Let me repeat that. The Department of Defense Homeowners Assistance Program sale is NOT a short sale.
The only common denominator between the two is that the homeowner is upside down on their mortgage.
An active duty servicemember who meets the qualifications for HAP does not interact with their lender in any way regarding the sale of their home. They do not have to provide to their lender or the United States Army Corps of Engineers, who administers the program, anything that resembles a short sale package.
They do not have to prove a "financial hardship" to sell their home using HAP. They do not have to provide W-2's, bank statements, tax returns or a hardship letter. They do not have to get the lender to approve the sales contract and their Realtor® does not have to spend countless hours on the phone pleading with a negotiator to return their call.
What they do have to do is provide is the signed application found on the USACE website along with copies of the required documentation. It includes PCS orders in and out of the duty station, documentation the home was their primary residence while they lived in the area (utility company letter), a copy of the HUD-1 showing the purchase price of the home and a signed sales contract between the service-member and the buyer. There are a few other items required but these are the basics. The Realtor® has to provide 3 comps to show that the property is being sold within 10% of Fair Market Value. There is no haggling over the price or commissions. No 90 page faxes to send and resend. No surly negotiator you hope will get back to you.
Yes as a buyer you will have to wait while the USACE office processes the file. The process can take a few months. Just think of the phrase "you're in the Army now" and you'll understand. The outcome of your contract isn't an unknown. HAP isn't going to come back to you and raise the sales price. As the buyer's agent you aren't going to be asked to take a hit on your commission. All you are asked to do is be patient so the government can do their thing.
If you read into this a little bit of a rant you are right. After two years of working with servicemembers to sell their homes under the HAP guidelines I'm still amazed at the amont of misinformation that agents are perpetuating.