What Is a Streamline Refinance?

Last updated on October 15th, 2020
What Is a Streamline Refinance?

Mortgage Q&A: “What is a streamline refinance?”

While qualifying for a mortgage refinance is generally a lot harder than it has been in the past (now that lenders actually care how your mortgage performs), there are less cumbersome options available.

In fact, many lenders offer “streamlined” alternatives to existing borrowers to lower costs and make refinancing more accessible.

Plenty of banks out there have their own “streamline refinance” programs that come with looser credit scoring requirements, easier income and asset verification, and limited paperwork.

And in some cases, you don’t even need to order a home appraisal. Put simply, a streamline refinance takes a lot of the legwork (and time) out of the process, and may increase your chances of approval.

However, streamline refinances also come with their own list of requirements, namely that the refinance has a “net tangible benefit.”

In other words, it should help the homeowner, not just put money in the pocket of the loan originator.

This generally means that the mortgage rate should drop by an amount that will eclipse any related fees, and/or that the loan is converted from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage.

Streamline Refinance Guidelines

streamline refinance

Here’s a condensed list of possible streamline refinance guidelines and rules:

  • Must be current on your existing mortgage
  • Refinance must clearly benefit the borrower (e.g. lower payment or ARM to FRM)
  • No cash out allowed
  • Limited income/asset verification
  • Minimal credit requirements
  • Less paperwork
  • Faster processing
  • Lower closing costs
  • No appraisal necessary

*Keep in mind that these guidelines can vary widely from bank to bank, and not every lender will offer a streamline refinance, or approve you if they do.

Also note that a streamline refinance can take just as long as a regular refinance. They aren’t necessarily faster, they’re just meant to be easier to qualify for.

FHA Streamline Refinance

  • Loan must be already be FHA-insured (aka an existing FHA loan)
  • The borrower must be current on payments (not delinquent)
  • The refinance must result in a tangible benefit (lower mortgage payment)
  • No money can go to the borrower (in excess of $500 in incidental cash)

Perhaps one of the most popular and well-known streamline refinance options out there comes courtesy of the FHA.

In fact, the FHA has permitted “streamline refinances” since the early 1980s, making them a pioneer of sorts in the business of expedited mortgages.

Of course, they’ve become much more popular lately thanks to the mortgage crisis, which has brought down home values tremendously.

An FHA streamline refinance makes it easy to refinance your mortgage to a lower mortgage rate without the need for an appraisal, many of which happen to come in low these days.

In fact, if an appraisal is conducted and it’s not favorable, the FHA will even allow lenders to ignore it and set it aside.

Don't let today's rates get away.

Additionally, because there is no credit scoring requirement and limited documentation requirements, most borrowers can qualify for an FHA streamline refinance quite effortlessly, even if they don’t have adequate income, assets, or employment.

These are known as “non-credit qualifying” streamline refis because the typical in-depth underwriting process is avoided.

It should be noted that while the FHA doesn’t require a credit report, the individual lender might as part of their own guidelines. Or they may just ask for a mortgage-only credit report.

The idea here is that a borrower with smaller monthly mortgage payments is a less risky borrower, which is good for the hard-hit FHA.

So even if it sounds risky to give a homeowner a new mortgage with very little paperwork, they’re actually just being given a more affordable mortgage.

For example, if their existing payment is $2,000 per month and a streamline refi can get their payment down to $1,500 per month, chances are they’ll have an easier time making payments. Of course, it’s never a guarantee.

Use a refinance calculator to determine how much you can save in the way of monthly mortgage payments.

There are just a handful of simple requirements necessary for approval.

As long as your existing mortgage is an FHA loan and in good standing (not delinquent), and the refinance will result in a lower monthly mortgage payment (or you’re converting your ARM to a FRM), you should be good to go.

You can even streamline a 203k loan to the standard 203b FHA loan program with some lenders.

There are cases when income will be verified and DTI ratios computed, but only if the refinance increases the mortgage payment by 20% or more, if a borrower is removed triggering the due-on-sale clause, or following a loan assumption.

In these scenarios, a streamline is still possible but it has to be “credit qualifying,” which is a bit more involved underwriting wise.

FHA Streamline Seasoning Requirements

Aside from the details discussed above, there are seasoning requirements that must also be met, including the following:

– you must have made at least six (6) payments on the FHA-insured mortgage before refinancing
– six (6) full months must have passed since the first payment due date of the original mortgage
– 210 days must have passed from the closing date of the original mortgage

If the loan is less than 12 months old, you aren’t allowed any mortgage lates. If it’s greater than 12 months, you are permitted no more than one 30-day late payment in the preceding 12 months.

And the three most recent payments must have been timely.

Also note that no cash out can be taken out via a FHA streamline refinance. Only rate and term refinances work here.

However, you can get your hands on a no cost refinance, meaning you won’t necessarily need to pay out-of-pocket expenses, but you’ll be stuck with a higher interest rate in return.

This is common because the FHA doesn’t allow lenders to roll closing costs into the new mortgage amount on a streamline refinance without an appraisal. And most people gravitate to this program for that appraisal waiver.

