New Guideline Will Make Short Sales Easier for Military Homeowners

Under a new guideline, military members with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans will now have an easier time with short sales.

Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco announced in a release Thursday that military homeowners who receive Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders can sell their homes via short sale without having to go into default first.

“It is in everyone’s interest for the men and women serving in our armed forces to focus on the important job they are doing defending our country, rather than worry about the maintenance and leasing of a property in another jurisdiction,” said DeMarco in a release. “These Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac policy changes, in combination with related guidance last fall, should now provide military homeowners with access to the immediate and automatic full range of foreclosure alternatives.”

Last year, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issued guidance to servicers to have PCS orders count as a hardship for military members seeking relief.

The new policy takes an even greater step forward and will allow military members with PCS orders to sell a primary residence purchased on or before June 30, 2012 for less than the balance on their mortgages even when current on their payments. Short sales transactions typically require homeowners to be delinquent on their mortgage.

The GSEs also won’t pursue a deficiency judgment or a contribution under the new policy. Typically, borrowers contribute to closing costs and can also be pursued for the remaining balance after a short sale is completed.

Since PCS orders require military members to relocate, they can create a hardship, especially at a time when millions are underwater and can’t sell their home due to negative equity. This led many service members to be stuck with two residences or to default on their mortgage.

In response to the new guideline, Freddie Mac’s Interim Head of Single Family Business and Information Technology Paul Mullings said, “We look forward to working with our servicers on this new short sale policy. Together we can help ease the challenge of relocation for military families when Permanent Change of Station orders are received.”

The guideline was issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Fed’s board, FDIC, National Credit Union Administration, and the OCC.

The new rule is only applicable to military homeowners with a GSE-backed mortgage; this information can be checked by visiting Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac online.

Market Changing in Destin/Santa Rosa Beach/Niceville

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Mortgages for Foreclosure Purchase and Repairs

Purchasing foreclosures also means discounts, but with the markdown is the price of repairs. According to RealtyTrac, foreclosures or REOs sold at an average discount of 27 percent compared to non-distressed properties in the first quarter of 2012.  Through an FHA 203(k) loan, potential buyers who want to purchase a discounted foreclosure but don’t have cash for the repairs may find a way to receive financing.

According to HUD, the 203(k) program is the department’s main program for rehabilitating and repairing single family properties, and it’s viewed as an important tool to revitalize neighborhoods.

In order to be eligible, the property must be purchased as a primary residence or it can be for a HUD approved nonprofit. Also, the property must be a one-to four-family residence that has been completed for at least one year.

Dan Green, loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage and author of themortgagereports.com, explained that FHA 203(k) program can be used on any 1-4 unit residential property, and is not limited to just HUD properties or foreclosures.

The maximum amount that can be taken out for the property is based on the value or the purchase price of the property before rehabilitation (whichever is less), plus the estimated cost of rehabilitation or 110 percent of the property after improvements, according to HUD.

A down payment is required, and the minimal amount for a down payment is 3.5 percent of the accepted bid price plus the cost of financing additional repairs.

Since there is more “file” to underwrite for an FHA 203(k) loan, Green said the approval process takes longer than a standard FHA mortgage.

“FHA 203k approvals take more time, but are no more difficult than any other mortgage type,” said Green. “Borrowers should expect to provide the documentation required, and should respond to loan officer requests in a timely manner

There are a limited number of banks who offer these loans, so contact me at 850-305-6256 for more information on who offers these in the Destin/Niceville/Crestview/Fort Walton Beach/Navarre areas.