New Refi Program Helps Lower-Income Borrowers Lower Their Monthly Payment

by Kimberly Rotter | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on June 11, 2021

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Lower-income Fannie Mae borrowers can lower their monthly mortgage payment.

A new mortgage refinance program from Fannie Mae is designed to help lower-income borrowers refinance their home loan and improve housing affordability.

Fannie Mae says that lower-income borrowers refinance mortgages at a slower pace than other borrowers. That might be because of the cost to refinance or possibly because a refinance application is too much trouble. The RefiNow™ program helps simplify the process and lower costs.

What is the RefiNow™ program?

The RefiNow™ program is a special refinance mortgage loan program that helps eligible borrowers get a lower rate on their mortgage and save money every month.

  • Qualified borrowers will get an interest rate at least 0.50% lower than their current rate.
  • The new monthly payment must be at least $50 lower than the current payment amount. Fannie Mae says most borrowers will save $100-$250 per month.
  • If the lender requires an appraisal, Fannie Mae will pay for it, up to $500.

In addition to the borrower benefits, the refinance lender will get a financial incentive. Certain fees will be waived.

Who qualifies for the low-income refi program?

Here is what you need to know about who can take advantage of this money-saving refinance opportunity:

  • RefiNow™ is only for people who have mortgages owned by Fannie Mae. You can find out if Fannie Mae owns your loan by visiting knowyouroptions.com.
  • Your loan must be at least one year old and not more than 10 years old.
  • Your loan can't already be a high LTV refinance loan, DU Refi Plus® loan, or Refi Plus® loan
  • Your mortgage must be secured by a single-unit home (no multiple units) and it must be your principal residence.
  • To qualify for the program, your current income cannot exceed 80% of the median income for your area.
  • You must be current on your mortgage payments. You cannot have missed a payment for the last six months. You may not have more than one late payment in the past 12 months.
  • You must have at least 3% equity in your home. The loan may not exceed 97% of your home's value.
  • The minimum credit score is 620.
  • The maximum debt-to-income ratio is 65%.

There are other limitations that your lender can tell you about. For example, you can't change the named borrowers and you can't get cash out.

Where can you get a RefiNow loan?

Virtually all of the best mortgage lenders participate in this program. Any Fannie Mae approved lender can offer a RefiNow loan. Some, like New American Funding, are actively advertising it and helping borrowers find out if they are eligible.

Why does it matter?

Getting a mortgage involves a cost and a process. The price tag and complexities might inspire some borrowers to settle in and pass up opportunities to save money by refinancing. Inertia is a powerful force.

Fannie Mae is helping to remove some of those obstacles by absorbing costs and streamlining the process. This program is for helping regular people keep more money in their pocket. The application criteria are generous, and the savings are real.

This opportunity should come as a welcome surprise to deserving homeowners who've been paying down their mortgage and could use a little more room in the monthly budget. The money saved on the mortgage payment could then be used to pay down debt, tackle home maintenance, or reach some other financial goal.

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