Speeding Up Short Sales of Distressed Homes with New Rules

Calling a short sale "short" is probably the biggest oxymoron for the decade. Anyone that has tried to purchase a short sale or sell their distressed property as a short sale has instantly recognized that short sales are far from being short. I get hundreds of inquiries and discussions about how painfully slow short sales are and for most turn into months of frustration and emotional turmoil.

Team Baranowski has been able to optimize and customize our approach and process for each individual bank and property. This process has enabled us to navigate through time wasting pitfalls and pre-warn buyers and sellers exactly how the short sale process will unfold. This knowledge has made our short sale success rate at 100% in 2009, but has not significantly cut the short sale processing timeline down to a reasonable level. Most of short sale negotiations are done in 3 to 4 months which is good by many standards but pathetic when you consider the amount of time that is wasted by the lenders doing absolutely nothing to the short sale file. In early December of 2009 I wrote about "Sweeping Changes to the Short Sale Process" with a look into what changes are ahead to speed up short sales.

The federal government is setting guidelines for short sales of homes, giving lenders a 10-day limit to respond to offers, freeing borrowers from debt and providing financial incentives to lenders.

The new rules seek to address the many criticisms of short sales and figure to play a significant role in South Walton, where distressed properties dominate the market as the housing slump meanders into a fifth year.

In a short sale, the homeowner unloads the property for less than what’s owed on the mortgage, and the lender forgives the difference. Nearly half of all single-family mortgage holders in Walton and Bay counties are “under water,” meaning they owe more than their homes are worth, according to third-quarter data from Zillow.com, a Seattle-based real estate firm.

While short sales are considered the perfect solution for “underwater” homeowners on the verge of foreclosure, the deals often drag on as lenders take weeks or months to respond to offers. Frustrated buyers walk away during the delays. In some cases, lenders insist that borrowers share in the financial loss, holding up the transactions even longer.

To speed up the process, the U.S. Treasury is calling for lenders to respond to short sale offers within 10 business days. Sellers are eligible for $1,500 moving allowances, and they will not be on the hook for repayment of any debt.

Also, lenders will get $1,000 to cover administrative and processing costs, while investors owning the mortgages will receive a maximum $1,000 for allowing up to $3,000 in short sale proceeds to be distributed to less senior lenders. Loan servicers participating in the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program are required to follow the guidelines.

The rules do not specifically apply to loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which represent about half of all U.S. mortgage debt. The two government-run mortgage companies are working to finalize their own guidelines.

The Treasury plan, which must be implemented by lenders no later than April is expected to streamline the short sale process.

The guidelines are meant to make short sales “a more usable tool" and the rules provide standardized paperwork for all short sales and give buyers and sellers a more reasonable time frame for whether or not the sales will happen.

The government may have to increase the financial incentives. The $3,000 cap on short sale proceeds is not sitting well with second lien holders, who have been demanding more money from sellers, the first lenders and real estate agents in exchange for releasing their claims and allowing the short sales to proceed.

“This is a great program if all these mortgages had only one lien holder,” said Travis Hamel Olsen, chief operating officer for Loan Resolution Corp., an Arizona company that helps lenders complete short sales. “But many of these properties have two liens.”

A spokeswoman for the Treasury says it will hand down “substantial” penalties to lenders that don’t comply. They can include the withholding or reduction of payments and requiring improperly rejected loans to be modified.

Lenders have blamed short sale delays on the complicated nature of the transactions, sheer numbers of deals and on borrowers who don’t submit proper paperwork in a timely manner.

In many cases, the banks are not to blame, said Ward Kellogg, chief executive of Boca Raton-based Paradise Bank. Still, he thinks the guidelines are necessary to force lenders to clear the market of so many distressed properties.

If you are a troubled homeowner, or have a family member or friend facing foreclosure, please give us a call for a confidential consultation about the possibility of a short sale.  Call Craig Baranowski at 850.259.1788 or email  us @ info@teambaranowski.com. Team Baranowski has a 100% success rate for all of our short sales for 2009!

This site, Craig Baranowski or Keller Williams Realty is not providing legal or tax advice. The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only. It is recommended that sellers considering a short sale should consult an independent legal and tax adviser for more information.

New Short Sale Guidelines Encourage Sweeping Changes to Short Sale Process

It has been a very long year fighting everyday to save homeowners from foreclosure. It is a daily challenge to push short sales efficiently and effectively through the short sale process. I have been actively involved in national short sale advocacy groups and we have been demanding changes to a broken short sale process. Two years ago when we started our first short sales, it was a difficult path of paving a road never traveled. As short sales become more prominent we saw changes and guidelines help streamline and encourage lenders to participate in foreclosure prevention programs under the Making Home Affordable Program or Home Affordable Alternatives Program (HAFA). These programs encouraged mortgage modifications and offered some incentives for shorts sales and deed in lieu of foreclosures. However, the program struggled to offer real solutions to an epic problem plaguing our country’s real estate market.

Today’s announcement by the Treasury Department is the next critical and potentially monumental step to making a difference in offering homeowners a real foreclosure alternative. With over 88% of our distressed inventory in Okaloosa, Walton and Bay County being short sales…this is a very significant and much needed change…or as I would call it the necessary lifeline to get through this current real estate crisis. The plan is designed to accelerate the necessary agreements between lenders, real estate agents, buyers and sellers.

Here is a quick break down of the new guidelines…will it change short sales overnight? No. But we have yet to see the bulk of short sales and 2010 will be an epic year for short sales and foreclosures!

