The Homeowners Assistance Program Benefit Could Be Taxable

Jun 11 2009

Published by at 7:56 pm under Military Benefits,Taxes

Late(r) Breaking News:

Friday, June 12, 2009

The OSD tax person advised today that they have a “fix” that will make HAP benefits in the PCS category non-taxable.  The fix is under review by OMB; OSD hopes to attach the provision to a bill later this year.  So for now, HAP benefits are taxable, but if the proposed measure passes Congress, the PCS HAP category could become tax exempt .

June 11, 2009

We just found out some of the financial assistance for members under the Homeowners Assistance Program is taxable for some applicant categories. The PCS category is one of the taxable categories and we are determining whether the other categories are affected.

This is a surprise to us as we believed the benefit to be excluded as income as was HAP program payments prior to this recent expansion of the program.  See IRS Publication 3, page 4.

We are researching this issue and will report back as soon as we can get a source and a decision. In the meantime, if you apply for the HAP, ask about the tax status of your possible benefit. It could be that your $100,000 HAP payment could go down as income when you file your taxes for 2009.

1,046 responses so far

1,046 Responses to “The Homeowners Assistance Program Benefit Could Be Taxable”

  1. Duane Hiebschon 13 Jun 2009 at 12:29 am

    While it is nice to see that the HAP benefit will be made even better for those that qualify, it is frustrating that this benefit, which Congress authorized to last till 2012, will run out of money December 2009. In my case, after my 4 year tour in DC, I guess I made the mistake of volunteering to go to Iraq for a year. As a result, I will not PCS till Summer of 2010. This decision, which was made before HAP was even a consideration, will likely be a $200K plus mistake. It would be greatly appreciated if MOAA would spend their efforts on addressing the shortfall of funding rather than making a sweet deal even better.

  2. Tom Witterholton 17 Jun 2009 at 7:37 pm

    So much for thinking this might be an actual “benefit” for military. I’ve been debating whether I should PCS or just plain retire–seems I’m going to lose $$$$ no matter what I do!!

  3. Bob Highleyon 17 Jun 2009 at 10:31 pm

    I second the call to push for further funding. I made the decision to take a PCS to Vandenberg based on the information available regarding the program. Now I’m facing carrying $120K of floating debt without the guarantee that I’ll be able to pay it back. The government is handing out billions of dollars to other programs, throw some of that money this way.

  4. CaptDoton 18 Jun 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I hope this can get fixed for other folks. I received HAP payment in 1996 or so relating to a house I sold in CA. The lump sum was $24,000.00, and they took $5,000.00 in taxes out of this payment. Then the amount was counted as income for the year. If I recall corrected, we owed approximately an additional $5,000.00. So I received only about 40% of the payment.

  5. Duane Hiebschon 20 Jun 2009 at 3:13 pm

    After reviewing my earlier post, I see that my frustration resulted in me conveying a message I did not intend. Volunteering to serve in Iraq is not a mistake, rather I am frustrated that my choice will likely cost me severely in the pocketbook. The government does not owe me a bailout on a risk I took – I could have rented a house rather than buy – after all, in 2005, when I bought, there were many preachers of doom and gloom and an impending housing bubble. However, I do hope that Congress, with MOAAs support, will look at the way this program is being implemented and see whether it makes sense to provide further funding for this program.

  6. Tracy Edwardson 23 Jun 2009 at 3:13 am

    Mr Ostrom,
    Could you offer me some advise and/or point me to a resource that can help me?
    My situation is not much different than anyone else’s — We came from Japan to St Louis for an AFIT assignment (no base within 50 miles of my university). We had a week to find a house-everything was inflated — we bought the house Aug 2007 and have been trying to sell it since Nov 08 when I was notified that I would be getting orders in January. We finally got an offer this weekend and should close on July 22nd (the realtor is afraid the house won’t appraise for what we settled for ) which is less than what we paid for it. We paid all of our closing costs (4400$) as the buyer and now we have to pay the same as the seller (a requirement by the buyer to “afford” the house. So, we have to take out a loan for 10,000 just to get out of our house to PCS (this is if the house even appraises for the settlement cost). I’m bitter b’c in 20 years we’ve never bought a house but had to for this civilian assignment. Is there any help out there at all for those that bought a house after July 06? I would really appreciate any help!
    Tracy Edwards, Captain, USAF

  7. Ryan Bon 23 Jun 2009 at 8:20 am

    When do we expect the final rules to be published and (hopefully) payments to begin for those in the PCS category? I keep checking the Homeowners Assistance Program website (http://hap.usace.army.mil/), but it keeps showing the same message:

    “DoD policy guidance cannot be displayed until after the interim draft rule is published in the Federal Register. The dates for publishing in the Federal Register and initiating applicant processing are not known. They will be highlighted on this web site when the information becomes available.”

    I submitted my package a couple of months ago and I am now waiting for the hopeful checks to be cut.

    Also does anyone have an estimate or educated guess on what the percentage payout of the loss will be covered? I fall into the expanded category of PCSing and selling my home for a loss. BRAC was not a player.

  8. Keenon 24 Jun 2009 at 8:03 pm

    The HAP website briefly posted the DoD supplementmental instructions, but was pulled and replaced with the message you posted. Basically the PCS benefit calculation was reduced to 90% of the home’s purchase price, plus closing costs. Additionally the option to sell the home to HAP was made more stringent – the home must be on the market for 120 days and be approved by a three star level DOD official, and the HAP reimbursement would be 75% of the orginal purchase price.

    However, this could all change based on the register review. Meanwhile I’m closing in 2 weeks at a $65k loss not to include closing costs.

    Let’s get this thing pushed through…and eliminate the tax penalty….

  9. Ryan Bon 26 Jun 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Keen -
    Thanks for the response and info. When you say 90% of the home’s purchase price, plus closing costs, does that mean that if that rule holds I would be reimbursed 90% of the loss on the sale + closing costs? If so, that is good news. And you are right, let’s work to ensure this is not taxed. I mean it’s not income or capital gains.
    Ryan

  10. Mike Hon 27 Jun 2009 at 2:20 am

    The calculation tends to be quite vague.

    You’re right if it 90% of the loss on the sale + closing, then grand. That can be quite a save.

    But there is a matrix pdf file I retrieved from the web that noted:

    The greater of

    90% PFMV – sale price + closing costs

    or

    Mortgage payoff – sale price + closing costs

    Where the PFMV is the original purchase price.

    HOWEVER, the same PDF file noted ELIGIBLITY criterior required that the home decrease in value equal to or greater than 10% to start. Thus a 300K home would have to drop to at least 270K. And if you sold for 260K would mean 10K plus closing. You still take the initial 30K in the shorts.

    If you were able to sell at 275K then technically you did not lose 10% and not eligble at all. You would lose the 25K plus all the closing.

    I’m not sure what’s right. I closed on my house today and will be filing. I’ll post what I learn.

  11. Andreaon 06 Jul 2009 at 11:05 pm

    From what I understand, once policy makes it to the Federal Registrar, it must sit there for 30 days before being officially approved. What I don’t understand, is whether or not there is a deadline for the interim draft rule to be published. Is this something that will be completed by the end of the fiscal year? Calendar year?

    The website indicates that the home must be sold before 2012, which is fine, but I’m just wondering how much time we will be given to sell it. Currently, we have it on the market for sale and rent, and are having no luck either way… frustrating!

  12. Ryan Bon 07 Jul 2009 at 8:11 am

    It is a very frustrating process as the HAP was expanded under the stimulus umbrella. It is dragging out so long (and we are not even close to the point where the checks will be mailed it), that one has to wonder if what if any affects this will have on the economy.

    I just wish that the final rule set to include the timeline for the payouts could be published already.

  13. Emilyon 08 Jul 2009 at 9:22 pm

    I, too, am finding HAP to be very frustrating. We cannot afford to sell our house as we don’t have enough money to cover the loss and we are PCSing next week. We are making our house a rental but it is not financially sustainable to do that for an indefinite period. On top of that, we were told today that our insurance will be cancelled if we can’t find a tenant. I’m surprised that more people aren’t outraged about this. I am very grateful for this benefit, but concerned that it’s never going to happen.

  14. JBon 09 Jul 2009 at 5:44 am

    I’m in the same boat as Duane. I was assigned to a 4 year tour in California and purchased before 1 July 06 but will not be PCS’ing until summer of 2010. I’m just hoping its possible to expedite my orders as soon as I know where I’m going. I agree that these benefits should not be taxed, but I just wish the program was designed to be commensurate with the USAF/DoD PCS cycle of 4 years…

  15. Shaneon 09 Jul 2009 at 3:37 pm

    I put in my application back in February when I first heard about the program and have been waiting for something ever since. In my area, we took a pretty hard hit on real estate. Value of my home alone dropped about $40K from the time I bought it back in ’05.

    Assuming that I will qualify for the program (I’ve met all criteria put out thus far), I dropped the price of our house to the current market value, agreed to pay buyer closing costs and, of course, realtor fees. With that, we found a buyer. The sales contract states that the sale is pending approval by HAP authorities. In the mean time, she’s renting from us.

    We’re still coming out of pocket about $400 a month in the mean time (difference between rent and our actual mortgage.) This process, like most government evolutions, is taking entirely too long. In the end, I’m sure it will work out for all involved, but this wait is nerve-racking. I’m at wits end here!

  16. Ryan Bon 10 Jul 2009 at 12:14 pm

    At the rate that this HAP is moving, I think we will be lucky to have a check in hand by Halloween. I mean they haven’t even published the final rule set yet. Now just imagine how deep the pile of applications is and how long it will take the HAP folks to go through them all.

    To anyone that has completed the application, it was like the size of a small textbook once you had it all together. Now imagine the bureaucrats going through each and every page on each and every applications.

    This has been so painfully slow, but at least we have something to be hopeful for.

  17. Bob Highleyon 10 Jul 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Does anyone have any information about if they are looking to add more money to the program? Last I heard, there were over 1,700 applications in the Savannah District alone…I’m in the hole $120K and conservative math of $100K avg in the area adds up to $1.7B…that’s out of the original $555M from the stimulus package…MOAA help!

  18. Bob Highleyon 10 Jul 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Does anyone have any information about if they are looking to add more money to the program? Last I heard, there were over 1,700 applications in the Savannah District alone…conservative math of $100K avg per application in the area adds up to $1.7B…that’s out of the original $555M from the stimulus package…MOAA help!

  19. Karen Davison 11 Jul 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Here is the updated information that I have been able to find. I will keep an eye on it each week as new information is published. Maybe HAPLESS is going to turn soon to HELPING.

    June 2 Complete proposed rule for the Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) and submit to the federal rulemaking process.

    June 9The Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) Rule for the Federal Register is still being revised and is expected to be submitted to OMB by June 15. The HAP Circular used for execution is in final draft and should be completed on June 10.

    June 16On June 12, the draft Interim Final Rule documents for the Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) were sent to Washington Headquarters Service (WHS) and the DoD General Counsel for final internal DoD review.

    June 23The Interim Final Rule for HAP is expected to be submitted to OMB soon.

    June 30 On June 29, DoD Inspector General has scheduled an initial entrance conference with DoD officials for the Expanded HAP. This meeting will familiarize auditors with the parties responsible for Expanded HAP and support enhanced accountability

    July 7The Expanded Homeowners Assistance Program has received over 3,100 applications with 98% being in the Permanent Change of Station category. The applications will begin to be processed after the Interim Final Rule is published in the Federal Register for public comment, which is expected in the next few weeks.

    I was contacted by the Georgia office today for more information for our package that they received early March. Our package is #192 in their district. I read somewhere that they were expecting over 10,000 applications but to date have received less than 33% of that. Hopefully that means that there is enough money for everyone that qualifies out there. Here is hoping that things get moving soon.

    Karen

  20. Karen Davison 12 Jul 2009 at 3:17 am

    I have been doing some more research on the Federal Register. I found the actual docket ID that pertains to HAP. It was published on June 16th and is now awaiting public comments to be submitted. Everyone is eligible to submit comments on the proposal and the law requires that the agency review each comment that it receives. After the comment period is ended (the end date for the HAP comments is August 18th) the agency can then publish a final form of the regulation. So far only one comment has been made about this document. It concerns how to determine qualifications for priority payment when it comes to those killed, wounded or injured in combat. So at least we know the next time frame is Aug 18th. Perhaps after that they will be able to publish their rules and regulations and get on with this. Take care and talk soon. Karen

  21. Karen Davison 13 Jul 2009 at 12:19 am

    here is the website where you can be notified when there is movement, comments or anything to do with the HAP bill or you want to leave a comment. Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Once there find search box and type in DOD-2009-OS-0089. It will take you to the page you want and then click on comment or submission. It will tell you how to leave a comment. You can also be notified when there is any movement on this bill or comments left. Just click on Notification and they will notify when something comes up. It makes me always feel better when I see something in writing. This way we can monitor what is going on. Talk soon. Karen

  22. Karen Davison 15 Jul 2009 at 2:27 am

    July 14

    Publication of the Interim Final Rule for the Expanded Homeowners Assistance Program for public comment in the Federal Register is
    expected in the next few weeks

  23. Scott Campbellon 16 Jul 2009 at 5:16 pm

    I’m trying to get in the same boat as Shane above. My house has been listed since April, but only one person looked. I’ve already lowerd my price $40K. Put it up for rent at $500 less than what my monthly payments are. I only hope I can find someone to “rent to own” and close with them whenever my turn comes up to get paid. I only have 2 more weeks to find someone, or I’m paying the whole mortgage myself plus rent at my new duty station!

  24. Scott Campbellon 16 Jul 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Oh and thanks Karen for all the info!

  25. Karen Davison 17 Jul 2009 at 3:06 pm

    We are also in the same situation as you Scott. Our house in Alabama has been on the market for over 10 months now. We have dropped the price by $40,000 and still no takers. We will continue to drop the price $3,000 every two weeks in the hopes that someone will make an offer. We now are renting in the DC area and paying our Mortgage in Alabama. I am just furious that it is taking so long for the HAP program to get started. If we had been told ahead of time how long this process would take it would have been easier, I think, for those of us in this situation. It still could be another two to three months if once the interim rule is published they are going to wait for additional comments. I send stories that I find concerning this to our new President but I have never heard anything back. I have heard from my senator from Alabama but he just sent my complaints on to Washington. It is so frustrating to sit back and do nothing when I read about the foreclosures, bankruptcies and families being split up because of this situation. I believe that this will make military families in the future think twice before they buy again. What is that going to do for the economy of the areas that we are living in? Not a good situation all around. Talk soon, Karen

  26. Shannonon 17 Jul 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Does anyone know if you aren’t able to sell your home and you decide to rent it, will that make you ineligible for HAP? It seems to me I read something about it has to be your primary residence within last 6 months or something like that?

  27. Scott Campbellon 19 Jul 2009 at 3:00 am

    When people are faced with a descision to pay $40,000 up front so they can sell their house, it seems almost too easy to go into forclosure. Leave they keys on the counter, walk away, save $40k, take a hit on your credit. I guess the only thing stopping us is our morals and the will to do right.

  28. Shannonon 19 Jul 2009 at 2:42 pm

    After talking to the Savannah District office and DC HQ, renting will not disqualify you. You must have been living in the home when you received orders. Apparently, the govt option of buying is going to be yanked. Too much $ to maintain these homes they acquire, and it will eat up too much of the $555M.

  29. TJon 23 Jul 2009 at 11:08 pm

    We submitted paperwork back in May and have been told ALL ALONG by the Savannah District office to “put it on the market and call back when you have an offer”. So…..after putting our FL home on the market for a whopping 3 days (priced at just under 50% of the fair market value purchase price paid back in 2005) we have an offer! However, when I called the HAP District office (as I was told to do upon getting the offer), the man on the phone said “I’m sorry ma’am, but our hands are tied and we’re advising folks to do what’s best for themselves at this time”. Real nice. So now what?! I’ve got potential buyers but Uncle Sam is jeopardizing the sale! To say I am upset is an understatement!

  30. Christineon 24 Jul 2009 at 5:44 pm

    We cannot afford to sell until the HAP program goes through. We got an offer on the house in April, but I think our share of the loss and closing costs is going to be more than we having in savings. Plus – if we have to pay taxes on the HAP benefit, we’re really in trouble. My husband has already PCS’d to Ft Campbell and daughter and I are behind. We’re paying mortgage and his rent. He wants us to take the house off the market and just make do for the next couple of years as he’s getting deployed in 2010. We’re in DC and hopefully the market will swing a bit up by then. Not sure I’m on board.

    Our realtor got the following reply from the Savannah district July 13. Thought you might find this interesting:
    *************************************
    Ma’am,

    Draft rules for the ARRA Expanded HAP, including policies and
    implementation guidance, have been developed by the Rules Committee. The implementation guidance is required to be posted on the Federal Register for 30 days. After this, inputs and comments from that posting must be reviewed and, if approved by the OSD, included in the directive for the program. (I am not informed whether this updated version of the program particulars will have to be posted a second time on the Federal Register.) Only after this lengthy procedure of development will the finalized version of the directive be forwarded to DC for formal approval at the appropriate level.

    The District is not privy to current OSD discussions on the program
    details. Further, the District has not been provided any indication on a timeframe when the program directive is expected to be formally approved. No applications will enter the eligibility determination phase of processing until DOD and Army policies are disseminated, and Corps HQ notifies districts to proceed with eligibility determination and benefit computation.

    As we review application packages we are identifying lacking
    documents that we know will be required to evaluate eligibility or compute benefits for applicants. When a pertinent document is discovered lacking, we are contacting applications to provide them an opportunity to submit the document(s) now so as not to delay the progress of their application later during the more critical phase of processing. Your client’s application will be reviewed in turn; and if necessary, (s)he will be contacted either via email or posted letter regarding any documents still required to complete his/her application package.

    We have also begun entering applications into the official automated HAP tracking program (HAPMIS). We have staffed up to complete this phase of processing so as to gain a head start when we are released to begin the evaluation for eligibility and computation of benefits.

    I can certainly appreciate the position the delay in the application
    of the ARRA Expanded HAP has placed your client in. Please know that the District is doing all we can to prepare for the long anticipated program directive and the release to begin determining eligibility and computing benefits for program applicants. Unfortunately, there is no available update information on the program directive I can provide at this time.

    Due to the delay in the program directive being formally approved and the monumental backlog of applications received in the District to date, I might suggest you do not rely upon your client’s application being reviewed to evaluate eligibility and compute benefits in sufficient time for benefits to be paid at a Closing scheduled within the next two to three months. I recommend that your client take whatever action relevant to the residence in
    question that proves best for him/her and his/her circumstances.

    Unfortunately, the District is not staffed to provide individual
    updates of the program status to applicants, even if there was some information the District were privy to. New releases of information for the ARRA Expanded HAP (i.e., progress of the program directive toward formal approval, districts released to begin evaluating eligibility and computing benefits for applicants, etc.) will be published on the official HAP website located at http://hap.usace.army.mil I encourage you to periodically
    monitor this site for updates. Further, due to the volume of telephone call and email queries about the program itself being received daily, individual requests for application status updates have a low priority for a response as there has been no progress change; and will not be until the program directive has been formally approved.

