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Massachusetts condo-owners mortgage relief may be available

Massachusetts condominium owners seeking to refinance their mortgage have been in a rather tough spot in the real estate market for the past several years. Although the federal program known as the Home Affordable Refinance Program has been in existence for a few years now, many condominium owners were prevented from refinancing due to the programs restrictions on condominiums. The federal guidelines were difficult to meet however, with HARP 2.0, as some real estate experts are calling it many of the restrictions for condo owners have been removed.

The original HARP program required no more than 10 percent of the units in a condo complex could be owned by one person. And no more than 20 percent of the owners in a complex could be behind on their dues to the homeowners association, or HOA. This prevented many condominium owners from being able to refinance when the rates were plummeting. With the new HARP guidelines much of that has changed.

If you own a condominium, the success or failure of your neighbors no longer affects whether or not you qualify for the HARP program. The association's finances are no longer linked to the process nor are the restrictions on ownership percentages. As long as your mortgage was sold to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae or is held by either of these companies you may be able to find mortgage relief through the expanded HARP 2.0 program.

There are still some income and other miscellaneous restrictions in place but the changes are a welcome addition to the resources available to Massachusetts homeowners who want to take advantage of the current low mortgage rates. If you need assistance understanding or qualifying for the various state and federal mortgage relief programs, consult with an experienced real estate attorney in your area to learn what refinancing options are available to you.

Source: FreerateUPDATE, "Condominium Owners Find Relief with HARP 2.0," Rosemary Rugnetta, July 5, 2012

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