To sum it up, because no appraisal is required, the FHA streamline refinance is an excellent option for those who are underwater on their mortgages, of which there are many.

Tip: President Obama recently lowered mortgage insurance premium costs on FHA Streamline Refinances to help more borrowers take advantage of the record low mortgage rates currently on offer.

VA Streamline Refinance

  • A streamline is also possible for VA loans
  • It’s known as an IRRRL
  • Process can be very quick and easy
  • And doesn’t require an appraisal or COE

The FHA isn’t the only one offering streamline refinances. The VA also offers a streamlined “VA loan to VA loan” refinance, known as an “Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan,” or IRRRL for short.

Yes, that’s a lot of “R’s,” but a VA streamline refinance is easy to execute and can save you a lot of money now that mortgage rates are so low.

Compare pre-qualified rates.

The same basic rules apply. Your refinance must result in a lower interest rate, or you must switch from an ARM to a fixed-rate mortgage, and no cash out is permitted.

The VA does not require an appraisal or a credit underwriting package, and you have the option of rolling the refinance costs into the new loan or opting for a no cost refinance.

Additionally, a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA is not required, making a refinance a snap compared to the usual process.

HARP Streamline Refinance

  • A popular streamline solution
  • For borrowers with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans
  • LTV must be greater than 80% (there’s no maximum limit)
  • But loan must have been originated on or before May 31, 2009

You may have also heard of HARP and HARP 2.0, a streamlined loan program that allows underwater homeowners to refinance their mortgage, no matter how high their loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is.

This is now known as a High LTV Refinance.

The same simple qualification requirements (or lack thereof) apply here, though your loan must be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and must have been sold to the pair on or before May 31, 2009.

Additionally, your current LTV must be north of 80%, which isn’t a problem for most homeowners these days.

Finally, you must be current on your mortgage at the time of refinance, with no late payments in the past six months and no more than one late payment in the preceding 12 months.

Assuming you qualify, you should be able to get your hands on a much lower mortgage rate, even with an excessively high LTV, all with limited fees and closing costs.

Is Streamlining Your Refinance the Best Deal?

  • Sometimes the easiest option isn’t the cheapest one
  • So make sure the streamline refinance is actually the best deal
  • It should have the lowest interest rate and closing costs
  • Relative to other mortgage programs you may qualify for

While a streamline refinance may be your easiest option, it may not be the best choice for you.

Whenever you’re in the market for a refinance, it’s wise to take the time to shop around.

That means looking beyond your current lender and/or loan type to see if there’s something better out there.

For example, it might be better to have a conventional loan instead of an FHA loan, even if that means going through the whole underwriting process as opposed to a streamline.

You may find a lower mortgage rate with a new lender that will justify a more involved qualification process.

Sure, it can be a pain to refinance your mortgage, but the savings afforded each month and over your lifetime should definitely be worth your time.

Read more: When to refinance your mortgage.


  1. Stephanie July 21, 2013 at 7:46 pm -

    Is there one particular bank or lender that specializes in streamline refinance loans, or does every bank do them? I want to use a bank that knows what they’re doing!

  2. Colin Robertson July 23, 2013 at 11:57 am -

    Lots of banks, lenders, and brokers offer streamline loans. However, there are certainly ones that specialize in them, so they may be better suited than say a big bank that primarily goes after purchase and/or traditional refinance business. Be sure to shop around, as you would for any other type of mortgage to find the right fit.

  3. Nicholas July 31, 2013 at 10:53 pm -

    The FHA streamline is a great deal for today’s underwater borrower – no appraisal and you get an amazing discount on your mortgage insurance premiums thanks to Obama. Can’t beat that.

  4. Terry GEbauer October 22, 2013 at 8:57 am -

    I currently have a conventional mortgage – Excellent Credit. I am interested in a Streamline loan. My last refinance was 1/25/2010. The rate is 5.375. I would love to refinance and skip the appraisal and all the additional costs. The date I last refinanced keeps coming up as a reason I cannot. Why,

  5. Colin Robertson October 22, 2013 at 9:58 am -


    HARP (the streamline refi program for conventional loans) is only available to those who took out their mortgage before June 1, 2009. This is the cutoff date, which some politicians have been trying to push forward to no avail (yet). Stay tuned, it could happen as they make a renewed push for HARP.

  6. Meghan L. January 24, 2014 at 9:32 am -

    I heard there’s going to be a streamline refinance program for non-Fannie Mae loans. Is this true or just more media hype?

  7. Colin Robertson January 26, 2014 at 10:20 pm -

    There has been talk of a streamline refi program for private mortgages, such as those not backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, but thus far nothing has happened, and the longer we get away from the crisis (and the closer we get to a recovery), the less chance such a program will materialize. But there has been talk of one lately, so it’s still possible!

  8. Marian January 31, 2014 at 7:47 am -

    Can you do a streamline refinance after a loan modification? Or a regular refinance?

