Since the height of the market in the summer of 2006, homes prices across the United States have fallen a great deal. Many homeowners who purchased prior to that summer, and now have orders to move, are faced with the prospect of selling a home that may now be half the value it was when purchased. Fortunately, there is hope.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the Department of Defense (DoD) expanded the Housing Assistance Program (HAP) to provide benefits to service members who are moving (in military jargon, PCSing - Permanent Change of Station), among others.
To be eligible for HAP, military members must have, 1) Purchased their home prior to 1 Jul, 2006, and 2) Have PCS orders dated 1 Feb 2006 thru 30 Sep 2012.
Have you heard of HAP? Many service members have, but few homeowners understand just what it takes to sell their home using their Housing Assistance Program entitlement. To educate service members, DoD and the Army Corps of Engineers have provided specific, informative guidance on their HAP website.
The website explains, among other things:
1. Who Is Eligible
2. How to Apply
3. The Benefits HAP Provides
4. Where HAP is Implemented
In addition, applicants are able to download the necessary application package to be sent in for eligibility. Their FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section, not only responds to the questions most of us have about applying and how the process works, but also provides updates on the Expanded program.
HAP is providing other ways for eligible members to get answers to their questions. Coverage is handled by the three regional offices in Savannah, Fort Worth & Sacramento. They do answer their phones and are ready to reply to questions about the program. As well, representatives from the National Program Office will provide informational briefings if requested.
In the Fredericksburg and Stafford area, C21 AdVenture has been fortunate enough to host HAP's Assistant Program Manager (PM), Mr. Donald Chapman, for an informational briefing last month for local Realtors. While his presentation answered some of our HAP questions, the opportunity to ask questions was the perfect opportunity for him to dispel some of the misconceptions held about the program by those in attendance. As a follow up, he's returning in March to speak to a much larger audience of local military homeowners.
HAP leadership is pedaling as fast as they can in their attempt to inform military and civilian home owners who qualify, how to apply and participate in this timely offering. To make this program work, all involved need to know what the requirements and expectations are. Most endeavors take a little time to get off the ground, and this one is no exception. They'll certainly be bumps in the road for sellers and buyers who participate in this process. Preparing yourself, by using the resources HAP is providing, may go a long way in making those bumps a bit more tolerable.
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