New Short Sale guidelines were just released for the Homes Made Affordable, HAFA, program. They take effect on February 1st, and loan servicers have been encouraged to implement them as soon as possible. The HAFA program was originally instituted to help expedite the Short Sale process, but the results have been abysmal. The new changes are intended to change those results.
The new guidelines are quite varied, each addressing a weakness in the system. Interestingly, the Loan Servicers are no longer required to verify a borrower’s financial information to determine if the total monthly loan payments exceed 31% of the borrower’s monthly gross income, but they must verify the borrower’s hardship. Each Servicer may include a requirement on their own that borrowers provide updated financial information. Another significant change is that there is no longer a minimum distance requirement for how far a Borrower moved to cause a problem holding the property. Also, the Borrower’s reason for relocation does not need to be connected to re-employment or transfer of employment.
The property must be or must have recently been the Borrower’s primary residence. Now a property that has been vacant or rented to a non-borrower for less than 12 months prior to the date of the Short Sale Agreement is eligible. The 6% cap for payments to each subordinate lien holder has been removed. The Servicer can determine the amount or percentage of the unpaid lien that will be paid to each subordinate lien holder up to a point where a $6,000 aggregate cap has been reached.
The lender must communicate an approval, disapproval, or counter within 30 days of receipt of an executed sales contract. This should help reduce the number of Buyers that walk away out of frustration with past delays. The Servicer may not charge vendor fees against the listing broker’s commission. Also, the real estate commission paid shall be the amount indicated on the listing agreement, not to exceed 6%.
The HAFA program does not apply to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, or USDA (Farm Home Loan) loans. Servicers are not required to implement the new terms to any loan reported via the HAMP Reporting Tool, or for a borrower already determined ineligible for HAFA, but they are allowed to reevaluate borrowers using these guidelines.
Our Advice: Short Sales constitute 30%, or more, of the Northern Nevada Real Estate Market right now. Short Sale nightmares are real, but many go through just fine with minimal hassle, just a lot of hard work on the part of your agent. Don’t decide whether or not you are going to sell or buy a home that is selling short based on what you’ve read or heard. Take your specific situation to your agent and discuss it thoroughly. Many factors come in to play including the lender involved, the property value perceived by the investor, the Sellers circumstances, Buyer’s circumstances, and more. These new changes will have a positive impact on the success probability of many potential Short Sale properties. Check it out – you might find great results for your situation, both Buyers and Sellers.
More rule changes to make things better? Time will tell. We’ll see if the fine tuning gets the job done. When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs … Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, CDPE, SFR, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-5472. email@example.com, www.carsonvalleyland.com
Lisa Wetzel and Jim Valentine are the authors of this blog. Lisa, Jim and Jessie are experts in Carson Valley , Carson City and the tri-county area of Douglas County , Carson City and Lyon County. Call our team anytime at 775-781-5472 or 775-781-3704. To Search for Homes go to: Carson Valley Listing Book or visit our website at www.CarsonValleyLand.net or www.CarsonValleyLand.com