  9. Latesha February 5, 2014 at 9:05 am -

    Is there a streamline refinance program for non-conforming loans? My loan isn’t owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

  10. Colin Robertson February 5, 2014 at 10:11 am -


    Now that mortgage volume is down, lenders are getting a lot more flexible in allowing refinances after a loan mod. The only requirement in some cases is that you’ve been current on the loan for 24 months. Not sure they can streamline it though…

  11. Colin Robertson February 5, 2014 at 10:33 am -

    Obama has mentioned opening up HARP for non-Fannie/Freddie loans, but it hasn’t happened yet and might not ever come about. If you have a non-conforming loan, you might want to contact your lender/loan servicer for options, assuming you can’t obtain a traditional refinance. You might be able to execute an FHA short refinance if you’re underwater and current on your mortgage.

  12. Patricia Duffey May 22, 2014 at 9:17 am -

    Can I convert a conventional Freddie Mac loan to a FHA Streamline loan? I’m in GA, & my home is “underwater”. I’ve never been late or missed a payment since 4/99. I’ve had various loan re-fi’s with Wells Fargo (W.F.) I just want to lower my interest rate from 6.75% to the lowest rate possible. My payment is $864.00, & want to save money. It seems that there’s a program for everyone, but me. Please reply if you can help or advise me. Thnx

  13. Colin Robertson May 22, 2014 at 9:36 am -


    The first rule to streamline an FHA loan is that the existing mortgage to be refinanced must already be FHA-insured. If you have a conventional loan you should be able to qualify for a HARP refinance instead, which is offered to those with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans.

  14. Lyndie Callahan July 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm -

    I have been trying to get a streamline to lower my payments on my current FHA loan but was told by Bank of America I didn’t qualify because I didn’t remove my husband from the title when he died 2 years ago and I need to be on the title by myself for 6 months. I was wondering if this was true? The bank wants me to do a conventional loan instead. I would really like some advice please if you have time. Thank you.

  15. Colin Robertson July 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm -


    I believe your husband would have to be off title for six months and you’d have to show proof of making payments for six months. Though there might be an immediate option via a “credit qualifying streamline refinance” with the FHA. However, it does require verified income and a credit pull to determine if you can keep up with payments. You might also consider a broker who can give you a bunch of options at once to see what’s best for your situation. Big banks aren’t typically very savvy if anything is the least bit complicated.

  16. Eva Jimenez August 23, 2014 at 12:54 pm -

    What constitutes a Refi? How does it differ from a modification? It’s a Freddie/Fannie first mortgage, and I have a second on the property. The lender is doing a “modification” with reduced fixed rate instead of variable, plus lower payments, longer term and a reduced principal balance. The lender says is a “mod” but they want me to sign off on it. I say its a refi, they assured me it’s not. My concern is that the lender will not require an escrow account for either taxes or insurance, so my risk goes way up. Your thoughts?

  17. Colin Robertson August 25, 2014 at 8:50 am -


    A modification is just as it sounds, modifying the terms of your existing loan in some way, though the definition can get murky if the lender extends the term and changes the interest rate. A refinance means your existing mortgage is being paid off and replaced with a new mortgage. Not requiring an escrow account doesn’t mean it’s high risk…in fact, lower risk loans do not require escrows in many cases. If you want to escrow your taxes and insurance, you should have that option.

  18. libby K October 6, 2014 at 7:47 pm -

    My lender is telling me I can’t do a streamline refinance because the loan needs to be in the original borrowers names . My husbands will be removed an have someone to be a co – borrower with me . Everything I have read sounds like I should be able to do this . Can you help me ?

  19. Colin Robertson October 7, 2014 at 10:12 am -


    If you think you qualify based on what you’ve read, perhaps speaking to a different lender and/or a mortgage broker might be helpful. Generally, you need to prove the ability to make payments and/or show proof of making payments on the existing loan.

  20. Carmen January 8, 2015 at 11:04 am -

    How do you shop for a mortgage refinance? It seems that all the bankers I deal with want to pull my credit or want to stall before they give me any hard numbers.

  21. Colin Robertson January 8, 2015 at 11:12 am -


    Unfortunately that’s how the industry operates, much like any other competitive product offered. The good news is that FICO considers credit inquiries within a certain period as just one credit hit. But you can still shop around without a credit report; just tell people your estimated credit score and all other pertinent details to get a reliable quote. There’s also Zillow’s marketplace, that allows for anonymous quotes, your local bank/credit union, and so on. There are many options but all require you to negotiate and be firm. Good luck!

  22. Manuel January 20, 2015 at 8:49 pm -

    I’m trying to streamline refinance. The lender sent me the GFE and it is showing settlement charges. The lender offer no-cost and I don’t understand how will pay that amount.

    I ask the lender and she stated that:
    “The charges all of those will be covered with a lender credit and will show as a $0 balance on the final documents. You should be able to see on the GFE the credit as well.”

    I don’t getter “lender credit” and how that can be no cost to me.?

  23. Colin Robertson January 21, 2015 at 11:54 am -


    Lenders will offer you a higher-than-market interest rate (say 4.5% versus 4%) and receive a credit in return. That credit is X amount of dollars and is used to offset or cover all your closing costs. So you effectively pay for the costs via a higher rate of interest.