  31. Bob Highleyon 27 Jul 2009 at 5:20 am

    I recieved the same e-mail from the HAP folks. What would really make me feel more comfortable is some sense that they will take care of all the folks that made career decisions based on the availability of the program…

    Even though I am not a MOAA member, I sure would appreciate them stepping in and giving us a hand in Washington…I would gladly join if I knew that the organization was working on this issue.

    Thanks to all that have provided helpful information to the rest of us.

  32. Paulon 29 Jul 2009 at 5:19 am

    Sitting in Japan (non-vol PCS) since January. House was marketed for over a year with numerous drops (even offered it to the real estate broker at $65K under FMV at a cost to me of $12K out of my pocket to walk away with my credit still intact) No luck and down $12K anyways in mortgage payments on a vacant home! Funny….I took the assignment instead of retirement to bathe in the glory of a promotion to SMSgt ($500 a month give or take a few). Do the math………hmmmmmmmm feels like TSgt pay. Hang in there peeps and have a HAPpy day.

  33. Karen Davison 01 Aug 2009 at 2:39 am

    HAP has updated their website with the paragraph below:

    The Department of Defense and Office of Management and Budget guidance for the ARRA expansion of HAP is being finalized and will soon be published in the Federal Register. When rule making is finalized, the guidance will be displayed on this web site and the Corps of Engineers will be authorized to process expanded program applications.

    Of course I would like to know what their definition of “soon” is. Lets keep our fingers crossed that the date in August is the final one that we have to deal with.

    Karen

  34. Bob Highleyon 01 Aug 2009 at 1:25 pm

    …and let’s hope there is enough money…maybe we could steal some from the cash to clunkers program…

  35. Shaneon 02 Aug 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Amazing, isn’t it? Banks needed a bailout and received it in no time. Ditto for the Big Three. Cash for Clunkers is spitting out money before I even heard the program existed.

    But you’ve got countless members of the Armed Services who need a helping hand in these tough economic times but find themselves being told to standby month after month after month due to the typical government bureaucracy that we’ve found ourselves up against our entire careers.

    I’d like to say the whole process has left me hesitant to ever again purchase a home while I’m serving on active duty. But alas, I can’t resist. We just got a hell of a deal on a new construction house at my new duty station here in Jacksonville, Florida. It almost makes up for the beating I’m taking on the other house back in Maryland.

    I just hope that this thing gets pushed through sooner rather than later or our potential Maryland buyer may get tired of waiting and look elsewhere. I’d be up Poo Creek without a paddle.

  36. Mark Sullivanon 03 Aug 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Assigned in D.C. Bought in April of 2006 for $515k. Homes on our street and subdivision of equal size/quality are selling for $315k. That puts me -$200k right now.

    I can either PCS in August of 2010 or retire….and maybe move somewhere?

    Either way, it looks like I lose out on this money. Am I wrong?

    I could get my retirement orders cut today if it would help (1 year out)? But…it would be a “voluntary retirement”.

    I’m also looking to pin-on Major in December. I wonder what happens if I purposely turn it down? Maybe I could get a forced retirement?

    Anyone got any advice?

    BTW….I’m also going through a divorce right now. My wife was earning $70k….now that’s gone.

    Sully

  37. Shane Ostromon 04 Aug 2009 at 10:43 am

    HAP is for PCS help not retirement. So retirement is sure to get you nothing; PCS maintains a chance for some help as long as you PCS before Sep 2012. Not sure I follow the rest of your thoughts…how retirement helps, vol or not.

  38. Rupeon 04 Aug 2009 at 11:53 am

    You say HAP is for PCS not retirement…but retirement orders have in them direction to PCS to home. Where does it say that retirement is not covered by HAP?

    Just curious and interested.

    -Rupe

  39. Billy DuBoseon 05 Aug 2009 at 1:39 am

    As mentioned in other comments and as stated by the Army Corps of Engineers, HAP benefits are currently expected to be taxable. I am not sure if others are aware but the “Cash for Clunkers” program is not taxable (US Dept of Transportation: http://www.cars.gov). Furthermore, President Bush signed legislation in 2008 that makes the forgiven money associated with a “Short Sale” non-taxable. That said, I ask that everyone contact his or her representatives and voice their displeasure in this oversight and complete disregard for the service member. None of us are asking for a hand out as was given to the banks, auto industry and many others. What we are asking for is equality. Why should we pay taxes on money that we lost. If it were investment income, I could claim the loss on taxes but because it was our primary residence, there is no loss and HAP benefits are taxable. In essence, we are paying double taxes. I know there will be many to not agree with me and respond back that I should be thankful for qualifying for HAP benefits and I am thankful. What I do not want is to be kicked in the shin again because I as well as many others did the right thing by fulfilling our obligations.

  40. Karen Davison 06 Aug 2009 at 4:23 am

    According to the Secretary of Defense’s office the delay right now in getting HAP applications started is with the IRS and Dept of Treasury. They are debating whether the funds we receive will be taxable or exempt and if money will be held at closing if so. Once that is decided, and they hope that it will be in the next few weeks (August 18th is the deadline for the comments in the Registry) they will be able to publish the rules. Once the rules are published they are hoping that it will be treated as an emergy situation and then claims will start to be processed within two weeks of that time frame. Remember that wounded soldiers and widows will be processed first (only about 2% of all claims fall in this category) and then they will start on ours. Depending on what number you are in the district (when your application was first received) is how they will be processed. People are already being contacted to supply any missing information in the application packets. Hopefully this means that by first of October or so we will see some payments being made. Keep all your digits crossed.

    Karen

  41. Paulon 10 Aug 2009 at 12:50 am

    Another $2B for clunkers……another 2 months for us!

  42. Tonyon 18 Aug 2009 at 3:11 pm

    It is amazing how the banks get their money immediately….. poof; but it is complicated for us!! I don’t get it! I applied for HAP to purchase my home after PCS, but thankfully sold it in March, but lost $52,000. I have no idea if I will get benefits, and if so how much. I meet all the eligibility credibility listed in the bill and on the website, but you never know????

  43. Shaneon 26 Aug 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Well, the 30 days of sitting in the Federal Register has come and gone. Anyone heard anything?

  44. Nicoleon 27 Aug 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Shane I have talk to the contact on the Federal Register and she has said that as of last week their were 3 isuues being worked. Including wether this will be taxed. She explained that when this program was re funded in febuary from the stimulous package, the white house was unaware the entire bill needed to be re written. (703)602-4353 is the number, this seems to be more useful than calling the hap office. This is where its all happening.

  45. Nicoleon 28 Aug 2009 at 5:24 pm

    I spoke with the main main office again this morning and they “say” they are very close to a resolution with the irs and are planning on making payments on claims by the end of september. They have to post the changes on regulations.gov for 30 days, but will start to process claims before the 30 days is up and if any changes are made they will then impliment them. Another month, lets all hope this is the end of the waiting game.

  46. Shaneon 28 Aug 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Nicole,

    Thanks for the gouge. Sure would be nice if they actually stuck to the date this time around. I won’t hold my breath.

    I recevied a notification in the mail some time back stating that my application was in the review process. A number was provided (not the standard HAP number) so that I could call a claims processor that I’m assigned to with any questions. I’ve called no less than a couple of dozen times over the course of the past few weeks, leaving several messages in the process. Today was the first call back received.

    Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t available to answer the phone. If it’s this hard to get a hold of these guys before the claims are even being processed, I can only imagine what communication is going to be like once the ball gets rollin.

  47. Nicoleon 28 Aug 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Shane,

    Well they say they are reviewing all applications that are comming and and getting them ready to be processed out as soon as they get the ok. So lets hope that within a week or to from the ok, you get your approval letter, along with everone else!

  48. Karen Davison 29 Aug 2009 at 12:36 am

    Shane, it has been my experience with the HAP personnel that it is easier to get hold of them through Email. If you happen to be the Savanah district leave me a message here and I will give you contact information here on this site. Our package is #192 in that district and we have been contacted already to supply additional information. So if I can be of help just ask me. I check this on a daily basis when I am not in Dip training. Karen

  49. Karen Davison 29 Aug 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I spoke to Sarah in DC yesterday and she said tax issue is still the main hurdle. Hold up is mostly because there are so many other parameters added to the stimulus bill that they can’t just process the way they did for BRAC. Big bummer as Army Corps could have had half these claims paid by now!

    Yes, the hope is still to get the rules published asap (between now and mid-Sept) and begin paying out immediately (as “emergency” approval) and adjust if needed as things change based on publishing in Federal Register.

  50. Scott Campbellon 29 Aug 2009 at 7:01 pm

    So far I read that:

    Karen submitted her package in March and heard back (when?) and is #192.

    Shane submitted his package in Feb, heard back (when?) and is what # ?

    Any one else? Also, if I do a Short Sale to get rid of this house, will HAP still pay me for the loss? I know they won’t if it’s a foreclosure. Still making 2 mortgage payments here with no renter in the old house. Hang in there!

  51. Charleson 29 Aug 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I filed with Sacramento in March, and my acknowledgement letter states I will not get a case number until policy guidance is received. The folks at the HAP office there said my case was a “slam dunk,” since I had already sold at a loss. Then the initial guidance was published stating your house had to cost less than 417K (I paid 505K). I’m not sure what costs were on the east coast, but in 2005, 417K was a 1700-1850 sq. ft. starter home in the Phoenix/Tucson area. Right now, I have no idea if I will see a dime from a 70K loss.

  52. Shaneon 30 Aug 2009 at 1:08 am

    Okay, I was off on my date. I sent in my package around the middle of March. I was assigned application #249. I’d say it was about 6 weeks ago when I received a letter requesting additional info. I can’t give you an exact date at the moment (away from home TAD).

    Karen, what is the word on the tax issue? Are we looking at benefits being tax-free or are they just trying to get taxes pushed back to regular tax season (not having to pay upfront)? I’ve heard both and don’t know what to believe. Goes without saying that I’m rooting for tax-free. :-)

  53. Nicoleon 30 Aug 2009 at 1:36 am

    Shane they are wanting to make it tax exempt. That is the hold up here.

  54. Bobon 30 Aug 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Any word on if they are going to have enough money to cover everyone?

  55. Joe MacKayon 01 Sep 2009 at 12:19 am

    I just want to know if the cutoff is still July 1 2006 for your home purchase or have they moved it out a bit to reflect reality. Here in Jacksonville, the market didn’t nose dive until 2007.

  56. Whoas me, uson 01 Sep 2009 at 12:21 am

    PCSed from Nellis.. Bought in 2005. Owe 270k, 6% 30 yr VA loan. Just got offer of 90k & 105k. Rent loss 750/month. Whats best/worst case scenario? Was told by Sacramento office that applications continue to pile up & processing will take over 6 months. Still not sure if 90% of prior FMV or what will be covered, never mind the tax implication if any.

  57. Pattyon 03 Sep 2009 at 11:12 pm

    We sent our HAP package to Savannah. How do find out what application number it has?

  58. Karen Davison 04 Sep 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Patty you can call them (if they answer) or you can email them at the address on their website. Did you just send it? If so you will have a very high number as it has been six months since they started giving out case numbers. Our was sent a the end of February and our number for Savannah is 192. Hope this helps. Karen

  59. Scott Campbellon 04 Sep 2009 at 7:58 pm

    For those of you who sold at a loss, how did you come up with the money at closing? Personal loans, credit card, or was the sale amount enough to cover what was left on the mortgage?

    If I do a short sale, I probably won’t get anything from HAP, but I can get out and move on with my life.

    If I get a loan to cover what’s left, and HAP doesn’t go through for me, I’m stuck with huge debt with bankrupcy as my only option since I can’t short sale anymore. Some reassurance would be nice

  60. EHon 05 Sep 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Scott…we applied for HAP and have almost completed a short sale since HAP has taken so long. I’m not sure what happens when your PCS move resulted in a short sale to avoid forclosure. I would hope that HAP would pay the difference to the lender so that we can avoid the hit on our credit record. Have you researched HAP’s stance on shortsales?

  61. jonon 06 Sep 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Scott,
    I would come up with a lease to buy with the stipulation that the sale is incumbent that HAP goes through for you. Thats what i am doing. Rent wont cover the mortgage, but the loss is tax deductible, and at least someone pays your utilities. The processing of applications may take several months anyway. I heard they will do wounded warrrors & surviving spouses first(very few of these relatively) & then prioritize based on RNLTD.

  62. Buffdriveron 08 Sep 2009 at 2:37 am

    I understand that there may be a qualification restriction based on the date of PCS Orders. Can anyone verify that the date is 31 Dec 09, and is this the RNLTD or the date that the orders are issued?

  63. Charleson 08 Sep 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Buffdriver – The “purchase by” date is set by law and will take an act of congress to change. The “sell by” date and maybe the “PCS by” date are up to the discretion of the government personnel deciding the rules behind closed doors. Right now it is anyone’s guess what the rules will be. Interesting how the summer PCS season has come and gone with no resolution.

  64. EHon 08 Sep 2009 at 5:34 pm

    FYI to all…I just spoke with the HAP office in Sacramento and they informed me that if you sell your home before being determined eligible for HAP you sell it at your own risk.

  65. Scott Campbellon 08 Sep 2009 at 8:39 pm

    EH,

    HAP is vague on any details since they can’t make up their minds. They say HAP will protect you from any “enforceable liabilities” from foreclosure. I assume that means a defficiency judgement if the bank comes after you. I hired an attorney to ensure the bank doesn’t try for a defficiency judgement (since it’s legal in Illinois). I think that if the bank forgives my debt, I claim it on my taxes and am exempt from paying (Mortgage Debt Relief Forgiveness Act), and I will just take a hit on the credit. HAP will have nothing to do with it and credit will reflect regardless. Are you current on your payments, EH? If so, how did you get the bank to approve a short sale?

  66. Scott Campbellon 08 Sep 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Jon,

    Rent to own sound great to me, but as a renter, I would be nervous that my home is in danger of foreclosure if the owner is in a bind. Too many unknowns turn off most people. How did you convince someone to agree to that? Does their rent contribute to the final sale price? This $8000 tax break for first time home buyers has turned off all buyers from my home since it will take too long to close. For me it’s a race to see what program I go with, short sale or HAP. Whichever gets approved first because I can no longer keep up with payments

  67. Karen Davison 08 Sep 2009 at 9:25 pm

    There is talk now that they will extend the $8000 tax credit (passed the original date of 12/09) for first time home buyers and that it may increase the l amount to $12,000.

  68. Karen Davison 08 Sep 2009 at 9:26 pm

    There is talk now that they will extend the $8000 tax credit (passed the original date of 12/09) for first time home buyers and that it may increase the amount to $12,000.

  69. jonon 09 Sep 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Scott,

    I worked with a realtor who has worked with HAP before & he said that was my best option. They make an offer on the home.. The contract has a stipulation that the deal is contigent on HAP approval. The rent does not go towards price of home, they are basically tenants until gov’t comes up with your closing costs & you can sell. In the meantime, they are able to move right in unlike the short sale and foreclosure market, that’s where the benefit is.. People want to move right in, yet very few are selling in these “ground zero” markets, e.g., Vegas, Phoenix, etc, aside from short sales/foreclosures which can take months to negotiate.. Now if you as the landlord in danger of being foreclosed on, thats up to them how forthright you wanna be with that. I know some people in these markets who are renting out and not paying the mortgage because in Vegas its taking over 12 months of missing payments before these people are being forced out.. It’s a blood bath and people are doing what they can.. As far as the 8k tax credit, thats probably only about 50% of people looking for a home… The deal they can get on a HAP home is probably better than that anyway. Foreclosure prices yet move in today.. Good luck.

  70. Karen Davison 09 Sep 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Looks like the powers that be (Treasury Dept/IRS) have decided they need a “legislative fix” for the tax issues caused by ARRA rules to be resolved with HAP. OSD says the “Ways and Means Committee” is supposed to be working on it. Projected date now the end of September- but I would find this surprising if we actually need a draft/final proposal and both Houses of Congress to approve. I must again suggest you contact your Congressman/woman!

    Sorry it is not better news.
    Talk to you soon.

  71. Shaneon 10 Sep 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Karen,

    I’ve contacted my Congressman. In fact, I’ve contacted three of them. One from my home state, one from Maryland where my house is located and one for Florida where I’m currently stationed. Not one has responded to me. Not one. Nice, huh?

  72. Shannonon 10 Sep 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I have contacted mine, as well. No response either. Incredibly frustrating at the amount of time this is taking to implement.
    Karen – Thank you for your updates.
    Maybe it would be helpful to find out who is on the “Ways and Means Committee” and we can email them? Just a thought.

  73. Stacy Andersonon 10 Sep 2009 at 7:42 pm

    We gave up on HAP and tried to short sale. After 2 months of getting a buyer and submitting a short sale package to USAA, they denied us. According to USAA, Fannie Mae has a new regulation that they will not even consider looking at a short sale package until you a delinquent on your payments. So, I guess we are being punished for trying to be responsible. Husband is leaving next week on PCS orders. I guess we will just live apart for 2 years.

  74. Pattyon 11 Sep 2009 at 2:17 am

    Wikipedia has the following people as being on the Ways and Means committee:

    Charles B. Rangel, Chairman, New York
    Pete Stark, California
    Sander M. Levin, Michigan
    Jim McDermott, Washington
    John Lewis, Georgia
    Richard E. Neal, Massachusetts
    John S. Tanner, Tennessee
    Xavier Becerra, California
    Lloyd Doggett, Texas
    Earl Pomeroy, North Dakota
    Mike Thompson, California
    John B. Larson, Connecticut
    Earl Blumenauer, Oregon
    Ron Kind, Wisconsin
    Bill Pascrell, New Jersey
    Shelley Berkley, Nevada
    Joseph Crowley, New York
    Chris Van Hollen, Maryland
    Kendrick Meek, Florida
    Allyson Y. Schwartz, Pennsylvania
    Artur Davis, Alabama
    Danny Davis, Illinois
    Bob Etheridge, North Carolina
    Linda Sánchez, California
    Brian Higgins, New York
    John Yarmuth, Kentucky
    Dave Camp, Ranking Member, Michigan
    Wally Herger, California
    Sam Johnson, Texas
    Kevin Brady, Texas
    Paul Ryan, Wisconsin
    Eric Cantor, Virginia
    John Linder, Georgia
    Devin Nunes, California
    Pat Tiberi, Ohio
    Ginny Brown-Waite, Florida
    Geoff Davis, Kentucky
    Dave Reichert, Washington
    Charles W. Boustany, Jr., Louisiana
    Dean Heller, Nevada
    Peter Roskam, Illinois

  75. EHon 11 Sep 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Scott/Stacy: I had to become delinquent on my payments as we PCS’d and could not afford to take an 800/mo loss if we rented the home (yes you read that right..if we rented the home at current market rate we would still be paying $800). So short sale is where I’m at with USAA. Though I have always been very very happy with USAA’s services, their policies pertaining to mortgages are ridiculous. I knew I was PCS-ing four months before we actually left, at which time I immediately informed USAA and asked for a mortage negotiation. They wouldn’t even talk with me until we were 90 days delinquent. Now it has cost them more money to work with me than if they would have just worked with me when I initially talked with them. I would be suprised if HAP helped anybody at this point since there is a deadline of December 2009 to sell your home.

