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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Major Changes Announced for HAFA

Major news in the short sale and housing industry! On Friday, March 9, the Obama Administration announced updates to the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) program. Created in 2009, HAFA is a government-sponsored initiative assisting all Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) eligible homeowners in avoiding foreclosure through short sales and deed-in-lieus.

The HAFA updates will go into effect on June 1, 2012, and will allow more distressed homeowners to seek assistance. Most importantly, the deadline for submitting for HAFA eligibility will be extended a full year, from December 31, 2012, to December 31, 2013.

Other major changes from March’s updates to the HAFA program include:

  • The removal of occupancy requirements. Previously, HAFA required homeowners to have lived in the property within the last 12 months.
  • $3,000 relocation incentives will be limited to properties occupied by an owner or tenant at the time of the short sale.
  • Mortgage payments will be allowed to exceed 31% of the homeowner’s gross monthly income. This update will allow a homeowner to stay current on her mortgage and still qualify, minimizing the overall impact to her credit.
  • Secondary lienholders may receive up to a maximum of $8,500, up from $6,000 previously.
  • And one of the most dramatic changes: The Credit Bureau Reporting will be Account Status Code 13 (paid or closed account/zero balance) or 65 (account paid in full/a foreclosure was started), as applicable.

With these updates, a homeowner can be current on their mortgage, qualify for HAFA, continue to make their payments, and execute a short sale with minimum impact on their credit!

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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Lenders Providing Large Cash Incentives to Homeowners for Short Sales

In recent news, major publications including USA TODAY and CNNMoney have spotlighted the incentives provided by banks. These incentive programs, which offer anywhere from around $2,000 to upwards of $35,000, are intended to provide homeowners with the resources and motivation to pursue a short sale.

As banks look to ramp up short sales, such incentives are becoming more frequent. JPMorgan Chase began their incentive program last year, for example, and Bank of America (which plans a 60-70% increase in short sales this year) piloted a program in Florida this past December. Wells Fargo offers incentives as well, though primarily in states where the foreclosure process is particularly lengthy.

For banks, short sales can be a cheaper alternative to foreclosure. The foreclosure process is lengthy and costly, so much so that providing up to a $20,000 alternative for a short sale is still a cheaper option.

In USA TODAY’s article “Lenders paying borrowers to do short sales,” Jim Gillespie, chief executive of Coldwell Banker, is quoted as saying “It’s a lot cheaper to shell out $10,000 or $20,000 to someone than it is to go through a long foreclosure.”

In addition to the cost of the foreclosure process itself, foreclosed properties sell for less than short sales on average. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, foreclosed properties sold for 22% less than conventional sales, while short sales sold for around 14% less.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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