  24. margaret g January 23, 2015 at 9:37 am -

    what they do not tell you is you will pay prepaid mpi again in amount of 3000. or more . why would you when i myself paid 5000. the first time. not worth it

  25. Kenneth February 9, 2015 at 5:26 pm -

    The problem with the fha streamline or any fha loan for that matter is that you now have to pay the pmi insurance for the life of the loan. Instead of it being cancelled after reaching the loan to value rate of 80%. So sure you can save 60$ a month on your mortgage but now you will be paying thousands & thousands more over the life of the loan. In my case the pmi is 600$ a month, I’m set to have it cancelled in 5 years, I will save 600$ a month for the following 25 years, this is not possible with the new changes in the fha.

  26. Colin Robertson February 11, 2015 at 3:23 pm -

    Good point Kenneth. I hope borrowers realize what they’re getting into down the road by saving money today…though not everyone actually holds their mortgage for more than a few years.

  27. rebecca February 22, 2015 at 10:43 am -

    Im working on streamlining my FHA loan. I reviewed the application with my lender yesterday and noticed the term said 30 years- we bought our house 18 months ago, shouldn’t the term reflect that? shouldn’t the term of the loan say 28 years? Also, its my understanding that FHA streamlining grants a 3.75% interest rate. is that the case? I just want to be sure that not only is our monthly payments going to decrease but that we’re still paying the same $ into the amount owed on the mortgage. How can i be sure? Thank you!

  28. Colin Robertson February 22, 2015 at 2:03 pm -


    The term starts over when you refinance. What some people do is make their old, higher monthly payment to pay down the mortgage faster at the new low interest rate. Rates fluctuate and can vary based on your specific loan scenario. Have the lender show you the math to ensure it’s actually saving you money both monthly and long-term.

  29. jessie March 18, 2015 at 6:43 pm -

    Hi,my lender offered two options which would you believe would be a more beneficial? One is to do a piggy back loan like we started several months ago. We do a first to 80% of appraisal and a 2nd for up to 10% of value or the difference you need. That eliminates mortgage insurance. But all borrowers need to have 700 FICO scores for the 2nd loan program. The other option is we can do a streamline. The streamline program requires no appraisal and no qualifying. We replace your existing FHA loan with a new one with the reduced mortgage insurance. It looks like in a streamline your payments will go down about $235/month.

  30. Cara March 26, 2015 at 5:45 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    I’m talking to my lender about an FHA Streamline, and they have included a $400 non-refundable application deposit AND a request for appraisal in the disclosure forms. Is this normal?

  31. Colin Robertson March 30, 2015 at 10:36 am -


    It’s pretty common for lenders to take an application fee/deposit, which usually goes toward the appraisal cost.

  32. Adlemi April 5, 2015 at 12:59 am -

    Hi Colin, you think its better to refinance via streamline FHA with 3.625 APR,I’m on my 6th year of my 15 year mortgage,4.5 APR, The reason I want to refinance is to lower my monthly payment which I will by $400 if i refinance,what you think? Thanks

  33. Colin Robertson April 5, 2015 at 4:15 pm -


    It depends what your goal is…have you looked at conventional financing to avoid mortgage insurance? Or a 10-year fixed to avoid extending the loan term, assuming you want to pay off the loan? Lots of options to consider, but all personal preference.

  34. Adlemi April 5, 2015 at 4:52 pm -

    Colin, if i do conventional loan, my house needs appraisal, my house is in good shape except some rotten wood in my front house wood works moulding which im afraid it will affect the value of the house, i really dont want to pay off the loan ,just need less monthly mortgage payment

  35. kelton April 21, 2015 at 11:21 am -


    First of all I wanted to say thank you for taking your time and responding to our questions.

    My property is under FHA loan and recently I was getting in mail eligibility notices on refinancing. I called today and I was told that I should be qualified for streamline refinance within the next 10 days as long as my credit score is above 580 and that I haven’t missed any payment.
    I asked the agent that what are the refinancing costs and I was told that there isn’t any cost. Too good to be true right? If there aren’t any fees how do banks make the money with streamline refinancing?

  36. Colin Robertson April 21, 2015 at 12:35 pm -


    By no costs they mean no out-of-pocket costs to the borrower. Fees are still paid via the interest rate, but over time as opposed to at closing. Also note that mortgage insurance may be in place for the entire loan term if it isn’t already.

  37. Theresa April 28, 2015 at 10:28 pm -

    hello, i currently have a fha loan and i’d like to refi and pull money out. i don’t want to have an appraisal, because the house needs fixing. However, the money i pull out will be used to fix up the home. can you recommend a loan that fits my options. Thank you!

  38. Colin Robertson April 29, 2015 at 10:18 am -


    If work needs to be done on the home, you might want to look into the FHA 203k loan, which allows renovation costs to be included in the new mortgage.

  39. micki May 5, 2015 at 4:59 pm -

    Colin, I have a FHA loan at 4.25% with and my PMI is 180$ a month. My mortgage company contacted me and said they will take me to 3.85% lower my PMI to 100$ and will streamline my loan for the same number of months that I owe now and that they will pay all closing costs. Only issue is interest missed on the one month payment that will be skipped will be added to the loan which is about 1100$. Is this to good to be true?

