Up to now, many short sales — in which the lender accepts a sale of the property for less than the full amount owed — have taken months to complete. Sometimes, the complex and lengthy process has failed, resulting in foreclosure.
HAFA establishes streamlined short sale rules and incentives borrowers and lenders to work together to avoid foreclosure. The rules — in effect between April 5, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012 — also are intended to speed up the short sale process.
Prior to HAFA, homeowners often listed their home for sale without an idea of what the lender would accept.
Under HAFA, borrowers receive preapproved short sale terms from the lender prior to putting the home on the market.
The HAFA guidelines apply to lenders who voluntarily participate in the HAMP program. The Department of Housing and Urban Development says more than 100 servicers have signed up to participate in HAMP, covering more than 89 percent of mortgage debt outstanding in the country.
To be eligible for HAFA, homeowners must first apply for a loan modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP. Owners who do not qualify for a loan modification or miss payments during the initial loan modification period qualify for HAFA.
Other HAFA requirements include:
Property is principal residence.
Mortgage originated before Jan. 1, 2009.
Mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Borrower is delinquent or default is foreseeable.
Homeowner demonstrates hardship.
Borrower’s total monthly housing payment exceeds 31 percent of gross income.
Unpaid principal does not exceed $729,750.
According to HAFA rules, lenders now must offer a short sale in writing to the borrower within 30 days if the borrower does not qualify for or complete a loan modification. Borrowers then must respond within 14 days to the lender’s short sale agreement.
Information gathered from Bankrate.com
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