Lani recently wrote a post referencing HAMP, and today I received some additional information that I thought would be nice to share with the class.
Enter: The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program
On November 30th a Supplemental Directive was published by the Treasury Department that created a program incentivizing Lenders (Servicers) and Borrowers. The Press Release does a good job of giving an overview but the real information is contained in the very lengthy Directive. This program address’ both short-sales and Deed in Lieu of Foreclosures, but I am only writing about the short-sale part in this post.
The HAMP program offers incentives for the Borrower, Servicer and Investor should the Short Sale (or Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure) be processed in accordance to their guidelines. The HAMP program is for those programs that are not already Freddie of Fannie Mac backed loans. Freddie and Fannie already have their own guidelines. Even though this program does not effect Fannie Mae, they have been selected as the “Financial Agent for the United States” to administer this program.
The program has some fantastic benefits, but (here’s the kicker) the incentive to use this program seems to be nominal. According to page 12 of the Directive “The servicer will be paid $1,000 to cover administrative and processing costs for the Short Sale….” and the investor will get “…a maximum of $1,000 for allowing a total of up to $3,000 in short-sale proceeds to be distributed to subordinate lien holder, or for allowing payment of up to $3,000 in subordinate lien holders. This reimbursement will be earned on a one a one-for three- matching basis. For each three dollars an investor pays to secure release of a subordinate lien, the investor will be entitled to one dollar of reimbursement”.
The real benefit is to the borrow who gets $1,500 if they have vacated the house at the time of closing the short-sale. This is labled a “relocation assistance payment”.
The program begins April 5, 2010 (but some applications can be processed prior) and sunsets December 15, 2012.
What’s the Dets?
Ok, so lets say that the Servicer and the Investor decide that the reimbursement above IS enough money to justify the program requirements, here are some highlights of the requirements:
Benefits for the Realtor and Buyer
- Borrower to receive pre-approved short sale terms prior to the property listing
- The Servicer cannot negotiate Realtor Fees under 6% (just like Fannie and Freddie)
- Requires that Borrowers be fully released from future liability for the debt
- Provides the aforementioned financial incentives to all parties
- Servicer must consider reasonable and customary real estate transaction costs for the community
- 120 Days to sell the home with pre-listing approved terms
- Home MUST be listed with a licensed real estate professional who is regularly doing business in the community where the property is located. (I love that one)
- Short-sale must be an arm’s length transaction
- Servicer must proactively notify the borrower in writing of the availability of this program
- The Servicer must independently assess the current value of the property.
- Must establish minimum acceptable net proceeds before approving borrower for the program
- May NOT complete a foreclosure sale while:
- Determining the Borrower’s eligibility
- While awaiting the return of the request
- During the term of the term of executed short-sale approval
- Pending transfer with an approved contract
- Buyer of the short-sale must agree to not attempt to sell the property for 90 days after purchase
- Notice must be given to Borrower that there may be negative credit repercussions, etc…
- Items needed to request a Short Sale Approval
- Copy of executed sales contract and all addendums (not just the docs the agents want the lender to see)
- Buyers Pre-Approval Documentation
- Status of all subordinate liens
Cause for Termination of Approval
- Borrower’s financial situation improves
- Listing Broker or Borrower fail to act in good faith in listing, marketing and closing the sale
- Significant change occurs in the property condition or value
- Evidence of fraud
- Borrower files for bankruptcy
There are also timelines for processing of the short-sale. The Borrower has three days to get the contract to the Servicer after ratification. The Servicer than has ten days to approve the “Request for Short Sale Approval” so long as all required documents are in.
Please read the source documents carefully, because this post is just to outline what I found interesting and how I perceived it’s contents.
I would love to see all of this be a requirement to all lenders and not just a optional program. I’m not convinced that there is enough incentive to cause the Servicer to use this program, but I may be wrong.
These are good and lofty policies, but how practical are they really? How are they going to be enforced and how are practitioners going to know they are available without asking?
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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