  40. Colin Robertson May 5, 2015 at 7:06 pm -


    That’s exactly the point of the streamline refi…to lower payments and save you money with little hassle. Talk to them about timing the refinance to avoid extra interest expense.

  41. Carolyn May 6, 2015 at 6:50 am -

    I have been trying to get a streamline refinance with no success… According to the information I read a Streamline Refinance does not require an income verification, does not require a credit check , and does not require an appraisal ……all of the lenders I have talked to are requiring income and credit verification…..

  42. Colin Robertson May 6, 2015 at 9:32 am -


    Did you ask why they are requiring it? The FHA generally doesn’t require such verification, but many individual lenders do to ensure their loans don’t default.

  43. sonya May 14, 2015 at 4:33 am -

    We just got offered the streamline through our lender, but it’s only going to save us $60 of the $160 we pay in PMI and the same 4.25 rate. I’m wondering if we should take it, or just hold out for better savings and rates?

  44. Colin Robertson May 14, 2015 at 8:21 am -


    Depends what your goal is…also look at total interest across both loans and fact that MI may be intact for life if it’s FHA.

  45. sonya May 15, 2015 at 7:37 am -

    Thanks Colin…We bought the home in Oct 2014, but we don’t love the home….just the location, so I’m thinking we should stay 2 yrs and move the house to purchase another home in the same area. That’s why I’m hesitant to “redo” the loan for such a small savings.

    I believe the PMI will be on the loan until we reach 20% equity in the home…I don’t think we will reach that before we are ready to sell though.

    I don’t want to do something that will put us in a bad position to sell when we are ready.

  46. Karin May 20, 2015 at 3:32 pm -

    We have a primary loan with a bank and a piggyback with a different lender. We’ve had the loans for ten years and have never refinanced. Now we’d like to do a refi that wraps both into one loan, and we’ll bring money to the table to get us to 80/20. If we do a streamline loan with our bank, will they let us wrap in the second mortgage?

  47. Colin Robertson May 20, 2015 at 4:24 pm -


    If you’re referring to an FHA streamline, the second mortgage has to be re-subordinated. Check out HUD 4155.1 3.C.3.b and HUD 4155.1 3.C.2.f. for more information.

  48. Damaris May 29, 2015 at 10:00 am -

    Thank you, Colin, for wonderful advice on mortgages. My lender called and offered to give me a reduced interest, 3.7% from 4.7% and a 25-year loan. We have owned our house for 7 years come July, 2015. He said it will allow us to pay off the house sooner and save us money. Will I have to continue paying PMI for the life of the loan? Right now I’m interested in the lender ridding me of the PMI based on the 80/20 ratio? Is this a good deal or should I stay with my current loan? Thanks

  49. Colin Robertson May 29, 2015 at 5:06 pm -


    You do need to watch out for PMI for the life of the loan…perhaps refinancing to a conventional loan instead and dropping PMI entirely might save you more money.

  50. Idalia June 28, 2015 at 9:26 pm -

    Our 1st mortgage through Southbridge Savings bank in Massachusetts is an ARM, which is at ~2.25% right now. It adjusts every 3yrs and can only only go adjust by 2%. We also have a second mortgage thru Sallie Mae that has a fixed rate of over 10%. We’ve tried to modify and refinance with the each of the banks, but both declined us. We have always been up to date with our payments. Do we have any other options to be able to refinance and get a fixed rate that would include both loans so that we would only have 1 payment?

  51. Colin Robertson June 29, 2015 at 8:43 am -


    You could try a traditional refinance where you just consolidate both loans into one new loan. Just make sure the new blended rate is favorable to the existing setup.

  52. Thelma July 6, 2015 at 4:53 pm -

    My husband had called our mortgage company Greentree for a FHA streamline refi. We pay 1530. For our mortgage payment and pay 200. Toward our principal each month. As per his conversation with the mortgage agent… He was told we could get a 3.99 for a 15 year FHA streamline refi. And save 60.00 a month with what we’re paying now. And the closing would be 2800 that we could add to the loan. As of now…we have a 30 year FHA loan at 5.875 and if we continue doing the 200.00 toward our principal …. The mortgage agent said we would pay our house paid off in 15 years and 11 months. My husband said the mortgage guy said over all we would save around 20,000 and pay our home off 11 months early…. Can you please help me see if this is something we should do… We are current and no late payments…and have a lot of equity in our home….guess over 200.000… I can’t always prove my income because I am self employed..So would it be wise to streamline refi FHA or just keep doing what we’re doing? Your Advice would be appreciated…..thanks Colin.

  53. Colin Robertson July 7, 2015 at 11:55 am -


    It depends on your goals, what you can afford, and what you’d like to pay toward the mortgage each month. Keep in mind you may also have to pay mortgage insurance on the new loan for 11 years. Best to do a side-by-side comparison to see ALL costs before you proceed.

