Also see http://www.dailybulletin.com/realestatenews/ci_14892384 for the publication of this article in 6 regional news papers.
Streamline Alternatives to Foreclosure
In February of 2009 President Obama introduces the Financial Stability Plan. A major part of this plan was the Making Home Affordable initiatives. Making Home Affordable launched loan modification programs and guidelines designed to streamline and simplify the process for troubled home owners with participating mortgage companies.
While these programs have been effective in many cases, there are thousands of homeowners who these loan modification plans have not been able to help. In the past, this left the struggling homeowner with few options. They could attempt to “short-sale” their property, where they ask their mortgage servicer to accept less than the full amount owed, they could request a “deed-in-lieu of foreclosure”, where they offer to simply sign the title of their home back over to the bank, or they could prepare themselves for the eminent foreclosure.
In all cases, the process is long and frustrating. Mortgage servicers, the companies who handle the mortgage billing, are overwhelmed and simply do not have the staff to respond to the amount of these requests. This is compounded by the lack of a uniform process for handling these requests as well.
Fortunately, we may soon see these processes greatly improve. April 5th of this year launched the next step in the Making Home Affordable initiative, the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives or HAFA.
HAFA is the next step for home owners who have tried all other means of saving their home. It is also the next step to the current Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) as well, which is the loan modification program that is currently being used under the Making Home Affordable initiative.
What HAFA does is streamline a uniform process for home owners who are facing eminent default. This program is for people who do not have the option of loan modification and simply cannot afford to stay in their home.
For many reasons HAFA is a beneficial program to all parties involved when foreclosure is eminent. Below is a brief explanation of the program and how it can help.
When HAFA is requested by the home owner, mortgage servicers who participate in the Making Home Affordable initiative will evaluate the existing loan and home owner for qualification of the program.
Some of the factors they are looking at are that:
- the current unpaid balance is equal to or less than $729,750
- the home owner’s total monthly payment is more than 31% of their gross monthly income
- the homeowner does not qualify for or does not accept other loan modification options
- the property is the owner’s principle residence
- the mortgage is a first lien and was obtained prior to January 1st, 2009.
If the home owner qualifies for the HAFA program the mortgage servicer will notify the home owner of the options available to them. The home owner has 14 days to respond and request the terms of the program.
The mortgage servicer will evaluate the existing loan, the property value, late fees, closing costs and all other expenses associated with completing the short sale and/or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.
The sales price or net proceeds necessary from the sale will be pre-determined, giving the home owner the approved sales price, before you list your home for sale. You are required to work with a licensed real estate broker or agent, and the agreement is valid for 120 days.
When a potential buyer offers to buy the home at the predetermined price, the home owner will submit the offer to their mortgage servicer. They are expected to approved or deny the offer within 10 business days. If the offer is accepted you will begin the standard escrow process which must be a minimum of 45 days.
Having the sales price predetermined allows the mortgage servicer to accept or deny the offer quickly, within 10 days, which is a major improvement to the process.
Should the house not sell within the 120 days, the home owner is agreeing to move forward with the deed-in-lieu of foreclosure process where they will sign the title of the home back to the bank and will be given no less than 30 days to move out.
As an incentive to use this program, the home owner who successfully completes either a HAFA short-sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure will receive a check for $3000 at the closing, to assist with moving expenses. In addition, when the existing mortgage servicer agrees to a HAFA program, they are agreeing that the payoff will be considered paid in full. The home owner will not be asked to sign a promissory note or be held liable for the amount that was not paid. If there is a second mortgage on the property the first mortgage can agree to pay up to 6% of the unpaid balance up to a maximum of $6000 as well. All of these benefits are a no cost to the home owner.
The main objective of HAFA is to assist struggling home owner to move on when that is the only option. While none of these options are enjoyable, with the help of HAFA, they may at least be less painful.
For more information on the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, contact your mortgage servicer, visit www.makinghomeaffordable.com or call 1(888) 995-HOPE. You should also discuss any income tax effects these programs may have with your tax professional.
Brent C. Bruce
Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corporation
8480 Red Oak Street
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91790
Phone – 909-463-4750
Email – email@example.com