One great thing about social media is when inaccurate information surfaces you quickly recognize your own and fellow agent's hot buttons.
Even though it's still early in the week two of my hot buttons have been hit and by the reaction of a few other agents who also have seen the information, theirs have as well. The first was a blog post written by an agent (I won't include a link) stating that a veteran or active duty military member would lose their benefits if they completed a short sale or foreclosure. Say what?
A veteran or military member who completes a VA Compromise sale will lose a portion of their future VA Loan Benefits. Per the VA: "Should VA agree to pay the difference between the sales proceeds and the total debt to complete the compromise sale process, the portion of the homeowner’s entitlement used to guaranty his loan will remain tied up until VA is reimbursed in full." This is the only benefit a veteran or active duty service member will lose. It's not their retirement pay, their medical benefits or any other benefit they are entitled to by law. A sweeping statement that states a they will lose their benefits forever is scary and wrong.
The second piece of information is that a short sale or foreclosure automatically means the loss of a security clearance. Apparently this information is being taught in CDPE classes throughout the country. Living in the Washington DC area, where security clearances are a big deal it helps to review the rulings from the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) clarifying how a short sale or foreclosure may be viewed.
"Twenty-two administrative judge decisions dealing with foreclosures and short sales were reviewed, where clearances were granted and not appealed. These were examined to see what facts were sufficient to meet the initial challenge of convincing an Administrative Judge while at the same time were sufficient to satisfy Department Counsel not to appeal. The common thread in all of these cases is that: (1) applicants were victims of circumstances not of their own doing; (2) they had not been speculators in the housing market who were caught when the bubble burst; (3) they had not succumbed to fraudulent schemes “too good to be true” as a result of their own greed; and (4) they had made good faith efforts to meet their other debts after the loss of their homes by foreclosure or short sale."
I'm not going to tell someone that their security clearance is not in jeopardy if they undertake a short sale or their home goes to foreclosure. At the same time I'm also not going to make a blanket statement that you will for a fact lose your clearance. I have a former short sale client who is employed in a Top Secret Clearance position in the government and another who works for a government contractor with a security clearance. What both of those individuals made sure they did was talk to the appropriate personnel in their offices before they started the short sale process and kept them apprised of what was happening.
It's important for all of us, myself included, to make sure we do as much fact checking as possible before we post a blog. The very same people we are trying to help could be hurt by wrong information.