If you are selling real estate in a military market, it’s important for you to know all of the options out there for your seller clients. We’ve recently worked with several Realtors who were completely unaware of the Housing Assistance Program (HAP) that is offered by the Department of Defense. This program can help a military member avoid a short sale, or reduce the loss they have to contribute to help cover their mortgage after being forced to relocate.
We communicated with one military client who had short sold the home a few months prior to contacting us from a blog post – and had zero idea about this program. The program essentially provides loss assistance to those in the milltary that are relocated or moved to another part of the country and are “in the red” on their home.
Here is an excerpt from the HAP DOD website:
“The Department of Defense (DOD) is proud to offer the Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) to eligible service members and federal civilian, including non-appropriated fund, employees. The program is authorized by law, and administered by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to assist eligible homeowners who face financial loss when selling their primary residence homes in areas where real estate values have declined because of a base closure or realignment announcement
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) temporarily expands the HAP to assist service members and DOD employees who are wounded, injured or become ill when deployed, surviving spouses of service members or DOD employees killed or died of wounds while deployed, service member and civilian employees assigned to BRAC 05 organizations, and service members required to permanently relocate during the home mortgage crisis. “
As top Realtors for Keller Williams Realty in Tampa, The Duncan Duo & Associates has worked with several recent HAP clients to help them get their homes sold and minimize their financial loss, while not required to do a short sale. This is integral to the client and to our soldiers fighting for their country as their credit, as long as payments stay current, is not negatively impacted. If you are in a military market, you need to learn this program as its very likely you could represent a buyer or a seller in one of these transactions and you need to know how they work.
The typical timeframe can take as long as a short sale but it’s a much less complicated and intrusive process. Once an offer is received, the client has to submit some documents to the DOD including their orders, original purchase documents, financial information as well as the contract. The file is then assigned (recently this has taken a month or more) to a realty specialist.
The next step is an appraisal and the soldier is determined eligible by being in a market with declining values (where has it not declined?) and has to have purchased before July 1, 2006. In some instances they will accept a later date, but it’s very unlikely. The main condition of the approval is that the purchase price be within 10% of HAP’s appraisal of the property. HAP’s appraisal is most normally done via desktop and not in person – which can have its flaws. In those situations, an experienced agent must submit comparables and a market analysis to help support the value of the contract or hire an appraiser.
If you have a client that is active military and forced to relocate for their position, you should definitely look into this program before considering a short sale or letting the home go to foreclosure. We’ve helped several clients with this program. Feel free to contact me directly if you need help understanding the program and have questions. You can reach me at 813-739-5948 or drop me a line at AndrewDuncan@kw.com