To be eligible to Take Advantage of the Home Affordable Refinance Program HARP you must meet the following criteria:
Let's say you lock in a 30-year fixed loan at 4% for 15 days on February 2. This lock will expire on February 17 (if Feb 17 is a holiday then the lock is typically extended to the first working day after the 17th). The lender must disburse funds by February 17th, otherwise your rate lock expires, and your original rate-lock commitment is invalid.
The same lock might be 4.125% for a 30-day lock 4.375% for a 60-day lock. If you need a longer lock and do not want to a higher rate, paying points can also be an option.
After a lock expires, most lenders will let you re-lock at the higher of the prevailing market rates/points, or the originally locked rates/points.
Mortgage rates are the lowest they've been in months and this may be the last chance in a long while to purchase real estate or refinance at rates this low. To whom do we owe this brief window of opportunity? Your United States Congress of course. With the government shutdown looming for so many weeks and now in effect for over a week, the confidence of businesses and consumers has been sorely tested by Congress' ineffectiveness. The stock market has been on shaky ground with missed unemployment reports, government worker and military paychecks withheld, and homebuyers not knowing if they'll get to close on home purchases.
The recovery thus far has been built on confidence and there must be confidence that our government will do the 'right' thing. The Federal Reserve has a clear mission and have kept stimulus in place for a while longer to keep mortgage rates reasonably low to help homeowners and businesses with financing.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is a tool to compare and understand interest rate offers when borrowers are shopping for a home loan. Essentially, the rules say that certain closing costs associated with obtaining a loan, need to be expressed as an interest rate (APR equals contract rate plus these additional costs). Loosely, the costs that should be included in an APR calculation are costs associated with obtaining a mortgage loan that would not be incurred if you purchased with cash. The APR is intended to allow "Apples-to-Apples" comparisons of multiple quotes from various mortgage brokers or lenders. This discussion assumes Fixed Rate Mortgages.