BE AWARE OF THE "ARMS LENGTH TRANSACTION" AFFIDAVIT
Hello to all! I just wanted to send out a quick note to give a heads up on an issue that you should be aware of.
Be advised that HUD/FHA/VA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & FDIC are now carefully auditing short-sale transactions going forward and are also looking at previous closed short-sale settlements that may have been considered non-arm's length transactions. Agents, brokers, sellers and buyers should be aware of the “Arms Length Transaction” affidavit that many lenders/investors are now requiring all parties to sign. This specific language could be included in the short-sale approval letter itself or may be a totally separate agreement all together (such as in the form of an Affidavit) and can read something to the following effect:
“Whereas, all parties relevant to this transaction are hereby indicating to XYZ Mortgage Corporation that no party to this contract is a family member or business associate or shares a business interest with the mortgagor(s) or mortgagee. It is further stipulated there are no “hidden terms” or “special understandings” between the seller(s), buyer(s) or their agent(s) in order to entice, induce or otherwise defraud the seller’s mortgagee in this transaction. This purchase contract is not assignable. If the purchaser intends on performing a simultaneous closing (aka flip) such a transaction can take place only if the re-conveyance is of equal or lesser value as to the current sales price indicated in this transaction. The Buyer(s) & Seller(s) nor their Agent(s) listed below have any agreements (written or implied) that will allow the Seller(s) to remain in their property as renters or to regain ownership of said property after the successful execution of this short sale transaction.”
This is pretty self explanatory and if these stipulations are non-issues for your particular deal than you should be fine. But (if you have to think twice about this) you need to be very careful and think twice before you sign such a document. You would be surprised on some of the things that people have attempted to pass through our office thinking no one would know or find out. Keep in mind, lenders will not accept a sales contract that shows the contract can be assigned. If the buyer is planning on flipping the property, he or she will have to arrange a double close (or simultaneous closing). There is nothing unethical or wrong about doing the double close as long as it does not violate the parameters stipulated by the short-sale mortgagee.
Just be aware that HUD/FHA/VA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & FDIC do not want to see anyone obviously taking advantage of their financial disadvantage. Lenders and investors will not tolerate "Bail-Out" situations that allows the distressed homeowner to benefit from their loss.
All the Best,
James M. Bosco, Esquire
Rick D. Misitano, Senior Paralegal
Law Offices of James M. Bosco