Bank of America Short Sale Process Presentation

April 19, 2010

 

 On April 8, 2010, Bank of America (BOA) executives held a webinar presentation for over 10,000 Realtors to discuss BOA’s short sale process.

Tip: Refer to the Equator Agent/Homeowner Guide for step-by-step instructions 

Summary

10 Tips to Avoid Delays in Processing Time

  1. Review all documents and images for accuracy prior to uploading in Equator
  2. Ensure that property is listed in the MLS
  3. Negotiate external party fees prior to submission of HUD-1
  4. Supply HUD-1 that is valid for at least 60 days
  5. Ensure that agent and customer tasks are completed as timely as possible in Equator (i.e. accepting short sale assignment, submitting short sale offer, and uploading offer documents within 7 days)
  6. Only submit fully executed purchase offers with all appropriate addendums signed by both buyer and homeowner
  7. Work to get purchase offer representing the best possible fair market value and highest net proceeds for the lender
  8. Set appropriate expectations with buyers/sellers so they understand the complexity and resulting length of time a short sale can take
  9. Work to get a release on outside liens as early as possible
  10. The following situations will cause delays: (1) Change in buyer or agent at any time during the process; (2) Customer files bankruptcy; (3) Deal change after the approval letter is issued

Steps Already Taken to Improve the Short Sale Process

  • Increased staffing and updated training
  • Dedicated Short Sale Call Center:  1-866-880-1232
  • Hours of Operation: 8 AM – 9PM (EST), Monday -Friday
  • Extended Saturday hours – Coming Soon!
  • Equator – primary tool for initiating the short sale
  • Changed procedures to improve associate responsiveness
  • Enhanced the procedure to proactively provide loan status

Steps Underway to Enhance Programs

Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA):

  • Implemented on April 5, 2010 and are following the HAFA guidelines 
  • HAFA is first in short sale waterfall of options for a homeowner
  • Remember: Some investors (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are not participating; offering a cooperative or traditional short sale
  • Proactive outreach to homeowners
  • Offering a pre-approved short sale solicitation 
  • After offer is submitted, approval within 14 days
  • Promissory Note – Not required with HAFA 
  • Homeowner required to clear second liens
  • Homeowner leaves the home – no deficiency and no contribution

Cooperative Short Sales:

  • Similar in approach to HAFA but wider in scope
  • Includes homeowners who are not eligible for HAFA – non-owner occupied, jumbo loans, Fannie, Freddie
  • Currently in pilot stages with rollout expected 2nd Quarter of 2010

Steps Underway to Educate Agents

Education Materials:

  • Overview of the process so agents can lead process
  • Step-by-Step Guidelines for working through the system as an agent and homeowner
  • Tips to avoid common problems

Outreach Events to Distribute Materials

  • Large Realtor Events
  • Webinars
  • Participation with Short Sale Certification Programs

Want Agents’ Input

  • Developing mechanisms for on-going feedback on process, systems, materials
  • Will act on feedback with continuous improvements

Introduction to Equator

  • 24/7 access to the short sale system
  • Status tracking
  • Direct communication with the Short Sale Negotiator
  • Documents are uploaded directly to Equator instead of faxing
  • Streamlined approval process
  • Historical view of offers and counter offers

Coming Soon in Equator:

  • There are a few specific loan investor types (i.e., FHA/VA) that are not on the Equator system and will be added at a later date
  • Agent feedback, homeowner feedback, and internal data is being leveraged to identify system and/or enhancements for future process rollouts and educational material improvements

Agent Communication within Equator

  • Throughout the process you will receive notifications of the status of the short sale. The system automatically tracks the agent, customer, and bank tasks and will alert you after key milestones have been achieved and to let you know the next steps.
  • For specific questions/concerns you have, the negotiator assigned to the short sale is your primary contact.
  • Please ensure when sending a message in Equator you only select “Negotiator”.
  • We request that you only send messages via Equator and not directly through email. This enables our associates to effectively manage the case load and respond to agent inquires in a timely manner.
  • If you have submitted a request to the Negotiator via Equator AND there has been no response after 2 business days: You should escalate to a “Team Lead” by selecting this role in your message drop down menu.
  • In the event of an urgent issue, such as, a foreclosure sale date within 48 hours: You should immediately escalate to the “Team Lead” and “Manager”; and also call the Short Sale support team at 1-866-880-1232. 


FAQs for Fannie Mae’s Alternative HAMP Modification

March 30, 2010

 What is Fannie Mae’s Alternative Modification (Alt Mod)?

The Alt Mod is an alternative to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) modification for those borrowers who were eligible for and accepted into a HAMP trial period plan but were subsequently not offered a HAMP permanent modification because of eligibility restrictions.

Are servicers required to offer the Alt Mod?

Yes, for mortgage loans in active HAMP trials initiated prior to March 1, 2010, all Fannie Mae-approved servicers must consider the Alt Mod prior to the initiation of foreclosure for all eligible borrowers who were not offered a permanent HAMP modification after making all required payments under a HAMP trial period plan. All borrowers must meet the eligibility criteria outlined below.

What are the benefits of an Alt Mod?

An Alt Mod offers you a permanent long-term solution to make your mortgage more affordable.

If I didn’t qualify for a permanent modification under HAMP, will I qualify for an Alt Mod?

The requirements for an Alt Mod have been designed specifically to assist borrowers, who were unable to qualify for a permanent modification through HAMP. If borrowers made their HAMP Trial Period Plan payments and have completed the HAMP Trial Period Plan, borrowers are likely a candidate for an Alt Mod. Once the servicer has the borrower’s required information, the servicer will review to see if the borrowers are eligible.

How do I qualify for Alt Mod/What do I need to do to get approved?

To begin the qualification process, review the Alt Mod Loan Modification Agreement and the Hardship Affidavit and return back to the servicer by the specified date.

Why do I need to sign another Loan Modification Agreement…I already did this for HAMP?