  76. Stacy Andersonon 11 Sep 2009 at 6:14 pm

    EH: USAA won’t even consider looking at our short sale package. All they tell us that it was Fannie Mae’s policy not theirs. My husband spent an hour talking with a Fannie Mae representative yesterday who told us that it was not Fannie Mae’s policy for you to be behind on payments to negotiate a short sale. USAA is flat out lying to us and refusing to help. We are currently in Florida and will stand to lose $1000 a month if we rented. We are shocked and sadden by the USAA’s refusal to help us. We have a buyer willing to pay the high end of FMV and USAA won’t even consider opening our short sale file until we are late on payments. By then we will have lost our buyer. SO FRUSTRATING!!!

  77. Shannonon 12 Sep 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Patty-
    Thanks for listing the committee members.

  78. Karen Davison 12 Sep 2009 at 6:00 pm

    EH,

    According to the rules originally published (who knows what will happen when they finally are published) you DO NOT have to sell your house by 12/31/2009. For PCS claims to be eligible, the home sale must result from PCS ORDERS issued on or before December 31, 2009, and the application must be received by March 31, 2010. This does not mean that you must sell your house by this date. I hope that this clears things up.

    If anyone is interested in more information, I am a moderator on moresam.net, a military realtor website where we talk about the crisis going on with military families affected by the HAPless situation. I try to leave any information that I have learned at both sites though.

    We have had six families interested in our home in the past four months but because of the HAPless situation, none are willing to wait for HAP to come aboard. Now we are facing the dilema of the $8,000 home buyers credit deadline fast approaching also. The good thing is ?????? that program is suppose to be extended into 2010 and with a higher credit amount too.

    I hope that soon this will be but a bad memory for us all. Take care and talk soon.

    Karen

  79. Karen Davison 13 Sep 2009 at 3:25 am

    I have contacted the Chairperson of the Ways and Means committee. I have explained our situation and asked him to look into the issues we are dealing with. I don’t know if this will help or not but we have to keep trying.

    We had another offer on our home in Alabama but they are not willing to wait until we hear about the status of HAP. So another one bites the dust. Chins up people. It has to end soon. Karen

  80. Army Veton 13 Sep 2009 at 4:43 am

    I spent a decade in the military. Not once did anyone force me to buy a house. I knew the risks, and spent most of my time renting. It’s not rocket science to know that you PCS every 3 years or so. Now when people get caught with there pants down they want a handout at the cost of the tax payers. Perhaps renting will be a better option for your next duty station. If you’ve spent any time as an active duty soldier/airmen/sailor/marine you should know that homesteading and profiting off your BAH is not in the cards.

  81. EHon 14 Sep 2009 at 1:59 am

    Stacy, I feel your pain and I’m so sorry. It is such a bummer that we all have to ruin our credit so we can honor our commitment to serve in the armed forces! At least we have our health, family and friends. I’ve given up the idea of a good credit report for some time as a result of the current situation. If and when HAP comes through it can’t resolve our current delinquencies and that will follow us for some time. HAP’s delay really caused military families some severe hardships.

  82. Marine Wifeon 14 Sep 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Army Vet- thank you for your dedicated service. I don’t want a hand out. I want help. We were not looking to profit when we came out here, we were looking to at least break even. Now we are trying to do this the right way. We could walk away and cause the taxes payers even more. With each family that moves out of our development foreclosing on thier homes the value of everyones diminishes. For the first time there is help from the military. Who in their right mind would not reach out to take it? As a vet, you should be proud that DOD is doing this.

  83. Cole Hodgeon 14 Sep 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Karen,
    Thanks for posting so much information on the HAP debacle; you’re about the only source for information on its status. I took your advice and wrote letters to my congressman (Danny Davis, Illinois and Peter Roskam, Illinois). Also, have connections with Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth so I wrote them as well. Not sure if this will do any good but it can’t hurt. Thanks again!

  84. Ryanon 14 Sep 2009 at 2:24 pm

    So will they release the guidance soon without a breakthrough on the taxes? Also, is there a new guestimate on when a bill will be introduced to resolve the tax issue? I’m also interrested on what the Chairperson of the Ways and Means committee said to Karen or if he responded. Is there a good way to contact him that can be shared?

  85. Vickion 14 Sep 2009 at 3:55 pm

    My husband has been in the military for 22 years. We have our house in La. that we have tried to sell for the last 1.5 years to no avail. Finally we have it rented, but we still have to kick in $900 monthly to cover mortgage payment.
    We PCS’d and rent..having two house payments really hurts. Doesn’t look too promising for HAP relief. What nobody has said is
    what happens to soldiers security clearances amid all this!
    HAP is fine if it ever comes thru…meanwhile credit reports, families and security clearances take a tumble. Alot of soldiers and civilian government workers are losing jobs and promotions due to this.

  86. Shannonon 14 Sep 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Army Vet,
    Not sure what positive contribution your post makes to this thread. Our decision to buy was based on where we were moving, the cost of renting vs. buying, and what was best for our situation. Our family has served for nearly 20 years and we have NEVER profited from our BAH. Perhaps your advice on how we should all just rent at our next duty station would be better suited for another forum. We are here to try to support one another, and clearly you have other motives based on your snide comments.

  87. Bobon 14 Sep 2009 at 7:21 pm

    We sold our house for $120K under what we owed. We have negotitated an 0% interest payback on one part of our loan and an interest only loan for the other part…we are still pursuing the HAP payback. I don’t think that if you sell your house, short or otherwise, that precludes you from getting re-imbursed, it will just take awhile. We tried to go the “private sale augmentation” route, but that was impossible. I was contacted last week to provide more information, so there seems to be some movement…

  88. Karen Davison 14 Sep 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Man oh man. Do I have to bite my tongue-real hard right now. But being the Diplomat in-training that I am (a volunteer position for me as this is my spouse’s job) I will hold my temper and my tongue.

    Army Vet this is a public forum so you have every right to be here and to voice your opinions. Not exactly sure what you hope to accomplish with your comments but this is America and you do have the freedom of speech. With that said, I suggest that those of us seeking information and ways to reach out to others with the same goals, that we ignore and do not respond to Vet. We also have the same rights and I choose not to respond to someone that is obviously looking for a fight. It is not going to happen Vet so go find some else to pick on.

    Ryn as you guessed, I have not heard back from the Chairman of the Ways and Means committee. His name is Charles B Rangel

    Committee on Ways & Means
    U.S. House of Representatives
    1102 Longworth House Office Building
    Washington D.C. 20515

    Phone: (202) 225-3625
    Fax: (202) 225-2610

    You can also go to the website http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov and fill out a contact form.

    Cole, do I truly believe that by writting to our congress people, news stations, prominent people, that it will have an effect? Yes I do. I feel that if more and more people would take an interest and let those in control know what is going on, how it is affecting our families and jobs, then something will have to be done. Call me naive (as my husband does time and time again) but I truly believe that we must tell our stories.

    Again, I will post when I hear or learn something new.

    karen

  89. EHon 14 Sep 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Regarding the Security Clearances. I was actually an adjudicator for some time. What any of you who have clearances should do is tell your base/post/station security office of your situation in writing. Always be forthcoming with ANY information pertaining to your delinquent debt or mortgage situation. This way it proves that you would not be under distress if you were threatened by anyone who knew about your situation. Please don’t take my word as GOLD, but it should help you!

  90. VINNYNYon 15 Sep 2009 at 3:30 am

    I have two houses that might have qualified under HAP if the DOD actually gave a hoot about active-duty military members. I bought my “retirement house” in Tucson and got orders 10 months later–of course, I bought when the market was hot in ’05. Moved to VA and bought my next “retirement house”. At the time, the market was so hot in AZ that I figured my house out there would sell quickly and there were no good rental homes in VA (fallout from hurricane Isabel). Less than three years later, I got orders again. So, I’m at my third base in three years.

    Forty months after I left AZ, the house is still vacant and unsold. Although I reduced the price by 40%, I can’t get rid of it. My VA house is rented for $1200 month less than my mortgage. Savings gone. Credit maxed out. Thanks, Secretary Gates.

    I finally got an offer on the AZ house today. If I can find a $70,000 loan to close the sale, I wonder if the HAP will ever pay me back some of the $285,000 I will have lost on that house.

  91. Nicoleon 16 Sep 2009 at 10:58 pm

    I want to wash my hands clean of the whole thing! I am fortunate to not be the seller, but am unfortunate to be the buyer! I enter a contract to buy a home waiting for help from HAP and this has been the worst mistake I have ever made. I have been in contact for 4 months, I just want to move into my new home and it seems asthough it will never happen! And now if I try to walk, ill loose my $5,ooo deposite. I was mislead by the HAP offices when I did my research before we went into contract. They keep saying the end of this months, 4 months have gone by!!!! I have contacted Shelly Berkley, Nevada’s congress women and the News. no one cares!!!! Now if it does indeed happen at the end of this month and we close in October, I have to move and deal with my 10 month olds Kidney opperation….. Geeze!

  92. Karen Davison 17 Sep 2009 at 1:32 am

    Nicole can you rent from these people while you wait for HAP to come to the settlement table? I guess most of us never looked at the other side, as to what you are going through as the buyer, and dealing with waiting for HAPless to happen. I hope that this issue is resolved for all of our sakes soon. Take care and talk soon. Karen

  93. Nicoleon 17 Sep 2009 at 2:42 am

    Karen,
    We dont want to take that risk since a loan is never guaranted untill escrow closes and the possibility they don’t get approved or have their end of the money at close. This has just been a horrible experience for all parties involed and I will never do anything like this again. We are in Nevada so I called the Sacramento office today for an updated and they are clueless. They don’t have the file marked to proity or how they will process the claims once they get the heads up to move on. All they could say id they have 1200 cases at their office. And the the number that is on the document on the federal register is who I normally call said monday that they hope withing a month from now. Its just keeps getting pushed off and makes me wonder how hard they are really working to get this done. Shinnanigens!

  94. Bobon 17 Sep 2009 at 3:48 pm

    In all seriousness, what is MOAA doing about this? I see work on other topics, but nothing but this internal discussion on HAP…this is more than an inconvenience, it can destroy lives and careers and MOAA seems to be our only “voice”

  95. Shannonon 17 Sep 2009 at 6:57 pm

    http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2009/09/military_homeowners_tax_091709w/

    Bill to help homeowners moves forward

    By Rick Maze – Staff writer
    Posted : Thursday Sep 17, 2009 13:09:53 EDT

    The House Ways and Means Committee unveiled a bipartisan military homeownership tax bill Thursday with provisions aimed at helping people buy or sell a home in a down market.

    Committee aides said the bill, a collection of several tax-related initiatives for service members and their families, is on a fast track for consideration by the House of Representatives. It could pass the House in two weeks, aides said.

    Among the key provisions of the Servicemembers Home Ownership Act of 2009:

    * Homeowners Assistance Program payments from the Defense Department, for certain service members forced to sell a home at depressed prices, would be exempt from taxes. The tax status of the payments are one major reason why the Defense Department has not yet made any payments of a benefit that is expected to cover about 10,000 people who bought a home before July 1, 2006, and who are either wounded service members or who are permanently reassigned to a new duty station. About 4,000 people have applied for the help, even though the Pentagon has yet to publish rules for how payments will be made.

    * Service members and some federal workers who received an $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit for the purchase of a home before Dec. 1, 2009, would not have to repay the credit if they sell the home after less than three years or stop using it as their primary residence. Military personnel, Foreign Service officers and members of the intelligence community who are forced to sell their homes because of government orders would be exempt from repayment.

    * The $8,000 tax credit would be extended beyond Dec. 1 for service members, Foreign Service officers and members of the intelligence community who have been deployed outside the U.S. for 90 days or longer between Jan. 1 of this year and the Dec. 1, 2009, expiration date. The extension is recognition that they may have been unable to purchase a home because of government service. Income limits still would apply, phasing out the credit for single taxpayers with adjusted gross income of $75,000 or more and couples filing joint returns with adjusted gross income of $150,000 or more.

    Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chief sponsor of the bill, said in a statement that the measure is intended to ensure that service members are “able to take full advantage of the programs we enact.”

    “This bill will improve how certain provisions under the Recovery Act apply to America’s service members, and I hope it will see swift passage in the House and Senate so it can get to the president’s desk as soon as possible,” Rangel said.

  96. Karen Davison 18 Sep 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Shannon you beat me to the punch. Rep Rangel had sent me this article yesterday in reply to my email to him but I was in the hospital all day long with my husband. I pray that this is truly good news for us and that the long wait is over with. Talk soon.

    Karen

  97. Nicoleon 19 Sep 2009 at 12:12 am

    The end of the artical doesn’t make sence about getting “passage in the house and Senate and to the prsidents desk”, the bill has already been signed. They are just making the appropriate provisions to make it tax exempt. I don’t know, that sounds sketchy to me with all the reserch I have put into the program….. I just hope it is ready in 2 weeks!!!

  98. Karen Davison 19 Sep 2009 at 12:49 am

    The bill was signed but now the revisions to the original bill must go to committee, then to House and Senate and then to the President again.

  99. VINNYNYon 19 Sep 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Although it’s nice that they’re seeking to make the benefits non-taxable, have they done anything to fix the horrible implementation guidance so that active duty military members might actually receive some benefits? Specifically:

    1) Did they remove the absurd cap on purchase price? FNMA/FHLMC loan limits have NOTHING to do with home prices. Why should people who bought more expensive homes with big down payments be penalized rather than the “Nothing Down” crowd? I bought two houses during this mortgage crisis and put 20% down on each. Who was more responsible, the guy who bought the $417K home with nothing down and a teaser rate loan or the guy who bought the $521K house with $104K down and a loan that met FNMA/FHLMC guidelines? If they are going to restrict eligibility based on dollar amounts, it should be based on loan amount or maximum total benefit amount.

    2) Did they restore the guarantee ratios for ALL potential HAP beneficiaries? I saw nothing in the ARRA that gave special privileges to to Wounded Warriors & Surviving Spouses. Why discriminate against active duty military members who were ORDERED to move? The law authorizes 95%, why would the SecDef discriminate against people who are still out on the field of combat?

    3) Did they adjust the policy to ensure that “prior fair market value” would be used as the basis for calculations rather than original purchase price (as in the original BRAC HAP program)? What about people who bought homes at low prices and put lots of improvements into them? The old BRAC HAP covered improvements–this version doesn’t. How about all those who bought houses that appreciated in value before they were forced to move? The government should use the fair market value AT THE TIME ORDERS WERE ISSUED–this is neither difficult, nor expensive, to determine.

    4) Will the government be buying homes and paying off mortgages? I’ve heard that this version of HAP will not buy homes. If that’s the case, I have to ask: If I COULD have sold my home, don’t you think I WOULD have? In fact, I got an offer on my AZ home last week. Had it not been for the fact that I have already drained my life savings keeping my credit intact while the house sat vacant the last threee years, I would have thrown another $80K at the house to make it go away. If the administration weren’t busy worrying about tax treatment and other bureaucratic idiocy, they could have met me at closing for a sale augmentation (as authorized by the ARRA legislation).

    I apologize for complaining, but I’m frustrated that the Secretary of Defense has been so slow to implement this program. I know the ARRA legislation wasn’t well written, but there’s no excuse for leaving all of us hanging while they sort out the administrative details. I won’t care about tax issues until April 15th 2010. I need to get out of my house now! Even if I sold my house at today’s asking price, I will have lost about $285K and that number goes up by almost $4K per month. I can’t wait for bureaucrats to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.

  100. Scott Campbellon 19 Sep 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I got an email on June 22nd saying they received my application. I just got a letter in the mail requesting more documents. Not clear on what number I am, but I’m guessing #1879 based on the application number.

    That and a lady called me possibly wanting to rent-to-own the property! Just when I was about to give up. Here’s to getting my hopes up!

  101. VINNYNYon 19 Sep 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Just in case somebody in a position of power is reading this blog, please allow me to offer a few thoughts on how to fix the military foreclosure nightmare…

    1) Authorize dual BAH from the time a member departs his duty station until the day the home he was ordered to leave sells or rents. This way, the government shares the financial risk when it moves military members.

    2) Make TSP, IRA, and 401K “hardship withdrawals” tax free (or at least penalty free) when utilized in response to a PCS. If I can use IRA money as a first-time homebuyer without penalty, why can’t I use it to avoid foreclosure when the military orders me to move?

    3) Make losses on the sale of a home due to a military move tax deductible. When the military moves us, it does so under PCS ORDERS. We are REQUIRED to move as a term of our continued employment. We could literally be sent to prison for failing to comply with the order. That’s at least as valid a business expense as season tickets to the Lakers or steaks at Morton’s.

    All of these provisions should be retroactive to 1 July 2006, the ARRA-recognized start of the “mortgage crisis”. These provisions would pay for themselves because you can bet that the number and frequency of expensive PCS moves would drop drastically.

  102. Charleson 20 Sep 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Vinny brings up some great and logical points. The original guidance reminds me of Psychology 101 and the fallacy of “groupthink.” Put a bunch of bureaucrats in a closed room and it’s unbelievable the flawed decisions that can be produced.

    Besides the inane concept of using current FNMA guidelines for housing purchases made years ago, my favorite act of stupidity is requiring that your loss exceed 10% (that’s 16% with closing costs) and prove that average housing losses exceeded 10% in the COUNTY you lived in. Nevermind that military zip codes have often suffered more than the county at large.

    My guess is these geniuses got an earful from high ranking personnel in the Washington DC area, where modest townhomes were selling for 800-1200K just 3-4 years ago. I am hoping that the final guidance will make much more sense and be a real help to our military personnel.

  103. Pattyon 21 Sep 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Charles makes an excellent point about the loss exceeding 10%. I guarantee you losing a year’s salary or more on a home sale is sizable regardless of the percentage!

  104. Marine Wifeon 21 Sep 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Vinny-there was a section on the HAP application to list any major improvements you have done to the house. The HAP office I spoke to said that would be taken into account as well.

    As far as your statement “The government should use the fair market value AT THE TIME ORDERS WERE ISSUED–this is neither difficult, nor expensive, to determine”, I disagree. This program is here to help out the people that bought their property before July 1, 2006 and have taken a great loss. If we were to change the program in the manner you have stated above most of us would not meet the 10% requirement. By that time our property had already taken 90% off the loss. I should mention our property is down 146K.

  105. Rob S.on 21 Sep 2009 at 7:29 pm

    All,
    an update on when to expect some results as far as the new tax provision. I was a DoD legislative fellow on capitol hill recently, and was able to see how stuff like this works its way thru the process.

    HR 3590 was introduced in the House Ways and means Committee (Sept 17th) with the intent of passing it thru quickly. This is a good thing, but the process of getting through to being signed into law may take some time. But there is a deadline they are running up against which may provide some urgency to the passage. I don’t want to give a school house rock summary of how the legislative process works, but just want to share my best guess on “when” it will be finished.
    First, the bill is sponsored by the Committee CHairman, which basically guarantee’s it will get though the committee and to the House floor for a vote. Also, it is a bill which supports military families and is deficit neutral, meaning it doesn’t add to the budget. Most likely, this bill will pass the House without any issue.
    After that, its not likely to see a whole lot of resistance in the Senate, but currently there is not a companion Senate bill listed in the Senate Finance Committee. This will most likely mean the House will pass the bill first, and the Senate will simply take the House version and vote on that. If the Senate doesn’t vote in any amendments, it’ll take less time to finalize as they will not have to have a conferenct report or vote.
    One item which will cause congress to act faster is the fact that the current homeowners first time buyers tax credit expires Nov 30th, so they need to enact this bill before that date.
    My best guess is that the bill will take about 2 weeks to clear the house, and then it all depends on how fast the Senate will move on it. If the Senate leader invokes unanimous consent, it could go very quickly.
    Most likely I would say late October is the best case for enactment into law, with a long estimate of the end of November. The healthcare debate will not help, since the Senate Finance Committee does that as well and may eat up a lot of its time and resources. But the best thing to make congress act is a firm deadline, and since supporting the troops is always a popular item w/politicians, I don’t see many of them voting against this.
    The biggest drag on this will be other congressional priorities.

