Mortgages, Whitewater and Boats!

I have been whitewater rafting several times and down several different rivers. One beautiful Saturday afternoon I went down a river I had never experienced before. It was a group adventure in southeast Tennessee. We had big red rafts, got some brief instructions, the appropriate safety equipment, a certified instructor and away we went. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Testing your will and sense of adventure against the beauty and majesty of mother-nature. Now…I did leave out one small, but important point.

I went with a group of guys and the guide was a friend of ours…so he felt his job was to try and dump us all out of the boat as often as possible. Funny!! HaHa!! Big Fun!! Well…..not so much. You see I spent most of the day out of the boat…on the bottom of the river…getting introduced to million-year-old river boulders….going through rapids on my back (face, front, head, etc…) and on the verge of drowning. Fun…Right? Side note…they instruct you that if you ever are out of the boat and going through a rapid to stay calm, go feet 1st and cross your arms over your chest. Now…that sounds great, but my reality was a little different. I look like mister potato head thrown across the river, lots of screaming like a 2-year old who has seen a spider and lots of cussing then praying for forgiveness (no one wants to die cussing). Those instructions are right up there with ‘if the plane starts going down stay calm and put your head between your knees’…right!

Now the only reason that story is important when it comes to mortgages is that a lot of families can relate to that feeling. The past 5-7 years have been tough. We have all witnessed the housing market struggle…not only witnessed it…but some of us have felt it ourselves. A lot of us have felt like I did on that river. Not knowing if we are going to make it…can’t reach the boat before the next set of rapids…barely keeping our nose above water…getting drug over the boulders of job loss, foreclosures and home values dropping. Let’s face it…odds are some folks owe more on our homes than they are worth.

You know that day on the river was a little scary, but there was no better feeling than when I saw calm water in front of me and finally reached a boat of good folks (I am sure they will all go to heaven). They pulled me in. I remember how good it felt to relax and finally get my breath.

Back to the mortgage world….there is a program available to some that is like that boat. It’s the H.A.R.P.  program. For home owners who owe more on their home than it’s worth…who may have tried to refinance and been turned down…who are struggling and don’t see the calm water ahead…it can be that boat!

What is the H.A.R.P program?

Home Affordable Refinance Program and it is designed to help homeowners who may owe more than their homes are currently worth refinance. You may be able to take advantage of the low rates even if you are underwater or upside down in your loan.

Do I qualify?

If your loan is owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae and you are current on your mortgage you may qualify. Even if you have tried to refinance in the past few years you should consider reaching out to a local mortgage professional to see if this program can help you. Believe it or not most homeowners do not even take advantage of this program. Crazy….like seeing the raft and not getting into it.

What should I do to find out?

Call a local mortgage professional you trust and sit down to go over your situation and the details of your loan. Usually this is a free and fast procedure.

You or someone you know may have been  ‘out of the boat’ at some point over the past few years…having some calm water ahead can make all the difference in the world. Like with most good things…this will not last forever. The window of opportunity is up to congress and just as fast as it was put into place it can be pulled off the table. The economy is showing signs of improvement and the housing market is bouncing back…this may be your time to get into the boat. Find out about H.A.R.P.

This blog is sponsored by:

Peoples Home Equity. PHE is Chattanooga’s local mortgage professional and home of the 28-day closing date guarantee (they close on time or they pay you). Find out more about them and if they can help you take advantage of the H.A.R.P. program by calling 423-591-9801 – look them up on facebook at Peoples Home Equity Chattanooga – visit them online or tune in Monday nights at 7pm to Talk Radio 102.3fm to ‘The Buyers Market’ (online at

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