Can You Get $3,000 For Doing a Short Sale?

Mortgage and Lending with Family Home Loans 189203

For all of my realtor and investor partners, you need to know this.  Give your clients the facts about the HAFA Program ($3,000 to the seller) BEFORE you start working the deal.

Original content by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker DRE #00697006

If you're the guy who stuck up posters at the California State Capitol advertising that sellers can get $3,000 for doing a short sale, look out. The Department of Real Estate will soon be knocking on your door. Can a seller get $3,000 for doing a short sale in Sacramento or, for that matter, anywhere else in the country? The answer, astonishingly, is yes. But with certain limitations and qualifications. However, agents can't just go around violating RESPA and MARS because they think it's a good way to attract clients.

Sellers who qualify for a HAFA short sale may be entitled to $3,000 of relocation money. Yup, it's true. The government will pay you up to $3,000 if you qualify for a HAFA. I know it sounds bizarre and like there's some kind of catch, and there is a catch, you have to qualify. Do you have what it takes to qualify? You need to ask a Certified HAFA specialist.

The HAFA short sale program is designed to help sellers in distress. Sellers need to meet certain criteria, submit certain documents in a certain time period. It's all very regulated, and you can't trust the success of a HAFA short sale to an amateur. That's why, I suspect, so many HAFAs fail. Because so many of the agents don't know what they are doing. They instead try to lure clients into listing with them by promising a reward of $3,000 that a) they can't promise and b) they can't deliver.

I closed a HAFA short sale last week and have a bunch more pending. In that particular HAFA, the seller was very distrustful of Bank of America. He had a right to be concerned about his Bank of America short sale. He had tried to get a loan modification for months and was continually denied. Upon review of his situation, I determined that he most likely qualified for HAFA. We submitted the paperwork. He was approved. We received the short sale approval letter. The letter promised him the $3,000.

Yet, the seller continued to fret. He sent me emails, even after approval, asking if he could really really count on getting that $3,000. I finally told him he was going to have a heart attack if he continued to fret. That he was too young to be so worked up over the short sale. And, I added, if he continued to torment himself about getting that $3,000, he won't get it because he'll keel over dead, and then the money will go to his wife instead. But yes, yes, yes, he would get it.

Yesterday, he sent an email to say he received the wire of $3,000. He added at least 1 out of 3 people in his new home is happy it closed.


sacramento short sale agentcerfified hafa specialist


Certified HAFA Specialist


Elizabeth Weintraub reviews My Sacramento Real Estate Listings

Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying columnist for The New York Times-owned, a Land Park resident, and a Land Park real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout Sacramento. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 35 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. DRE License # 00697006.

The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available at

Lyon Real Estate is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.

The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate.

Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice. It could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


Comments (3)

Virginia Gingras
West USA Revelation - Gilbert, AZ

This is very interesting and important information.  So when you are starting out in short sales, how do you get all of the information that is needed?

Jun 08, 2011 10:41 AM
Dave Halpern
Dave Halpern Real Estate Agent, Inc., Louisville, KY (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Great reblog. I read all of Elizabeth's posts. Everyone should.

HAFA is a quirky program but it can be done.

The borrower should be informed there is a possibility of HAFA approval, but promises should never be made. The $3,000 should be considered a pleasant bonus and should not be counted on.

Jun 08, 2011 04:36 PM
Tony Mendez
Family Home Loans - Cooper City, FL
Mortgage Loan Originator

Virginia, check out the link 'HAFA short sales' in the 2nd paragraph of Elizabeth's blog.  It gives you the step-by-step instructions on the process of qualifying for a HAFA short sale.  Always call the lender to find out their requirements.

Dave, in my experience, finding out the process and following the required steps lead to a less painful short sale.

Jun 09, 2011 04:32 PM