  106. VINNYNYon 21 Sep 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Marine Wife: You make a valid point. However, the proposed PCS HAP policy would not give any allowances for improvements. The guidance posted on the HAP website specifically stated that original purchase price would be used to determine value. The BRAC HAP (for which the application was developed) considered both improvements to the property and appreciation. Under that program, if you bought a fixer upper and put money into it, you’d stand a chance of getting it back–not the case as currently proposed. Under the old program, the “fair market value at the time of the announcement” would be used to determine your loss. So, if the house appreciated, you would receive some of the benefit. Under the current program, you don’t get credit for appreciation.

    July 1, 2006 is somewhat arbitrary, but it was meant to show the point at which the market had peaked and began its tumble. If one bought a house after that date, they should have theoretically been able to take advantage of falling prices. If you bought before 1 Jul 06, you would have paid more for the same house. Probably the best scheme to balance everyone’s interests would be to allow the higher of the two values and put a cap on total benefits.

    Remember that the purpose of the program is to alleviate financial losses that resulted from a forced government move. If I weren’t ordered to leave Tucson, I’d still be living there and would not have lost a single dime. My house would be worth about $150K less, but I wouldn’t care because I would still be enjoying it. I could have stayed in that house until the market recovered someday. Since I haven’t lived in that vacant house for over three years, I have already lost over $140K in payments, utilities, repairs and maintenance. If/when it sells, my loss on the sale will be at least another $150K.

    By the way, I asked for orders back there and got laughed at. Yes, I got the “Needs of the Air Force” speech. I saluted smartly, packed up my stuff and went to my third base in 39 months–leaving me with another unsold house (fortunately it’s rented for only $1200 less than what it costs me). I’m not complaining, merely offering suggestions to improve the situation–if there’s going to be a government program, then it should be a good one.

  107. Karen Davison 22 Sep 2009 at 10:13 am

    Everything you are saying is valid-until we see the final revision of this law. Nobody knows what it is going to state. What was written seven months ago may be totally changed or rewritten. We will just have to wait and see.

    Karen

  108. Nicoleon 22 Sep 2009 at 6:36 pm

    I just spoke with my Shelly Berkley, my congress woman for las vegas, and was tolk by who is handeling the HAP for Nevada, her name is Roxanne, that the PCS category has been removed from the bill and also Nellis Airfore Base does not qualify for assistance…. GOD I hope this was just bad information… Please call you congress man/ woman!!!!!

  109. Nicoleon 22 Sep 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Im so upset I spent everything wrong!

  110. Daleon 22 Sep 2009 at 6:53 pm

    I applied for this when the program was first annouced. Like everyone else I’ve received many request for additional info and was told a month ago my applicaation was complete and ready.

    Yesterday, I got a new e-mail requesting receipts for any home improvements and this is the answer of why they are needed.

    “Preliminary benefit calculations take into consideration the prior fair market value of your property sold plus any improvements made. In order to validate the improvements listed on your application, our appraisal section must verfiy in accordance with receipts. At this point, there is not a physical inspection of the property”

    Anyone think they are going to pay for home improvements?

  111. Marieon 22 Sep 2009 at 10:59 pm

    I just spoke to my region’s HAP office, which assures me that the PCS expansion has not been removed. I contacted “Roxanne” at Congresswomen Shelly Berkley’s office but had to leave a voicemail, so I did not get further information from that office.

  112. Charleson 22 Sep 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Nicole – I’m from Las Vegas and I am fairly sure that Congresswoman Berkley is as confused about HAP as we are. First off, the PCS category is US law, signed by the President!We are all waiting to find out who will be helped and by how much. Second, HAP for Nevada is handled by the HAP Field Office in Sacramento, not some staffer by the name of Roxanne. Third, Nellis AFB is located by some of the most decimated zip codes in the country for homeowner losses and if anyone qualifies for benefits, you can be assured folks out of the Las Vegas area will. I believe the congresswoman’s office got confused with one of the myriad of bills designed to lower CIVILIAN homeowner losses. Hope this helps…

  113. Nicoleon 23 Sep 2009 at 2:02 am

    Charles, I contacted my congress women to ask for them to get this done. Im convinced now after my converdation with her office, that she was confused and was speaking either about the HOPE or HUD programs.. Sorry for the panic!
    My contact in washington said that they will be processing claims in 1-2 weeks but…and i must say but…. it will take months she said to pass this new bill to make the benifit tax free so they will process the claims for now but the seller must pay taxes untill or if this bill is passed..

  114. Joe MacKayon 23 Sep 2009 at 3:04 am

    I’m still peeved at the 1 July 06 date. While I understand that as the national average, it makes no sense to apply that to local regions as they vary widely as to when the market depreciated rapidly. I bought my house 2 months after that date, negotiated a lower price knowing the market was cooling but I had no idea it was that bad. It was a year later in Aug 07 that the floor dropped out of the market here in Jacksonville. I have easily lost over 20% on my house here and I was the dumb one to put 20% down and go with with a conventional. I have written my congresscritter and I have not heard back in 2 weeks.

  115. corinaon 23 Sep 2009 at 3:22 am

    I called Berkley’s office about this blog and I was told that someone called today that was a civilian wanting to know about HAP and that the caller was told HAP doesn’t apply to civilians. That must be your call Nicole. She also said if a military person wants an inquiry, all they have to do is write a request and she will submit one. She said she was sending the caller a copy of the legislation because her latest update was from June and offered to send me the same legislation. She said Nellis isn’t on a BRAC list to her knowledge and that she never said Nellis was removed from the list because that’s not how legislation is written. She also said legislation is done in DC, not in Las Vegas. What’s the real story Nicole? Your story doesn’t make sense.

  116. VINNYNYon 23 Sep 2009 at 5:46 am

    For those who might be interested: I spoke with OSD again today and learned that the purchase price cap has definitely not been removed from the proposed implementation rules. So, if you paid more than the FNMA/FHLMC Conforming Loan Limit amount for your area, then you WILL NOT QUALIFY for any benefit whatsoever. I thought it was interesting that the SecDef has delegated authority for writing the rules down to an undersecretary. I guess the prospect of thousands more military members losing their homes and life savings doesn’t warrant his attention.

  117. Joe Gladden-VR SAMon 23 Sep 2009 at 11:59 am

    Does anyone know if DOD has published or otherwise mentioned how they are dealing with the credit issues and their impact on clearance reviews? We get a large number of requests / concerns on this issue and the “career impact” and would appreciate any information we could pass on.

    Thanks. Joe Gladden

  118. Nicoleon 23 Sep 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Corina,
    I called Berkleys office in reference to the above entry about us needing to call our congresswoman/ man. I spoke with Roxanne just wanting ask for them to expidite this program since I have been in contract to buy one of these homes for months and nothing is happening. She then started telling me all this info that made no sence to me, about how Nellis doesnt qualifiy and PCS category was removed on June 16 and kept refering to HUD. So I called my contact Deana , Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, at 703-602-4353. These are the people getting this program going and seem to know the most about what the statis is. She said that Berkley is not on their list of Congress that is working on this and they probably dont even know about this particular program. In the next few week she said they will process claims but untill the new bill passes, sellers will pay taxes.

  119. Pattyon 23 Sep 2009 at 10:03 pm

    VinnyNY- You talk about conforming loan limits and purchase price. Please explain. Specifically, if a loan was less than the limit and purchase price is more than the limit, where does that leave a person?

  120. corinaon 24 Sep 2009 at 1:37 am

    Nicole, After reading your posts and it seems you are the one confused are probably telling your version of what happened. How can a congresswoman’s office help you with HAP if you don’t qualify? You aren’t military and you’re the buyer of a home. Do you believe that one call from a congress persons office is going to get HAP pushed through?

    It seems to me Berkley’s office is correct. She told you HAP is not complete and she probably can’t make a request for you because you aren’t the one who would be eligible for HAP. Roxanne told me her last update was June 16, and that’s what she is sending me and obviously you. She probably told you to contact HUD because you might have a better chance at getting the information you can use as a civilian in case the house you want to buy falls through.

    By your own admission, everyone you call is telling you the same thing. If your friend Deana can’t help you, why are you upset with Berkley’s office? She was really nice to me and explained that until the announcement is made, no one knows what HAP will include or exclude. I think you might be mad because Roxanne couldn’t do what you wanted her to do.

  121. Nicoleon 24 Sep 2009 at 2:34 am

    Corina,
    I don’t understand why you are upset… I may not be the seller but I am in this situation and trying to my part. EVERY VOICE COUNTS!!!! I am not confused about anything, I have done my research. She was rude to me, maby because I am a civilian.. All I want is to buy my house. I am not upset with Berkleys office. the only reason I contacted them is since I have been following this blog and people on hear have asked us to contact our congress represntative…… I just want correct info from people!

  122. Nicoleon 24 Sep 2009 at 2:39 am

    And by the way, what your saying she told you is very different than what she told me. But it doesn’t matter, she was wrong!

  123. VINNYNYon 24 Sep 2009 at 4:56 am

    Patty:

    FNMA & FHLMC have maximum loan amounts for what they consider as “conforming loans”. The dollar amount varies from one area to another. In most areas of the country, that limit is currently $417,000. High cost areas have higher limits (e.g. NYC, DC, San Francisco, etc). You can find the FNMA/FHLMC limits for your area with a google search.

    According to the proposed guidance under consideration, if your original purchase price was more than the FNMA/FHLMC conforming loan limit, then your house does not qualify for the program. It doesn’t matter how much you borrowed–just how much you paid.

    All is not lost however. Any decent lawyer would argue that the limit is “arbitrary and capricious”. The FNMA/FHLMC limits have absolutely NOTHING to do with purchase price. Make sure you try to comment when the updated guidance is published in the Federal Register.

  124. corinaon 24 Sep 2009 at 4:57 am

    I’m not as upset about this as you are. I just want people to know Berkley’s office actually returns calls and takes the time to not only explain things but backs it up in writing. I can’t believe she is wrong if she offers to send the information to back up what she said. You said yourself she was telling you things that didn’t make sense and that you were so upset you couldn’t even spell when typing in this forum. Maybe you were so upset you only heard part of what she was saying.

  125. Pattyon 24 Sep 2009 at 12:15 pm

    VinnyNY- Thanks for the information!

    In 2004 in DC, we couldn’t find a decent house under the conforming loan limits. We had to bid on 3 houses before we were successful and I went back to work to make things balance financially.

  126. Karen Davison 24 Sep 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Progress…
    Homeowner’s Assistance Program Update- The Interim Draft Rule for Expanded HAP was approved for publishing yesterday, September 24th! Presuming all services will come out with a message as soon as Interum Rule publishes.

    Here’s the process:
    1) Interim Rule should publish on the Federal Register some time next week as DOD-2009-os-0090. You can go to the Federal Register site to watch for it to post. Then check http://hap.usace.army.mil/homepage.html to confirm via Army site.

    2) There will likely be a 60 day comment period on the rules.

    3) Final Rule will publish after that.

    What does this mean to Service Members who have applied?
    Good news- PROGRESS! Army Corps will begin to process applications as soon as rule publishes. Wounded Warrior and Surviving Spouse claims will process first. According to source new rule states PCS applications will process in chronological order by report date as packages are complete. Translation, if your package is not complete you will be skipped till it is, even though you have already transferred- so get Army Corps what they need asap!

    Bad news- Federal and State taxes will still be withheld from any benefit payment processed prior to Legislators passing H.R. 3590, The Servicemembers Home Ownership Act of 2009. Hopefully this bill will be fast tracked. So, if you process early, you may have your own “recovery” effort on the taxes to rectify once the bill passes.

    Pass it on to those who have been waiting for news!

  127. Nicoleon 24 Sep 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Yea!!!!!

  128. Charleson 24 Sep 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Folks – We are all in this together. HAP is NOT a program the DOD supports. The DOD will always perceive that money spent on personnel is money not available for their operating budgets. Our only allies in this mess are congressmen and women. The last thing the DOD wants to do is run out of HAP money and have to request more (again it is all about tanks and planes and not the plight of military personnel).

    At our base level, military life can be very rewarding, but at the federal level, it can be cold and heartless. The proposed original guidelines are ridiculoulsy restrictive on purpose. The DOD simply does not want to run low on HAP funds. There appears to be no concern for the financial ruin many military personnel face. One would think that the DOD would be beating the drum over what is happening to our military men and women who are forced to PCS in service to their country, but their near silence says it all.

  129. Karen Davison 24 Sep 2009 at 9:17 pm

    As families currently eligible for the Department of Defense HAP program await updated guidelines to be published, additional funding is being proposed in the US Senate by Virginia Senator Jim Webb for Fiscal Year 2010.
    Senate bill (S 1309) proposes an additional $350 million dollars to enhance the funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed last fall.

  130. VINNYNYon 25 Sep 2009 at 1:36 am

    Although I applaud Senator Webb’s effort, it strikes me as sad that our government can put together $3-4 Billion for an idiotic program like “Cash for Clunkers” but hasn’t yet spent a single, solitary, dime on helping military homeowners. Not one dime.

  131. Nicoleon 27 Sep 2009 at 5:02 am

    It is my understanding from the Sacramento office that once the rule is published it may take up to 120 days to receive your bennefit, after you have accepted/ delcined their letter of bennefits.

  132. Bob Dionisioon 27 Sep 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Hope I am not taking to big of a chance. I am a military and we just moved in Aug. We have a buyer for our place and are set to close on 15 Oct. We are taking loans out to make sure we can close since we are upside down by around 70,000 (owe 360,000 selling for 300,000). We boungt the place in Feb 06 so are really praying things have not changed to much.

  133. Ryanon 27 Sep 2009 at 6:51 pm

    With the interim rule comming out. How soon can we expect payment (60 days for final rule or the 120 days to receive payment both mentioned above)? I have asked what number I was several months ago by the Sacramento office and was not given one. Also, if we take the benefit before the tax issue is resolved will we be liable for those taxes? When is it anticipated that the tax bill will go up to a vote w/Congress and is it expected to pass?

  134. Karen Davison 28 Sep 2009 at 12:19 am

    There are too many variables out there for us to even speculate on what is going to happen. I don’t think that even the different districts know what is going on since nothing has been published yet so they can only go by what it was before. But these are new rules and new regs that we will be under.

  135. corinaon 28 Sep 2009 at 5:09 am

    I received the information from Congresswoman Berkley yesterday, and it’s exactly what they told me. It included a package from the Congressional Research Service which explains how HAP is used in the legislation. It was written on June 16 and printed on September 24, 2009. It says it is the latest update available. I also received a copy of the latest information from http://www.thomas.gov.

  136. Nicoleon 28 Sep 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Corina,
    I recived the packet as well and called Deana. She wrote the “final rules” and said they will be posted on Wedensday. What Shelly Berkley sent us was info on old Hap, not the new expanded hap that was part of the stim. If you want call her, her direct number is (703)602-4353.
    They will know by tomorrow am if they will be able to start processing on wedenday. They are making the decision today if they will have to wait untill the new bill regarding the tax isuuse must be passed fist before they start. Your HAP office will know the rules also by the end of today aswell!

    Good Luck everyone!! I wish you all the best!

  137. Nicoleon 28 Sep 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Ryan,
    The way it was explained to me is widows and wounded warriors are processed first which is only about 2%. I was told that Sacramento office had only 5. Then they go by your PCS order date, oldest to newest. If you have listed your home and are in contract you will be bumped up since you are ready. Contact your caseworkers tomorrow or wedensday, they should be able to tell you the rules by then.

  138. Harryon 28 Sep 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Here is a link to H.R. 3590, The Servicemembers Home Ownership Act of 2009. “SEC. 4. EXCLUSION FROM GROSS INCOME OF QUALIFIED MILITARY BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE FRINGE”. http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3590/text. You can support the bill and write your Representative.

  139. Tomon 29 Sep 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Does anyone know how the augmented sale process will work? I know that’s one of the larger issues being considered in the rule process, but I’m curious to know the mechanics of how this will all go down. Here’s my situation: I PCS’d in 2007 and was not able to sell, so I rented (at a loss, of course). In July 2008, I listed my home again at a price of 60K less than purchase price and I have not been able to sell. I guess my bottom line question is: Will HAP authorize a lower price, consistent with the local real estate market, so that I can sell this thing?

    BTW, this has been a great blog and I appreciate everyone’s constructive comments. While unsettling as this whole thing has been, its good share frustrations.

  140. Nicoleon 29 Sep 2009 at 3:04 pm

    So they are going to exicute the program. The final rule is on the register as of this morning, it will be available for comment tomorrow. HAP will have guidance by the end of today.

  141. Pattyon 29 Sep 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Nicole- Do you have the link to register location?

  142. Nicoleon 29 Sep 2009 at 5:56 pm

    I recived this email today:

    The Rule will be formally published in the Federal Register tomorrow
    (meaning that it will be available for people to post a comment). The Fed
    Register allows
    documents to be accessed (viewed, but not commented on) the day before
    publication

    You can view the list and at
    http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/

    Click on “view tomorrows Fed Register” — go to “regular filings” and then
    down to Defense Department.

    Deanna

  143. Joyon 29 Sep 2009 at 10:45 pm

    First, as Tom noted earlier, this has been a great blog; it’s been the only real source of information concerning the program. I’m extremely happy that the program is finally moving and will help most of you whether you’ve sold your home, are in the process of buying one of these homes, or are still trying to sell your home. I, however, need to request your assistance now. Specifically, I need as many of you as possible to comment on the Register Filing regarding page 15 para 239.6(a)(4)(ii)(A) of DOD-2009-OS-0090; RIN 0790-A158 that excludes “Members who retire prior to reaching their mandatory retirement date.”

    I’m requesting your assistance to help military members such as my sister. While I’m willing to provide more details to those requesting, the short story is that she was sent to Kabul, Afghanistan as an Individual Augmentee from March 2008 to March 2009. She put her house in Jacksonville, FL on the market in January 2008 when she received orders. She gave me a Power of Attorney and requested I keep an eye on the place from Texas. While she was away and unaware, the market plummetted 35%. Fortunately the stimulus package came out just before she returned home and I softened the blow a bit with the news that it would help with the huge loss that she is going to have to take. She qualified under the initial Implementing Guidelines and still qualifies with the exception of this “exclusion”. She submitted her retirement papers as a result of the tour in Afghanistan. Her health has digressed greatly and it’s possible she may qualify as “Ill”, but there are so many other requirements for that program that we are skeptical. She has had difficulty getting medical treatment as active duty, thus she is retiring to obtain private medical insurance and care.

    If you can’t find it in your heart to help all retirees; I ask that you at least support those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. They have sacrificed for us and we need to support them. Please post a comment in support of removing this exclusion.

