As discussed briefly in the previous post , HAFA is the new Federal Government’s Program designed to complement the loan modification Program (HAMP), to help those borrowers who cannot qualify for said loan modification efforts. Below is a bit more detail in a FAQ format.
What does HAFA stand for?
Also known as the “April Program”, HAFA stands or Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives. It’s a brand-new government program starting on April 5, 2010 that will streamline and incentivize alternatives to foreclosure. Under HAFA, participating banks must work with you to help you avoid foreclosure.
What are the “Alternatives” in HAFA?
HAFA provides two alternatives that will allow you to avoid foreclosure:
- Short Sale – If you owe more on your home than it is now worth, a short sale will help you sell your home and save yourself from financial ruin. According to HAFA, a real estate agent must be involved in this process. Agents with the CDPE designation are specially trained to help you with a short sale.
- Deed-In-Lieu – This is where the bank accepts the deed of your home instead of (“in-lieu of”) foreclosure. You do not get to keep your home, but your mortgage debt is forgiven.
HAFA also provides up to $3,000 in Borrower Relocation Assistance to help you transition beyond a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.
Why should I consider a HAFA short sale?
HAFA sets distinct guidelines and incentives for banks and lending companies so that you will know whether or not you can complete a short sale. One of the common myths about short sales is that they take forever to complete. HAFA makes sure that short sales happen more quickly by streamlining the short sale process.
How is HAFA different from a short sale?
The main issue with traditional short sales was that they took too long, and it was difficult to keep buyers interested in the process. HAFA is a program designed to speed up the short sale process and even gives banks incentives for each short sale they do. Also, after completing a HAFA short sale, you may be given up to $3,000 in Borrower Relocation Assistance to help you transition. During a non-HAFA short sale, there is no government incentive for banks to help you.
Do I have to hire a real estate professional for a HAFA short sale?
Yes, but it doesn’t cost you anything. HAFA pays the real estate professional’s fees. It is a requirement of a HAFA short sale that you work with a real estate professional to help you through the process. CDPE-designated agents understand this process, and are located throughout the country. Find a CDPE in your area today to help you get started.
How do I get started?
Your first step should be to contact an educated real estate professional in your area. An agent can walk you through the HAFA process, determine your eligibility, and provide you with the best solutions available for your particular circumstances.
How do I qualify?
Most homeowners facing financial hardship can qualify for HAFA. If you applied for a HAMP Trial Period Plan but did not qualify, or were unable to complete the Trial Period Plan, you are definitely eligible for HAFA. If you are unsure about your situation, contact a CDPE in your area immediately.
What’s in it for me?
HAFA is the only program that gives you cash for avoiding foreclosure through a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. If you complete a short sale or deed-in-lieu, then up to $3,000 in Borrower Relocation Assistance may be available to aid in your transition. This program seeks to ensure that no one will be left high-and-dry if they cannot afford their home. The biggest gain of HAFA, however, is that it helps you get your life back if you feel like there are no other solutions when faced with foreclosure.
How long does the process take?
HAFA speeds up the short sale process by putting in place distinct timelines that the banks—and you—must follow. Each step of the process has a defined amount of days in which it must happen. This keeps everyone on track. The longest possible time allowed in the HAFA short sale process is four months.
What is the April Program?
HAFA is commonly referred to as the April Program.
There are many people out there trying to scam homeowners by requesting up-front fees for HAFA short sales. This is fraud. A CDPE-designated agent will never ask you for money. MakingHomeAffordable.gov(MHA) provides the following guidelines:
- Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for counseling service or modification of a delinquent loan.
- Scam artists often target homeowners who are struggling to meet their mortgage commitment or anxious to sell their homes.
- Beware of people who pressure you to sign papers immediately, or who try to convince you that they can “save” your home if you sign paperwork or transfer over the deed to your house.
- Never make a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage company without their approval.
- Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt.
Who is Eligible for HAFA?
Most homeowners in facing financial hardship are eligible. As a rule, if a homeowner is eligible for HAMP but cannot pay the mortgage, then he or she is eligible for an assisted short sale through HAFA. However, loans owned or guaranteed through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac do not qualify. Servicers must consider possible HAMP eligible borrowers for HAFA within 30 calendar days if the borrower has one or more of the following criteria :
- Does not qualify for a HAMP Trial Period Plan
- Does not successfully complete a HAMP Trial Period Plan
- Is delinquent on a HAMP modification by missing at least two consecutive payments
- Requests a short sale or deed-in-lieu
For a loan to qualify, it must meet the following criteria:
- The property is the borrower’s principal residence
- The mortgage loan is a first lien mortgage originated on or before January 1, 2009
- The mortgage is delinquent or default is reasonably foreseeable
- The current unpaid principal balance is equal to or less than $729,750
- The borrower’s total monthly mortgage payment (as defined in Supplemental Directive 09-01) exceeds 31 percent of the borrower’s gross income
- The mortgage is not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
Part 3 of 3 Which Banks are supporting HAFA?