The Federal Government’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) Program went into effect on April 5, 2010 and is designed to provide incentives for borrowers to do a short sale (or a deed in lieu) in order to avoid foreclosure. HAFA assists eligible homeowners in quickly implementing short sales by providing financial incentives to participating lenders.
As of June 1, there will be significant changes to the HAFA program. The updates will allow a homeowner to remain current on their mortgage, qualify for HAFA, and go through a short sale with less of an impact on their credit.
The major changes include:
▪ The deadline for submitting for HAFA eligibility will be extended a full year, from December 31, 2012 to December 31, 2013.
▪ The removal of occupancy requirements: HAFA until now has required homeowners to have lived in the property within the last 12 months. This requirement is being removed.
▪ The $3,000 relocation incentive will be limited to properties occupied by an owner at the time of the short sale.
▪ Mortgage payments will be allowed to exceed 31% of the homeowner’s gross monthly income. The effect of this will be to allow a homeowner to remain current on her mortgage and still qualify, minimizing the overall potential impact to her credit, and certainly shortening the waiting period to purchase in the future.
▪ Junior lienholders may receive up to a maximum of $8,500, up from $6,000 previously (these are incentives to junior lienholders).
▪ There are also new mandates regarding what the lender can state on the borrower’s credit report that, reportedly, will lessen the impact on the borrower’s credit rating.
What questions do you have about the HAFA changes?
Richard Eastern is a Windermere agent in Bellevue and co-founder of Washington Property Solutions, a short sales negotiating company. Since 2003 he has helped more than 600 homeowners sell their homes. A Bellevue native and a UW grad, Richard is an avid sports fan and a devoted Little League and basketball coach. You can learn more about Richard here or at www.washortsales.com.