  144. Karen Davison 29 Sep 2009 at 11:15 pm

    http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2009-23418_PI.pdf This will bring you straight to the web page that continues this information.

    This will be treated as taxable income unless H.R. 3590 passes so write to your congress people and dont stop until they hear us.

  145. Nicoleon 30 Sep 2009 at 12:58 am

    When I spoke with the Sacramento office today they told me they were aware that the final rules were published. My first call they said they had to wait 30 days to process, so I called Deanna and she said, No they are supposed to exicute now and treat this as an emergancy and that she was going to make the appropriate calls to the department heads. When I call later today to the Sacramento office to check up they said that they have just not recived guidance on when to exicute. SO, hopefully they get it togther this week.

  146. Joyon 30 Sep 2009 at 1:23 am

    Karen & Nicole,

    I want to extend a personal “thank you” to the two of you. While many have contributed to this blog, the two of you have been the constants with valid information to help others. I am in contact with my Congressman, Soloman Ortiz, and have requested his help with H.R. 3590 as well as assistance in modifying the guidance to eliminate the exclusion of retirees. If enough of us band together we can overcome all these hurdles. Afterall, anyone that has followed this fiasco for over six months has to be pretty deperate. As a retiree myself, without a need for HAP, I never cease to be amazed at how poorly we are taking care of our active duty. So, in addition to my personal thanks to you, please accept my sincere thanks for your’s or your spouses’ (as the case may be) service. I wish you a speedy settlement! Oh, and if you will help my sister by posting a comment requesting the exclusion of retirees be removed, I’d be most appreciative.

    Joy

  147. Pattyon 30 Sep 2009 at 2:39 am

    Anyone have a link to where i can find the 2009 Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac conforming loan limits (as amended by the ARRA of 2009) for Fairfax County, VA?

  148. Karen Davison 30 Sep 2009 at 3:09 am

    Patty hope this will help.

    http://www.fhfa.gov/GetFile.aspx?FileID=135

  149. Nicoleon 30 Sep 2009 at 3:11 am

    Patty-I just googled it. For las Vegas it was 417,000. Im not sure if that is for everywhere or just here. Hope that helps. What does that mean?

  150. Karen Davison 30 Sep 2009 at 3:13 am

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loan limits for the high cost areas below may not exceed the corresponding levels listed. These loan limits apply to
    loans purchased between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009. For a one-unit property, the maximum loan limit is calculated as 1.15 times the median
    house price for the highest priced county in the property’s metropolitan or micropolitan area or the median house price for the property’s county if it is in a
    rural county. Regardless of the area median home price, the loan limit cannot, in general, exceed $625,500 (1.50 times the 2009 conforming loan limit). The
    exceptions are properties in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, where that range is 50 percent higher ($625,500 to $938,250). The 2009
    conforming loan limit of $417,000 is in place everywhere else. Loan limits for 2-4 unit properties are proportional to the 1-unit limits.
    VA Richmond (Metropolitan Area)
    Component Counties: Amelia, Caroline, Charles City, Chesterfield, Cumberland,
    Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, King and Queen, King William, Louisa, New
    Kent, Powhatan, Prince George, Sussex
    Also Component Cities: Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg, Richmond
    $535,900 $686,050 $829,250 $1,030,600
    VA Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC (Metropolitan Area)
    Component Counties (VA): Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Surry, York
    Also Component Cities (VA): Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson,
    Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg
    $458,850 $587,400 $710,050 $882,400
    VA Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV (Metropolitan Area)
    Component Counties (VA): Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince
    William, Spotslvania, Stafford, Warren
    Also Component Cities (VA): Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg,
    Manassas, Mannassas Park
    $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925

  151. Karen Davison 30 Sep 2009 at 3:15 am

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced
    the conforming loan limit will remain $417,000 for 2009 for most areas in the U.S. but
    specified higher limits in certain cities and counties. The conforming loan limit is the
    maximum size of loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can purchase in 2009

  152. Chaseon 30 Sep 2009 at 3:33 am

    Are those rules that are coming out waiverable or are they set in stone? For example, if I’m being forced on base as essential personel and there is a regulation out there that forces me to move will I still be eligible? Additionally, the move is under the 50 mile requirement (moving 20 miles). Any help or advice would be much appreciated!!!

  153. Pattyon 30 Sep 2009 at 3:39 am

    Thanks everyone! I actually found a decent document at the link listed below.

    In case anyone else wanted to know the conforming loan limits, check out this link

    http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/1279/CLLarra022309_final.pdf.

    The ARRA 2009 did change the max for my location! :) Now to see if we will get any reimbursement!

  154. Pattyon 30 Sep 2009 at 3:53 am

    Next question, anyone know how improvements will be figured into the calculations?

    When I talked to the Savannah office about some additional documenation, they told me to gather the improvement documentation also.

  155. Nicoleon 30 Sep 2009 at 3:59 am

    Karen- So what does all that mean in referance to the final rule?

  156. Karen Davison 30 Sep 2009 at 4:09 am

    We sent in our receipts for the house improvements about three months ago. They are suppose to (yeah right we will see) add that to the purchase price and that would be the final cost of your home.

  157. Karen Davison 30 Sep 2009 at 4:09 am

    Nicole are you asking what does the Fannie Mae limits mean in the final rule?

  158. Nicoleon 30 Sep 2009 at 4:32 am

    Karen, yes. I’m not familiar with this

  159. Pattyon 30 Sep 2009 at 11:59 am

    As I read federal register information released yesterday, you could not have paid more than the conforming loan limits for your house and be eligible for the benefits.

  160. Saraon 30 Sep 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Yes, thanks Karen for your continued dedication in following this issue.

    I did a bit of calling yesterday regarding H.R. 3590 and discovered that Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is the Congressman who controls the calendar for what bills are introduced for voting.

    Hence, we should all be calling his office announcing how desperate we are all for this to be introduced ASAP (at least I am).

    It might be beneficial to also call the 29 co-sponors as well.

    Hopefully this nightmare will be over soon.

  161. Vickion 30 Sep 2009 at 1:07 pm

    I called our HAP region office in Fort Worth and was told they will not process the applications for 30 days for comments. Are all the regional offices on the same page or different?
    I understood this was to be implemented as an emergency program. Please advise.

  162. Rob Son 30 Sep 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Joy,
    regarding the rule on being ineligible for HAP and retiring before reaching the mandatory retirement age. I am not sure, but you may want to clarify a bit. If she has orders to PCS from Jax, she should still qualify. The rules states that none of the following listed reasons can be the cause of the relocation. retirement is listed as one of the reasons which can not be the cause.
    So if your sister had orders from Jax, she should be eligible, since her relocation was due to orders to her IA. If she did not, and wants to retire and move after retiring, then the reason for her relocation is her choice to live elsewhere as a retireee and not in JAX.
    The whole program is based on the fact that servicemen are ordered to move. If a person retires, they are not required by the military to move. In your sister’s case, if she chooses to retire, the military has not forced her to leave Jacksonville when she retires; If she had orders from the military to leave Jacksonville on her IA, then she should be eligible.
    Basically, retirement does not disqualify you; you just can’t use retirement as the reason you have to sell your house.
    rob

  163. Nicoleon 30 Sep 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I just spoke with the Sacramento office and he said they are expecting to begin this week sometime!

  164. Danon 30 Sep 2009 at 2:56 pm

    So I receive an email from the caseworker handling my case in Maryland. She let me know that they use Fannie Mae’s figures in calculating decline in county values. According to Fannie Mae, my county is at an 8% decline which disqualifies me.

    8% my a$$! I guarantee you that it is at least double that. Zillow.com shows over a 20% decrease. She says to wait til the 30 day waiting period on the Federal Register is up and that there is still hope for us. I’m not holding my breath.

  165. Caroleon 30 Sep 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I just spoke to Sacramento office and was informed that they are preparing letters for widows and wounded soldiers to go out at the end of this week (probably) to let them know they are processing their paperwork and confirming their eligiblility. I was also told that those of us who have sold and/or are pending a sale in the PCS category will be processed next. I’m not sure what to believe anymore since it seems everytime I call the office, I get a different answer each time. Anyone with better insight???

  166. Danon 30 Sep 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Just got an email from the individual handling my case at the Savannah Office. She let us know that our county shows a decline of 8% and that, with the guidance they have thus far, we are disqualified.

    Apparently, they are not going by a county decline rate based off the date of purchase until the time you applied for benefits. They are going off an annual decline rate that is estimated by Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac which runs from April of last year until March of this year. During this timeframe, my county shows 8% decline.

    My question is, why are they not using figures based off of the time you purchased your home til present? Our county shows atleast a 20% decrease during this timeframe according to zillow.com. Our realtor shows at least a 15-16% decrease.

    Is anyone else hearing anything similar? 9 months we have been convinced that we’d be helped out by this program only to find out that, in the end, we are left hanging because of guidelines that make absolutely no sense.

  167. Nicoleon 30 Sep 2009 at 4:23 pm

    This was on the HAP website:

    The HAP website is currently being updated with the Department of Defense and Office of Management and Budget guidance for the ARRA expansion of HAP. Please check back soon.

  168. 123on 30 Sep 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Dan, I feel your pain. I reviewed the ‘final’ 32 CFR Part 239, at http://hap.usace.army.mil/Documents/32_CFR_Final_Rule_29-Sep-2009.pdf and it appears to me that there’s a contradiction between this document and what the Savannah office is telling you.

    On page 14, it states that the minimum economic impact required to receive benefits is determined by a PCSing member who….(A) Has suffered at least a 10% market impact zone home value loss between July 1,
    2006 and date of application for Expanded HAP benefits for the county/parish/city in which their
    primary residence is located, and
    (B) A decline of at least a 10% personal home value loss from the date of purchase to
    date of sale.

    Additionally, on page 23, it states: (i) Trend indications of applicants’ county, city or parish: HQUSACE subscribes the
    CoreLogic real estate value database system. Districts will use the CoreLogic trend report to determine the eligibility of an applicant’s county, city, or parish. (ii) Valuation of Individual Primary Residences: Run CoreLogic AVM on an pplicant’sprimary residence.

    The only mention I can find of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac is also on page 14 but in reference to the maximum PFMV allowed.

    Don’t know if this helps but it doesn’t seem that the info coming out of the Savannah office is consistent with policy.

    Good luck.

  169. 123on 30 Sep 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Meant to say that the info coming out of the Savannah office is NOT consistent with policy…sorry for the confusion.

  170. Pattyon 30 Sep 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Dan-

    Be sure to leave your comments about the 8% on the federal register. Keep fighting!

  171. Daveon 30 Sep 2009 at 9:48 pm

    After retiring with 29.9 years of faithful service this last fall just short of my manditory retirement date due to an illness. (90% VA disability) I am out of luck. As you know senior personnel with medical problems simply retire without going through a med board. Why creat needless paper work. I can’t sale my house before my one year is up and I loose my Goverment move.
    If you were injuried in direct support of combat, or during training for cambat, your out of luck as well.
    Good Luck to the rest of you.

  172. Rob Son 30 Sep 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Dan,
    according to the published rule, for the determination of the decline of the market(to determine if it is 10% or higher for your city/county/parrish), they are supposed to used the time from July 2006 til the date of application. I would read this portion to them on page 14 of the rule on contained on the website:

    (1) Minimum Economic Impact. (i) BRAC 2005 Members and Civilian Employees as well as Permanently Reassigned Members of the Armed Forces whose primary residence:
    (A) Has suffered at least a 10% market impact zone home value loss between July 1, 2006 and date of application for Expanded HAP benefits for the county/parish/city in which their
    primary residence is located, and
    (B) A decline of at least a 10% personal home value loss from the date of purchase to date of sale.

  173. Danon 30 Sep 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Rob,

    I had found the paragraph in the register that you copied/pasted above and emailed it to her earlier today. Finding it temporarily suspended my hysteria. She emailed back a few hours ago and said that they (HAP personnel) were having a meeting at the end of the day and that she hoped to get back to me later with better news.

    Seems pretty cut and dry to me. Provided they go by and July 2006 to the date of application, I should be good to go. Zillow shows homes in my county dropping from an average of $345K to approx $285K; well above the 10% decline needed to determine eligibility.

    I’m standing by and hoping for better news tomorrow. Good luck to the rest of ya’s…

  174. Karen Davison 01 Oct 2009 at 12:04 am

    Rob and Dan,
    How do I use Zillow to find out what my house has decreased by? Any help would be appreciated. Karen

  175. Karen Davison 01 Oct 2009 at 12:15 am

    Our home is in Montgomery Alabama. Thanks.

  176. Danon 01 Oct 2009 at 12:18 am

    Karen,

    To be honest, I don’t recall how I got my property listed on Zillow. If I’m not mistaken, I think you can simply register on the site and then, if the house is already listed by your realtor, link yourself to it. Wish I could give you something more concrete, but I don’t remember the specifics.

    Just a heads up, our realtor says that Zillow estimates tend to run a little high, but it should at least give you an idea of real estate trends. Where we were showing a 20% decrease in property values in our county, our realtor crunched some numbers and came up with a 17% decrease. Not sure who’s off the mark, but it’s a handy tool regardless.

  177. Karen Davison 01 Oct 2009 at 12:19 am

    Thanks Dan but I now have butterflies in my stomach. I will email our realtor and see what she sais. Take care and I will keep my fingers crossed for all of us.

  178. Danon 01 Oct 2009 at 12:33 am

    Karen,

    Okay, I found a way to look up Montgomery, Alabama on Zillow. I don’t think you can do it until you register. Regardless, the news does not look promising for your area. Try following this link:

    http://www.zillow.com/local-info/AL-Montgomery-home-value/r_32931/

    According to this chart, the average home price in Montgomery was just over $99K in July 2006. Present day, the average is about the same. In fact, it looks like the average actually went up a tad.

    Problem in your area is that home prices slightly increased in 2007 and then started declining in 2008 to where they are today. The decline, according to the numbers, was minimal.

    Sorry I’m not the bearer of good news. Doesn’t look like Montgomery will meet the 10% decline to qualify. I hope I’m way off the mark and someone can provide addtl info that proves me wrong.

  179. Rob Son 01 Oct 2009 at 12:36 am

    Karen,
    LIke dan menitoned, I don’t know how accurate this is, and HAP is using some other database for their estimates. For Zillow.com, on the top menu bar you will see a tab that says local info, when you put your cursor over that, you should see a drop down menu that says real estate market reports. you can click that, and then type in Montgomery, AL in the window below the menu (go button to the right). Once on the Montgomery, AL page, in the middle section next to the graph you can click on “see more Montgomery market Stats”. That will take you to a graph of sorts to look at.
    Like I said, this isn’t necessarily the data they will use, but it gets you into the zillow site for your market.
    Hope it helps, and wish all of you good luck with this.

  180. Tomon 01 Oct 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Sorry for the long post, but I thought I would share my public comments for the Federal Register.

    With respect to this proposed rule, I offer the following comments:

    1. 239.4 (i) USACE needs to explain the process and data behind the automated value model (AVM) in determining the market value of homes. Local property tax assessments and state real estate association statistics can either be used to dispute or correspond to an AVM produced number. Potential beneficiaries who are denied benefits because of an AVM score might be able to produce contrary numbers via other official and valid means.

    2. 239.5 (d) With respect to the tax provision, language should be used to confirm whether or not taxes paid on benefits before a potential legislative fix will be re-funded retroactively. In other words, if I pay taxes on my benefit before the legislative fix, can I get a refund from the IRS after the fix is enacted?

    3. 239.4 (i) With respect to home pricing, the rule should be clear regarding timeline. Right now, potential beneficiaries are being encouraged to aggressively sell their homes (at fair market value) without definitive confirmation they are eligible for benefits. Only after confirmation, should homeowners attempt to sell their home at a more aggressive pricing rate.

    4. 239.4 (i) The rule states that it is the applicant’s responsibility to explain marketing efforts detailing how the price was “gradually” lowered until it reached fair market value. The term “gradually” can be interpreted differently between the USACE and the homeowner. There needs to be a definitive description of what “gradually” means to avoid disputes or time consuming appeals.

    5. 239.4 (i) Are homeowners to place contingencies on sales contracts pending approval and confirmation by USACE for funds? This would demonstrate a commitment by USACE to distribute funds after/during a sale closing. Otherwise, the potential exists that USACE could back out of providing funds leaving sellers at closing without the HAP benefit.

  181. Nicoleon 02 Oct 2009 at 2:49 am

    When I talked to the Sacramento office today, they said it could take 6 to 9 months to get all the approval letters out =(. I hope not!

  182. corinaon 02 Oct 2009 at 5:29 am

    Got the new information from Roxanne at Congresswoman Berkley’s office yesterday and today. Yesterdays update was confirming Berkley signed on as a co-sponsor to support HAP on Sept. 17, 2009 and today I received a copy of the Federal Register confirmation. I called her today and she is going to keep track of my paperwork.

  183. Ryanon 02 Oct 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Does anyone know when the tax issue will be voted on and when they will start making payments out?

  184. Saraon 02 Oct 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Ryan-

    As for the tax issue and when it will be voted on…I’ve learned from multiple calls to the Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Rangel’s office and my Congressman, that it’s up to Congressman Hoyer to place it up for vote in the House. Since Hoyer is the Majority Leader, he sets the schedule for what is voted on when. I also learned today that the Senate is working on a bill to parallel H.R. 3590. Specifically, that Senator Claire McCaskill’s office is working on it. The individual I spoke w/ at the Ways and Means office (particularly in the “tax” part of the office) noted that they are all aware of the importance of getting this passed soon. (Apparently not as fast as the extension for Cash for Clunkers…but anyhoo).

    Hopefully if we keep bombarding Hoyer’s office (which I’ve found that they are very aloof and give the canned response “We’ll pass along your sentiments to the Congressman”), something will eventually happen soon. (of course “soon” in government is subjective)

    I can’t think of anything else for us to do except pray that Congress will expedite this bill within the next week or two.

  185. Saraon 02 Oct 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Just found this on McCaskill’s Website:

    September 30, 2009

    McCaskill Works to Extend Homebuyer Tax Credit For Troops Serving Overseas

    Legislation moves back deadline on stimulus tax credit for men and women serving abroad

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – While many American families have taken advantage of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit and other benefits available through the economic recovery effort, many American heroes have been deployed overseas and thus unable to take advantage of this valuable credit to help them buy a home of their own. Today, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill introduced a bill in the Senate to extend until November 30, 2010 the availability of this credit of up to $8,000 toward the purchase of a first home for service members deployed abroad for more than 90 days during 2009.

    “Buying a home is an essential part of the American dream – a dream our troops fight for – and those service members should not be denied that dream because of their service abroad,” McCaskill said.

    The First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit is part of the economic development effort aimed at spurring the real estate and mortgage markets and was established in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The program offers a tax credit of up to $8,000 to qualified home-buyers toward the purchase of a first home provided the purchase is made by November 30, 2009. For members of the armed, intelligence, and foreign services whose overseas deployments could have prevented them from taking full advantage of the tax credit, McCaskill’s legislation would extend the deadline for one additional year.

    Additionally, the bill would ensure that service members do not have to repay the first-time home buyer tax credit if they are deployed overseas or assigned to a new military station within three years of purchase. It would also exempt certain payments from the Department of Defense’s Housing Assistance Program (HAP) from incurring additional taxes in order to make the tax rules applicable to HAP payments consistent between previous law and the stimulus.

