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Ready, Set, BANG! Servicers Race off the HAFA Starting Line

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Beginning today, servicers participating in the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program can now consider borrowers for a short sale or a deed-in-lieu (DIL) of foreclosure. HousingWire broke the story of the program’s development in October 2009. The HAFA alternatives are available to borrowers who do not qualify for a three-month trial period plan under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) or do not complete the trial period they’re already in. The servicers will also consider borrowers who miss at least two consecutive payments during a HAMP modification. According to the US Treasury Department, in a short sale, the servicer allows the borrower to list and sell the property with the understanding that the proceeds from the sale would come up short of what’s due on the mortgage. Usually, if there is no buyer, the servicer will provide a DIL. A Treasury spokesperson said there was no estimate yet on how much the program will cost or what volume to expect. Although some short sale companies are reporting a pick-up in business. Many software providers and third-party outsourcing firms have been gearing up for HAFA by introducing new products to the market. Servicers have been bracing for the wave of borrowers and concerned about potential fraud cases. The Treasury claims it built in provisions to combat fraud. Write to Jon Prior.

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