Shelli Dore’s Real Estate Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives

By Michele Lerner , Bankrate.com

Homeowners struggling to sell their homes in a short sale are getting some relief, thanks to the federal government’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives, or HAFA, program.

Up to now, many short sales — in which the lender accepts a sale of the property for less than the full amount owed — have taken months to complete. Sometimes, the complex and lengthy process has failed, resulting in foreclosure.

HAFA establishes streamlined short sale rules and incentivizes borrowers and lenders to work together to avoid foreclosure. The rules — in effect between April 5, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012 — also are intended to speed up the short sale process.

“The streamlined short sales process will definitely help homeowners,” says David Liniger, Re/Max International chairman and co-founder.

Prior to HAFA, homeowners often listed their home for sale without an idea of what the lender would accept.  “A lot of sellers and their Realtors have not been able to sort out the problems with short sales and have given up on the process because, even after sending in the correct paperwork, they have sometimes waited three or four months for their lender to respond,” Liniger says.Under HAFA, borrowers receive preapproved short sale terms from the lender prior to putting the home on the market. Lisa Matykiewicz, a Realtor and Certified Distressed Property Expert in Gilbert, Ariz., says the updated short sale rules establish an easy-to-understand process with predefined steps that “make it easier for everyone to understand.”

Eligibility requirements

The HAFA guidelines apply to lenders who voluntarily participate in the HAMP program. The Department of Housing and Urban Development says more than 100 servicers have signed up to participate in HAMP, covering more than 89 percent of mortgage debt outstanding in the country.

To be eligible for HAFA, homeowners must first apply for a loan modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP. Owners who do not qualify for a loan modification or miss payments during the initial loan modification period qualify for HAFA.

Other HAFA requirements include:

  • Property is principal residence.
  • Mortgage originated before Jan. 1, 2009.
  • Mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
  • Borrower is delinquent or default is foreseeable.
  • Homeowner demonstrates hardship.
  • Borrower’s total monthly housing payment exceeds 31 percent of gross income.
  • Unpaid principal does not exceed $729,750.

According to HAFA rules, lenders now must offer a short sale in writing to the borrower within 30 days if the borrower does not qualify for or complete a loan modification. Borrowers then must respond within 14 days to the lender’s short sale agreement.

“I think it’s great that the lenders in this program have to offer a short sale before going to foreclosure,” Matykiewicz says. When a purchase offer is made, borrowers must submit the sales contract to the lender within three days, along with the buyers’ mortgage preapproval and the status of negotiations with other lien holders on the seller’s property.

Finally, lenders must approve or deny the contract within 10 days. HAFA rules also state that lenders must release borrowers from the obligation to repay the difference between the sales price and the loan amount. No deficiency judgments are allowed for a first or second loan.

Other incentives

In the past, short sales were especially difficult for homeowners with more than one loan on their home, since the home sale typically repaid only the first mortgage. HAFA’s financial incentives include a payment of up to $3,000 for second mortgage holders.

“Second trust lien holders are often owed five or 10 times that $3,000 payment,” says Liniger. “But if the property goes to foreclosure, the second trust holder is not likely to get any money at all. This at least guarantees they get something.”

Other HAFA financial incentives include $1,000 to loan servicers to cover administrative fees, up to $1,000 for mortgage investors who agree to share short sale proceeds with second lien holders and $1,500 to the homeowners for relocation.

“The moving expense allocation acts as an incentive for them to stay in the property until the short sale goes through,” says Liniger. “Owner-occupied properties are usually in better condition than vacant homes.”

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Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) was introduced to simplify and streamline the short sale process. HAFA accomplishes this in the following ways: 

  • Compliments the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) by providing viable alternatives for borrowers who are HAMP-eligible
  • Utilizes borrower financial and hardship information collected in conjunction with HAMP, eliminating the need for additional eligibility analysis
  • Allows the borrower to receive pre-approved short sale terms prior to the property listing
  • Prohibits the servicer from requiring, as a condition of approving the short sale, a reduction in the real estate commission agreed upon in the listing agreement
  • Requires that borrowers be fully released from future liability for the debt
  • Uses standard processes, documents and time frames
  • Provides financial incentives to borrowers, servicers and investors

HAFA provides financial incentives as follows: 

  • Financial incentives for lenders participating in the program include a $1,000 servicing bonus
  • Homeowners can receive up to $1,500 in relocation assistance (which, in some cases, may classify as taxable income) after a short sale or deed-in-lieu has been executed
  • Lenders pay all servicing fees – homeowners suffer zero out-of-pocket expenses

If you (or someone you know) are a homeowner looking for answers, or would like to determine if you qualify for HAFA, contact me at 303-942-0648.  I’m here to help.  

Sources:

HousingWire “Treasury to Announce New Program to Avoid Foreclosure” (2009): http://www.housingwire.com/2009/10/12/treasury-to-announce-new-program-to-avoid-foreclosure/

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The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) Program is a government-sponsored initiative led by the US Treasury Department assisting all Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)-eligible homeowners in avoiding foreclosure, specifically through short sales or deeds-in-lieu.

First introduced November 30, 2009 in Supplemental Directive 09-092 as part of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), HAFA assists eligible homeowners in quickly and effectively implementing short sales by providing financial incentives to lenders that work in conjunction with HAMP to assist homeowners in need.

The program was introduced in part with the intent to remove the stigma from short sales and help keep communities from being destroyed through massive foreclosures. HAFA in its current state is only applicable to conventional-type, non-Governmental Serviced Enterprises (non-GSE) mortgages and therefore does not apply to loans owned or guaranteed with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These organizations may have plans to release their own versions of HAFA.

If you (or someone you know) are a homeowner looking for answers, or would like to determine if you qualify for HAFA, contact me at 303-942-0648. I can help.

Sources:
• 1Making Home Affordable “HAMP Supplemental Directive 09-09” (2009): https://www.hmpadmin.com/portal/docs/hamp_servicer/sd0909.pdf

• 2HousingWire “Treasure to Announce New Program to Avoid Foreclosure” (2009): http://www.housingwire.com/2009/10/12/treasury-to-announce-new-program-to-avoid-foreclosure/

• 3HousingWire “Treasure to Announce New Program to Avoid Foreclosure” (2009): http://www.housingwire.com/2009/10/12/treasury-to-announce-new-program-to-avoid-foreclosure/

Share this with your friends and family…

Bookmark and Share

Your friend in the real estate business,

Shelli Dore

Friend me on Facebook!

Connect with me on LinkedIn!

Follow me on Twitter!

…Remember! The next time you are in a conversation with someone who is thinking about a move – IN ANY CITY OR STATE IN THE US OR CANADA – call me first! I can help make sure your friends, family members and work associates are very well taken care of.


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