The program’s official name is the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA), and it’s part of an existing initiative, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). HAFA applies to loans not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which cover over half of all U.S. mortgages; however, Fannie and Freddie will issue their own versions of HAFA in coming weeks.

While HAFA’s goal is simple – increase the number of short sales and “deeds in lieu of foreclosure” by simplifying the process – the rules are complex, and it comes with 43 pages of guidelines and forms. Among other things, HAFA:

Allows borrowers to receive pre-approved short sales terms before listing the property (including the minimum acceptable net proceeds).

• Prohibits servicers from requiring a reduction in the real estate commission agreed upon in the listing agreement (up to 6 percent).

• Requires borrowers to be fully released from future liability for the first mortgage debt (no cash contribution, promissory note, or deficiency judgment is allowed.)

• Provides financial incentives: $1,500 for borrower relocation assistance; $1,000 for servicers to cover administrative and processing costs; and up to $1,000 for investors.

The program does not take effect until April 5, 2010, but servicers may implement it before then if they meet certain requirements. The program sunsets on Dec. 31, 2012.

To qualify under the new guidelines:

  • The property must be the homeowner’s principal residence.
  • The homeowner is delinquent on the mortgage or default looks likely. Homeowner is insolvent.
  • The loan was made before Jan. 1 this year and is less than $729,750
  • The borrowers’ total monthly mortgage payment exceeds 31 percent of their before-tax income.

Read the HAMP NEWS RELEASE

Read the complete 43 page SHORT SALE GUIDELINES

If you are a troubled homeowner, or have a family member or friend facing foreclosure, please give us a call for a confidential consultation about the possibility of a short sale.  Call Craig Baranowski at 850.259.1788 or email  us @ info@teambaranowski.com. Team Baranowski has a 100% success rate for all of our short sales for 2009!

This site, Craig Baranowski or Keller Williams Realty is not providing legal or tax advice. The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only. It is recommended that sellers considering a short sale should consult an independent legal and tax adviser for more information.

Bank of America Revises Short Sale Policy

More great news to help out homeowners in distress. Bank of America, one of the country’s largest mortgage lenders, says it is loosening its policies on short sales in response to the U.S. Treasury Department’s announcement last week that it would increase incentives for lenders to work out short sale deals.

The government’s plan is a boon to banks, says David Sunline, BofA’s real estate management executive, because it provides guidance when there are multiple liens, a potentially litigious issue for lenders.

In the past, the bank followed Fannie Mae’s policy of giving second lien holders about 10 percent of the second mortgage balance in a short sale. Now when it holds the second lien, BofA will accept 5 percent of the net proceeds of the short sale, Sunline says. When it is the first lien holder, it will offer 5 percent to the holder of the second lien.

Sunline says homeowners considering short sales should contact the bank within five days of getting an offer on the home and expect its cooperation as long as the offer is within the range of other sales in the area and the borrower can demonstrate financial hardship.

Source: The New York Times, Bob Tedeschi (05/15/2009)

 
If you or someone you know is looking at buying or selling distressed property…rely on the experts, The Distressed Property Experts of Team Baranowski!
Note: The information provided is for informational purposes. No legal advise is given or implied. Please check with a qualified attorney in your area

Obama Administration announces uniform Short-Sale Guidelines

Daily Real Estate News | May 15, 2009 |

Uniform Short-Sales Guidelines in the Works
Extensive delays in the short-sale process has caused many buyers to go elsewhere and have left would-be sellers with no option but foreclosure. But the picture is improving.

This week the U.S. Treasury announced that it would be providing incentives for borrowers and mortgage services to pursue short sales and other foreclosure alternatives. The program includes a standard short-sales process flow, minimum performance timeframes, and standard documentation, the U.S. Treasury says.

(More information is available on the Treasury Web site and in this PDF document.

The incentives and process guidelines are part of a larger initiative called Making Home Affordable, which helps home owners refinance to avoid losing their home.

“NAR is pleased that the government is stepping in to help prevent foreclosures by streamlining the short-sale and deeds-in-lieu process,” NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® President Charles McMillan said in a statement. “NAR has been calling for uniform short sales procedures and other initiatives that will help today’s home owners in challenging economy.”

More Collaboration Needed

A panel of experts at the 2009 REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings this week agreed with NAR’s position that more needs to be done to streamline short sales.

“It’s hard to find the right person to talk to, you send in multiple forms multiple times, you’re not sure if the forms were received or processed correctly,” said Marcel Bryar, deputy general counsel and vice president at Fannie Mae.

To reach a set of standards that suits everyone, the government should collaborate with lenders, the real estate industry, and advocacy groups, he said.

“The process is going to take a while,” said David Knight, head of the short sales division at Wells Fargo. “Getting them all to understand what we can all live and deal with is not going to be easy, but that is exactly what’s going to have to happen.”

Panel participants applauded the Obama administration’s efforts to streamline the short sales process, and encouraged the real estate industry to get more involved in formulating this standard.

“It’s going to take some thorough intervention,” said Boyd Campbell, a Washington, D.C.-area REALTOR®. “That’s why I think it’s so important for RPAC to get involved and make sure NAR has the resources to go in and help resolve this problem. This doesn’t just impact us as practitioners. It also impacts all of our homes and communities.”

-Brian Summerfield, REALTOR® Magazine
If you or someone you know is looking at buying or selling distressed property…rely on the experts, The Distressed Property Experts of Team Baranowski!
Note: The information provided is for informational purposes. No legal advise is given or implied. Please check with a qualified attorney in your area.