Alt Mod is a new loan modification option offered by Fannie Mae (the owner of your loan). It is not a part of the government’s loan modification program, HAMP. The Alt Mod was created for borrowers who were not approved for HAMP. The borrowers’ terms and payment amount should be the same as that of HAMP. All eligible borrowers who want to accept the terms of an Alt Mod, must read, agree, and sign a new Loan Modification Agreement

I am currently paying the trial period payment that was specified under HAMP. Do I keep paying this same amount? Will my payment change if I get an Alternative Modification?

Yes, keep paying the same payment amount you were paying during the HAMP Trial Period. If you are eligible for an Alternative Modification, your payment should stay the same. The Alt Mod Loan Modification Agreement will specify your payment amount and when your payments are due.

When are my payments due?

If you are eligible for an Alternative Modification, you will sign an Alt Mod Loan Modification Agreement which specifies your payment amount and the day each month that your payment is due.

Is there a trial period I have to complete?

No. There is no trial period for Alt Mod. If you are eligible for an Alt Mod, once approved and the Loan Modification Agreement completed, your loan will be permanently modified.

Will I still receive the incentive compensation offered through the HAMP program?

No. An Alt Mod does not offer an incentive compensation for borrowers. The borrower incentive compensation is only available to borrowers who were eligible/qualified for a permanent modification under HAMP.

Is the Alt Mod a temporary servicing policy change?

Yes, Alt Mod cases must be submitted through the HomeSaver Solutions® Network (HSSN) prior to the final date of the program offering, August 31, 2010.

Which Fannie Mae loans are eligible for an Alt Mod?

All conventional mortgage loans held in Fannie Mae’s portfolio and mortgage loans that are part of an MBS pool that has the special servicing option or a shared-risk MBS pool for which Fannie Mae markets the acquired property.

Who qualifies are an Alt Mod?

To be eligible for the Alt Mod:

  • The loan must have been evaluated and considered eligible for HAMP
  • The HAMP trial period must have been initiated prior to March 1, 2010
  • The loan must be secured by a 1- 4 unit owner-occupied property
  • The borrower must have made all required payments in accordance with a HAMP trial period plan, including subsequent payments that may have been due while the servicer attempted to convert the trial period to a permanent modification
  • Any subsequent trial period payment(s) due from the borrower must be submitted prior to executing a permanent modification agreement

Additionally, one of the following is required for Alt Mod eligibility:

  • The monthly mortgage payment ratio based on verified income was less than 31%
  • The target monthly mortgage payment ratio of 31% based on verified income could not be reached using the standard HAMP modification waterfall
  • The borrower failed to provide all income documentation required for a HAMP modification but meets the streamlined income documentation requirements for the Alt Mod as described below

 What are the underwriting guidelines for an Alt Mod?

A servicer must have a property valuation as required for HAMP in Announcement 09-05R. The servicer must use that valuation to underwrite the Alt Mod.

For loans with a current mark-to-market loan-to-value (LTV) of 80% or greater (LTV ratio based upon the HAMP valuation), the payment calculated for HAMP using the standard modification waterfall should be used for the Alt Mod, and verification of income documentation (as described below) is not necessary.

For loans with a current mark-to-market LTV ratio of less than 80%, the payment calculated for HAMP using the standard modification waterfall should be used for the Alt Mod and income verification is required (as described below). However, the Alt Mod mortgage payment may not be reduced below 20% of the borrower’s verified monthly gross income.

  • If the borrower did not qualify for a HAMP modification because the borrower failed to provide all required income documentation but the income documentation meets the streamlined income documentation requirements for the Alt Mod, the servicer may use the payment previously calculated for the HAMP trial period for the Alt Mod provided that the payment meets the criteria outlined above.
  • If, after applying the modification waterfall steps based on verified income documentation, the borrower’s monthly mortgage payment cannot be reduced without going below a 20% monthly mortgage payment ratio, the servicer may not perform the modification without the express written consent of Fannie Mae. A principal write-down or principal forgiveness is prohibited on Fannie Mae mortgage loans.

What are the Alt Mod income verification requirements for loans with current mark-to-market LTV ratios less than 80%?

A servicer may use the verified income documentation required under HAMP to calculate the payment for the Alt Mod. If the borrower is ineligible for a HAMP modification because of failure to provide the required income documentation, the servicer may rely upon the following streamlined documentation requirements for the Alt Mod.

If the borrower is employed: A copy of the most recent paystub indicating year-to-date earnings or if year-to-date earnings are not available, copies of paystubs for the last two months.

If the borrower elects to use other earned income such as bonus, commission, fee, housing allowance, tips, overtime: Reliable third party documentation describing the nature of the income (for example, an employment contract or printouts documenting tip income).

If the borrower is self-employed: A signed copy of the most recent federal income tax return, including all schedules and forms, if available, or signed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Request for Transcript of Tax Return (Form 4506-T); and copies of bank statements for the business account for the last two months to document continuation of business activity.

If the borrower elects to use alimony or child support income to qualify, acceptable documentation includes: Photocopies of the divorce decree, separation agreement or other type of legal written agreement or court decree that provides for the payment of alimony or child support and states the amount of the award and the period of time over which it will be received; and documents supplying reasonably reliable evidence of full, regular, and timely payments, such as bank deposit slips or bank statements for the last two months.

If the borrower has other income such as Social Security, disability or death benefits, a pension, public assistance or adoption assistance: Acceptable documentation includes letters, exhibits, a disability policy or benefits statement from the provider that states the amount, frequency and duration of the benefit; and the servicer must obtain copies of the most recent bank statement showing these deposits.

If the borrower receives unemployment: Acceptable documentation includes letters, exhibits or a benefits statement from the provider that states the amount, frequency, and duration of the benefit. The servicer must have determined that the income will continue for at least 9 months from the date of the HAMP eligibility determination.

If the borrower has rental income, acceptable documentation includes: Copies of all pages from the borrower’s signed federal income tax return and Schedule E – Supplemental Income and Loss, for the most recent tax year.

