-back mortgage interest rates? The easiest way is to track the yields on the 10 year Treasury Note, also called the 10 year T-Note. While this is only a rule of thumb way to track rates, it is one of those rules of thumb that is generally reliable and useful.

What we are seeing lately is that the par rate, or rate that requires no buy down, on 30 year fixed conventional (Fannie/Freddie) mortgages have been coming in at roughly 2% higher than the yield on the 10 year T-Note. For instance, the yield on the 10 year T-Note closed at 2.59% yesterday. The par rate on 30 year fixed conventional mortgages was roughly 2% higher than that, coming in around the mid 4′s. With FHA and VA loans the par rate has lately been coming in about 1.6% higher than the T-Note yield. So as of yesterday the par rate on 30 year fixed FHA and VA loans was in the very low 4′s.

Keep in mind that there are other factors involved in mortgage rate trends so this rule of thumb is just that; a quick, rough way of estimating trends. Also, this is just the current trend on 30 year fixed loans — rates for government-backed 15 year mortgages or the various ARM mortgages available tend to be significantly lower than 30 year fixed rates.

The good news is that mortgage interest rates remain very low by historical measures. That is excellent for anyone looking to buy a home. It is also good news for anyone looking to refinance to a better mortgage. Contact us today for more guidance on available programs and rates.

Comments (0) Posted on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

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Predictions of mortgage interest rates shooting up have been floating around for many months. In May of 2013 when mortgage rates moved higher on whispers that the Fed was going to take its foot off the pedal with regard to its Quantitative Easing program, some pundits speculated that mortgage interest rates would move steadily higher for years to come. But a funny thing happened — rates leveled out last summer and haven’t made an major, lasting moves since then. Rates on most 30 year fixed Fannie/Freddie conventional loans have remained in the mid to high 4′s and rates on 30 year fixed FHA and VA loans have stayed in the mid to low 4′s.

There is no telling what will happen to rates going forward, and it is still a safe bet that in the long run rates will move higher, but for now mortgage interest rates remain quite low by historical measures. With Ben Bernanke out as the Fed Chair and Janet Yellen running the show at the Fed now, it remains to be seen what the Fed will do to continue to stimulate the sluggish US economy.

While the future of mortgage interest rates is unknown, what is known is that rates are historically low right now. If you have considered purchasing a home or refinancing your current mortgage, now is an excellent to contact us to learn more about the various government-backed mortgage programs that are still available.

Just fill in the contact form in the sidebar for refinance information or for home purchase programs fill in the form on this page.

Comments (0) Posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Filed under Government Home Purchase Programs

Of the four main government-backed home purchase programs, the Fannie Mae program requires the biggest down payment, with a down payment requirement of at least 5%. In addition, the Fannie Mae program has stricter debt-to-income ratio requirements as well as higher credit score requirements than some of the other programs. Despite all of this, the Fannie Mae program remains a popular choice for those who can qualify for it for a couple of reasons:

1. No up front fees: The VA charges a 2-3% up front fee, the USDA rural housing program charges 2% up front, and the FHA charges a 1.75% up from mortgage insurance premium. With the Fannie Mae program there is no up front fee and that saves buyers thousands of dollars in many cases.

2. Temporary mortgage insurance: With the FHA and USDA the mortgage insurance (or equivalent thereof in the case of USDA loans) is set for the life of the loan. With the Fannie Mae (conventional) program the mortgage insurance (sometimes call PMI) can be dropped when you have 22% equity in the home. And when a 20% down payment is used there is no mortgage insurance requirement at all.

Not everyone has the income, credit scores, or down payment needed to qualify for a Fannie Mae home purchase loan. For the folks who don’t, the VA, FHA, or USDA programs are excellent choices. But for folks who can qualify for a Fannie Mae loan, it can be the best choice.

Contact us in on our home purchase page to learn more about the Fannie Mae home purchase program as well as the other home purchase options.

Comments (0) Posted on Monday, April 14th, 2014

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On the surface, you might think the FHA home purchase program has some things going against it. FHA loans require a 1.75% up front fee rolled in to the loan and FHA loans include monthly mortgage insurance for the life of the loan as well. But there several tremendous advantages of the FHA program that keep it very popular.

1. Lenient credit requirements: While a minimum credit score of 620 is needed in most cases, the FHA is significantly more lenient on past credit blemishes than any of the other programs out there. The wait period after a chapter 13 bankruptcy in just 12 months and for chapter 7 bankruptcy it is just two years. The wait period after a foreclosure or short sale is just 3 years. And with FHA loans, while some outstanding collections must be paid off the FHA tends to allow medical collections to remain unsettled.

2. Less strict debt to income requirements: While the USDA and Fannie/Freddie purchase programs have very strict debt to income requirements, the FHA (and VA) programs tend to allow the ratios to stretch higher.

3. Lower and easier down payment requirements: The FHA only requires a 3.5% down payment. The minimum down payment for the Fannie/Freddie programs is 5%. Further, the FHA allows the 3.5% down payment to be given as a gift from family members. Other programs tend to be more strict about the down payment money coming from the borrower.

4. The FHA program is available to all: The VA program is only available to eligible military veterans and USDA rural housing program only applies to eligible areas considered sufficiently rural. While there are FHA restrictions on some condo complexes, the FHA program works on all single family homes in the US.

To learn more about the available government home purchase programs, including the FHA program, contact us on our home purchase page today.

Comments (0) Posted on Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Filed under Government Home Purchase Programs

There are two primary ways to buy a home with zero money down in 2014. The first is to be a military veteran and utilize the VA loan program. The second is to utilize the USDA Rural Housing Program.

The USDA loan program is designed to encourage people to spread out and buy a home out of the more densely populated urban areas. With the name “rural” in the title you might assume that this program only applies to homes way out in the country but that is not true. In many cases, suburbs just on the outskirts out of a city are eligible for the rural housing program. Click here to go to the USDA site and see a map of eligible areas.

Advantages of the USDA Rural Housing Home Purchase Program

  • Requires no money down
  • The monthly mortgage insurance is much smaller than FHA mortgage insurance

Requirements of the USDA Rural Housing Program

  • Home must be in an eligible area
  • Combined gross annual income of all household members normally must not exceed about $90,000
  • Normally requires relatively good credit with few or no collections or similar blemishes on the credit history
  • The USDA requires 2% funding fee up front that is rolled into the loan


In cases where the USDA rural housing program is an option, it is usually a more desirable programs than the FHA or Fannie/Freddie programs. It allows for a 30 year fixed loan with no money down and minimal mortgage insurance. Contact us in the form on our home purchase page for more guidance on getting qualified for a USDA rural housing home purchase loan.

Comments (0) Posted on Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Filed under Government Mortgage Financing Programs News

Russia’s recent aggression toward its neighbor, Ukraine, sent financial markets reeling in recent weeks. That market instability has affected mortgage interest rates as well. Rates initially dipped as fears of a war sent investors rushing to bonds rather than stocks. But as the situation settled down the stock market surged again and they temporary dip in interest rates passed.

Long term, it is safe to assume that mortgage interest rates will move higher in 2014 and 2015. But for now rates remain relatively low. Contact us today if you are researching a refinance or a home purchase. There is no telling how long mortgage rates will remain at current levels before moving higher.

Comments (0) Posted on Monday, March 10th, 2014