    A companion bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives. For more information on the first time home buyer tax credit, click here.

  186. Ryanon 02 Oct 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Thanks Sara for the information! Do you have a good number to call Congressman Hoyer’s office?

    Also, is there any RUMINT out there on how quickly the HAP officials can move to help people in the PCS category start closing on their upside down houses?

  187. Rob Son 02 Oct 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Ryan,
    for the Tax Provision (HR 3590), I posted a comment on this earlier. I worked on Capitol Hill last year, and from my experience, it all depends on where this bill falls withing the congressional priorities. It has to pass thru the committee (its not on their schedule yet), then put on the floor calendar for a vote. If they send it to the floor under suspension of the rules (requires 2/3′s to vote yes instead of simple majority) then it will not have to go through the Rules committee (another 2-3 days) and vote/debate on amendments to the bill. Once it passes the House, it goes to the Senate who can either vote on the House version, or wait and vote on the Senate version coming out of Sen McCaskill’s office. If they pass separate bills, the two bills then have to be sorted out in conference, and then voted on again by both chambers. Yes, not very efficient, but that’s the process and it takes time. Bottom LIne: it depends on how much of a priority it is to congress. All tax bills in the Senate go through the Senate Finance Committee, which is currently bogged down on the Health Care bill. So my best guess is that it will not happen in a couple of days, more like a few weeks if all goes well. I would be hopeful to have it passed and signed into law before Thanksgiving.

  188. Saraon 02 Oct 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Well, I wouldn’t say I have a “good” number to call the Congressman’s office…it’s just the D.C. number listed on his website. :-)

    If you’re able to move past the canned response I got, please let me know…not sure how to sweet talk the phone gatekeeper…

    (202) 225-4131

    Here’s his website: http://hoyer.house.gov/

    Good Luck!

    Personally, I might try my luck w/ the Senate side of the action…it always seems like they’re a bit more responsive.

  189. Saraon 02 Oct 2009 at 7:42 pm

    The Senate’s Version (as copied from thomas.gov):

    S.1728
    Title: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyer credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal purposes, and for other purposes.
    Sponsor: Sen McCaskill, Claire [MO] (introduced 9/30/2009) Cosponsors (1)
    Latest Major Action: 9/30/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.
    ——————————————————————————–
    ALL ACTIONS:
    9/30/2009:
    Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

  190. Rob Son 02 Oct 2009 at 7:59 pm

    All,
    When you call DC congressional offices, most of the time you will get an intern answering the phones. You can ask to speak to a staff memeber (ask to speak to the MLA, military legislative assistant). If the MLA takes your call, feel blessed. Most likely you will get his/her answering machine.

    For Speaker Hoyers office, he actually has two capitol hill offices: his personal staff office for his district (his work as a congressman), and his office for being the speaker of the house. If you are calling to find out about bill status or when bills will move to the floor, you probably wont get much info on that, especially not until a bill passes thru committee. Every congressional office (all 435 of them)and all the committee offices call the speaker’s office all the time to get information on votes, amendments, schedules, etc. Their phones ring non-stop all day long just from calls from other offices.

    Best bet is to push your own congressman to support the bill. If the majority whip’s office knows ahead of time that they have enough support to pass a bill, the bill is more likely to get to the floor faster, since sending a bill to the floor and having it fail is a big deal.

  191. Saraon 02 Oct 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks Rob…it helps to have input from someone who grasps the legislative process! I’m sure when I called I sounded like an ignorant citizen…but hopefully my concern will be passed on regardless. :-)

  192. Karen Davison 03 Oct 2009 at 12:12 am

    Dan thanks for the info. You said that you received an email from the Savannah district. Had you contacted them? Or was this out of the blue that they contacted you? If I may, what number is your application? Thanks and have a blessed weekend. Karen

  193. Rob Son 03 Oct 2009 at 12:14 am

    Sara,
    HR 3590 is on the floor schedule for next week in the House. Most likely on Wednesday. It’s also going to the floor under suspension of the rules, which is a very good sign. Typically, when the majority leader sends a bill under suspension, that means they do not expect any opposition and should pass without any problems. It also means it will go thru without debate or amendments, which is what allows it to move faster.
    This is a good sign; hopefully they will send it over to the Senate following passage, and if the Senate Majority leader thinks the bill will pass as is, he can can for a motion of unanimous consent, which will speed up the passage.
    Maybe all of the phone calls helped.

  194. Danon 03 Oct 2009 at 1:48 am

    Karen,

    The email from the Savannah district came in response to an email I had sent them. I’ve been assigned a case worker for some time now and had gotten her email address a few weeks ago. Since I’m currently deployed, it’s so much easier to get in touch with them via email than by phone. I’m applicant #0249.

    Just an update on my situation. As I stated in my earlier post, zillow.com shows an average decrease of home prices in my county at around 17%. My realtor did her own research, pulling all sold homes listed on the MLS between July 2006 to present. She’s showing an approx 15% decrease.

    HAP has been directed to use the Core Logic program to estimate the decreases in property value in a given area. This is where the 8% value they quoted to me came from. They are telling me to wait it out for another thirty days when Core Logic releases the 3rd quarter numbers. They hope to see the additional 2% decrease needed at that time.

    They are encouraging anyone who does not initially qualify to not give up hope. They expect the appeal process to approve many applicants who were initially denied. In my case, I meet all criteria except for the 10% county decrease. With the information I have at hand showing their numbers to be way off, I was assured I’ve got an extremely good chance of making the cut. Keeping my fingers crossed….

  195. Saraon 03 Oct 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks Rob-this is great news!

  196. Karen Davison 03 Oct 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Dan thanks so much for the quick reply. I was just wondering if they had started to send out letters letting folks know that they don’t qualify. We are #0192 for Savannah.

    Not sure where you got the $99,000 was the average price for a home in Montgomery certainly not in our area. We are in the low to mid $200,000. And those are the homes that have been hit the hardest. According to HUD. in Montgomery AL, there was a decrease of 24% of home sold. Is this the what they are looking at? Hope to talk soon. Karen

  197. Karen Davison 03 Oct 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Dan this is what the HUD site said about Maryland as a whole, not by counties.
    During 2008, slower economic growth and tight lending practices contributed to a decline in existing home sales throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The Maryland Association of REALTORS® reported that, during the past year, the average monthly inventory of homes for sale in the state was 43,700, a decrease of 40 percent from the average recorded a year ago. Approximately 44,600 existing homes were sold in Maryland during 2008, a decrease of 27 percent compared with the 60,900 homes sold during 2007. The average home sales price declined by 6 percent to $338,300 during the past year, compared with the average price of $359,500 recorded during the previous year.

  198. Tomon 05 Oct 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Does anyone know if the interest payments, taxes, and insurance expenses will be reimbursed for expanded HAP, or is that just for the conventional HAP? I’m pretty sure the FAQ’s for expanded HAP mentioned those costs were reimbursable last week when I looked, but when I checked today…nada.

    From the FAQ site:

    Q. Will the Government reimburse me for mortgage interest?
    A. The Government will reimburse you for mortgage interest (not principal payments), taxes, and hazard insurance premiums that have been paid from the date the CoE District office received your application, or the date of vacation of the premises, whichever is later.

  199. Nicoleon 05 Oct 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Has anyone heard anything from the Sacramento office?

  200. Lauraon 05 Oct 2009 at 6:37 pm

    As I read the final rules, if your PFMV (purchase price) is above the conforming loan limits you are not eligible for ANY assistance. If that is true, 2 military members might have bought homes next to each other with one paying $2,000 more than the other – if both homes drop in value by $100,000 but the person who paid more is $1,000 over the cap then s/he would get nothing while the other person could get $90,000!! That is outrageous – the assistance should be based on your LOAN amount being under the conforming loan limits (to benefit people who actually saved money and put down a large downpayment), not the purchase price.

    Can someone tell me how to get on the federal register comment page so I can make my case? Thanks.

  201. Kirkon 06 Oct 2009 at 1:26 am

    I have been looking for a calculator of some kind, even an example. Is there one out there?

  202. Johnon 06 Oct 2009 at 1:43 am

    Laura,

    I am in a similar situation and also intend to make a comment on the Federal Register website. In my case, I made a $130K down payment, and my PFMV is about $30K over the conforming loan limit. According to Zillow, my home value is down about $150K. Although I can make this work financially by renting the home with only a modest amount out of my pocket every month, I can’t afford to sell and can’t afford to buy a new house.

    To directly answer your question, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

    Use “DOD-2009-OS-0090″ in the search field. (It will take some trial and error to get to the comments.) I don’t believe anyone has made a comment yet. Perhaps your or I will break the ice. Hopefully, others will join the cause over this issue.

    Does anyone know of any influential Congressional committee members that might be able to help?

    John

  203. VINNYNYon 06 Oct 2009 at 3:49 am

    This FNMA/FHLMC Conforming Loan Limit for the PFMV is arbitrary and capricious. Nothing in the legislation authorizes the Sec Def to pick and choose who receives benefits based on how much they paid for their homes. If the DoD wants to limit the absolute amount of benefits paid to any beneficiary, I could accept that as an effort to ensure that the maximum number of servicemembers get help. However, eliminating a large number of potential beneficiaries using numbers that sound good is absurd.

  204. Pattyon 06 Oct 2009 at 4:47 am

    VinnyNY- You seem to have a good grasp on the “issues” with the HAP guidelines. Any thoughts on the 10% v. 5%. I’m debating on leaving a comment on the percentage as we lost significant $ (approx 1 year’s salary) and we may not be at the 10% level.

  205. Tomon 06 Oct 2009 at 10:56 am

    Looks like the House is going to consider HR 3590 tomorrow as a suspension. That’s congressional code for a bill being non-controversial, and it is expected to pass the House by a voice vote with little or no debate. From Rep Cantor’s www site:

    WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7 AND THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2009
    On Wednesday and Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for legislative business.

    Suspensions (7 Bills):

    1) H.R. 3590 – Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act (Sponsored by Rep. Rangel / Ways and Means Committee)

  206. Marloon 06 Oct 2009 at 11:56 am

    I first wanted to thank all the contributors to this forum, as it has been our main source of information over the last couple of months. What a knowledgeable and resourceful group of people!

    We have a home in Phoenix that has gone down in value about $110K and applied to HAP back in March. We actually have a buyer that is hanging on so far. We put in on the market 1 Aug when it looked like HAP was imminent (or so we thought), and sold it in one week. However, the buyer needs to close by 30 Nov to take advantage of the First Time Homebuyers Credit.

    After speaking to the Sacramento office late last week, we found out there is a short list for the PCS category folks that have buyers/offers on their house. We were told there are about 15 families on that list. We are of course behind the wounded warriors and spouses of wounded warriors.

    They stated we should get a letter this week. What is unclear is how long it would take for them to be able to come to closing. Like many families, we cannot afford to close without HAP at the table. Many questions still remain. Will they accept our purchase price since it was only on the market 1 week? (offer is above what Zillow states value is.)

    We will keep you posted. I only share our story so that everyone knows there is some movement out there! Slowly they seem to be finally getting some things done (I think…) Our hearts go out to those that have initially been told they do not qualify. Keep up the fight!

    Like most of you, we do not feel the government “owes” us anything. We bought homes at our own risk and have served the country with pride for over 20 years now. Our only complaint has been the indecision and uncertainty of this program. We have all been living in “limbo” for months now. For better or worse, we just want it to be over.

  207. Nicoleon 06 Oct 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Thank you everyone for your support and I wish you all the best of luck! We are fortnate to be able to now move along with escrow and buy our home!

  208. Karen Davison 06 Oct 2009 at 10:15 pm

    When they came out with the final rules last week they took out the repaying of ones mortgage payments and insurance. Nobody will be getting that this time around.

  209. VINNYNYon 06 Oct 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Patty:

    I’m wondering what the SecDef is using as his authority to discriminate between different classes of beneficiaries. The way I read the ARRA, there is no language that allows him to set differing benefit levels (95 vs. 90). It seems to be within his discretion to make the decision as to whether or not benefits are provided at all (“the Secretary may”), but I’m not sure how that translates into a policy that discriminates against active duty members. I’m going to read the legislation again…

  210. Rob Son 07 Oct 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Vinny,
    regarding the authority to set different limits: the bill authorizes the SECDEF to set benenfits up to a certain limit, but does not limit beyond that. It’s his discretion. Also, the policy of setting different limits is not different than the policy of processing and paying out the other categories first(wounded warriors and surviving spouses) . That is his policy, and there is nothing in the law which prohibits that. This bill is an authorization, not a mandate. Basically, he can set the limits where he wants unless congress provides more stringent limitations. Nothing limits him to making it equal. In fact, when the bill was being reviewed back in March, DoD was considering not paying out for the PCS category and only paying for wounded warriors and surviving spouses. The worry was running out of funds. I honestly don’t know if that is still the case, but regardless, all the law does is authorize DoD to do this. It only provides an uppper limit (95%) and an authorization for 3 categories. From there, its DoD’s choice to proceed as they choose.
    Is it legal? I’m pretty sure the DoD lawyers made sure of that. (they had plenty of time to figure it out) Is that fair? maybe. I pesonally feel giving 5% more (and processing claims first) to those who have lost a spouse or those who have been wounded is fair. They have lost more than I have. I can always make more money, but their loss is permanent.

  211. VINNYNYon 08 Oct 2009 at 12:28 am

    Rob S:

    While I agree that taking care of wounded warriors and surviving spouses makes sense on a sentimental level, the bill is not simply about compensating people for their non-material losses. Money cannot make up for the loss of a loved one or a body part. However, it can support readiness of the active duty military by mitigating the financial damage inflicted by government action. We did not choose to PCS–we were ordered to do so. We are being compensated for the government’s decision to move us at the worst possible time (financially speaking). I don’t mind spending thousands of dollars every three years in support of the “needs of the Air Force”. However, I DO mind it when Congress finally decides to do something to alleviate the suffering and the SecDef picks and chooses whom he deems worthy of relief.

    I’ve lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on homes I only left because I was ordered to do so. I sacrificed my entire life savings in support of the needs of the Air Force. I piled up $100K in debt supporting the needs of the Air Force. So, I can’t afford to be as magnanimous as you. If you’re willing to give up your share of the benefit pool to ensure that every surviving spouse and wounded war receive compensation, then feel free to do so, but don’t tell the rest of us that there’s anything wrong with demanding our share. If Congress can fund idiotic programs like “Cash for Clunkers”, then it can find a few bucks to support military members.

  212. Rob Son 08 Oct 2009 at 12:53 am

    Vinny,
    I understand, and I am in a similar situation to yours. I never said there was anything wrong with your views, or your opinion on the issue. No problem at all with that. I just feel a bit differently, that’s all. I don’t agree with many of the added qualifying rules either, and I think they should be removed. So if I made you upset, I appologize.

    Also, HR 3590 (removal of the tax provision) was not voted on today, but should be tomorrow. Also, the conference report on HR 2647, the NDAA, which reported out of the House today, actually added funding to the HAP program. Hopefully it will be passed. I think it was around and extra $250 million or so.

  213. Rob Son 08 Oct 2009 at 5:27 pm

    HR 3590 passed the House today, vote of 416-0. Now over to the Senate.

  214. Karen Davison 08 Oct 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Just spoke to a freind who has been in touch with HAP Sacramento district. They are ready to pay on twelve of the claims!!!!! They are from wounded warriors and widows category. But this is great news for us all.

    Contact your person at the HAP office that your package went to and find out how long it will be for you to be able to get paid. It will all depend on your report no later than date, the amount of WW and W there are and a few more items. We can celebrate now. Karen

  215. Marieon 09 Oct 2009 at 3:32 am

    Rob S,

    Would you (or anyone else) have an estimate (or a guess) of how long it will take to get HR 3590 passed into law? Does anyone know if it does pass if it will be retroactive? I’d hate to close on my house and pay thousands of dollars and taxes only to have the tax free status apply only to benefits payed after the law passes, and my HAP rep said if I close before HR 3590 passes that’s a possibility.

    Thanks!

  216. VINNYNYon 09 Oct 2009 at 3:47 am

    Rob S:

    No hurt feelings here. As someone pointed out earlier in this forum, we’re in this together because the service chiefs are not interested in actually helping servicemembers. They want more tanks, planes and ships. They fight our raises every year and push to improve golf courses rather than family housing.

    We shouldn’t be worrying about how the pie gets divided up–we ought to be fighting for a bigger pie.

  217. Joe Gladden-VR SAMon 14 Oct 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Have been reading these posts for some time and firmly believe that we need the support of powerful lobby groups, profit and non-profit, to engage this issue. We work with a ton of Military Families on this issue daily and decided to initiate a petition to the National Association of Realtors to push Congress to act on not only this immediate problem, but a long term solution to preventing another such disaster downstream.

    No doubt most of you retained Realtors to assist you with your purchase. It’s time they step up and tell their National Association to get involved. It’s not only in their best interest, but we absolutely must take care of our Military Families.

    Suggest you send your Realtor this link to the petition and encourage them to get involved. It’s very easy.

    Here’s the link: http://www.moresam.net/Resources/NAR_Petition/NAR_Petition_Signatures.aspx

    As a retired military member, I find it appalling that we leave our present day families hung out to dry like this. As a tax payer who is watching our government throw our taxes at anything / everything, I want them to redirect a reasonable amount to take care of our Military Families. It is critical for our readiness and it’s the right thing to do. No more stalling!

    We are keeping all of you in our prayers. Joe Gladden

  218. Rob Son 15 Oct 2009 at 3:21 am

    Marie,
    I don’t know about the retro-active affect of HR 3590. I expect that if the law is passed, it would be retroactive. I will read the language again, and see if I can get anywhere with that.

    Also, HR 3590 was placed on the senate calendar yesterday, but I didn’t see for exactly when. It’s a good sign, most likely pointing to the fact that they will not try to push a Senate companion bill through, and more likely will just vote on the current house version (much faster). Since it passed the House unanimously, I would think the Senate will probably just push through to a vote without any amendments. Keep your fingers crossed.

    I’ll keep updating and also look into the possibility of whether or not it will be retroactive. my guess is that it will be, or at least you will be able to get it back later from the IRS if they do in fact tax it up front.

  219. Karen Davison 15 Oct 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP): $373 million, $350 million above the President’s
    request, to complete the funding requirement for the expansion of the HAP mortgage relief
    program to military families required to relocate, including wounded warriors and surviving

    They are looking into funding more for next year.

  220. Karen Davison 15 Oct 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Just received this from the HAP office in Savanahh,

    Applicants,

    It is my pleasure to announce to you that approved procedures for implementation of the HAP program have been received. In an effort to expedite determination of eligibility for each of our applicants, our main focus will be to concentrate upon a thorough review of the application and its’ pertinent documentation. To assist us in expediting a determination of eligibility, we, respectfully, request that you review the updated information posted on the website (http://hap.usace.army.mil); and, for a short period of time, limit your telephone calls to our office. Once your application and documentation has been thoroughly reviewed, you will receive written notification as to the determination of your eligibility.

