HAMP Update: Documentation Collection Process

January 30, 2010

On January 28, 2010, the Treasury Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  released updated guidance for the mortgage servicers who initiate the modifications and monitor the trial periods.  The guidance refines the documentation requirements and other procedures in order to expedite conversions of current trial modifications to permanent ones.

Phyllis Caldwell, Chief of Treasury’s Homeownership Preservation Office states that the “guidance represents our commitment to more efficiently move qualified homeowners into permanent modifications.”

“Increasing the number of borrowers receiving permanent modifications under HAMP is critical to our efforts to preserve affordable and sustainable homeownership,” said HUD Senior Advisor for Housing Finance William Apgar. “While we continue to meet our goals to provide immediate assistance, the updates announced today should enable servicers to transition borrowers more quickly and easily from trial to permanent modification.

Guidance Details

Supplemental Directive 10-01 provides guidance on two major issues:

  1. New Requirements that Documentation be Provided Before Trial Modification Begins

A simple, standard package of documents will be required prior to the servicer’s evaluation of the borrower for a trial modification.  This process will be required for all new HAMP modifications that became effective after June 1, 2010, although mortgage servicers may implement it sooner.  The following documents, referred to as the “Initial Package” must include:

Step 1 – Complete the RMA Form

The RMA Form provides the servicer with borrower and co-borrower financial information including the cause of the borrower’s hardship. The financial information and hardship sections of the RMA must be completed and executed by the borrower and, if applicable, the co-borrower. The RMA also solicits data related to the race, ethnicity and gender of the borrower and co-borrower, referred to as Government Monitoring Data (GMD). The borrower and co-borrower are not required to provide GMD. Servicers may not refuse to accept an RMA because the borrower or co-borrower did not complete this section. Click here for instructions for completing the form.

Servicers may require use of the RMA by all borrowers requesting consideration for HAMP or may continue to use other proprietary financial information forms that are substantially similar in content to the RMA. When provided by or on behalf of the borrower, the RMA form must be accepted by servicers in lieu of any servicer specific form(s). When the RMA is not used, servicers must obtain an executed MHA Hardship Affidavit.

Step 2 – Complete the IRS Form 4506-T or 4506T-EZ

The IRS Form 4506-T or 4506T-EZ gives permission to your mortgage servicer to request a copy of your most recent tax return you have filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). After you have completed the form, print two copies – one for your records and one to send to your mortgage servicer. Only one taxpayer is required to sign to Tax Form. Click here for instructions for completing the form.

Step 3 – Gather Evidence of Income

Your mortgage servicer is required to verify your income to ensure that the modified mortgage payments will be affordable for you.  The type of documentation you need to provide depends on the source of your income. The simple Proof of Income Checklist will tell you what documents you need to collect if you are a wage earner, self-employed, or receive retirement income.  Be sure to make copies of your income documentation and keep the originals for your records.

***Note: The income evidence and financial information provided by the borrower may not be more than 90 days old as of the date the Initial Package is received by the mortgage servicer.***

Step 4 – Send the Documentation to your Servicer

After you complete, print, and sign the RMA and Tax Form, send these documents, along with your proof of income, to your mortgage servicer.  You will find the correct mailing address and fax number at Contact Your Mortgage Servicer.

***Note: For all documents required by Treasury (other than the Tax Form), electronic submission and signatures are acceptable.***

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BREAKING NEWS: FHA Suspends 90-Day Anti-Flipping Rule for 1 Year

January 19, 2010

Effective February 1, 2010, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will place a one-year moratorium on its 90-day anti-flipping rule under waiver of  requirements of 24 CFR 203.37a(b)(2). , unless otherwise extended or withdrawn by the Commissioner. This will allow buyers with FHA-backed loans to buy homes that have been held for less than 90 days.

“FHA borrowers, because of the restrictions we are now lifting, have often been shut out from buying affordable properties, ” said FHA Commissioner David H. Stevens. “This action will enable our borrowers, especially first-time buyers, to take advantage of this opportunity.”

The waiver is limited to those sales meeting the following conditions:

  1. All transactions must be arms-length, with no interest between the seller and the buyer or any other parties involved in the sales transaction.
  2. The seller holds title to the property.
  3. LLCs, corporations, or trusts that are serving as sellers were established and operated in accordance with state and Federal laws.
  4. No pattern of previous flipping exists for the property, as shown by multiple title transfers within the last 12 months.
  5. The property was marketed openly and fairly.
  6. Assignment of a contract for sale will trigger a red flag.

In cases where the sales price is 20% or more over and above the seller’s acquisition cost, the waiver will only apply if the lender:

  1. Justifies the increase in value by retaining supporting documentation and/or a second appraisal which verifies the seller has completed legitimate renovation, repair, and rehabilitation to substantiate  the increase in value, or in cases where no work is performed, the appraiser provides sufficient explanation of the increase in value.
  2. Orders a property inspection and provides the inspection report to the purchaser before closing. The lender may charge the borrower for this inspection. The use of FHA-approved inspectors is not required.
  3. At a minimum, the inspection must include: the property structure, including: the foundation, floor, ceiling, walls and roof. The exterior, including: the siding, doors, windows, decks, balconies, walkways, and driveways. All interiors and all insulation and ventilation systems, fireplaces, and fuel-burning appliances.
  4. The waiver is limited to forward mortgages and does not apply to Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for Purchase program.

Findings

FHA finds that eliminating the 90-day resale restriction for buyers will permit buyers to use FHA-insured funding to purchase other bank-owned properties, or properties sold through private resale, which will allow homes to resell as quickly as possible.


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