  • When Schedule E is not available because the property was not previously rented, servicers may accept a current lease agreement and bank statements or cancelled rent checks.
  • If the borrower has rental income from a 1 – 4 unit property that is also the borrower’s principal residence, the monthly net rental income to be calculated for HAMP purposes must equal 75% of the gross rent, with the remaining 25% being considered vacancy loss and maintenance expense.
  • If the borrower has rental income from a property that is other than the borrower’s primary residence, the income should be 75% of the monthly gross rental income, reduced by the monthly debt service on the property (i.e., principal, interest, taxes, insurance, including mortgage insurance and association fees, if applicable

Income documentation previously obtained during the HAMP evaluation may be relied upon for the purposes of verifying income for the Alt Mod. All other income documentation must not be more than 90 days old from the date of the Alt Mod evaluation.

Is a hardship affidavit required for Alt Mod?

Yes, in all cases a signed hardship affidavit is required. For borrowers that did not provide one under HAMP, a hardship affidavit may be included in the Alt Mod offer package for signature along with the Loan Modification Agreement (Form 3179).

How should servicers treat loans with mortgage insurance?

Fannie Mae is seeking blanket delegations of authority from mortgage insurers so that servicers can more efficiently process Alt Mods without having to obtain mortgage insurer approval on individual loans. Servicers must obtain approval on a case-by-case basis from mortgage insurers that have not provided delegated authority agreements.

Servicers must include the mortgage insurance premium in the borrower’s modified payment and must ensure that any existing mortgage insurance is maintained. Servicers must maintain their mortgage insurance processes and comply with all reporting required by the mortgage insurer for Alt Mod loans.

What are the escrow requirements for Alt Mod?

All of the borrower’s trial period payments under HAMP as well as the payments due under the Alt Mod must include a monthly escrow amount unless prohibited by applicable law.

What are the messaging requirements for the Alt Mod offer from servicers to borrowers?

  • Clearly indicate that, while the Alt Mod contains the same payment terms as the HAMP modification, the borrower did not meet the requirements of HAMP and as a result, the Alt Mod does not include borrower incentive payments that are otherwise payable under HAMP
  • Provide the borrower with a simplified Summary of the Loan Modification Agreement
  • Inform the borrower that, in the event of re-default, the servicer will pursue liquidation options
  • Remind the borrower of the consequences of material misstatements when submitting documentation in connection with a request for a loan modification

What are the timing expectations for Alt Mod offers?

For qualified borrowers who are already identified as ineligible for a permanent HAMP Modification, Alt Mod offers should be sent no later than 30 days from the date of Lender Letter LL-2010-04. Going forward, for other borrowers who:  1) entered into a trial period plan prior to March 1, 2010, 2) fail to qualify for a permanent HAMP modification, and 3) are determined to be eligible for Alt Mod, offers should be sent within 10 days of completion of the trial periods and expiration of the 30-day HAMP Borrower Notice. All Alt Mod offers should also include an expiration date of 30 days from the date of the offer

For borrowers who do not respond to the Alt Mod offer, servicers must conduct follow-up:

  • Between the fifth and the 15th days after the offer is mailed, servicers must attempt at least 3 phone calls.
  • On the 15th day after the offer is mailed, servicers must mail a follow-up letter by either mail or a direct contact, door-knocking campaign.
  • Between the 15th and 30th day, after the offer is mailed, servicers must attempt to contact the borrower a minimum of 3 additional times regarding the offer by either phone calls and/or use of field servicers (door knockers).

What are the incentive fees for Alt Mod?

A servicer will receive compensation of $800 for each completed modification. Incentive fee payments on eligible mortgage loans will be sent to servicers upon receipt of a closed case entered into HSSN. Servicers need not submit requests for payment of modification incentive fees. Modification incentive fees on eligible mortgages will be sent to servicers on a monthly basis.

Unlike HAMP, there are no borrower incentive payments available with Alt Mod.

How should servicers handle a borrower who re-defaults after receiving an Alt Mod?

If a borrower becomes 60 days delinquent on the Alt Mod within the first 12 months after the effective date of the modification, then the servicer must immediately pursue either a pre-foreclosure sale (short sale), deed-in-lieu (DIL) of foreclosure or commence foreclosure proceedings in accordance with applicable state law. Should a servicer determine that another modification is appropriate for the borrower; the servicer must submit the loan information as a non-delegated case into HSSN for Fannie Mae’s prior approval.


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.


Making Home Affordable Plan

May 23, 2009

MHA_Logo

The Obama Administration has introduced a plan to try to stabilize the housing market called the Making Home Affordable (MHA) Plan. Through this plan, up to an estimated 7 – 9 million American families may be eligible to refinance or modify their loans to a payment that is affordable now and into the future.

Under this plan, there are two programs:

  • Home Affordable Refinance Program
  • Home Affordable Modification Program

Home Affordable Refinance Program

The Home Affordable Refinance Program gives up to an estimated 4 – 5 million homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac an opportunity to refinance into more affordable monthly payments. 

Many homeowners pay their mortgages on time but are not able to refinance to take advantage of today’s lower mortgage rates perhaps due to a decrease in the value of their home. A Home Affordable Refinance will help borrowers whose loans are held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac refinance into a more affordable mortgage.

Will the Home Affordable Refinance Program help me?

Eligible borrowers who are current on their mortgages but have been unable to take advantage of today’s lower interest rates because their homes have decreased in value may now have the opportunity to refinance. Through the Home Affordable Refinance Program, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow the refinancing of mortgage loans that they own or that they placed in mortgage backed securities.

How do I know if I am eligible?

You may be eligible if:

  • You are the owner occupant of a 1 – 4 unit home
  • The loan on the property is owned or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (If you don’t know, click here)
  • At the time you apply, you are current on your mortgage payments (current means that you haven’t been more than 30 days late on your mortgage payment in the last 12 months or if you have had the loans for less than 12 months, you have never missed a payment)
  • You believe that the amount you owe on your first mortgage is about the same or slightly less than the current value of your house (You may be eligible if your first mortgage does not exceed 105% of the current market value of your home. For example, if your property is worth $200,000 but you owe $210,000 or less on your first mortgage, you may be eligible. The current value of your property will be determined after you apply to refinance)
  • You have income sufficient to support the new mortgage payments, and
  • The refinance improves the long term affordability or stability of your loan

You may also take the Eligibility Test to determine if you qualify.

How do I apply for a Home Affordable Refinance?

