As you've no doubt read several times recently, home mortgage interest rates are at unprecedented lows, which is good news for people who have decided to buy a house or have already qualified for refinancing.
That's not everyone, though, so the government is playing a slightly new tune on its HARP -- the Home Affordable Finance Program -- to draw in a broader base of potential refinance customers.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, along with mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, recently announced tweaks to HARP, which has the unique aspect of being available to people who are "under water," owing more than their home's market value, in their current mortgage.
To qualify, you'd need to have a mortgage that was sold to Fannie or Freddie before May 31, 2009, and has a loan-to-value ratio above 80 percent.
Among other things, the changes announced will:
Eliminate certain risk-based fees for borrowers who refinance into shorter-term mortgages and lower fees for other borrowers.
Remove the current 125 percent LTV ceiling for fixed-rate mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Eliminate the need for a new property appraisal where there is a reliable automated valuation model estimate provided by Fannie or Freddie.
Extend the end date for HARP until Dec. 31, 2013.
Key Technology has named Richard Hebel manager of optical product marketing.
Hebel is responsible for planning and managing activities that support the development and sales of Key's laser/camera sorting systems, which identify and remove defects and foreign material to improve product quality and food safety.
Hebel brings more than 30 years of marketing and engineering experience to his new position and has worked with Key for 15 years, according to a news release.
On a related note, Key will release financial results for the fiscal 2011 year and fourth quarter Nov. 10 at approximately 1:10 p.m. The company has scheduled a conference call at 2 p.m. that day to discuss the results, so if you'd like to tune in, you may call in toll-free at 877-266-0473.
Another item to mark on your November calendar: The Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce will host a legislative luncheon for Chamber members on Nov. 16 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Marcus Whitman Hotel Conference Center.