As an Indianapolis Realtor, I don't often have the privilege of representing military home buyers or sellers. The Indianapolis real estate market just doesn't have a large military presence. However, I currently find myself representing two military homeowners, both of whom have placed their Indianapolis homes for sale after receiving military relocation orders. Both homes have been on the market for an extended time, and both have seen major price reductions. In the meantime, my clients have already moved out of state and are wondering if their homes will ever sell in this challenging Indianapolis housing market. Both are lovely properties, and I believe both will sell, especially as the housing market picks up in the spring. Until that time, though, my sellers remain nervous.
Because I represent these military homeowners and also because I admire all that they do to serve our country, a piece of real estate news recently caught my eye. The US Department of Defense Homeowners Assistance Program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, has been temporarily expanded to include help for military service members required to relocate during the home mortgage crisis. The program, administered by the Army Corps of Engineers, provides assistance to military personnel caught in the housing downturn in four ways:
•· Reimbursement for up to 90% of the loss from a home sale
•· Assistance in paying off the mortgage if funds from the sale of a home are insufficient
•· Purchase of the home through mortgage pay-off
•· Aid for those military homeowners in danger of defaulting on their mortgage
According to the HAP Web site, military personnel must meet the following requirements to be eligible to apply for part of the $555 million allocated for the program:
•· Homeowner has received permanent reassignment to a new duty station or home port outside of a 50-mile radius of the former duty station or home port.
•· Homeowner's reassignment ordered to occur between February 1, 2006 and September 30, 2010.
•· A purchase date (or signed purchase agreement) of the home prior to July 1, 2006.
•· Homeowner must have used the property as a primary residence
•· Homeowner has not received previous benefit payments
•· The area in which the home is located must have suffered at least a 10 percent home value loss between July 1, 2006 and date of application for Expanded HAP, and sale of the home must have resulted in a personal home value loss of at least 10 percent from the date of purchase to date of sale
March 31, 2010 is the current advertised deadline for applying to this program, with a possible extension if funds are available. The benefits are retroactive, and even service members who made the decision to rent out their home may be eligible. Complete information and instructions for application are available at http://hap.usace.army.mil/homepage.html.
Unfortunately, both of my military homeowners purchased their properties after the July 1, 2006 cut-off date and are ineligible for the benefits. But I hope this information can benefit other deserving military homeowners!