You should call your mortgage servicer or lender and ask about the Home Affordable Refinance application process. The number is on your monthly mortgage bill or coupon book.

Note: Please be patient. Lenders and servicers are implementing the program now and there might be a slight delay before they are ready to process all applications. In the meantime, it will help your lender and speed up the application process if you gather some information and documents before you call.

APPLICATION CHECKLIST:

  • Information about your mortgage such as your monthly mortgage statement and
  • Information about the monthly gross (before tax) income of your household, including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources
  • Your most recent income tax return
  • Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on the house
  • Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans, car loans, personal loans, etc.

Home Affordable Modification Program

The Home Affordable Modification Program will reduce monthly payments on existing first lien mortgages for up to an estimated 3 – 4 million at-risk homeowners.

Many homeowners are struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments perhaps because their interest rate has increased or they have less income. A Home Affordable Modification will provide them with mortgage payments they can afford.

Will the Home Affordable Modification Program help me?

If you can no longer afford to make your monthly payments, you may qualify for a loan modification to make your monthly payments more affordable. Millions of borrowers who are current, but having difficulty making their payments and borrowers who have missed 1 or more payments may be eligible.

How do I know if I am eligible?

You may be eligible if:

  •  Your home must be an owner-occupied primary residence (verified with tax return, credit report, and other documentation such as a utility bill)
  • Your home must be a single-family 1 -4 unit property (including condominiums, cooperatives, and manufactured homes affixed to a foundation and treated as real property under state law)
  • Your home must not be vacant or condemned
  • First lien loans must have an unpaid principal balance (prior to capitalization of arrearages) that is equal to or less than:
  • 1 unit properties = $729,750
  • 2 unit properties = $934,200
  • 3 unit properties = $1,129,250
  • 4 unit properties = $1,403,400
  • Your mortgage must have originated on or before January 1, 2009
  • Have a mortgage payment (including taxes, insurance, home owner’s association dues) that is more than 31% of your gross monthly income (If you are uncertain, click here)
  • Have a mortgage payment that is not affordable, perhaps because of a significant change in income or expenses

You may also take the Eligibility Test  to determine if you qualify.

Note: Eligibility requirements are simply government guidelines. Guidelines may change, and lenders make exceptions, if it is in their best interest to do so.  In other words, homeowners should not count themselves out.  If they are having trouble making their house payment, they should explore the loan modification option.  Sometimes, the only way to determine whether you qualify is to apply.

How do I apply for a Home Affordable Modification?

You should call your mortgage servicer or lender and ask about the Home Affordable Modification application process. The number is on your monthly mortgage bill or coupon book.

Note: Please be patient. Lenders and servicers are implementing the program now and there might be a slight delay before they are ready to process all applications. In the meantime, it will help your lender and speed up the application process if you gather some information and documents before you call.

APPLICATION CHECKLIST:

  • Information about your gross monthly  (before taxes) income, including recent pay stubs, if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources
  • Your most recent income tax return
  • Information about your savings and other assets
  • Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement
  • Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on your house
  • Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards
  • Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans, car loans, personal loans, etc.
  • A letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to be reduced or expenses to be increased (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.) if applicable

Note: Many lenders have made a committment to delay foreclosure on all loans that meet the minimum eligibility criteria for a home affordable modification

Free Counseling Help

There are two options for free counseling help:

  • Contact me via email freezeforeclosure@gmail and we’ll set up a time to talk.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable talking to me then another free resource is to contact a HUD-approved housing counselor. They provide the same advice I do. The only difference is who you feel more comfortable working with.

What to expect?

Either the housing counselor or I will talk to you about your situation and help you decide what mortgage options are best for you. We will explain what documents you will need to provide to your mortgage company. We can also help you make a budget so that you can meet your monthly mortgage payment and other expenses. There is no charge to work with either one of us.

Before you call 

Gather the following documents:

  • Information about your gross monthly  (before taxes) income, including recent pay stubs, if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources
  • Your most recent income tax return
  • Information about your savings and other assets
  • Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement
  • Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on your house
  • Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards
  • Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans, car loans, personal loans, etc.
  • A letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to be reduced or expenses to be increased (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.) if applicable

Immediate Assistance

If you are delinquent on your loan payments and need immediate assistance, call myself at 571-249-4357 or 888-995-HOPE (4673)


Understanding the Terms Used in Foreclosure

May 1, 2009

 

If you are working with your lender to keep your home, known as retention, there are several options:

  • Reinstatement: Your lender may agree to let you pay the total amount you are behind, in a lump sum payment and by a specific date. This is often combined with forbearance when you can show that funds from a bonus, tax refund, or other source will become available at a specific time in the future. Be aware that there may be late fees and other costs associated with a reinstatement plan.
  • Forbearance: Your lender may offer a temporary reduction or suspension of your mortgage payments while you get back on your feet. Forbearance is often combined with a reinstatement or a repayment plan to pay off the missed or reduced mortgage payments.
  • Repayment Plan: This is an agreement that gives you a fixed amount of time to repay the amount you are behind by combining a portion of what is past due with your regular monthly payment. At the end of the repayment period you have gradually paid back the amount of your mortgage that was delinquent.
  • Loan Modification: This is a written agreement between you and your mortgage company that permanently changes one or more of the original terms of your note to make the payments more affordable.

If you and your lender agree that you cannot keep your home, there are a number of liquidation terms you should understand:

  • Short Sale: Nothing more than when a lender is willing to accept less than what is owed on outstanding debts against real property. A short sale is a way for a homeowner to avoid foreclosure and still be able to pay off the bank from acceptance or a settlement agreement.
  • Deed-in-lieu of Foreclosure: A cancellation of your mortgage if you voluntarily transfer title of your property to your mortgage company. Usually, you must try to sell your home for its fair market value (FMV) for at least 90 days before a mortgage company will consider this option. A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure may not be an option if there are other liens on the property, such as second mortgages, judgments from creditors, or tax liens.
  • Assumption: An assumption permits a qualified buyer to take over your mortgage debt and make the mortgage payments, even if the mortgage is non-assumable. As a result, you may be able to sell your property and avoid foreclosure.

