Friday, May 14, 2010

So What in the World is HAFA?
A New Foreclosure Alternative

By now, everyone knows someone who has lost their home to a foreclosure or undergone a “Short Sale” that seem to take forever. In an effort to help homeowners avoid foreclosures and streamline the short sale process, on April 5, 2010 the Treasury Department enacted the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, better known as HAFA. The program was developed to provide a viable alternative for struggling homeowners who are unable to keep their homes even after qualifying for the existing Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

The program includes simplifying the “Short Sale” process by allowing homeowners to seek the lender’s pre-approval of the short sale price and terms prior to listing the property. The homeowner will be able to use the financial and hardship information already collected during the loan modification process to qualify for this program. It requires lenders to fully release homeowners from future liability for the first mortgage debt, and to provide homeowners with up to $3,000 in relocation money. The program also offers financial incentives for lenders to encourage their cooperation.

While it seems these guidelines may be flexible, the general qualifying criteria for the HAFA program are:

1. The property is the borrower’s principal residence;
2. The mortgage loan is a first lien mortgage originated on or before January 1, 2009;
3. The mortgage is delinquent or default is reasonably foreseeable;
4. The current unpaid principal balance is equal to or less than
$729,7501; and
5. The borrower’s total monthly mortgage payment exceeds 31 percent of the
borrower’s gross income.

For more details, visit the Making Homes Affordable Website. The program ends on December 31, 2012.

So help is on the way for struggling homeowners and soon short sales may actually close in less than 45 days. Struggling homeowners are encouraged to contact their local Realtor® today to
discuss alternatives to foreclosure.

--Virginia Hall
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585

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