The view made it irresistible…the mortgage made it toxic.  Numbers hit home when income does not add up to the house payment, and the house payment is way more than the current property value.

About 22.5 percent of American Dreamowners are sunk in negative equity, their mortgage balances exceeding the property values in the present market.  While many homeowners would benefit from a lower mortgage rate, closing expenses can be cost prohibitive to refinance.  The revised HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) is an instrument to address that problem and should be music to the ears of underwater homeowners.

The old HARP was out of tune with its expectations, playing to 800,000 home loans instead of its anticipated audience of 4 to 5 million.  With revisions, HARP 2.0 is supposed to have an amplified effect.

To qualify for HARP 2, your loan had to be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before June 2009.  (To research your loan with Freddie or Fannie, go online to www.freddiemac.com/mymortgage or to www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup.)

While the new HARP may be more harmonious with homeowner needs, banks can choose not to chime in.  Even if a homeowner meets all requirements for the new HARP program, the bank can turn down refinancing, leaving an echo of empty space between the distressed homeowner and resolution.

Refinance is only one tool in the toolbox.  Consult competent legal counsel for a full review of your circumstances, and the pursuit of a resolution best fit for you.