The Homeowner Affordability & Stability Plan FAQs

February 26, 2009

The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is part of the President’s broad, comprehensive strategy to get the economy back on track. The plan is suppose to help up to 7 to 9 million families restructure or refinance their mortgages to avoid foreclosure. In doing so, the plan not only helps responsible homeowners on the verge of defaulting, but prevents neighborhoods and communities from being pulled over the edge too, as defaults and foreclosures contribute to falling home values, failing local businesses, and lost jobs.

More information can be found on the example sheet which will show you what options might be available to you, depending on the circumstances of your mortgage.

Disclaimer: This post is adapted from Treas.gov. We do not own this information. It is made available freely to the public. It is recommended that you consult a professional for loan advice.

Borrowers Who Are Current on Their Mortgage:

What help is available  for borrowers who stay current on their mortgage payments but have seen their homes decrease in value?

Under the Homeowner Affordability & Stability Plan, eligible borrowers who stay current on their mortgages but have been unable to refinance to lower interest rates because their homes have decreased in value, may now have the opportunity to refinance into a 30 or 15-year, fixed rate loan. Through the program, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow the refinancing of mortgage loans that they hold in their portfolios or that they placed in mortgage backed securities.

I owe more than my property is worth, do I still qualify to refinance under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

Eligible loans will now include those where the first mortgage (including any refinancing costs) will not exceed 105% of the current market value of the property. For example, if your property is worth $200,000 but you owe $210,000or less you may qualify. The current value of your property will be determined after you apply to refinance.

How do I know if I am eligible?

Complete eligibility details will be announced on March 4, 2009 when the program starts. The criteria for eligibility will include having sufficient income to make the new payment and an acceptable mortgage payment history.  The program is limited to loans held or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

I have both a first and second mortgage. Do I still qualify to refinance under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

As long as the amount due on the first mortgage is less than 105% of the value of the property, borrowers with more than one mortgage may be eligible to refinance under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. Your eligibility will depend, in part, on agreement by the lender that has your second mortgage to remain in a second position, and on your ability to meet the new payment terms on the first mortgage.

Will refinancing lower my payments?

The objective of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is to provide creditworthy borrowers who have shown a commitment to paying their mortgage with affordable payments that are sustainable for the life of the loan. Borrowers whose mortgage interest rates are much higher than the current market value should see an immediate reduction in their payments. Borrowers who are paying interest only, or who have a low introductory rate that will increase in the future, may not see their current payment go down if they refinance to a fixed rate. These borrowers, however, could save a great deal over the life of the loan. When you submit a loan application, your lender will give you a “Good Faith Estimate” that includes your new interest rate, mortgage payment, and the amount that you will pay over the life of the loan. Compare this to your current loan terms. If it is not an improvement, a refinancing option may not be right for you.

What are the interest rate and other terms of this refinance offer?

The objective of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is to provide borrowers with a safe loan program with a fixed, affordable payment. All loans refinanced under the plan will have a 30 or 15-year term with a fixed interest rate. The rate will be based on market rates in effect at the time of the refinance and any associated points and fees quoted by the lender. Interest rates may vary across lenders and over time as market rates adjust. The refinanced loans will have no prepayment penalties or balloon notes.

Will refinancing reduce the amount I owe on my loan?

No. The objective of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is to help borrowers refinance into safer, more affordable fixed rate loans. Refinancing will not reduce the amount you owe to the first mortgage holder or any other debt you owe. However, by reducing the interest rate, refinancing should save you money by reducing the amount of interest that you repay over the life of the loan.

How do I know if my loan is owned or has been securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?

To determine if your loaned is owned or has been securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and is eligible to be refinanced, you should contact your mortgage lender after March 4, 2009.

When can I apply?

Mortgage lenders will begin accepting applications after the details of the program are announced on March 4, 2009.

What should I do in the meantime?

You should gather the information that you will need to provide your lender after March 4, 2009 when the refinance program becomes available. The includes:

  • information about the gross monthly income of all borrowers including your most recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources
  • your most recent income tax return
  • information about any second mortgage on the house
  • payments on each of your each credit cards if you are carrying balances from month to month
  • payments on other loans (i.e. student loans, car loans, etc.)

Borrowers Who Are at Risk of Foreclosure:   

What help is available for borrowers who are at risk of foreclosure either because their they are behind on their mortgage or are struggling to make the payments?

The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan offers help to borrowers who are already behind on their mortgage payments or who are struggling to keep their loans current. By providing mortgage lenders with financial incentives o modify existing first mortgages, the Treasury hopes to help as many as 3 to 4 million homeowners avoid foreclosure regardless of who owns or services the mortgage.

Do I need to be behind on my mortgage payments to be eligible for modification?

No. Borrowers who are struggling to stay current on their mortgage payments may be eligible if their income is not sufficient to continue to make their mortgage payments and they are at risk of imminent default. This may be due to several factors, such as loss of income, a significant increase in expenses, or an interest rate that will reset to an unaffordable level.

How do I know if I qualify for payment reduction under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

In general, you may qualify for a mortgage modification if (a) you occupy your house as your primary residence; (b) your monthly mortgage payment is greater than 31% of your monthly gross income;  and (c) your loan is not large enough to exceed current Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits. Final eligibility will be determined by your mortgage lender based on the y0ur financial situation and detailed guidelines that will be available March 4, 2009.

I don’t live in the house that secures the mortgage I’d like to modify. Is this mortgage eligible for the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

No. For example, if you own a house that you use as a vacation home or that you rent out to tenants, the mortgage on the house is not eligible. If you used to live in the home but you moved out, the mortgage is not eligible. Only the mortgage on your primary residence is eligible. The mortgage lender will check to see if the dwelling is your primary residence.

I have a mortgage on a duplex. I live in one unit and rent the other. Will I still be eligible?

Yes. Mortgages on 2, 3, and 4 unit properties are eligible as long as you live in one unit as your primary residence.

I have two mortgages. Will the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan reduce the payments on both?

Only the first mortgage is eligible for modification.

I owe more than my house is worth. Will the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan reduce what I owe?