    Please read the below information regarding your tax liabilities:
    Section 1001 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 (ARRA) expanded the categories of eligible beneficiaries of the Homeowner’s Assistance Program (42 U.S.C. § 3374) to include wounded, injured and ill, surviving spouses, and military members required to relocate during the mortgage foreclosure and credit crisis, and personnel impacted by the BRAC 05 announcement. Because section 132 of the Internal Revenue Code was not amended at that time, these formerly marginally taxable payments became very taxable. The requirement to withhold taxes on these payments prevents this program from successfully assisting needy individuals and those whom this program specifically intended to help. The House Ways and Means Committee introduced legislation to revise the Internal Revenue Code to make ARRA expanded HAP payments nontaxable. Just when this bill will be signed into law is unknown. Unless or until this bill is signed into law, current tax law requires USACE to withhold Federal income tax from HAP benefit and reimbursement payments amounts above applicant homes’ current fair market value prior to disbursing payments to applicants or lending institutions.
    Districts must, early in the application process, ensure applicants are aware of this tax liability and the Congress’ intention to change it.
    Additionally, applicants must be advised that state and local taxes may be due on HAP benefits as well as the Federal taxes withheld.

    We, at USACE, strongly recommend that you consult with a financial and/or tax advisor so that you will fully understand your tax liability prior to receiving HAP benefits. If you need this assistance, you can contact the Military OneSource at 800-342-9647, and representatives will be able to refer you to a tax/financial advisor in your local area. Again, it is our pleasure to finally be able to provide this program to you.

    If you listed major improvements in your application, you must provide receipts for these items if you would like them to be considered. Current guidance is that the Prior Fair Market Value is the purchase price, but it is anticipated that there may be an adjustment for improvements in the final guidance. Improvements and receipts must be in accordance with the guidelines established in IRS publications 552 & 527 (http://www.irs.gov/).
    An appraiser will review any provided improvement receipts to determine what additional value will be credited.

    If you are unable to provide receipts in accordance with IRS publications 552 & 527, and would like for us to proceed without providing additional receipts for these improvements (which would mean not receiving additional credit for these improvements), please send us an email requesting that we continue to process your application without receipts.

    We will be contacting you regarding your eligibility in the near future.

    Respectfully,

    Homeowners Assistance Program
    Savannah District

  221. Rob Son 15 Oct 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Marie,
    HR 3590 states that the tax exemption applies to all payments made under the provisions of HR 1 (the original bill for HAP expansion) made after Feb 17, 2009 (this was the date HR 1 was signed into law). I would take that to mean that any payments made will be tax free once HR 3590 is signed, and apply to all those payed out before HR 3590 is signed into law. I guess this could mean anyone who gets a HAP payment before HR 3590 becomes law would have taxes taken out of the payments, but could get this taxed amount back later.
    Best thing to do would be to ask a tax accountant. Hopefully the bill will pass the senate soon, and it will not be an issue.
    Rob

  222. Ryanon 16 Oct 2009 at 2:57 am

    Rob and Karen, thanks for the info! Hopefully, HR 3590 gets put up for a vote soon and passes! Have either of you heard recently how quickly the HAP offices are going through the applicantions and paying out to those that have offers? Hopefully, they’re moving through the applications fairly quickly!

    Thanks again for all the info!

  223. Nicoleon 19 Oct 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Ryan,
    I tt Sacramento today and they said they are still on ww and w category. They have sent only 12 letters and are ready to pay on 10.They said then they will move on to BRAC and PCS. It sounds like it will take a few months to get to the PCS category. =(

  224. EHon 20 Oct 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Has anyone received information pertaining to what has happened to those of use who have incurred a ton of debt as a result of PCSing and leaving our home? We tried to sell and couldn’t rent.

  225. Karen Davison 20 Oct 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Eh not sure what you mean by “leaving our home.” As far as any debt incurred during a PCS move that is not going to be covered under the HAP program. Do you qualify for HAP?

  226. Brianon 21 Oct 2009 at 1:49 am

    Does anyone have information on H.R. 3780 vs. 3590 vs S 1728? We just found H.R. 3780 on the “Thomas.loc.gov” site and it looks like 3590, but covers only the first time homebuyer credit. I.e., is this a replacement for 3590 that would cut the HAP “tax fix” out? It seems unlikely, but this bill was introduced the same day that H.R. 3590 was passed in the house.

  227. Rob Son 21 Oct 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Brian,
    Hr 3780 is not a factor. It is a similar bill, introduced by a first term congressman from NY (Rep Maffei). Rep Maffei is not even on the ways and means committee, so this bill literally has zero chance of getting passed, even if 3590 didn’t exist.
    It is very rare for a first term congressman to ever pass a bill (besides House Resolutions which names post offices or designate certain dates, like Autsim Awareness day). Also, since the chairman of the ways and means committee already sponsored and passed a similar bill, its no longer an issue.
    Congressmen introduce bills so they can say they have acted on an issue. I dont know why Rep Maffei would try to introduce an alternative bill like this, besides just to say that he did.
    S1728 is just the Senate Companion bill, with identical language. At this point, since HR 3590 is already on the Senate calendar, the Senate will most likely just vote on HR 3590. S1728 just allows someone in the Senate to be the lead spokesperson and get some credit for advocating for the provisions in the bill.

  228. Candaceon 21 Oct 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks to everyone for all of the helpful information. Does anyone know when HR 3590 will be voted on? Does “on the calendar” mean it has actually been given a date?

  229. Ryanon 21 Oct 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Rob, do you know when the HR3590 will be up for a vote in the Senate? Also if it is passed, do you expect it to take some time for the HAP folks to start implementing.

    Next, has any one heard that HAP will not cover realtor fees? I heard that realtor fees were not covered the other day from a guy that called the Sacramento office. I don’t think sounds right because people need realtors to help guage the market and sell the house. I think a lot of people would have trouble if they had to do a FSBO.

    Finally, does any one know what happens to those that put a lot of money into their house. For example, you buy a house for $300,000 in which you put in $100,000 of your own money. Now the house is upside down $200,000 and selling at $100,000. Would the person going through HAP be out the $100,000 of their own money that they put into the house or would they get that back somehow? I believe you can get reimbursed for improvements but I’m not sure about equity that was put into the house that’s been drained away. If anyone has any insight on how this would be treated, it would be much appreciated!

  230. Rob Son 21 Oct 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Bills placed on the calendar do not have specific dates. There are currently bills on the calendar that have been there since July.

    But since HR 3590 is a non-contraversial bill, and needs to extend a deadline which is scheduled to drop in November, most likely it will be scheduled for a vote (my best guess) within the next couple of weeks.

  231. Rob Son 21 Oct 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Ryan,
    Regarding realtor fees, I am pretty sure HAP covers all sellers closing costs in the reimbursements, and since sellers typically pay the realtor commissions at closing, that should be covered.
    for the question on equity lost, I don’t think it matters how much you put down, just as long as you qualify under the FHA conforming loan limit. The reimbursements are based on purchase and sale price, or more specifically: the difference between 1) 90% of purchase price and 2) the sale price, plus sellers closing costs. If you financed 100% of the cost, or paid cash for your house, it doesn’t matter, the stated reimbursement formula is all based on the purchase and sale prices.
    hope this helps.

  232. Ryanon 21 Oct 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Rob, thanks for the quick reply! Does the 90% mean that if I bought a house for $400K and it sold for $200K that I would be liable for 10% or $40K? This would be in addition to what I’d pay for the taxes.

    It also sounds like those that put down a signigicant portion of a down payment on the purchase of a home will be out that amount?

    Thanks again for the quick reply. I’m hoping they get the tax issue worked out soon as I’d like to close on my house in December given they can get through all the applicants up through my PCS date. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  233. Rob Son 21 Oct 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Ryan,
    my understanding is in your case you would eat $40K. The
    payment would be .9 times the purchase price, then subtract your sale price (.9 x 400 = 360 ; then subtact 200 to get 160. so HAP pays $160k for your $200k loss). Closing costs are paid as well as far as I understand.

    10% is a lot of money for a lot of people. And I am sure a lot of people feel the government purchase option payment of 75% of the value is almost of no value to them. Eating 25% off the top is not much assistance.

  234. Candaceon 22 Oct 2009 at 2:00 pm

    We are assigned to the Savannah office. Does anyone have any idea on where they are they are in processing the applications? I’ve heard some payouts have begun, I am trying to get a sense of a timeline (and/or hope). Like many of you, we began this process back in March/April and every week is getting more challenging.

  235. Tomon 22 Oct 2009 at 6:41 pm

    From the Navy Times: Only 2500 of the 4500 applicants are eligible??? What the…

    Housing assistance checks finally in the mail

    By Karen Jowers – Staff writer
    Posted : Thursday Oct 22, 2009 11:46:06 EDT

    About 20 checks have been cut under the newly expanded Homeowners Assistance Program, aimed at helping military homeowners caught in the housing market downturn.

    Air Force Maj. John Orchard of Colorado Springs, Colo., received the first check issued under the new program on Oct. 13, two weeks after the Army Corps of Engineers got the green light to start processing applications.

    “This is a huge gift from our country,” Orchard said.

    He was among the first of more than 4,500 homeowners who have applied for assistance under the expanded HAP, which was signed into law Feb. 17 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 with $555 million in funding.

    Eligible for assistance are people on permanent change-of-station orders, wounded warriors, surviving spouses and those affected by base realignment and closure actions. Wounded warriors and surviving spouses have priority, although the majority of applicants are in the PCS category.

    There are restrictions in each category. Full details are available online.

    Orchard said his check covered about 45 percent of the losses he and his wife, Alexandra, incurred in March 2008 when they sold their Las Vegas home because of a PCS move from Nellis Air Force Base to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

    The program covers a smaller portion of their losses because the first 10 percent of the loss is borne by the service member, and the HAP benefit is taxable, with taxes withheld up front. Pending legislation would exclude the HAP benefit from taxes.

    Susan Clizbe, a spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers, said about 2,500 applications out of the more than 4,500 filed are eligible for assistance.

    The checks paid so far have been to people who have already sold their homes and suffered losses, she said. It’s not certain how long it will take to process all the applications, although the Corps has beefed up its staff and had been doing preliminary work on applications before they got the green light Sept. 30.

    Orchard said he moved quickly to get his application into the Corps of Engineers Sacramento office, and sent it by Federal Express Overnight Express on Feb. 20 — just three days after the expanded provision for HAP was signed into law.

    Defense officials had hoped to start the program in early summer but delayed it as they tried unsuccessfully to resolve the tax issue. Unless the law is changed, taxes have to be withheld upfront.

    For now, the tax requirement will limit the number of people who can be helped, because service members who are “upside-down” on their mortgages — owing more on their mortgages than the sale price of their homes — will not have enough money to take to the table to close the sale.

  236. Danon 23 Oct 2009 at 12:41 pm

    2500 of 4500 qualified? Well, looks like I’m not the only one who’s been hung out to dry. We meet all criteria but one; the requirement that says your county has to have seen a 10% decrease in sales prices during the allotted timeframe. My realtor put together a nice spread sheet that shows the prices dropped 15%. Zillow.com shows 17%. Army Corps of Engineers program says it was 8%.

    To their credit, ACE has been nothing but helpful throughout this evolution. They didn’t write the rules, they are just following the guidelines that were placed before them by the proverbial bean-counters. They have told me unofficially that I will not qualify, though I haven’t seen official word yet. That is supposedly going to happen within a couple of weeks.

    Once it does happen, they’ve told me to file an immediate appeal. They’ve assured me that those running the appeals process will try to help out as many people as they can. They are of the opinion that, with the backup data I provided them regarding sales in my county, I should have a pretty good argument for qualifying.

    I’m not holding my breath….

  237. Karen Davison 25 Oct 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I am concerned that the people processing the applications are ignorant/unaware of the actual rules. In my case, the Georgia office said that because the figures for last month had gone into the “positive” that I don’t qualify. I emailed them back and said wait a minute. First of all my application was recieved 3/11/09 and therefore that is the final date that they must look at. The first date would be July 2006, the date that they are going back to. According to ACRE (alabama center for real estate at the University of Alabama which gets its figures from the National Real estate center) my house has dropped in value by 21%. Trulia showes it falling even more than that. I have not heard back from them since I sent the last email. So please make sure that your processor is going by the rules per the new ruling:

    BRAC 2005 Members and Civilian Employees as well as permanently Reassigned Members of the Armed Forces whose primary residence:

    (A) Has suffered at least a 10% market
    impact zone home value loss between
    July 1, 2006 and date of application for Expanded HAP benefits for the county/ parish/city in which their primary residence is located,

    If they are only going by the latest quarter readings then they are wrong. The final date that they look at is the date that your application was received by HAP. Nobody will qualify if they are going by the last few months numbers as the housing market is getting better in some places. Be proactive people and know what is going on in your district. Do some research and find out what the figures should be so that when your processor calls you have some ammunition.

    I think that they are doing the best that they can do and are doing a great job. But it comes down to this: it is your home and your loss if they do the wrong math. Stay on top of this and don’t let it slide if you can prove other wise.

    Hope that the bill for the tax issue gets passed soon in the Senate so that it can go to Obama’s desk. Have a blessed week all of you.

    Karen

  238. Danon 26 Oct 2009 at 2:26 am

    Karen,

    I’ve surfed around Trulia, but can not figure out how to find real estate trends for a particular county. Some directions, por favor?

    ~Shane

  239. Ryan Bon 26 Oct 2009 at 7:24 am

    Hopefully this is an easy question regarding if I am eligible. I have submitted my application a few months ago and I am now waiting. My question is this, am I eligible if:

    I paid $245K; sold it for $229K under a PCS (so a decline of 6.5%).

    So when I sold the house it was still above the 90% watermark. But if you factor in my realtor fees/closing fees/ and home improvements I ended up taking a 15% hit.

  240. Danon 26 Oct 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Karen,

    I had the same conversation regarding the market decline being measured at the time of application as opposed to the time of sale. They told me that one of the rules that they fully expect to change when the final guidelines are released (after the additional 30 days on register) was that they would no longer measure the decline to the date of application, but the date you sell the property.

    This could be great news for some, not-so-great news for others. For us, it’s not good. Since putting in our application, sales prices have increased a couple of percent, thereby ensuring we don’t meet that county 10% decline.

    ~Shane

  241. Shannonon 26 Oct 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Karen,
    I think you are right. There is definitely some confusion about the guidelines for market decline. I just called Savannah office to ask for clarification and they told me it was not based on HAP app date, but on sale date of property. Are they saying it’s based on HAP date if the property hasn’t sold yet?

  242. Rob Son 26 Oct 2009 at 7:40 pm

    I think the guidelines for market decline are causing a lot of confusion. I personally hope that this item is dropped completely, since the July 1, 2006 start date doesn’t make sense, and neither does using the application date as an end point. I am certain there were some markets which started dropping before July 2006, and it seems odd to pick one date for all markets to start from.

    Does anyone have any idea what purpose this qualifying guideline has, other than to dis-qualify people? What purpose does showing a 10% drop in a market do for this program? I realize maybe they are meaning to prevent some one from selling well below market value to qualify for this program, but is that a realistic option? I think if some one makes a reasonable effort to sell, and sells at a 10 to 15% loss, why should it matter if the market average they are in is at least showing a 10% loss?

  243. Pattyon 27 Oct 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Anyone know the answer to Ryan B’s question?

  244. Charleson 28 Oct 2009 at 1:34 am

    Ryan B does not qualify. The rules state you must lose 10% off the purchase price to qualify. From the HAP website:”Individual home value must have declined at least 10%.” I realize this does not make sense when you factor in closing costs and home improvements. I complained about this in my response to the register post.

  245. Karen Davison 28 Oct 2009 at 11:32 pm

    Dan

  246. Karen Davison 28 Oct 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Dan go to the website and at top of page is trends, then find your state and city, go to more trends. Hope this helps. Having trouble getting this to post. Will try this again.

  247. Joe Gladden-VR SAMon 29 Oct 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Just a quick thought on Trulia. Would be leery of putting to much stock in their “individual home market values or trends in market values.” Believe they apply a formula to the public record assessments, which are really not representative of true market values. This tends to give very inaccurate info on individual homes as well as trends in regional market values.

    Joe Gladden

  248. Pattyon 29 Oct 2009 at 11:57 pm

    The last email (general email not specifically to me) that I received from the Savannah office said

    If you listed major improvements in your application, you must provide receipts for these items if you would like them to be considered. Current guidance is that the Prior Fair Market Value is the purchase price, but it is anticipated that there may be an adjustment for improvements in the final guidance.

    That may make a difference for some applications.

  249. Karen Davison 30 Oct 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Just heard from a freind of mine (realtor) that she has heard that the final ruling will probably eliminate the need to show the 10% county decrease. Tonight is the final night to post any comments on the website for the ruling. Hope we will have some hard facts soon as well as news about the tax issue from Washington.

    Karen

  250. Chaseon 30 Oct 2009 at 11:13 pm

    I heard today that they’re not paying realtor fees according to the Sacramento office. I don’t know if someone has already posted any comments on this to the website (not sure where to look) but I’m sure it would affect many of you.

  251. Karen Davison 31 Oct 2009 at 12:59 am

    Unless the rules changed (and it has not been decided that they will be) then they will pay for realtor fees if you sell your home. If it is government acquisition, then they will not pay for them. But this is all moot until the new rules are published.

    Karen

  252. Chaseon 31 Oct 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Karen, I believe it is a Government acquisition but they said that I had to have a buyer lined up (in which I used a realtor).

  253. Karen Davison 01 Nov 2009 at 1:52 am

    From what I understand the government will purchase the house from you and then turn around, if you have a buyer, and quick deed it to them the next day.

  254. Karen Davison 01 Nov 2009 at 1:53 am

    The realtor in that case would get paid at that time by the government.

  255. Chaseon 01 Nov 2009 at 4:18 am

    Karen, that’s exactly what I was told by the Sacramento office. I was told that the gov will purchase the house and then turn around and sell it to the people on contract either the same day or the day after. However, the HAP rep I spoke with said there is no current guidance that the realtors (buying or listing) will get paid. I hope this is wrong but I get a bad feeling when this is coming from the HAP rep. Thanks again for your help!

  256. Karen Davison 01 Nov 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Just to be on the safe side Chase make sure that wording is in your contract with the realtor. Something to the affect of:

    ” In the event the herein listed property is sold to the United States of America, or an agency thereof, the listing broker will not be entitled to any commission or other consideration as a result of such sale.” If the listing agreement does not contain the above statement and any commission is due, it is the applicant’s responsibility to pay the commission.

    As it was explained to me by our HAP rep in Savanah once the government “owns” the house they will then contract out to sell it through a realtor just as if the government was the seller.

    This is what is shown on the Expanded HAP brochure right now:

    The Government might purchase it from you at 75% of your
    purchase price, or mortgage payoff. If this occurs, the government will sell the home to the buyer you and your realtor located and pay the realtor fees.

    But we all know that everything is in flux right now until the amended rules are finalized and published. Who knows what will happen then. I just want it to be over with soon, get my house taken care of so that when we head overseas we don’t have to worry about all of this. It has been a hard and rocky road for so many of us out there. It has been harder with the promised teasers that we have had to put up with for the past 9 months. I pray that the “new” rules will help those of us that have been trying to sell our homes for the past year.

  257. Chaseon 01 Nov 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks Karen for your help! I guess we’ll see what happens when the final rules are published. Do you know when the rules are supposed to be published or when the tax bill is suppose to be voted on. I thought I remember seeing that the tax bill was suppose to be voted on in the Senate before the end of October but that’s come and gone. Thanks again for your help!

