Certified HAFA Specialist
The HAFA Program – Foreclosure Alternatives for Homeowners
Understanding the Short Sale / Deed-in-Lieu guidelines and application process
The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program is for borrowers who, although eligible for the government Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), are not able to secure a permanent loan modification or cannot avoid foreclosure. HAFA provides protection and money to eligible borrowers who decide to do a Short Sale or a Deed-in-Lieu of foreclosure.
HAFA Benefits to the Homeowner
Homeowners who are eligible for HAFA (see Qualifications and Eligibility below) are given an equitable way to avoid foreclosure by performing a Short Sale or by giving the property back to the lender – known as a Deed-in-Lieu of foreclosure (DIL). Homeowners benefit by receiving fair time frames for completing each step of the process, compensation for moving expenses and protection from collection actions by their lenders. Some of the key benefits are:
- Borrowers receive $3,000 for relocation assistance.
- Lenders must allow the opportunity for the borrower to attempt a Short Sale or accept a Deed-in-Lieu of foreclosure before following through with a foreclosure.
- Borrowers are fully released from future liability for the first mortgage debt – lenders cannot ask for a cash contribution, promissory note, or deficiency judgment to complete a short sale or DIL. Additionally, junior lien holders (i.e. 2nd mortgages) who participate in the HAFA incentives must also release borrowers from future liability.
Qualifications and Eligibility
In order to qualify for HAFA, borrowers must already meet the basic eligibility criteria for the HAMP modification program:
- The property is the borrower’s principal residence.
- The first mortgage originated before January 1, 2009.
- The mortgage is delinquent or default is reasonably foreseeable.
- The mortgage’s unpaid principal balance is no more than $729,750 (higher limits for 2 to 4 unit dwellings).
- The borrower’s total monthly mortgage payment exceeds 31% of their gross income.
- The mortgage also needs to be serviced by a lender who is participating in the HAMP program (the majority of lenders are).
Given that the borrower, mortgage and servicer all meet the above qualifications, then the lender must consider HAFA if the borrower:
- Is denied a HAMP trial period plan.
- Does not successfully complete a HAMP trial period plan or is denied a permanent HAMP modification.
- Is delinquent on a HAMP modification (misses at least 2 consecutive payments).
- Requests a short sale or DIL.
How to Apply for HAFA
Short sales and DILs are complex transactions involving coordination and cooperation among a number of various parties. Fortunately the HAFA program simplifies and streamlines the process.
HUD approved, nonprofit housing counselors are available to answer your questions, determine your eligibility for the HAFA program and communicate with your lender to get your application started at no charge to you.
Contact Sherri Souza for more information.