Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative Program (HAFA) Extended With New Guidelines Announced
Upcoming changes to the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) Program make it easier for Dekalb County Homeowners to avoid the Atlanta Foreclosure process.
- Atlanta, GA (1888PressRelease) April 02, 2012 - In February 2009, the Obama Administration introduced the Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program to stabilize the housing market and help struggling homeowners obtain relief and avoid Foreclosure. The program is made up of several smaller programs including the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP and HARP 2.0) and the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative Program (HAFA).
"Although the programs started off a bit slow, they are now actually helping more Dekalb County distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure," says REALTOR and Associate Broker Caroline Simmons, a top Atlanta Short Sale Specialist under the brokerage Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Classic. Caroline Simmons has put together a comprehensive Atlanta Short Sale System for Dekalb County homeowners. "The latest changes to the program eligibility requirements are less stringent, allowing more Dekalb County homeowners to qualify."
Recently, the Treasury Department, administrator of these programs, announced that the program has been extended by one year through December 31, 2013 giving distressed homeowners in Dekalb County more time to find a solution to their current situation. This means, effective June 1, 2012, eligible consumers will have more time to submit an application for a modification, refinance and/or begin the short sale process. Additional changes include:
• Removal of the owner occupant requirement that the homeowner had to have lived in the property within the last twelve months;
• The $3000 relocation incentive is now limited to properties occupied by the owner or a tenant at the time of the short sale;
• Mortgage payments may now exceed 31% of the homeowner's gross monthly income. This will allow a homeowner to stay current on their mortgage and still qualify, minimizing that overall impact on their credit;
• Secondary lienholders may now receive up to a maximum of $8,500, up from the $6,000 previously, in exchange for a lien release and full release of liability;
• Servicers can now accept a full payment, if the borrower requests to make a full contractual payment in order to stay current on the loan.
The most dramatic change is the way HAFA approved short sales will be reported by the Credit Bureaus. Under HAFA, homeowners can transition from a home they can no longer afford. If the property is sold for less than the full balance owed and the deficiency balance is forgiven, the bureaus are being directed to report the account as "Paid or Closed Account/Zero Balance" or "Paid in Full/Foreclosure Was Started", status codes 13 and 65 respectively, as applicable.
"There are more than 3,500 homes in Dekalb County alone that are in danger of foreclosing. It is happening in all price ranges. HAFA approved short sales will have less of a negative blemish on the homeowners' credit reports, much better than a foreclosure," says Caroline Simmons. "It is our objective to reach out to as many distressed homeowners as possible and help them navigate these changes. The hope is that distressed homeowners can qualify for HAFA, continue to make their payments and execute a short sale with a minimum impact on their credit! This is an excellent final result for everyone involved!"
Atlanta REALTORS such as Caroline Simmons with the CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) designation have valuable training in short sales that can offer Atlanta homeowners much better alternatives to foreclosure, which virtually destroys the credit rating. These experts better understand market conditions and can help sellers through the emotional experience.
"I work with sellers throughout metro Atlanta and provide them with someone who understands the stress of the situation in the first person. It is so rewarding to be able to help sellers save their homes from foreclosure." Contact Caroline Simmons to assist those needing to know their options or going through foreclosure at (404) 564-9600 or visit http://www.buyandsellatlantaproperties.com/sell.