government foreclosure programsForeclosures can sit unattended for months. Vandals can deface the property, weeds can become an eyesore and neighbors cringe at the thought of their property values dropping. The government has introduced a new plan to help curb the foreclosure epidemic and have those homes instantly occupied.

The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program is a branch of the government’s Making Home Affordable plan, which modifies mortgages that homeowners are struggling to pay.

HAFA is available to homeowners who do not qualify for a trial mortgage modification under the Making Home Affordable plan, don’t successfully complete their trial modification, miss at least two consecutive payments under modification or request a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

A short sale is not without consequence. The seller’s credit rating will take a ding, but not quite as severe as a foreclosure. A short sale or deed-in-lieu under this program also protects sellers from mortgage company lawsuits to recoup the difference in the mortgage and sale price, a practice that is only outlawed without this program in a few states.

Interested homeowners must first fill out the Making Home Affordable application to enter the HAFA program. This specific program is not available for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans; they are expected to release their own programs over the next few weeks.

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