What Is The HIRO Program For Seniors?

Written By: William Rivers
Reviewed By: William Rivers
Published: December 20, 2021
Last updated: September 17, 2023

The High LTV Refinance Option (HIRO) Mortgage Program is by mortgage and loan company Fannie Mae, and it has come to the rescue for millions of homeowners stuck in high-cost mortgages. The initiative provides a lifeline for borrowers grappling with a lack of equity, offering them a chance to refinance at low mortgage rates even if they are considered underwater borrowers. Many view it as a last resort for individuals with limited refinancing options and low equity because it grants the possibility to refinance loans with more favorable conditions, representing a tangible benefit for a wide demographic. HIRO is indeed ideal for those who have limited or no home equity, helping to establish more affordable mortgage payments.

LTV, or the loan-to-value ratio, is a critical metric in this loan program, representing the mortgage loan balance compared to your home's actual worth at fair market value. Generally, as home equity rises, the LTV decreases; however, increasing equity is a long-term endeavor. Currently, a substantial number of homeowners find themselves faced with underwater mortgages, where both home values and equities have depreciated over time.

The inception of the HIRO program was during a period of nationwide home price escalation, a time when property taxes were spiraling upwards and several areas were witnessing a simultaneous decline in home values. It aims to extend mortgage relief programs to homeowners in these regions, aligning with new and attainable refinancing standards, thus serving as a crucial assistance for homeowners during the fluctuating housing market periods.

To be eligible for this special program, there are specific eligibility requirements; the original mortgage must be under Fannie Mae and initiated from October 1, 2017, onwards. Prospective applicants need to adhere to a minimum credit score and must maintain a decent credit history, meeting Fannie Mae’s credit score requirements through a stringent credit check. Additionally, a waiting period of at least 15 months post the initiation of the current mortgage loan is mandatory before initiating the application process for the HIRO program, with an emphasis on showcasing a good payment record in your current loan.

Other requirements include the following:

  • No delinquencies over 30 days
  • One or no 30-day late payments in the span of the past 12 months
  • No 30-day late payments in the span of the past 6 months
  • LTV of at least 97.01% for single-family homes
  • LTV of 75.01% for investment properties of 1-4 units
  • LTV of 90.01% for refinancing a second home

The HIRO program can help ease the burden of your monthly mortgage payments and monthly principal or interest. You can take advantage of lower rates as well and possibly shorten the term of your amortization. You may even be able to stabilize your mortgage product to one with a fixed rate. 

For more information on benefits for senior homeowners, be sure to check out Senior Strong! Contact us today for more.

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William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.
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