For those that have not refinanced in the last couple of years, you may want to think about it now. Rates are great, but slowly starting to increase. Home prices have come up so that may help you.
With the HARP guidelines, you have the ability to refinance your home if you closed by May 31, 2009 and your loan is serviced by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. If you aren't sure about that, you can go to Fannie or Freddie's website and look up your address. The websites are www.fanniemae.com and www.freddiemac.com. There are links to look up your address. You may have to play with your address, for example, street may be just st or if there is a direction in the address it may be in front or behind the street (123 n main st or it could be 123 main st n). If you are eligible, then you may be able to refinance even if you are upside down with your value.
FHA allows for streamline refi's and if you choose to pay your closing costs, you may not need an appraisal. If your loan was purchased by FHA by May 31, 2009, you can get a lower monthly mortgage insurance and drop the upfront MI from 1.75% to .01%!!
VA loans allow for a streamline refi called an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL). These also may not need an appraisal and have a lower upfront VA funding fee.
There is some discussion in Congress to lift even more of the HARP guidelines, maybe allowing people to refinance that bought their homes up to 2011. There is also discussion to allow loans that are not serviced by Fannie or Freddie to become HARP eligible. This would allow those that bought using alternative financing to refinance their homes.
If your loan isn't eligible for HARP, FHA or VA streamline refi's, talk to your loan officer. There has been an increase in values in the last year and maybe your home is worth more than you think. I have had several clients refinance lately because their home has increased in value. If you aren't quite there, the value may be soon – stay in touch with your loan officer and watch for more updates on the HARP programs.