Too often, many homeowners doing a short sale read up on the internet and speak to friends, coworkers, relatives and anyone else whose done a short sale, about how they received $3000 relocation assistance by doing a HAFA short sale.

Sadly...this is NOT always the case. Simply going into the HAFA short sale program here in CA does NOT guarantee you will walk away with money.

Case in point.....First your realtor needs to determine if your servicer(the one you normally make or made your mortgage payments to for your 1st lien)participates in the HAFA program. Many servicers DO NOT!.

Also, even if your servicer(1st mortgage lienholder) participates in HAFA, the INVESTOR who is above your servicer and has final say so...may NOT be a HAFA participant.

Many 1st mortgage liens are SOLD to a private investor or group of investors that DO NOT belong to HAFA, nor do they have to abide by HAFA's guidelines and rules. 

OK, so let's say your 1st lien holder and their investor DO participate in HAFA and allow you to do a HAFA short sale.

If you have a 2nd lien, you need to also find out if THEY participate in HAFA...for if they DON'T...then guess what may happen when you go to close? Your 2nd lien holder could see the $3000 monies awarded to the seller(YOU) by the 1st lienholder and decide to GRAB or TAKE any monies on the table. Thereby preventing YOU, the homeowner from getting ANY MONIES awarded to you. Don't say NO...because I've seen it done.

Also...here's the kicker....and even better than the above. Let's say..Mr and Mrs Seller had a 1st and a 2nd on their home, and the 1st even agrees to a HAFA short sale, and so does their investor.And let's say your 2nd lien servicer WAS a participant in HAFA and agreed to participate. *  If your 2nd in this process gets SOLD OFF or CHARGED OFF during this process to a collection co. for x amount of months of NON PAYMENT on your part, then that COLLECTION co is NOT HELD to HAFA's rules and can collect the relocation monies at funding. The collection companies ARE NOT SERVICERS...and therefore they DO NOT belong or partipate in HAFA's rules or programs...so  since they are a collection company..they can TAKE the monies left on the table. Remember people...they are a COLLECTION company...they don't call them a collection company for nothing!!!!

Remember the 2nd lien holder, whether it be a servicer or now a collection co...has begrudgingly accepted what the 1st will give them, and they are NOT happy.

Please make sure when doing a short sale that you interview an agent who has done them extensively and has much experience in negotiating short sales. Please don't assume EVER that because an agent has these CDPE or SFR designations...that they KNOW or are VERSED in NEGOTIATING short sales. These companies handing out designations are PRIVATE COMPANIES charging realtors a $500 or more fee to take a 1 day or sometimes just a several hour course in short sales. THIS DOES NOT mean your realtor knows in the slightest how to navigate and negotiate the slippery slope of short sales. Many of these realtors who have gotten their licenses not that long ago or get these designations because they know that 50% of the market is upside down and if they want ANY business, they better get with the program and start handling short sales.

I am not knocking these designations....there are agents who have them and legally have experience and know how to handle short sales... the main thing is to check for experience in how many short sales they have done...and if they have DONE it themselves. Farming it out to 3rd party negotiators or attorneys, does NOT guarantee success.

Please ask many questions about the short sale process and scenarios. There is no magic wand that anyone can wave to make sure your short sale goes smoothly, for many things occur as roadblocks to navigate along the way. But with a strong negotiating agent who is familiar with all the ins and outs and possible scenarios that the banks, lenders, servicers, investors,and collection agencies throw our way....hopefully having this extensive knowledge and experience can help you obtain a successful outcome.


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Comment by Pat Glenn on August 30, 2012 at 12:04pm

Great article.. I couldn't agree with you more.. Also, be diligent and don't take no for an answer.. Many short sales get done ONLY because we don't ever give up, we document and verify everything, and we don't ever trust what the lenders negotiators tell us to be true. 


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