The U.S. Treasury Department announced new guidelines this week designed to speed up make short sales. In a short sale the existing lender accepts less than the mortgage balance as payment in full. The plan expands the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, also known as HAMP which was first announced in May of this year. It provides incentives to lenders along with standardized paperwork procedures.
For a homeowner to qualify under these new guidelines:
* The property must be the home owner’s principal residence.
* The home owner must be delinquent on the mortgage or close to defaulting.
* The loan must have been made before Jan. 1, 2009, and be for less than $729,750.
* The borrowers’ total monthly mortgage payment must exceed 31 percent of their before-tax income.
Under the plan, borrowers will receive $1,500 from the government for selling homes for less than the amount of their mortgages. Mortgage-servicing companies will get $1,000 for each completed short sale. Second-mortgage holders can receive up to $3,000 of the sales proceeds in exchange for releasing their liens. Investors who hold the first mortgage can collect up to $1,000 from the government for allowing the payments.
Borrowers who complete a short sale under the program must be “fully released” from future liability for the debt, according to the guidelines.