The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) today announced that the Obama Administration has added new incentives and uniform procedures for short sales under its new Foreclosure Alternatives Program (FAP), part of the administration’s Making Homes Affordable plan. Loan servicers may consider short sales or deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure for borrowers who do not qualify to have their loans modified on a permanent basis under the Making Home Affordable Loan Modification Program.
• Borrowers/homeowners qualify under the FAP if they meet minimum eligibility requirements for the Home Affordable Modification program, but don’t qualify for a modification or do not successfully complete the three-month trial period. Before proceeding with a foreclosure, servicers must determine if a short sale is appropriate.
• Incentives include: $1,000 for servicers for successful completion of a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure; $1,500 for borrowers/homeowners to help with relocation expenses; and up to $1,000 toward the cost of paying junior lien holders to release their liens (one dollar from the government for every $2 paid by the investors to the second lien holders).
• The program will include streamlined and standardized documents, including a Short Sale
Agreement and an Offer Acceptance Letter. The goal is to minimize complexity and increase use
of the short sale option.
• Servicers will independently establish both property value and minimum acceptable net return, in accordance with investor requirements. The price may be determined based on an appraisal or
one or more broker price opinions (BPOs), issued no more than 120 days before the date of the
short sale agreement.
• In the Short Sale Agreement, servicers must give borrowers/homeowners at least 90 days to
market and sell the property, or up to one year, depending on market conditions. Property must be listed with a licensed real estate professional with experience in the neighborhood. No foreclosure may take place during the marketing period (at least 90 days) specified in the Short Sale Agreement.
• The Short Sale Agreement must specify the reasonable and customary real estate commissions
and costs that may be deducted from the sales price. The servicer must agree not to negotiate a
lower commission after an offer has been received.
• Servicers may not charge fees to borrowers/homeowners for participating in the FAP.
• The program is in effect through 2012.
• Servicers have the option to require the borrower/homeowner to agree to deed the property to the servicer in exchange for a release from the debt if the property does not sell within the time allowed in the Short Sale Agreement (plus any extensions).