How to Refinance Your Home if You’re Underwater

Two government programs can help homeowners who qualify get lower rates.

If the value of your home is less than you owe on your mortgage, refinancing to take advantage of today’s low interest rates -- recently 3.7% on a 30-year fixed-rate loan—may seem out of reach. But if you’re up-to-date on your mortgage payments, you may be able to refinance through one of two programs. Lenders participate voluntarily and can adapt the terms, so there’s no guarantee you’ll qualify. But you won’t know until you call your lender.

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Patricia Mertz Esswein
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Esswein joined Kiplinger in May 1984 as director of special publications and managing editor of Kiplinger Books. In 2004, she began covering real estate for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, writing about the housing market, buying and selling a home, getting a mortgage, and home improvement. Prior to joining Kiplinger, Esswein wrote and edited for Empire Sports, a monthly magazine covering sports and recreation in upstate New York. She holds a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.