I consider myself pretty lucky.  I have a house, beautiful girlfriend, the ocean in my backyard, friends, a close family and an amazing dog.

I spend my free time surfing, hiking, snowboarding, biking, running, going out to dinner, clubs and dancing.  This type of lifestyle requires a certain type of income and when you have a fixed salary like I do, every little bit helps.

I bought my home in 2008 at the height of the market for about $350,000 and unfortunately, the value has dropped significantly.  I have about 30% equity into the home and if I had to sell the home now, it would probably go for about $200,000.  I tried doing a short sale but the bank would not accept an offer.

So the way I see it, I have $95,000 into my home and it I sold it, the bank would accept only $255,000 as they would not want to lose money and would probably sue me for the amount they lost or gift me the amount they lost and I would have to pay income tax on it.

So a few months ago, I looked into how I could refinance my underwater home as I heard about HARP loans and other underwater streamline programs.  I’m not military so I don’t qualify for the VA streamline loan nor do I have an FHA loan so I don’t qualify for an FHA streamline refinance.

I have a conventional mortgage owned by Fannie Mae.  I’m a good client to the bank as I pay my payment each month and have never missed a payment for as long as I have lived in the home.  I looked for some HARP 2 lenders and came across a Credit Union that offered me the best rate for a HARP refinance.  I dropped my payment on a 30 year term at 6% of $1798 to $954 per month on a 4% interest rate.  Am I stoked?  You have no idea!  I completed the refinance in about 5 weeks.  I’ve bought a new surfboard, snowboard, planned a vacation with my girlfriend and have more extra cash now in my monthly budget for all sorts of fun things.  I’m going out to dinner more, going dancing more, and just happier with my life.