  54. Elana July 17, 2015 at 9:18 am -

    Hi Colin,

    I am currently going through a divorce and need to refi my mortgage to get my husband off the note.
    My current lender, who is in another state, is offering around the same rate as a mortgage broker in town that I can deal with.
    Is there any benefit to keeping my loan with the current lender, such as extra paperwork, fees, paying out taxes? I’m wondering if I keep the loan with the same lender if I will have to pay out the taxes that would be owed at closing or will they roll that over. Also, can I ask them to guarantee me a certain rate if my credit scores turn out to be as high as I think they are?

  55. Lucy July 20, 2015 at 1:29 pm -

    Hi Colin,
    Thank you for your article. We have an FHA at 5.25 and we purchased our home 5 years ago and we’re currently about $5,000 under water. I’d like to look into the FHA streamline refi. Is it wiser to try to work with current lender or to shop around?
    Thank you.

  56. Colin Robertson July 20, 2015 at 3:19 pm -


    Not necessarily if you can get the loan done for less money elsewhere and at a lower interest rate. It’s generally always smart to shop around to find the best deal.

  57. Colin Robertson July 20, 2015 at 3:51 pm -


    You can compare costs/rate of both…not sure the current lender will offer many more benefits over another aside from familiarity and perhaps help with your escrow account, but if you like them and the pricing is right, that might be beneficial to YOU and enough to go with them again.

  58. Regina C July 28, 2015 at 9:22 am -

    I purchased my home in June 2010. It is an FHA loan at 5.25%. My current PMI is about $90 a month. I am looking into a streamline refinance. It looks like the PMI will be about $145 a month, with a 4.5% rate and I would save about $200 per month on the loan. Do you think it would be worth doing the streamline? Reading through other questions it looks like my current PMI will eventually drop off but if I refi it is on forever. Ironically the $200 in savings was the initial mortgage amount in 2010 but our property taxes keep increasing each year.

  59. Colin Robertson August 2, 2015 at 12:29 pm -


    Yes, mortgage insurance on FHA loans stays for the life of the loan in many cases, so if you’re planning to keep the loan for a while it might greatly reduce the benefit for a refi…do the math to see how it impacts your refinance.

  60. Irene August 19, 2015 at 8:01 am -

    I “qualify” for HARP. The state (California) is offering funds if we qualify. (Which they are making nearly impossible). They put up these videos then make you jump through hoops. Really a waste of time. Can knock off up to 100 if approved. If I get this done then do a regular refi. My payments would be a comfortable amount. I started paper on a Harp refi but they won’t give me the current value on it. So…state program, harp refi, or streamline?
    Adjustable rate 3,4 then 4.75 every year
    Owe 325k
    Value 293k
    My uncle is on the loan not the deed.
    My husband is on the deed not the loan.

  61. Andi August 26, 2015 at 12:12 pm -

    We recently tried to get approved for a streamline loan. We did not get approved. This company did not approve us because there was difficulties with his self-employment status. Even though we have taxes to prove otherwise. We want to try again. Do you have any advice going into this for us a second time?

  62. Colin Robertson August 26, 2015 at 3:18 pm -


    If you have taxes to prove otherwise why aren’t they approving it? And will you be able to convince the next lender differently?

  63. Robin September 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm -

    Thank you for your article. It is the most clearly presented. We obtained a USDA loan in 2012 for 3.5% on 30 year fixed and are now being solicited for refi. None advertise rates at or below 3.5%. Would the reduction in MIP be enough to offset a slightly higher interest rate?

  64. Colin Robertson September 8, 2015 at 9:33 am -


    Depends how much cheaper the MI is relative to the cost of the refinance, along with the fact that the loan restarts when you refi and thus more interest is paid over time unless you sell before maturation.

  65. Alene Stewart September 19, 2015 at 6:07 pm -

    I’m in need of help.
    I have an FHA mortgage and have been trying to sell. I have been qualified to get a conventional mortgage with keeping this house to rent. Problem is, I pay close to 6% interest and have no equity in this house. I wouldn’t be able to rent this house for what I pay in mortgage cost. I’ve asked about refinancing and was told I wouldn’t be able to do that and wouldn’t want to if I’m trying to sell, anyway. Is a streamline mortgage an option? Or available for me?

  66. Colin Robertson September 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm -


    You can inquire with a lender to see if you’re eligible for a streamline refi, but as others mentioned, refinancing and selling don’t really mix. You might want to determine if you really want to keep the existing home and at what payment (if you can refinance) it would make sense to do so.

  67. Melvin Duran October 6, 2015 at 11:08 am -


    I curently have an FHA loan with Wells Fargo Bank at 6%, I no longer pay PMI. The value of the property is between 130,000-140,000 and the loan balance is $86400. I had a 30 day late on February 2015 so they are telling me that I have to wait until March of next year to apply. I don’t mind waiting until March, but can you please give me some advice as to which would be the best loan for me so I can refinance, FHA Streamline OR HARP refinance, etc..

  68. Colin Robertson October 7, 2015 at 11:18 am -


    HARP is for high-LTV loans and those that are underwater. Sounds like you have some decent equity there so you may actually benefit from a conventional refinance (not FHA) to avoid PMI altogether, assuming you can qualify. Be sure to explore all options.

