The Short Sale Lease-Back Program is expanding in California.
Nearly 40 California real estate agents from around the state completed the required training course last week and can now offer the program to homeowners looking for another option to avoid foreclosure.
The pilot program, which has completed one lease-back transaction and has another approved and marching toward completion, is monumental and game-changing, providing a more attractive solution for homeowners who cannot afford their homes but have valid economic hardships and steady incomes to afford a lease payment.
A short sale occurs when a property is sold for less than is owed on it and the bank agrees to a discounted payoff. In recent years, banks and servicers have required that a short sale be an "arm's-length" transaction, meaning the buyer and seller could not be related and could not have a prior agreement for the homeowner to stay in the property.
Last year, changes to the federal Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives short sale program opened the door for a short sale without the arm's-length requirement. The U.S. Treasury Department in March 2011 issued a supplement to its HAFA guidelines to allow "servicers the discretion to approve sales to non-profit organizations with the stated purpose that the property will be rented or resold to the borrower, so long as all other HAFA program requirements are met."
The Short Sale Lease-Back Program was created in the wake of that change to allow a qualified homeowner to sell their property, rent it back for three years and then buy it back at a pre-determined price.
Here is an overview of the Short Sale Lease-Back Program:
You must work with a real estate agent who is trained and certified by the Short Sale Lease-Back Program.
A qualified non-profit will purchase the home in a short sale.
The seller will then rent the home back for a minimum of three years, allowing their credit to heal so that they can qualify for a mortgage.
Homeowners must attend ongoing HUD and financial-literacy counseling and speak with legal and tax experts to ensure the program is the right fit.
If approved, the former owner can repurchase the home, perhaps at a giant discount from what they once owed on it.
Not all homeowners qualify for the program. Borrowers must have sufficient income to afford the monthly rent payments in addition to their other debt payments. For those who do qualify, the impact could be similar to a slow-motion loan modification with a principal reduction to their loan amount.
Homeowners who don't qualify for this program can still proceed with a traditional short sale, which may include a relocation incentive from $2,500 to as high as $45,000, depending on their lender, loan amount and individual situation.
Either option is better than a financially devastating foreclosure, which can crush a consumer's credit, hinder their ability to find a home to rent and perhaps even impact their jobs.
Banks prefer short sales over foreclosure and even loan modifications because they net 12 percent to 25 percent more money from them.
DO YOU QUALIFY?
The Short Sale Lease-Back Program is now interviewing California
applicants for qualification in this new program.
To qualify, homeowners must:
Live in the property as their primary residence.
Have steady, verifiable income.
Have a valid hardship and be able to qualify for, and complete, a HAFA short sale.
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