The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program was the program created by our government to provide incentives to those individuals (and mortgage lenders) participating in short sales. For those who have read the 42-page directive (Supplemental Directive 09-09), you would probably agree that the program is designed to aid those borrowers who did not qualify for the HAMP program—the government’s loan modification program. Additionally, the program is also designed to process short sales quickly and efficiently. Maybe that is why they called is HAFA—kind of sounds like ‘half of.’
In general, the program description claims that the main benefits include a 6% commission to real estate agents, a release of deficiency judgment on all liens, and a $3000 seller incentive payable at close of escrow. This program is aimed at owner-occupied properties only, and I urge you to read the directive in order to learn more about the other features of the program.
Uncle Sam’s intentions
While the government’s intentions were probably all good, this program seems to have gotten off to a rocky start. Many borrowers have received letters that imply that they qualify for the program; they submit their documentation and wait and wait and wait. Several weeks later, some borrowers learn that they do not qualify. Why not? Either the first or the second investor lien holder is not a participant.
Another stumbling block to short sales taking ‘half of’ the time is that all of the documentation needs to go through the HAFA underwriting department before moving back to the short sale negotiators. While this is supposed to be a quick process, I have seen this process take upwards of eight weeks.
To HAFA or not to HAFA?
When sellers consider listing their property as a short sale, I always tell them about the HAFA program. Since the benefits of this program are very desirable, it seems like it would be a good idea for all sellers of owner-occupied properties to consider learning whether they qualify.
That being said, at present know that the HAFA program is still a work in progress—and it is nowhere near ‘half’ the time. Of course, with short sales being so quick and easy to process, who wants to save time anyway? (The last sentence, of course, should be read ‘tongue in cheek’).