  69. Melvin Duran October 7, 2015 at 1:05 pm -


    Thanks for your response. I just talked to a WellsFargo representative and he gave me the quotes below for a Streamline Refinance. I think it’s kind of high but I am going to explore more options.

    He said I have 17 years left on my current loan at 6%$915, new loan will be for 15 years -2 at a fix rate of 4.425% apr 5.1480 and new payment will go up $30, so new payment will be between $945-950, and i have to bring $1500 at closing. What do you think about this #’s?

    Since I have enough equity in the house I am thinking that a conventional loan will be best, but since my credit score at the moment it’s below 600 I don’t think I will qualify but I guess I just need to talk to a very experience loan officer and see what my best option will be. I am also working in making my credit better and a lot of negative items have already been removed in the last month and there will be 5 other items removed from now till January 2016. I am just afraid that if I wait till January to have my credit report pull to see if the score has gone up that it will be too late cause interest rates might go up

    Best Regards,

  70. Colin Robertson October 7, 2015 at 3:31 pm -


    If you get your credit score back up conventional options should be available. That might be the best path, even if you have to wait a bit to refinance. As you said, explore more options and work on your scores.

  71. rex a December 31, 2015 at 8:57 am -

    Currently, I have a FHA loan. I’ve had it since 2008. My current rate is 5 7/8. My credit score is not that good ( probably between 630 to 650 ). My income is very little but my mortgage payments have been very good for the past year and a half. Can I get a HARP streamline?

  72. Colin Robertson December 31, 2015 at 10:56 am -


    The only way to know for sure is to speak with some lender that offer HARP loans. They’ll run all your numbers to determine eligibility. Good luck.

  73. Colin Robertson February 16, 2016 at 12:26 pm -


    If you plan on refinancing again in the near future, you may want to opt for the no cost (out of pocket) route with the slightly higher rate since you won’t actually benefit from the lower rate for very long if you refinance again shortly.

  74. Ruth February 24, 2016 at 6:18 pm -

    How can banks afford to do no cost streamline refinances? Our Good Faith Estimate indicates $10k in closing costs but we only have to pay 2 months homeowners insurance and 2 months taxes. Are banks being reimbursed by the government? Or what is the incentive to give borrowers a break for free?

  75. Colin Robertson February 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm -


    It’s pretty simple – they charge folks a higher interest rate.

  76. Durrell March 9, 2016 at 11:09 am -

    Hello, I was just offered a fha streamline loan from my original lender. I currently have a 4.5% rate. They say they can do 3.5% streamline. loan originated 7 months ago. I have 720+ credit score. Should I go conventional or fha streamline?My current mortgage is $1040 a month which pretty high to me. $148k is remaining balance. What should I do?? thanks

  77. Colin Robertson March 16, 2016 at 10:32 am -


    The mortgage insurance on an FHA loan might drive up the overall payment even if the interest rate is low so it needs to be compared to a conventional loan without MI to see what’s best. Also consider closing costs.

  78. Henry N. March 29, 2016 at 8:38 am -

    We purchased our home about 6 months ago on a regular FHA loan. I’m interested in the FHA Streamline for the lower interest, provided there’s no closing cost. If we move forward, will there be a seasoning time before we can refi to a conventional loan and rid of the PMI?

  79. Deliska April 4, 2016 at 4:59 am -

    My husband and I are in a 10 year interest only loan with BOA on a house we bought in 2007. Loan had been under countrywide until Boa bought them out. We owe $290k and home is only work about 240k. The interest is 6% and because it’s not backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac we have not been able to refinance. We are current on loan never missed a payment and have good credit scores. Payment increases by $600 in 2017. Help me please. What options do I have. Do I qualify for a streamline loan.

  80. Colin Robertson April 4, 2016 at 6:50 pm -


    Are you sure it’s not backed by Fannie/Freddie? If it is indeed not, have you spoken to BofA about a loan modification?

  81. Colin Robertson April 4, 2016 at 6:59 pm -


    You want to refinance twice? Why not just refi to conventional now?

  82. Deliska April 5, 2016 at 3:44 am -

    We are 100% sure that we are not backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Applied for home loan modification but hard to prove hardship as husband and I have decent salaries and no missed loan payments. Want to get reduced loan rate and not be forced to short sell. Do I qualify for streamline mortgage.

  83. Colin Robertson April 6, 2016 at 9:55 am -

    Doesn’t sound like it…unless your loan is backed by FHA/VA, which it doesn’t appear to be. Might have to work with BofA and their proprietary loan modification program.

  84. Elisa Henley April 7, 2016 at 12:59 pm -

    I have a question about a FHA streamline refinance. About a year ago, our mortgage lender told us that when the loan reaches 78%, the PMI would end (refinanced in 2013, original FHA loan in 2011, home purchased in 2007). Also that they would use the original purchase price of the home. From our calculations, the PMI would end this year, about in month 10. The loan was sold, and talking with new lenders, they are saying that it has to be 78% and 5 years, plus the value is based on the FHA documents. I know that PMI is now lifetime, but is the 5 years based on original FHA or refinance date, and what is the home value based on?

  85. Colin Robertson April 18, 2016 at 12:09 pm -


    MIP is tied to the new loan…maybe you can drop it altogether by refinancing to a conforming loan instead?

