HARP Refinance Program: Problems With Fannie/Freddie Loan Lookup Tool

If you are trying to use the HARP refinance program to redo the loan on one of your homes you will need to use the Fannie/Freddie loan lookup tools to check for program eligibility.

But many people have found the hard way these tools are not always accurate and there are some things you can do to make sure you’re not getting the dreaded “your loan is not eligible” feedback from the lookup tools in error.

HARP- Home Affordable Refinance Program

Fannie Mae Loan Lookup Tool

Freddie Mac Loan Lookup Tool

Things To Keep In Mind

  1. USPS Address Verification Tool
  2. Exact Name Spelling
  3. Additional Main Borrowers
  4. Check and Recheck

USPS Address Lookup Tool

Be sure you are using the exact address that the lender used when closing your initial loan when inputting it into the lookup tools.  Many addresses have multiple variances but you want to determine the exact official address for your property.

These examples are all different addresses to the lookup tools.  If you don’t input yours exactly the way USPS has it listed then you may be missing out.

3 Example Address Variances Of Same Address
123 N. Main Street
Chicago, IL 60606

123 North Main St.
Chicago, IL 60606

123 North Main Street
Chicago, IL 60606

If you are using the wrong variance of your address that doesn’t match up in the database that could cause a problem.

Use Exact Name Spelling

Peoples names can have many variations of spelling.  Make sure you are using the exact one in full that the lender used.  The default master name is usually the one on your drivers license.  But some lenders don’t require the exact legal name so the loan officer may have used the name you just gave them directly.

Maiden Names- If you got married and your name changed make sure you are using the one that was your name at time of application and closing on your mortgage.  Even if the lender has updated your name on your mortgage statement that name hasn’t been changed on the security instruments like the mortgage and note.

4 Examples Of Name Variations

  1. John Smith
  2. John A. Smith
  3. Jonathan Smith
  4. Jonathan A. Smith

These are all the same person but they aren’t all listed this way in the Fannie/Freddie lookup tools.  This could cause you to get a “property not eligible” error message when you could be eligible for a refinance.

Any Additional Main Borrowers?

Think back to when you did your loan.  Were you married to someone else?  Were there any other co-borrowers or main borrowers that helped you get that loan?

These could be reasons you aren’t finding your loan eligibility using only your name.  If there are additional names on the loan try looking those up as well.

Check And Recheck At A Later Date

Fannie and Freddie are constantly buying new loans and it’s possible that your loan wasn’t eligible in the past but now is.  Even if your loan servicer hasn’t changed it’s still possible that your end investor has.

We find loans that become eligible like this all the time.

Call Us We Can Help

If you’re still having problems with checking the eligibility of your HARP refi then call us.  We may be able to check it in a different way for you and also will have other program alternatives.


Quick Links: Illinois Property Tax Lookup

Search your tax bill quickly with our quick links to these major Illinois counties.

Do a property tax bill search and look up your tax bill.  Some sites will require you to have your PIN number.  You can retrieve that on your tax bill or by looking up your property address on the county assessor’s website.  Some counties are also helpful by phone.

Cook County Tax Bill Lookup

  1. Look Up PIN First- Cook County Assessor
  2. Look Up Tax Bill Second- Cook County Treasurer

DuPage County Tax Bill Lookup

Kane County Tax Bill Lookup

Lake County Tax Bill Lookup

McHenry County Tax Bill Lookup

Will County Tax Bill Lookup


How to get a mortgage before your divorce is finalized.

Getting Mortgage Before Divorce Finalized Audio File

Did you know that you can buy a home with a mortgage before your divorce is officially over?

Many lenders have overlays in their guidelines that don’t allow their company offer mortgages to individuals with pending divorces.  But there are some lenders out there that understand this landscape and have products to help them.

We have bridge loans you can use to buy a new home before your pending divorce is finalized.

Typically the idea is that you use our loan to acquire the new property.  Then once your divorce is finalized you will have a high likelihood of qualifying for a conventional mortgage.  Then you can refinance out of the bridge loan and into long term financing.

How do I buy a new house before my divorce is finalized?

Requirement Checklist

  • Minimum 30% Down Payment
  • Reserve Assets
  • Able To Qualify Conventional After Divorce
  • Responsible Credit Profile

Talk To Your Attorney

Even if a mortgage loan officer can get you a loan that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to buy that house.  Talk to your attorney to see if there are any special considerations you need to make.  You may be introducing new marital property to the equation that could complicate matters.

Here is a recent post regarding many indications you need to look out for when getting a mortgage while in a pending divorce.

Get Pre Qualified

We love helping out borrowers that are in a tough spot when getting divorced.  If you are in the Chicago area and are in a situation like this we’d love to help you out.

Getting your own home will help you move on with your life.  You will leave behind all those “reminders” you once had in a previous marriage.

Give us a call at 847-613-7843 and ask for Sean.  We’ll show you how easy it is to buy a home before your divorced is finalized.



Pre Approval: How much house can I afford?

The top 3 questions clients ask when buying a house are:

  1. What’s my monthly payment?
  2. What’s my down payment?
  3. How much house can I afford?

Today we are talking about the question of affordability and answering the question, “How much house can I afford?”

The amount of home you can afford is based on your ability to pay a specific monthly payment.

The monthly payment basically reverse engineers itself into the purchase price to create the amount you are approved for.  So typically a loan officer will first ask you about how much down payment you have and also what is your comfort level with a monthly payment.

Debt To Income Ratio’s

The debt to income is the threshold that the lender will allow you to borrower in terms of monthly payment.

In general they like to see you 34% Front End Ratio and 43% Back End Ratio.  However there are many cases where these can go much higher.  FHA mortgages allow you to go up to 46.99% Front End Ratio and 56.99% Back End Ratio.  So with FHA loans typically you will qualify for much more house than you will with conventional loans.

Normal DTI’s 34%/43%

High DTI’s 46.99%/56.99%

Front End Ratio Calculation

Take the total PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) of the new loan and divide that by the monthly income.

For example a $2,000 monthly mortgage payment divided by $5,000 monthly income would give you a 40% front end ratio.

Back End Ratio Calculation

Take the total PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) of the new loan PLUS all the minimum payments of all other outstanding debts you have and divide that by your monthly income.

For example a $2,000 monthly mortgage payment plus $500 in other debits divided by $5,000 monthly income would give you a 50% back end ratio.

The Comfort Zone

Many times we can approve a borrower for more than they actually “want” to afford.  This means that we could possibly approve you for an amount that would make the monthly payment too high for your comfort zone.

In this case we would tighten up the purchase price to accommodate your monthly payment preferences.

The Pre Approval Letter

Once we have settled on a pre approved amount for your home purchase we will issue a pre approval letter to you.  This is a letter from the lender stating that you have gone through the process of getting approved for a mortgage.

You will submit that with your offer to prove this to the seller.  Here is an example copy of Sample Pre Approval Letter PDF

Residential Mortgages – Loan Officer