Relocation and Short Sales Lawyer
Most homeowners see a house as an investment: A place that they live in for a while, and then sell at a profit. Unfortunately, fluctuations in the housing market and the economy don’t always allow this dream to come true. When homeowners find themselves in a situation where the home they purchased is now worth less than the amount they owe the lender, they may opt for a short sale, rather than face foreclosure or continue pouring money into a home that has lost value. A short sale is when a lender agrees to let the homeowner sell the house at the current market price, well below what the owner still owes on their mortgage. If your home has lost value or you are unable to pay your mortgage, you’re in a very vulnerable financial position and should speak to an experienced San Fernando Valley short sale attorney.
Why Would a Lender Agree to a Short Sale?
There are several reasons why a lender would agree to a short sale. In the case of someone who has suffered a reduction in income, making it impossible to make their payments, allowing that homeowner to sell, even at a loss, will free up the property so the lender can sell it to a buyer who can make the mortgage payments. Also, if a lender allows a short sale and suffers a loss, they can use that as a tax write-off. The fact is, if a lender has a homeowner who can’t make their monthly payments, they want them out of the house.
This is why a lender will sometimes offer "relocation assistance." Relocation assistance is an amount of money the lender will pay the departing homeowner to help with relocation expenses, such as down payments, security deposits, truck rental, hiring movers, etc. It is also used as an incentive to get the former homeowners out of a house so that the lender can put it back on the market. But remember, just as a lender is under no obligation to grant you a short sale, they are also under no obligation to offer you relocation assistance.
Getting Relocation Assistance from HAFA
Even if your lender doesn’t offer you relocation assistance, you may be able to get it through the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA). To qualify for HAFA relocation assistance, you must:
- Have a documented financial hardship;
- Not have purchased a new house in the last year;
- Have a first mortgage of no more than $729,750;
- Have obtained the mortgage on or before January 1, 2009;
- Not have had a felony larceny, theft, fraud, forgery, money laundering, or tax evasion conviction in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction in the last 10 years.
How Much Relocation Assistance Can You Get Through HAFA?
On Feb. 1st, 2015, the maximum relocation assistance was raised from $3,000 to $10,000. Unfortunately it was reduced back down to $3,000 as of Dec. 31st, 2016.
What’s the First Step You Should Take to Get Your Relocation Assistance?
Whether you’re seeking relocation assistance from HAFA or a private lender, it’s always a good idea to be represented by a qualified foreclosure attorney. The attorneys at the San Fernando Valley offices of Nader & Berneman have been fighting for the rights of homeowners for more than two decades. Call us today for a free consultation at (818) 788-5008.