Making Home afforable Plan - Short Sales and Deeds in-Lieu

Services for Real Estate Pros with The Law Office of Peter J. Goodman

As you may know, on February 18, 2009 the Obama Administration announced the Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program, a comprehensive plan to stabilize the US housing market and offer assistance to up to 7 to 9 million homeowners by reducing mortgage payments to affordable levels and preventing avoidable foreclosures. Part of this plan includes a Short Sales/Deeds-In-Lieu Program as a foreclosure alternative.

For eligible borrowers unable to retain their homes through a Home Affordable Modification, MHA will provide incentives to borrowers, servicers and investors to encourage short sales and deeds-in-lieu. Both allow families and servicers to avoid the costly foreclosure process, and to minimize the negative impact of foreclosures on borrowers, financial institutions and communities. 

Both a short sale and a DIL provide an opportunity for borrowers to avoid the foreclosure process. In a short sale, a servicer allows the borrower to sell the property at its current value, even if the sale price is less than the total amount owed on the mortgage. Approval of a short sale requires the borrower to list and actively market the home at its fair value.  The sale must have all proceeds (after selling costs) applied to the discounted mortgage payoff. If the borrower actively markets the property but is unable to sell it within the agreed upon time period, a servicer may consider a DIL. With a DIL, the borrower voluntarily transfers ownership of the property to the servicer - provided the title is free and clear.

How The Home Affordable Short Sale/DIL Program Works:

Borrower Eligibility. Borrowers will be eligible for the Foreclosure Alternative Program if they meet the minimum eligibility criteria for a Home Affordable Modification but did not qualify for a modification or were unable to sustain payments under a trial period plan or a modification.  Prior to going into foreclosure, participating servicers must evaluate each eligible borrower to determine if a short sale is appropriate.  Considerations in the determination include property condition and value, average marketing time in the community where the property is located, the condition of the title including the presence of junior liens and a determination that the net sales proceeds are expected to exceed the investor's recovery through foreclosure Incentive Payments. Borrowers may receive incentive compensation of up to $1,500 to assist with relocation expenses.

 Standardized Documentation: The program will publish streamlined and standardized documentation, including a Short Sale Agreement and an Offer Acceptance Letter.  These documents will outline specific marketing terms, describe the rights and responsibilities of all parties and establish clear timeframes for performance. Creating one standard set of documents that the industry can use is expected to minimize the complexity of these transactions and significantly increase use of the short sale option.  

Property Valuation: The servicer will independently establish both property value and the minimum acceptable net return in accordance with investor guidance and will provide instruction to the borrower regarding the list price and any permissible price reductions.  The price may be determined based on either: (1) an appraisal performed in accordance with USPAP and/or (2) one or more Broker Price Opinions either of which must be dated within 120 days of the Short Sale Agreement.

Minimum and Maximum Duration: Under the program, servicers will allow borrowers at least 90 days to market and sell the property, with possibly more time based on local market conditions. The property must be listed with a licensed realtor experienced in selling properties in the neighborhood. Marketing of the property may run concurrently with the foreclosure process; however no foreclosure sale can take place during the marketing period specified in the Short Sale Agreement as long as the borrower is acting in good faith to sell the property.  There will be a maximum marketing period of 1 year for the property,

Fees and Charges: Servicers may not charge borrowers fees for participation in the Foreclosure Alternative Program.

Property Eligibility: Any junior liens, mortgages or other debts against the property must be cleared for the property to be sold as a short sale or deeded to the servicer. The servicer can proceed with a short sale or deed-in-lieu if there is a reasonable belief that all liens on the property can be cleared. 

Program Expiration: Eligible borrowers will be accepted until December 31, 2012.  Program payments will be made upon successful completion of a short sale or DIL.

Deed-in-Lieu: At the servicer's option, the Short Sale Agreement may include a condition that the borrower agrees to deed the property to the servicer in exchange for a release from the debt if the property does not sell within the time specified in the Agreement. In this case the borrower would have 30 days to vacate the property and would be entitled to $1,500 to assist with relocation expenses, in addition to any other funds the servicer may provide to the borrower.

 We believe an educated public is vital in this market, and will continue to provide updates on this program and others. Please contact our office with any questions/concerns you may have 866-716-0348 or visit us at 


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I wonder what is going to happen as the "Alt A" loans start to reset and the Option Arms start to recast.  More foreclosures on the horizon.

May 26, 2009 02:10 AM #1
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