December 12, 2009

Avoid Foreclosure with HAFA Program?

Has the U.S. Treasury actually designed a program that will help at risk homeowners avoid foreclosure? On November 30, 2009 the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) a supplemental program to HAMP, was announced. I have to admit that inside the 43 pages of guidelines and sample forms is information that homeowners, real estate agents and buyers should like. It sounds good on paper but like all the housing rescue programs that have come before, getting banks and loan servicers to voluntarily participate will be key to its success … even with the financial incentives being offered. The program takes effect on April 5, 2010 but banks and loan servicers have the option to implement sooner if they choose. Here are some highlights of what qualifies for HAFA:

  • homeowners who were unsuccessful on obtaining a HAMP loan modification could be considered for a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure program utilizing HAFA guidelines
  • the borrower’s monthly mortgage payment exceeds 31 percent of their gross income
  • loan servicer must offer borrowers the HAFA program within 30 days of being ineligibility for a HAMP loan modification
  • loan does not have to be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
  • loan must have been originated on or before January 1, 2009
  • loan is for the homeowner’s principal residence
  • the mortgage is delinquent or default is likely
  • only for a first mortgage that does not exceed $729,750

Some features that make the HAFA program unique compared to what’s sellers, buyers and real estate agents are experiencing in today’s short sale market is:

  1. HAFA uses the borrower’s financial and hardship information collected during eligibility for HAMP, eliminating the need for additional eligibility analysis
  2. allows the borrower to receive pre-approved short sale terms prior to the property listing
  3. prohibits the servicer from requiring , as a condition of approving the short sale, a reduction in the real estate commission agreed upon in the listing agreement
  4. requires the borrower ro be fully released from future liability for the debt
  5. standardizes the process, documents and timeframes
  6. provides financial incentives to borrowers (seller), servicers and banks

There is more information including the deed-in-lieu program, so if you have questions about how HAFA could help you avoid foreclosure, I’ll be glad to answer them. Keep in mind, a short sale is a lot more forgiving on your credit than foreclosure and the waiting period to qualify for your next mortgage will be much shorter.

Read my post about the HAMP program

Read my post home ownership after short sale or foreclosure