Dec
6


What Happened to the Government’s Short Sales Program?

Monday, December 6, 2010

In April, the Obama administration formally rolled out a new program, called Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives, that was designed to spur more short sales, where banks allow homeowners to sell their homes for less than the mortgage debt outstanding.

Like other foreclosure-prevention initiatives, this one appears to be off to a slow start — just 342 sales have been completed through September.

HAFA was designed as a cousin to the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, HAMP, whose woes have been well documented. HAFA works like this: Servicers are supposed to consider short sales for borrowers who aren’t able to receive a HAMP modification. Because some 700,000 HAMP applicants have been ejected from that program, there’s a potentially large pool of borrowers who might be evaluated for HAFA.

Initially announced in May 2009, HAFA was also designed to help reduce wait times by streamlining the short sale process through standardized documents and approaches for short sales. Under the program, the government offers incentive payments to mortgage-servicing companies, investors and even the borrowers that accept a short sale under prescribed guidelines.

For example, second-lien mortgages receive 6% of the unpaid loan balance in a short sale, up to a maximum of $6,000, but they must agree to relinquish all claims against a borrower. (Our story on Saturday illustrated why seconds pose problems in short sales.) The program also provides $3,000 in “move-out assistance” to borrowers.

Many real-estate agents say banks have largely ignored the program and that they are applying it unevenly. “Banks are initiating the HAFA transaction and then after three weeks they say, ‘Naw, sorry, you didn’t qualify,’” says Greg Markov, a Phoenix real-estate agent.  “That three weeks is a huge pain. You wasted all this time.”

Industry officials, meanwhile, say that HAFA has been hindered by extensive documentation requirements and restrictive qualification guidelines. A homeowner that’s already relocated isn’t HAFA eligible, for example, and neither are borrowers that apply within 60 days of a foreclosure date.

The program is also voluntary, which may limit participation from second-lien holders and mortgage insurance companies that see a financial reason to avoid a short sale that requires them to forgo the opportunity to seek deficiencies against borrowers.

“It looks good on paper, but you can’t make anyone participate,” says Kevin Kauffman, a Phoenix real-estate agent who says he’s closed 150 short sales but has yet to complete one through HAFA.

Still, the Treasury and other supporters say they’re optimistic that results will pick up. Because short sales take several months to close, it’s perhaps unrealistic to expect huge numbers of deals that would close within five months. Moreover, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac didn’t issue their own participation rules until August.

“It does take a little bit of time to see results on these,” says Dave Sunlin, Bank of America’s senior vice president for short sales and bank-owned property sales. “The concept on paper is there.”

In April, the Obama administration formally rolled out a new program, called Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives, that was designed to spur more short sales, where banks allow homeowners to sell their homes for less than the mortgage debt outstanding.

Like other foreclosure-prevention initiatives, this one appears to be off to a slow start — just 342 sales have been completed through September.HAFA was designed as a cousin to the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, HAMP, whose woes have been well documented. HAFA works like this: Servicers are supposed to consider short sales for borrowers who aren’t able to receive a HAMP modification. Because some 700,000 HAMP applicants have been ejected from that program, there’s a potentially large pool of borrowers who might be evaluated for HAFA.Initially announced in May 2009, HAFA was also designed to help reduce wait times by streamlining the short sale process through standardized documents and approaches for short sales. Under the program, the government offers incentive payments to mortgage-servicing companies, investors and even the borrowers that accept a short sale under prescribed guidelines.

For example, second-lien mortgages receive 6% of the unpaid loan balance in a short sale, up to a maximum of $6,000, but they must agree to relinquish all claims against a borrower. (Our story on Saturday illustrated why seconds pose problems in short sales.) The program also provides $3,000 in “move-out assistance” to borrowers.Many real-estate agents say banks have largely ignored the program and that they are applying it unevenly. “Banks are initiating the HAFA transaction and then after three weeks they say, ‘Naw, sorry, you didn’t qualify,’” says Greg Markov, a Phoenix real-estate agent.  “That three weeks is a huge pain. You wasted all this time.”

Industry officials, meanwhile, say that HAFA has been hindered by extensive documentation requirements and restrictive qualification guidelines. A homeowner that’s already relocated isn’t HAFA eligible, for example, and neither are borrowers that apply within 60 days of a foreclosure date.The program is also voluntary, which may limit participation from second-lien holders and mortgage insurance companies that see a financial reason to avoid a short sale that requires them to forgo the opportunity to seek deficiencies against borrowers.

“It looks good on paper, but you can’t make anyone participate,” says Kevin Kauffman, a Phoenix real-estate agent who says he’s closed 150 short sales but has yet to complete one through HAFA.Still, the Treasury and other supporters say they’re optimistic that results will pick up. Because short sales take several months to close, it’s perhaps unrealistic to expect huge numbers of deals that would close within five months. Moreover, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac didn’t issue their own participation rules until August.“It does take a little bit of time to see results on these,” says Dave Sunlin, Bank of America’s senior vice president for short sales and bank-owned property sales. “The concept on paper is there.”






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Estella said
"That is a beautiful shot with very good lighting ." about Women Consider Owning a Home to be a Vital Component of the American Dream
on Sunday, May 12, 2013 @ 9:57 AM

Chris White - Team Leader said
"Unfortunately you are not alone. It's more than an outcry. The powers that be really need to come down harder on Bofa than they already are. Working on these short sale for over 2 years now I've uncovered down right fraud happening on the lenders parts. If they cared more about moving this country forward than protecting their own wallets then they would cut the red tape and approve these short sales in a timely manner. Our team made the wise decision to get BofA loans which were FHA or Freddie Mac backed, approved prior to listing on the market. Then we can list the home as "Price Approved" and close in 30 days. In this instance BofA does a full appraisal, rather than an incompetent "Broker Price Opinion" (nothing against agents but they have no idea how to make adjustments on comparable homes) and then the bank issues an "Approval To Participate" letter which dictates what price we can go on the market and take anything north of 88%. I really do hope your situation improves. " about Congressional Bill to Speed Up Short Sales
on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 @ 9:15 AM

Lisa Zeiner said
"We made an offer 4 months ago to BofA, and have heard nothing. It was a cash offer which is better than the zero money they are collecting now. And since the people don't care they are trashing the place, by the time BofA gets around to it our offer will be gone as the place is a mess!! Septic issues now, garbage being dumnped. All of this could have been avoided if BofA really wanted to correct their cash flow problem and sell these properties in a timely manner. They cry about cash but then do nothing intelligent to fix the problem" about Congressional Bill to Speed Up Short Sales
on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 @ 9:06 AM

Jones Ramirez said
"Thank you for the work you have done into this post, it helps clear up a few questions I had." about How do appraiser’s determine a homes value?
on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 @ 10:07 PM

HollyRobsonf said
"Hey - I am certainly happy to find this. great job!" about Bank of America to Offer Principal Reduction to Underwater Borrowers
on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 @ 6:45 PM