I can hardly believe it, but we've been approved for the mortgage refinance - the one that we did not initiate. It seriously was about the easiest thing we've ever done. It entailed a five-minute phone conversation and our commitment to take the closing papers to the bank and have them notarized. That's it. Keep in mind, when we actually did initiate an attempt to refinance a couple of years ago, we were turned down flat because of the amount of our debt.
So, in case this can help anyone, this is being done under HARP - Home Affordable Refinance Program. As I understand it, the program was initially for homeowners who were underwater or very close to it. Recently, though, it has been expanded and equity is no longer the marker of eligibility. There are two main requirements. 1. Your mortgage must be held by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. (Who knew ours has been Freddie Mac since 2003? It's easy to check online.) 2. You can only use the HARP once.
While they do run a credit check, they don't have any debt ratio requirements. I believe the credit check is to confirm that there are no accounts in collection and that there hasn't been a foreclosure. Our refinance is a 3-step HARP through Wells Fargo, our current mortgage holder. There are NO closing costs. I checked that one out thoroughly! The amount listed on our closing documents is what we owe on the mortgage.
As long as we get the papers signed, notarized and returned by March 25, our interest rate drops more than 2 percent.
All I can say is, WOO HOO!!!