  86. Holley May 24, 2016 at 2:11 pm -

    Hi, Colin! Any suggestions for someone like myself who purchased in 2006 @100% with 2 loans (80% & 20%) interest only, the large one variable and the small one fixed, but at a high rate. I’m now underwater and my payment goes up almost $500 starting in June. It is NOT a Fannie-Mae or Freddy-Mac loan, so HARP is useless to me. I’m SO FRUSTRATED as I have been searching for an alternative for about a year, including asking my current mortgage company to modify my loan by rolling them both into one at a fixed reasonable rate (Deutsche on both loans). I just found out that because I am NOT delinquent on my payments, they will not help me. Is there anyone out there that actually rewards “good customers”? I am ideal, established, great credit, and I’ve already made my payments to them on time for the last 10 years! I would think I would be the type of customer they would want to help & keep! The only problem is that I’m underwater. I heard that HARP 3.0 would have been perfect for me, but it never came to fruition unfortunately.

    Thank you!

  87. Colin Robertson May 25, 2016 at 12:50 pm -


    Good for you for actually sticking with your loans through all the turmoil the past several years. Unfortunately it’s tough to get any help if your loan isn’t owned by Fannie/Freddie and you’re a good borrower. So Deutsche doesn’t have a proprietary loan mod for you? Are you sure you’re still underwater with prices up so much in the past few years? It might be possible to bring some cash to the table (cash-in) while trying to do a standard refinance.

  88. Aamir June 15, 2016 at 5:21 am -

    Can streamline refinance be done on a traditional loan ? I mean the loan that doesn’t fall under the categories listed above (FHA, VA, HARP etc ).

  89. Colin Robertson June 24, 2016 at 3:42 pm -


    A lender may say there is a streamline option, but it might just be unique to that lender as a marketing tactic. Or perhaps the FHA short refinance program.

  90. Pat July 2, 2016 at 1:21 pm -

    I was turned down for a streamline refinancing with my current lender because I had a secured FHA loan in 2008. I might had been late a couple of times on payments before 2008. Why should that affect me in 2016? My home has never been near a foreclosure.

  91. Colin Robertson July 6, 2016 at 7:38 am -


    Are you sure lates are the problem? If it’s been eight years those marks might be off your credit report.

  92. maria July 8, 2016 at 5:49 am -


    I think something happened to my question yesterday. I will ask again. Waited to refinance. I have a rate of 3.25% on a cash out refi. with $800.00 lender credits. Can you share your thoughts.

    Thanks Maria

  93. Rose August 23, 2016 at 5:39 pm -

    Hello Colin, I have a FHA Loan , closed 12/2016 at 3.75%
    I have received several offers for a streamline refi at 3.25,
    With no. Closing costs, skip 2 payments, lower the overall monthly payment by $60. Is this all a scam? There will be a new escrow acct. started also, with the first skipped payment basically going toward the new escrow, and I would get reimbursed the prior balance from the original escrow. Is this sound legit
    Thank you for your help

  94. Colin Robertson August 24, 2016 at 6:56 am -


    It sounds like a standard streamline refi where you can get a lower rate without having to pay closing costs out of pocket. And skipping payments on refi is normal too, though they aren’t really skipped, just delayed.

  95. rose August 30, 2016 at 7:24 am -

    Hello again Colin.

    I just signed the application for doing a streamline refinance, zero out of pocket. There were loan costs that I don’t believe should be there. Is my initial MIP to be credited towards my new MIP on the new loan? I closed on 12-2015, no lates. Can they keep the refund and apply it towards their closing costs? Also a credit report charge? I have good credit, but I thought that wasn’t a factor in the streamline refi. I didn’t sign a few docs because they didn’t look correct to me.

  96. Kari September 8, 2016 at 11:39 am -

    Hi Colin – Looking for some help. Have a currently VA loan. 13 months ago we filed for chapter 13 – payments all on time, and nothing late on our current mortgage. We want to refi with the lower rates, and primarily because our home was a new build, and taxes were $900 a year, and now will go up to $5000 annually – as you can imagined will create a HUGE shortage in our escrow account – causing our currently payment of $1331 to increase to approximately $2000.00 No way can we afford this. Do you happen to know any lenders that allow a streamline VA refi without pulling credit? I’m above, but my husband is not – I am the Veteran. But because of his (577 and our current lender requires 580) they won’t do it… Please help. I’d hate to lose my home simply because of the escrow. If we start fresh, we’d be about $1600 (which is what we originally have budgeted). Thank you!

  97. Paul August 8, 2017 at 9:30 am -


    I have an FHA mortgage which I am current on. However, there have been two occasions where I became behind on my loan, but all were caught up. This was due to disability and loss of income for a certain period of time. I am now on SSDI with a lowered income and pending an appeal of my private disability policy that was cut off. My credit has gone sour because of my loss of income. I purchased my home at the beginning of January 2015. It was my understanding that the FHA mortgage insurance amount was lowered at the end of May 2015. Is there any way for me to get a Flex mortgage modification on my loan to lower my payments to help me out?

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