The primary objective of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is to help borrowers avoid foreclosure by modifying troubled loans to achieve a payment the borrower can afford. Lenders are likely to lower payments mainly by reducing loan interest rates. However, the program offers incentives for principal reductions and, at your lender’s discretion, modifications may include upfront reductions of your loan principal.  

I heard the government was providing a financial incentive to borrowers. Is that true?

Yes. To encourage borrowers who work hard to retain homeownership, the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan provides incentive payments as a borrower makes timely payments on the modified loan. The incentive will accrue on a monthly basis and will be applied directly to reduce your mortgage debt. Borrowers who pay on time for 5 years can have up to $5,000 applied to reduce their debt by the end of that period.

How much will a modification cost me?

There is no cost to borrowers for a modification under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. If you wish to get assistance from a HUD-approved housing counseling agency or are referred to a counselor as a condition of the modification, you will not be charged a fee.

Is my lender required to modify the loan?

No. Mortgage lenders participate in the program on a voluntary basis and loans are evaluated for modification on a case-by-case basis. But the government is offering substantial incentives and it is expected that most major lenders will participate.

I’m already working with my lender/housing counselor on a loan workout. Can I still be considered for the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

Ask your lender or counselor to be considered under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.

How do I apply for a modification under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

You may not need to do anything at this time.  Most mortgage lenders will evaluate loans in their portfolio to identify borrowers who may meet the eligibility criteria. After March 4, 2009, they will send letters to potentially eligible homeowners, a process that may take several weeks. If you think you qualify for a modification and do not receive a letter within several weeks, contact your mortgage servicer or a HUD-approved housing counselor. Please be aware that servicers and counseling agencies are expected to receive an extraordinary number of calls about this program.

What should I do in the meantime?

You should gather the information that you will need to provide to your lender on or after March 4, 2009, when the modification program becomes available. The includes:

  • information about your gross monthly income of your household including any recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources
  • your most recent tax return
  • information about any second mortgage on the house
  • payments on each of your credit cards if you are carrying balances from month to month
  • payments on other loans (i.e. student loans, car loans, etc.) 

My loan is scheduled for foreclosure soon. What should I do?

Contact your mortgage servicer or credit counselor. Many mortgage lenders have expressed their intention to postpone foreclosure sales on all mortgages that may qualify for the modification in order to allow sufficient time to evaluate the borrower’s eligibility.  We support this effort.


How to Determine A Short Sale Offer

February 3, 2009

home-under-magnifying-glass

The word “short sale” has certainly been a buzz word in the distressed real estate market we are experiencing now. However, many Realtors and investors are still unclear on how to determine a real estate short sale offer that is acceptable to the lender.

The following steps are to be used as a basic guideline on determining what to offer the lender for a short sale acceptance.

Step 1: Determine Fair Market Value (FMV)

The FMV can be determined by evaluating pending and sold comparable properties in a similar or close proximity to the subject short sale property.

A realtor will have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and can create a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) for the subject property. This analysis will identify pending and sold comparable properties with same square footage, bedrooms, baths, garage and other similar characteristics as subject property.

Request the Realtors use a sold time frame within 3-6 months when pulling properties in the immediate or surrounding areas. Usually the short sale lender will not consider any sold comparables that are older than 12 months and that are further away than 2 miles from the location of the subject property.

Step 2: Evaluating Sold Comps Systematically

Contrary to popular and often misguided belief, you can use a formulaic system to work in your favor when determining what to offer on the short sale property. This system has been around for years, but for some reason you may have not heard of it mentioned dealing with real estate. Here is the system. You will use the law of averaging. The way this works is like this.

Let’s say you have 8 sold comparables that are all similar in size, square feet, bedrooms etc. Here is how you apply the formula. You would take out the two highest comps and the two lowest ones and average the rest.

EXAMPLE:

You have a property you think is worth $145,000.

You have a Realtor pull a CMA and you find 8 sold comparable properties that match the criteria above.

The MLS shows the following:

  • $159,000
  • $154,000
  • $153,000
  • $161,000
  • $148,000
  • $143,000
  • $146,000
  • $151,500

Using the formulaic approach you would take out the two highest sold comparables ($159,000 and $161,000). Then take out the two lowest sold comparables ($143,000 and $146,000). This would leave 4 other sold comparables.

  • $154,000
  • $153,000
  • $148,000
  • $151,500

You would then take an average by simply adding up the sum of all the sold comparables and dividing them by the total number of properties left. In this case, that number would be 4.

Total: $606,500 / 4 = $151,625

You can reasonably justify the house may sell for $151,625 instead of the $145,00 you originally estimated.

Step 3: Revealing the After Repair Value (ARV)

This terminology is slang often used with real estate investors. It is similar to the FMV with a few differences made up by the amount of repairs the investor estimates the property needs in order to sell quickly on the open market using FSBO (for sale by owner) techniques and not using the MLS.

It can be argued the ARV is more of a guess or suggested value derived by using sold comparables from houses that were NOT sold by a Realtor.

One way to explain the difference is a realtor will typically use a FMV and a real estate investor may elect to use an ARV. An appraiser can use both value methods, but generally sticks to the ones that come from off the MLS. In my opinion…the ARV is a less accurate and dependable value than what come off the MLS.

Step 4: Figuring Out the Broker’s Price Opinion (BPO)

The BPO  is perhaps the single greatest value factor the lender will use to determine the acceptance of your short sale offer. The BPO is KING!

The BPO is a generalized opinion or value of a property the lender uses to determine what the short sale property is worth on paper. They are ordered by the lender and sent to a Third Party Company, such as BPO Direct, First America, LandSafe, etc. These companies have a list of realtors for each state. The BPO’s are ordered and conducted by a BPO Agent (who is usually a Realtor).

The BPO can be an Interior or Exterior type.

If an Exterior type BPO is conducted, it means the BPO Agent did not go inside the property to evaluate its condition. This could be due to the homeowner vacating the house or not being cooperative with the BPO Agent when requesting a time to come appraise the house.

Dealing with “Pretty House” type short sales (categories later defined), you will find the BPO will typically come in 10-20% lower than FMV or ARV. Based on this, you might consider offering 60% of the ARV or FMV value for your initial purchase offer. Of course, this depends on the amount of repairs needed for the property.

