July 22nd, 2010

Question of the Day: Does My Second Home Qualify for HARP?



Blog.HSH.com reader Jessica wrote in and asked if her specific situation allowed her to qualify for the home affordable refinance program (HARP):

I am getting mixed messages about eligibility for the HARP program. I own a property in CA but live in Co. My original loan is with Wells Fargo and a mortgage consultant said we didn’t qualify for HARP due to non-owner occupancy. However, the original loan was owner occupied and it looks as though on the Fannie Mae and the making home affordable websites that investment properties can qualify. Please advise

Our Answer:

We went over to the Making Home Affordable (MHA) website to see exactly what qualifies a borrowers (and thus excludes a borrower) from HARP. Number five on MHA’s list of frequently asked questions is “How do I know if I am eligible for a refinance under HARP?

The very first bullet point states, “You are the owner-occupant of a one- to four-unit home.” By this reckoning, investment properties and vacation home do not qualify for a refinance under the federal program.

What About HAMP?

Do second homes qualify for loan modifications under the making home affordable modification program? According to MakingHomeAffordable.com:

If you own a house that you use as a vacation home or that you rent out to tenants, the mortgage on that house is not eligible to be modified under HAMP. If you used to live in the home but you moved out, the mortgage is not eligible. Only the first lien mortgage on your primary residence is eligible. The servicer will check to see if the dwelling is your primary residence. Misrepresenting your occupancy in order to qualify for this program is a violation of Federal law and may have serious legal consequences.

Have a question that you need answered? Feel free to leave us a comment following any one of our stories and we’ll do our best to provide you with an answer.

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7 Responses to “Question of the Day: Does My Second Home Qualify for HARP?”

  1. Tweets that mention Question of the Day: Does My Second Home Qualify for HARP? | HSH Financial News Blog -- Topsy.com Says: July 22nd, 2010 at 11:04 am

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by HSH Associates, HSH Associates. HSH Associates said: Question of the Day: Does My Second Home Qualify for HARP? http://bit.ly/apElyZ [...]

  2. Oswin Grant Says: November 13th, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Homeownership is down. Considering what the housing market has been through since late 2006, it’s no wonder why homeownership has declined so much. Not to mention all the vacant home that are just sitting around due to being abandoned. I also blog about helping struggling homeowners with their mortgage loan modification, among other things at my site.

  3. Tim Manni Says: November 16th, 2010 at 11:22 am


    Thanks for commenting, I look forward to checking out your blog!


  4. Paul G Says: November 9th, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Does anyone know whether this changes as a result of the recently announced modifications to HARP or will it still only apply to primary residences?

  5. lena Says: February 14th, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    My husband, after being unemployed got a job in a different state. he rents an appartment there and visits us every month. Still I was denied refinancing today because of owner Non-occupied. My name is also on the title and the mortgage note, I am the owner, and I live in the house along with the kids. Please clarify why our mortgage is non-occupied. Thanks.

  6. Rich Lowry Says: September 19th, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    A 2nd home is an owner occupied property and is therefore eleigible for HARP. The big catch is your tax returns must not show it as an investment property.

  7. Julie Stroeve Says: October 15th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    so what if a 2nd property is rented one year and unoccupied the next? what if I spend one-half year in one home and one-half in the 2nd property that is currently unoccupied? thanks, Rich Lowry.

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HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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