Q: Robert, I am in the middle of doing a short sale and I was told that there is a Government program that offers you $30,000 for SS assistance. Is this true? And if so, how can I apply for this? - Sara in Las Vegas, Nev.
A: Sara, many lenders are offering what is either called “cash for keys”, where they give you up to $3,000 for you to move out of your home when it has been sold via either a short sale or through a trustee sale. There is also another program called the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives, known as HAFA, that is Government sponsored where they will give you $3,000 for relocation assistance at the closing of a short sale transaction. The HAFA program is a great program to qualify for because not only does it give you the $3,000 assistance, but also any lender participating in and approving a HAFA short sale cannot come after the seller for the difference in the sales price and existing loan amount(s). In California that is a mute point because new legislation, specifically SB94 and SB458 makes it unlawful for lenders to come after a seller for the deficiency after a short sale regardless of whether it is a recourse or non-recourse loan. Like anything else, certain rules and restrictions apply.
The $30,000 that you are talking about is being offered by a very few select lenders. Combined with the $3,000 HAFA relocation incentive, you could walk away with a grand total of $33,000 to do a short sale, no small change. But it is a select few, so select that I know of only one lender who has offered and granted it on a short sale, Chase. I have heard rumblings of other lenders doing it, but so far I have seen one lender actually do this. You should also know that not all Chase short sales will offer the $30,000 incentive and it has to be offered to you by the individual Chase investor who holds the note on your loan. It is not something that you can ask for or demand, there is no magic contacts that anyone would have. Basically the way it works is that if you are qualified for this type of grant and assistance, you will be notified. Kind of like that old saying, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you!”
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