12558681_sBeing told one is upside down or under water in a mortgage is nothing that a homeowner wants to hear. Having negative equity or owing more than their home is worth is a situation that many homeowners have found themselves in since the previous housing crisis. While home values are rising, 850,000 residential properties have gotten back to demonstrating positive equity being reported for the first quarter of 2013, there are still many who face negative equity in their mortgage. Corelogic also has released numbers that show 9.7 million, or 19.8 percent of homeowners residential properties were still upside down. There are a number of potential fixes for those who are looking to reduce negative equity, here are a few to consider if you have a mortgage that is for more than your home is worth.

1. Refinance under the HARP government program

If you hold a mortgage-backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the Home Affordable Refinance Program(HARP) could expand your choices with options for refinance. The HARP program has eliminated the maximum home to value ratio for HARP loans. This translates into homeowners who were previously denied access to the program due to the value of the home being too low now may qualify. The timeframe has been extended to December 31,2015 rather than December 31, 2013.

“More than two million homeowners have refinanced through HARP, proving it a useful tool for reducing risk,” said FHFA acting director, Edward J. DeMarco, in a press release. “We are extending the program so more underwater borrowers can benefit from lower interest rates.”

2. Streamline Refinance Option

Streamline Refinance Option is one that has fewer requirements than the HARP program but is still a good choice for those seeking refinance who did not qualify for HARP. With this program, there is no requirement for employment or income verification or credit score verification, according to HUD.

The requirements for a Streamline Refinance are as follows:

The mortgage must be FHA insured

The mortgage must not delinquent

The refinance results in a lower monthly principal and interest payments or the conversion of an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate mortgage (FRM).

No cash may be taken out on mortgages refinanced through a Streamline Refinance

3. Apply for the Veterans Affairs Interest Rate Reduction Loan

For those who have served in our military, an additional option is available for possible refinance of their home. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) is a great choice for veterans needing relief from an underwater mortgage.

“It’s a very strong program, but you have to be a veteran currently in a VA (home loan),” A representative offered. "By obtaining a lower interest rate, your monthly mortgage payment should decrease," writes the VA's website.

If you are a homeowner that meets both of these criteria, this refinance option is one that can potentially save you from higher interest rates. The advantage of most significance of the IRRRL is that it doesn’t require a home appraisal or credit underwriting, according to Martin. If your home is one that is experiencing negative equity, this program could eliminate that.

For many homeowners, options not available previously could be the difference needed to return homeowners to a positive point of equity. If you are in need of assistance, these programs could be the difference maker for you.