If you have what can be classified as a “Pretty House” short sale, which would show very little needed repairs, don’t expect to get a huge discount from the lender for it. If you cannot JUSTIFY a reason for the lender to accept either a small or large discount … don’t expect them to give one to you.

This also dispels the myth that all houses heading towards foreclosure are good short sale candidates. They are not always.

Here are some classifications and examples to make it easier to determine how much of a loss the lender may agree to accept.

Short Sale Classifications:

  1. PRETTY HOUSE
  2. UGLY HOUSE
  3. SCARY HOUSE

EXAMPLES:

Pretty House: Generally in safe, desirable areas and houses selling fairly quickly

ARV/FMV: $100,000
REPAIRS: $5-10,000 (5-10%)
BPO: $80-90,000 (+/- 5%)

Ugly House: Generally a light rehab or fixer-upper, handyman special house in fair neighborhoods

ARV/FMV: $100,000 (With Ugly Houses this number tends to be the “as is” value instead of ARV)
REPAIRS: $11-20,000 (11-20%)
BPO: $80,000 (+/- 5%)

Scary House: Generally in areas that are not desirable, massive repairs needed, lots of crime isn’t uncommon

ARV/FMV: $100,000 (With Scary Houses, this value tends to be the “as is” value instead of ARV)
REPAIRS: $35,000 (21 – 35% +)
BPO: $65,000 (+/- 5-10%)

You can have a Scary House located in a great, fast selling neighborhood and combination of the others, but generally speaking, Scary and Ugly Houses will not be located in excellent neighborhoods. Remember this is a guideline, not an exact science. The BPO Agent will generally consider the “as is” value for both Ugly and Scary Houses.

Now let’s discuss the different loan types the lenders will consider a factor per short sale submission.

Step 5: Learning the Loan Types

When you learn these, you can increase your closing rate for lender accepting your short sale by as much as 50%! Here’s why: if you know more about any property, it provides you better leveraging and ultimately negotiation strategies to target. Not all short sales are created equal.

Conventional Loans

These loans are found all over the place. They provide the most flexibility especially dealing with short sales. Using the $100,000 example, you might start out your offer submitting 60% x 100,000 (FMV) = $60,000… The $60,000 is actually 70% of the BPO Price. However it is very common to see the lender accepting around 80-85% of the BPO price, which would be around $68,000 – $72,250.

This model can fluctuate a little bit, but this is a common average. The BPO (value opinion also considered the PERCEIVED value of the property) to the lender is the MAIN FACTOR. Therefore, in this example, if you thought the BPO was going to come in around $65,000 … You would take 82% of THAT number, which would be $53,300. The lender may very well accept $53,300 based on their perception of the value of the property (their asset).

FHA Loans

I repeat: this is not a scientific grading scale. It is the model used by many short sale investors as a guideline. You can and will have other factors that make you stray from this. If you are dealing with an FHA type loan or any government backed loan, they are going to recoup a set amount if the foreclosure is completed.

For example with FHA loans, the insurer will basically guarantee the lender 82% of an FHA Certified Appraisal amount. Notice, I did not say BPO. For these loans, you will need an FHA Certified Appraisal for the lender to consider in their evaluation process on the property. The BPO will not suffice on these types of loans. You can massage the numbers 1-2%, but 82% is listed in their guidelines.

  • All FHA loans are insured by the federal government
  • As long as the lender follows FHA guidelines, they are guaranteed 82% of the “as is” appraised value
  • FHA loans do not use a BPO. Instead they will require an FHA Certified Appraisal. Use the same techinques on the FHA Certified Appraisal that you would for a typical short sale deal
  • If the debtor is in bankruptcy, no short sale will be approved
  • If the property was used as a rental for more than 12 months, no short sale will be approved
  • If the homeowner does not occupy the property, no short sale will be approved (There can be exceptions to this)
  • The cooperating lender is eligible to receive $1,000 from FHA for performing a short sale
  • Seller MUST fill out FHA specific forms for approval. This will include an Application to Participate and a Homeowners Counseling Certificate, all of which the lender will supply in their FHA Short Sale Packet
  • FHA loans must be at least 30 days past due for short sale consideration
  • The lender is required to give a copy of the appraisal to the homeowner
  • The homeowner can receive up to $1,000 directly from the HUD 1
  • FHA will not go after the homeowner for a deficiency once the short sale is accepted and closed

Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Loans

These type of loans have a guarantee of 88% of the appraised value of the property.

  • Designed for veterans
  • These loans are federally insured
  • VA guarantees the lender at least 88% of the “as is” appraised value
  • A VA appraisal is usually automatically ordered once the debtor becomes 60 days past due
  • The appraisal value can be appealed by the homeowner
  • The VA will work the homeowner and do everything possible for the homeowner to retain VA benefits

Note: Absolutely NO BPOs allowed. All VA loans require certified appraisers to determine value.

Freddie Mac (FDMC) Loans

  • FDMC will not allow the buyer of a short sale property to be anyone but an individual. This means the buyer on the Option Contract (Purchase and Sales Agreement) and HUD 1 CAN NOT be a company, LLC, trustee, or anything of the sort. The purchaser must be an individual name
  • FDMC will almost always require that the property be listed with a realtor, which means they are going to ask for a Listing Agreement. If the offer nets the lender less than 92%, FDMC will require that the property is listed for at least 90 days before approval will be issued
  • The lender has the authority to approve short sales at a threshold of 92% or higher. Anything lower than 92% must be approved by FDMC
  • FDMC has a high customer service standard, which means that if the lender is not responsive to your offers, they are going to want to know about it. This creates another point of leverage to get your offer accepted

Fannie Mae (FNMA) Loans

  • FNMA has a high customer service standard. If the lender is not responsive to your offers, they may actually step in and take over the short sale negotiation process
  • The lender has the authority to approve short sales at a threshold of 90-92% or higher. Anything lower than 90% must be approved by FNMA
  • FNMA rarely requires that the property be listed with a real estate agent
  • FNMA will allow the lender the authority to approve short sales at a threshold of 90% or higher, but will also allow a heavier discount if needed

For Fannie Mae, Coventional, VA, & FHA short sales:

The buyer can be any entity, company, person or trust (the bank may require written proof of the company or of the trust). Most of the loans that you come across regarding short sales are going to be conventional loans.

