Since writing Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field: Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP) for Short Sales, more information has come to light. Or lack of thereof! I have received numerous calls and emails looking for clarification on how the program will be implemented, and how it will affect PCS sellers (military relocation term meaning "permanent change of station"). Currently, the issue is there is no directive from the Department of Defense as to how to process HAP applications, nor many program specifics. My area, from Navarre to Destin, Florida and up through Niceville and Crestview has approximately 3000 airmen relocating to other bases around the country and the world. Many of those airmen purchased homes during 2004-2006, and do not have enough equity to sell their houses when they must relocate and pay off their mortgage balance. HAP is supposed to help, but as of yet, there is no help.
Here is the latest result of my HAP research:
Mr. Frazier, of the HAP Savannah District told me:
- There is no true timeframe by which the DOD directive with program details will be published.
- Rumor is at the end of May, but it is far from confirmed.
- Applications can not be "processed" at this time, but you can mail one in.
- HAP will not buy homes.
When the DOD directive is implemented, he said:
- Qualified military members may sell their homes at market value or 90% thereof.
- At time of contract, use a 90 day closing date, HAP will try for sooner.
- Make the offer contingent on HAP approval.
- When a contract is entered into, call your HAP district for instructions.
Additionally, I inquired by email and received this communication from HAP Realty Specialist, B.M. Reed, summarized and with emphasis added:
The Department of the Army, in coordination with the other military departments, is in the process of finalizing implementation guidance for the expanded HAP, including determining eligibility, restrictions, and disqualifications. Based on the current HQ timeline for review and official approval of the guidance, it may not be until late May before the implementation guidance is at district level. When the implementation guidance is issued, it will be published on the official HAP website, which can be found at http://hap.usace.army.mil
Unfortunately, without the referenced implementation guidance any attempt to provide detailed information on the Stimulus Bill HAP eligibility, disqualifications, benefits, or how benefits will be calculated would be merely speculation.
Under this program the Government might be able to reimburse applicants part of the loss from selling their home (private sale benefits) or assist applicants if they do not have enough proceeds from the sale of the home to pay off the mortgage at Closing (private sale augmentation). Benefits may be based on the difference between the prior fair market value (PFMV) of the property and the current fair market value (CFMV). The PFMV may be determined by an appraisal effective 1 July 2006, or possibly the purchase price of the property might be used; the CFMV may be determined by the appraised value at the time of sale or possibly the selling price itself. The Government could pay an amount up to a stipulated percentage of the difference between the two figures used for the computation. Again, guidance has not yet been published so a completely different scenario might be used to compute benefits.
The term 'private sale augmentation' merely means when an applicant's benefit payment is brought by the Government to a Closing in order to assist the applicant with the payoff of a mortgage and typical seller closing costs so that the sale can be finalized. In order to be eligible for a private sale augmentation, an applicant must maintain current payment status on his/her mortgage from the time an application is submitted through Closing.
While the implementation guidance is being finalized, potential applicants are free to apply now by visiting the HAP website to fill out, print and mail in an application to the appropriate district for the area in which the property in question is located. Instructions on how to apply can be found at http://hap.usace.army.mil/HowToApply.html
I've attempted to provide you some information as best I can without having yet received implementation guidance on the program from the DOD. What information there is available on the Stimulus Bill HAP (ARRA) can be located on the Army's official HAP website at http://hap.usace.army.mil. There is wealth of information under the section of FQAs at http://hap.usace.army.mil/FAQs.html
B. M. Reed, Realty Specialist
HAP Section, Acquisition Branch,
Real Estate Division (RE-HA)
US Army Corps of Engineers
PO Box 889
Savannah, GA 31402-0889
What a predicament for relocating servicemen. How can you put a home on the market contingent on HAP approval, unless you get a buyer willing to wait with no closing date? What if you have already changed bases and cannot continue to make mortgage and/or rent payments in both locations? According to HAP, you must stay current on your mortgage payments to qualify for the program.
I encourage servicemen to contact their state and federal representatives to hasten a resolution of the HAP quandary. Meanwhile, stay tuned for the latest updates.
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, CRP, CRS, GRI, ABR Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Email Wendy to sell your home or buy a home: firstname.lastname@example.org