Step 6: Memorizing the Minimum Accepted NET Offers (of the BPO or FHA Appraisal)

  • VA = 88%
  • FHA = 82%
  • Freddie Mac (FDMC) = 92%
  • Fannie Mae (FNMA) = 90 – 92%
  • Convential Loans = 80% (no set limit)

IMPORTANT: Understand that these are NET percentages to the bank. If you have your offers padded with things like realtor commissions, closing costs and additional fees, these are NOT to be included in this percentage.

EXAMPLE: The BPO on one of your deals comes in $100,000. Offers that may be accepted based on the above criteria would be:

  • VA = 88% = $88,000
  • FHA = 82% = $82,000
  • Freddie Mac (FDMC) = 92% = $92,000
  • Fannie Mae (FNMA) =  90 – 92% = $90,000 – $92,000

Something else to consider is this: all LOCAL banks, usually the smaller ones, will almost always NOT ALLOW more than a 10%-15% discount off the property depending on the amount of repairs needed to fix. Local banks tend to be more conservative in their approach to discount the property. This is partly due to the network of local affiliates the bank can call to get more than one opinion of repairs needed or value of the subject property.

Step 7: Dealing with Second Mortgages & Junior Liens

If you are dealing with a 2nd mortgage holder, you are basically going to negotiate with them the same way.

You will find that many 2nd mortgage holders will not require as much information to make a decision quickly on discounting their loan amount. They will generally order a BPO or have an appraisal on file. It could be older or current. Make sure and ask about it depending on the numbers you find out dealing with them.

Sometimes a lender will actually tell you a BPO price.

Now before you get all excited and think that is GREAT…think again! Typically, they will LIE to you about the price and actually inflate it. Yeah…I know… you never thought lenders lied, did you? Well…they do…and they do it a lot.

When you are dealing with the 1st mortgage holder, it is not uncommon to find out they will only allow $500 – $1000 towards paying off any 2nd Mortgages, Liens, Judgments etc. All lenders are a little different, but the norm is $1,000.

This is another reason why you will deal with more 2nd position lenders that are willing to take pennies on the dollar to satisfy their loans with the homeowner. In fact, you will often negotiate for 80-90% discounts or get approval for 10-20 cents on the dollar! It can be beneficial if you get the 1st mortage holder to accept a short sale and then present that information to the 2nd mortgage holder IN WRITING! If the 1st mortgage holder is willing to take a hit, where does that leave the 2nd mortgage holder? This can be a powerful negotiation technique.

Remember, any junior lien-holder who is holding an over-leveraged or nearly over-leverage asset (the house) is in a HORRIBLE position. They realize this and if you can build a strong case why it would be in their better interest to discount their holding position rather than risk losing EVERYTHING at the foreclosure auction sale. It will not only generally help them, but it can make you, the investor, a HUGE PILE OF MONEY. Why? You just created equity out of thin air. That is the power of short sale negotiations.

In Closing….

If you take the steps for preparing a short sale offer exactly as shown above and apply them to your real estate short sale business; the sky is the limit for your continued success getting them approved.

*This article was adapted from REI Tips


Fannie Mae Promotes Short Sales

January 16, 2009

Short Sale Cloud

During the past month, we’ve heard of several ideas and seen several attempts to give some relief to distressed homeowners facing foreclosure. Here are a few: interest rates have been lowered, loan modifications are being proposed, foreclosure moratoriums have been suggested as has the use of bankruptcy courts to restructure loans.

Each approach offered by government and banking officials is flawed, but at least they’re finally looking at the problem.

This past December, Fannie Mae made a move when they put a moratorium on foreclosures through January 9th. Their reasoning was that they were installing a new computer system that would allow them to address the challenges of the current market much more efficiently . . . and they wanted time to come up with some ideas on how to handle all the foreclosures.

So what did they figure out? You got it! Fannie figured out that short sales present a very good way to get these properties moved fast. Fannie is now testing a program in Orlando and Phoenix whereby they will agree to a minimum price for which they would be willing to sell a house, rather than risk having it go to auction and sit on the market for months.

In essence, they want to do the short sale BEFORE there’s a buyer and then give the approved price to the real estate agent who then can market and sell the property.

Many real estate agents loath short sales because of the complex paperwork and the incredibly long response times it takes for lenders to respond to offers. Agents often lose their buyers because banks move too slow. Fannie Mae believes that any solution for today’s housing crisis will have to involve real estate agents, and to get this group on board, they’d need to take away obstacles that cause agents to run in the other direction.

It always looks good on paper doesn’t it?

If the reason agents aren’t doing short sales is because they’re complicated and take too long, then Fannie is going remove those obstacles and give the agent a number that they can successfully market. That way there’s no complicated paper work, and no guessing at what number the bank will finally approve.

But for Fannie to make this work, they need to overcome two challenges: 1) Working with homeowners to provide the information (short sale package) that is necessary to get the approval; and 2) A reliable way to determine market value.

In addressing the first concern, Fannie Mae could waive standard short sale package guidelines. Regardless, Fannie Mae is going to need to make the process as simple as can be on the front end so that homeowners can effectively begin the process. As for the second concern, who is going to make the decision on what each property can sell for, if the number is being determined BEFORE an agent gets involved?

Is it too far of a stretch to think of a 25 year-old in a cubicle looking at comparable properties for each case and ball-parking a number without understanding the market? Moreover, do you really think Fannie will be aggressive in discounting property before they know what the market will actually bear? And will it be enough of a discount to lure buyers?

Let’s use Los Angeles as an example. LA has seen value declines in middle class areas as much as 40% in 2008. In 2009, they are expecting a drop of 24% followed by a 6% drop in 2010.

Do you really think that Fannie will set minimums low enough to reflect what going on in the Los Angeles market?

I have my doubts.

Keep your fingers crossed for the next administration and hope that whatever they decide to do, it works.

*This article is adapted from SREC’s Blog


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