  258. Johnon 02 Nov 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Does anyone know if the closing costs/realtor fees that are reimbursed are also taxable? Or is it just the 90% of our purchase price minus the sales price amount that is taxed? Thanks for all the info.

  259. Johnon 02 Nov 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Also, I heard that the IRS takes about 25% of your reimbursement, is that an accurate estimate?

  260. Samanthaon 02 Nov 2009 at 7:06 pm

    From the HAP website under FAQ:

    Q. A real estate agent expects a commission. Will the Government pay commissions when the Government purchases an applicant’s home?
    A. No. Applicants should ensure that the listing agreement for their property contains the following statement: “In the event the herein listed property is sold to the United States of America, or an agency thereof, the listing broker will not be entitled to any commission or other consideration as a result of such sale.” If the listing agreement does not contain the above statement and any commission is due, it is the applicant’s responsibility to pay the commission.

  261. Samanthaon 02 Nov 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I spoke with the GA office today and basically what I was told is that you have to take a 10% loss for both the private sale and the government acquisition. And that the realtor cost is only covered under the private sale. In regards to the Government Acquisition the government doesn’t really buy your home from you. You have to have a buyer lined up already and if you use a Realtor for that you are responsible for the realtor cost. They will cover 75% of the purchase price or the mortage payoff (whichever is higher) but you have to sell the home for under 90% of the originial purchase price. At that point they will cover the traditional closing cost on your end excluding the realtor. Apparently the idea of this program is not to cover all cost with selling the home but to help offset. Apparently that means I still have to bring $7000 of our money to the table whether it be to pay the difference of the 10% loss for a private sale or to cover the 6% commission for the Gov’t Acquisitoin.

  262. Danon 02 Nov 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Well, I’ve got some potentially good news. Talked to one of the gals at the Savannah District today who said that, more than likely, the 10% county decline requirement may be dropped. Apparently, it’s disqualified an obnoxious number of individuals for the program who would have otherwise qualified for benefits. Unfortunately, it may be another month or longer before we can expect to hear something.

    Has anyone else heard this?

  263. Karen Davison 03 Nov 2009 at 1:25 am

    Hi Dan yes I have heard this too. They said that it was due to counties being so different in their makeup, because of low and high price homes falling within those boundaries, that it was not fair to add this condition.

    Also spoke today to the Savanah office as well as the Washington DC office to clarify the “government acquisition” option. All this means is that once you have a contract on your home that HAP will be able to give you the funds to pay off your mortgage and then within a few days sell it to the buyer that you and your realtor have lined up. At that point is when your realtor is paid.

    There are so many families out there that cannot afford to pay the 10% loss and pay for taxes. Hopefully the tax issue will be resolved before too long. But still, for some of us to come up with the 10% is going to take some creative thinking.

    Hope to have good news soon for us all. It has been a long road.

    Karen

  264. Chaseon 03 Nov 2009 at 3:07 am

    Great new and thanks for the information on the “government acquistion” option!

  265. Tomon 03 Nov 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I also spoke with the Savannah office yesterday and received some clarifying information regarding the confirmation of eligibility. Per the email guidance from Savannah, I had been patiently waiting for written confirmation on my status. However, when I called yesterday, they informed me that eligibility will not be determined until a contract or proof of sale paperwork is submitted and added to the application package. So if you’re waiting around to see if your eligible before you lower the price of your home, or even put your home on the market, you might not hear anything.

    Also, they informed me that USACE will not be disclosing the AVM calculated fair market estimation of properties. This is concerning in that I don’t want to undervalue my home with an estimate provided by my realtor against the AVM number. When I explained that I was concerned, the Savannah office indicated that as long as your realtor can articulate the estimation, following guidance provided to realtors, then the USACE will likely follow your realtors estimate. So a bit of good news.

  266. Alon 04 Nov 2009 at 12:32 am

    Tom,
    So, basically, you can’t sell your home until you know that you’re eligible to sell your home (i.e. get assistance, otherwise, you would have sold your home already). BUT, you can’t find out if you’re eligible until you sell your home? I may be green at this but I’m failing to understand the sense in entering into a legally binding contract without knowing if you can afford to enter into a legally binding contract.

    Samantha,
    Again, I apologize for been green at this but, I’m confused about what “traditional closing cost excluding the realtor” means. Is the realtor’s portion the broker and seller fees (the 6% commission)? I just want to make sure.

    Finally, does anyone know, now that the comment period on the proposed rules has ended, what happens next? When does the rule set get finalized?

  267. Tomon 04 Nov 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Al – In my situation, my house is already listed at 60k less than purchase price, and the list price is arguably overpriced given the continuing decline in my market. I will likely have to lower it by another 40K to be at fair market value. The point I was making regarding eligibility is that I’m taking a chance at selling my place at a much lower rate than I would like with the “hope” I will be eligible for HAP funds. But I won’t know my final eligibility until I submit a contract or proof of sale to augment my original package. I think I would have heard by now if I was not eligible based on the other criteria. However, my angst is centered around the “leap of faith” I must take in selling my home at a price much lower than I can afford without the full knowledge I am eligible for USACE funds. To put it another way: If HAP was not a possibility, I would probably hold onto my property and bleed slowly rather than write a check for 50k at closing, with the hope that the market would get better sooner than later.

  268. Pattyon 04 Nov 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Does anyone know where they are at in the application process at the Savannah office?

  269. Con 04 Nov 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Patty – we are not exactly sure where we are, although we have received an e-mail that says they need one more letter from a utility service provider which shows we had service from purchase closing until sales closing. Once we provide that, our package will be complete – although I don’t know what that means regarding how long the payout will take. With that said, who know what else they will request. We were told in Jul they had everything they would need once the rules were published and then they told us to get them more paperwork. We lost over $100,000 dollars on our home and are waiting patiently to pay off the bridge loans we had to take (yes, we decided to take the leap of faith back in Jun and trust that all this would work out). So far, so good and will be thankful for a 10% loss rather than a 32% loss. News that the payment is not tax deductible would be even better!

  270. Rob Son 04 Nov 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Patty,

  271. Rob Son 04 Nov 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Patty,
    I have an application in at the savannah office, and have been contacted by a case rep, who has stated she reviewed my documents and forwarded them up to the next level. So I know they are working on PCS cases; my # is 1425, and my Report NLT date was Nov’07 (not sure on which way they are moving thru the cases).
    They asked me to verify my address, so I assume I will be getting a letter soon telling me if I am qualified or not.

  272. Johnon 04 Nov 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Has anyone been denied eligibility due to lack of the 10% decrease in county values, appealed and heard anything back yet? I’m aware of the possibility of dropping this requirement altogether, but am not holding my breath.

  273. Danon 04 Nov 2009 at 9:40 pm

    John,

    To my understanding, they are holding off notifying individuals that they do not qualify until the numbers are out for third quarter of 2009. For example, in my case, I need another 2% decline to meet eligibility. They’ve already told me verbally that I’m falling short, but they want to see if the county declines enough in the third quarter before making a final decision.

    Once that happens, they said they would formally notify applicants of non-eligibility. In the mean time, you can not appeal the decision until you receive official notification in the mail.

  274. Pattyon 05 Nov 2009 at 12:06 am

    Rob S-

    Just curious when you were last contacted as my number is about 60 higher than yours.

  275. Rob Son 05 Nov 2009 at 12:46 am

    Patty, I finished getting all of my missing items to my case manager last week, and then yesterday, I got an email asking to verify my address. I would call and ask to speak to your assigned person (if you don’t know who it is, ask for someone handling your case). They have been very good about calling/answering email.
    I know sometimes you may be afraid to be the pesty customer, but I think at this point you should not be bashful about asking for someone to atleast give you a status update on your case.

  276. Karen Davison 05 Nov 2009 at 4:38 am

    Our number with the Savanah office is 192 but our report NLT date was not until Dec 2008 so we will have a wait-of course a moot point as we do not have a contract on the house Guess we will continue to lower it by $3,000 each week until we do. My concern is letting it get too low and be penalized for that. Yo can’t win for loosing here.

    Remember that “home improvements” are not just putting in new carpet, new stove or painting the house. These are not considered major improvements according to the IRS. If you replaced carpet with wood floors, that would qualify. If you added a fence or patio that would also qualify. But just upgrading on something that was already there or repairs does not qualify.

    All of this is giving me a headache. We get conflicting information from each district and from each person within those districts. Nobody seems to have the correct answer and if they do, someone else will say something different.

    Getting very jaded on this whole matter. Does any one else feel like a step child?

    Karen

  277. Rob Son 05 Nov 2009 at 1:56 pm

    All
    I am not 100% sure, but I believe the tax provisions of HR 3590 were added to senate version of HR3548, which passed the senate last night. The House is expected to vote on the Senate version of HR 3548 today. If I am reading this correctly, I believe the payments will be non-taxable.
    I will check with some people and try to do a better review of the bill, but I believe its in HR3548

  278. Johnon 05 Nov 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Dan,

    Thanks for the info. I actually did get the letter saying my county doesn’t meet the 10% decline and I appealed it. I haven’t heard anything since then though and that was almost 2 weeks ago. They said they have sent it up the chain of command and are waiting to hear something from them. But I also spoke to someone who said that when you appeal, the documents just go back to the original folks for review. Maybe they are waiting for the 3rd quarter numbers to come out before they do anything. Any idea when that might be?

  279. JPon 05 Nov 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I wish I had found this site a long time ago – we’ve been suffering alone through the HAP process :)

  280. Rob Son 05 Nov 2009 at 6:45 pm

    I have looked at both bills (HR 3590 and The Senate passed version HR 3548). The section of HR 3590 which applies to HAP payments (Section 4) is identical to Section 14 of HR 3548. So it looks like when this bill passes the House today, the tax issue should become law once signed by the president, making HAP payments nontaxable.

  281. Karen Davison 05 Nov 2009 at 7:17 pm

    It was just passed two minutes ago. It will now go to the President for his signature. He has seven days to do this. Hurray for us!!!!!!!

  282. Samanthaon 05 Nov 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Al,

    Yes the “traditional closing cost excluding the realtor” is the realtor’s portion the broker and seller fees (the 6% commission). If you go the gov’t acquistion route you are response for that.

  283. Samanthaon 05 Nov 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Is anyone else being told they will have to bring a huge amount of money to the table. Unfortunately we bought the house at 155000 and still owe 151000. So the differnce between the 90% they cover still has us owing $11000.

  284. JPon 05 Nov 2009 at 9:22 pm

    the only thing they told me we’d need is the tax on the gap $ that HAP will give us. 25% on the gap – however, I believe we won’t have that once Obama signs the tax bill. If they do the govt acquisition for you then you shouldn’t have to come to the table with $ because its ‘whichever is more” so if your mortgage balance is more than the 75 or 90% then they’ll cover it…hope that makes sense

  285. JPon 05 Nov 2009 at 9:24 pm

    They cover realtor fee’s as well – with govt acquisition – you come to HAP with a contract, HAP basically buys the house from you and covers your gap – then then same day turn around and sell to your buyer and will cover realtor fee’s then

  286. Karen Davison 05 Nov 2009 at 9:37 pm

    This program, for whatever reason, has the military member liable for a 10% loss (PCS members only). So Samantha in your case you have to loose 10% on your purchase price (have you made any sugnificant home improvements-new fence, drive way, room additions? If so this is added to your purchase price). DOD will come to the table with $139,500 no matter how much you end of selling the home for (assuming you sell it for less than the amount due). You are liable for anything above that point to pay off your mortgage. If I read this correctly Samantha you have only paid off $4,000 in the past four years?

    As far as government acquisition goes they will not pay for realtors fees as part of the acquisition. What happens in this case is DOD turns around after purchasing it from you and sells it to the buyer you have lined up. At this point the realtor is paid their fees. They are not going to “purchase” your house until you have a buyer lined up. This is very strange but this is how it is going to work.

    The tax issue has been cleared up but now we still need the interim rules clarified. Are they keeping in the 10% loss on the county? Until that comes out we don’t know.

    Karen

  287. JPon 05 Nov 2009 at 9:43 pm

    The slide my “realty specialist” explains it this way:

    Government Acquisition:

    Acquire applicants home for balance of existing mortgages and sell to a purchaser that the applicant has found. Must be upside down on mortgage to be eligible.

    ^ Balance of existing mortgage = 190,000

    ^ CFMV on date of acquisition (sale to purchaser) = 140,000

    ^ Taxable Liability (payment above CFMV) = 50,000

    ^ Applicant must pay 25% taxes at closing ($12,500) ***

    Applicant was able to sell at a $50,000 loss for 12,500 and the US Government paid all real estate commissions and closing cost. The commissions and closing cost are not taxed benefits.

    The mortgage must be the same one that was in place as of 1 July 2006. Does not include 2nd mortgages or refinances that took place AFTER 1 July 2006. (If BRAC then 13 May 2005) It is possible to include 2nd Mortgage if it was to pay for major improvements.

    *** Bill has passed in House and Senate to make benefits not taxable.

    Applicant pays no closing cost or real estate commission. Government pays real estate commission on the sale to the purchaser.

    Applicant must sell within 10% of current fair market value as determined by an appraisal.

    SAMPLE ONLY as of 28 Oct 2009

  288. JPon 05 Nov 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I don’t think its strange that they do it this way – it works out best for everyone. You get out of your house and they don’t have inventory to then get rid of. If they just bought everyone’s houses, then they would be stuck with inventory – and they would run through the funding quite fast.

    They can call it ‘govt acquisition’ when its basically them middlemanning, meeting you at closing, covering your gap and passing the house to the buyer

  289. JPon 05 Nov 2009 at 10:02 pm

    That should say “The slide my ‘realty specialist’ sent me explains it this way.

    I sent her my contract this morning – crossing my fingers that it all goes smoothly and the way its described

  290. Johnon 05 Nov 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Does anyone have an idea when they’ll make the decision whether or not to throw out the 10% decline in county home values? We’re in a major time crunch with some potential buyers and need to know if we’ll be eligible for the program. I can’t get any answers from the Fort Worth folks. We sent our appeal in like two weeks ago and still haven’t heard anything. Argh.

  291. Zakaryon 06 Nov 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Does anyone know if HR3590 or HR 3548 are retroactive? We’ve been contacted by Savannah and told that we will receive our benefits check via FedEx today. When they confirmed the final payment though, they took out the 25% in taxes. Does anyone know if we will be able to get that 25% back as a result of these bills?

  292. Danon 06 Nov 2009 at 2:02 pm

    I’d also like to know a timeline of when the county decline requirement will be eliminated. My POC at the Savannah Office couldn’t say. Anyone else heard anything from a different POC or office?

  293. Johnon 06 Nov 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Dan,

    I sent an email to my POC at Fort Worth yesterday asking that question. I’ll let you know if I hear anything today.

  294. Tomon 06 Nov 2009 at 4:44 pm

    The President just signed the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009.” HAP payments are now tax free!

  295. Johnon 06 Nov 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Yippeeeee!!! Now we all just need to get qualified!

  296. Johnon 06 Nov 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Dan,

    This is the response I got in regards to the 10% county decline requirement: “They are considering doing away with the rule but as of yet not word on if it is a sure thing or not.” So, this doesn’t help us at all. Not sure who “they” are either. Sorry I couldn’t help more.

  297. Karen Davison 07 Nov 2009 at 4:23 am

    “They” are DOD and they are the ones that are doing the final revision of the interim rules that were closed on October 30th for public comment. An analysis of the comments received is prepared and a final rule is developed. Certain modifications will be made based on public comment. This is where we want to see them ammend the ruling concerning a loss of 10% on county wide homes. So until they make the rulings, we are still stuck with the old rules.

  298. Scott Campbellon 07 Nov 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Seems like one option to come up with the 10% is to do a short sale. I know it hurts your credit, takes time, and you have to qualify for it, but HAP says it will be treated like a private sale. So if I short sale now to get out of the house, then HAP treats it like a private sale and reimbures me for 90%, I’m supposed to pay the bank as much as I can, and my credit eats the rest? I should call the HAP office and ask about that scenario.

  299. Drewon 11 Nov 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Has anyone received any money from the program? If so, how long did it take after you were approved?

  300. Johnon 14 Nov 2009 at 2:56 am

    The HAP website must be down, but I think if you go to FAQ’s – it will say about how long before you can expect to get your money. I think they said 60-90 days from when you are notified of your eligibility, but don’t quote me on that. Also, if you’re closing soon, they may try to rush it, but again, I’m not sure. Hope that helps.

  301. Johnon 14 Nov 2009 at 3:00 am

    As of Oct. 22nd, 20 checks had been cut. Not sure how many since then. We are friends of the Orchard’s who were the first to get their check. They submitted their application on Feb. 20th and received their check on Oct. 13th. Not sure if this helps, but I do know that checks are going out. Hang in there. Help IS on the way :)

  302. Karen Davison 14 Nov 2009 at 7:47 pm

    An update from my friendly realtor in San Diego:

    Unfortunately in all the tax hubub, we completely took for granted that the STATES would follow suit and make HAP benefits free of STATE tax. Guess what? California pushed legislation. At the last minute some Senator tried to push through a pet project as a rider to our bill. Ended up it passed CA Senate but Governor VETOED because of the rider! Good grief. Thus, HAP benefits for California claiming service members will still be taxed- at 10% till the bill passes. What a soap opera. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s episode of “As HAP Turns”.

    If it is not one thing it is another.

    Karen

  303. Danon 15 Nov 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Anyone heard anything as of late regarding dropping the “county decline” provision from the bill? I’ve been trying to get in touch with the Savannah folks, but nothing so far.

  304. Rob Son 16 Nov 2009 at 6:23 pm

    haven’t heard anything on the county decline provision, but I did see an article online that the comment period for the interim rule has been extended to January. Not sure what this will mean for the program or the prospects of altering the rules.

  305. Danon 16 Nov 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Well, finally got through to the Savannah Office and inquired about the county decline. I was told that they are hoping to hear something back by the end of the year and that they were pretty confident that it was going to happen. More waiting, but things are looking promising.

  306. Karen Davison 17 Nov 2009 at 2:21 am

    http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-27373.pdf

    Go to this site and you will find the latest update on the public comment. It has been extended to Jan 2010. Not sure how this is going to affect us. Any ideas?

    karen

  307. JPon 17 Nov 2009 at 6:26 pm

    We have a contract on our house FINALLY (on market since early April) – HAP has finally sent our packet to “benefits” – waiting to hear back from them. Current buyer does not want to pay $$ for home inspection without guarantee that HAP will cover our gap. I’ve told HAP repeatedly that we do not want to lose this buyer – they have worked with us so far – now just waiting to hear back from benefits.

  308. Harryon 17 Nov 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I just call Virginia Department of Taxation. For Virginia, adjusted gross income is based on your federal return. With HAP benefits being tax except for the federal return, they will not affect your federal adjusted gross income, thus not affect your state return.

  309. Danon 18 Nov 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Has anyone contacted their military FCU and inquired about a short-term loan to cover their initial losses at closing? I’ve read in Navy Times on more than one occasion that the military-affiliated credit unions have loan programs in place to cover servicemembers who have qualified for HAP assistance. They were short-term and low interest. However, when I called NFCU today, I was told that there was nothing specific for this program and that I would have to go with a standard consumer loan that is running right around 11-12%.

  310. Zakaryon 18 Nov 2009 at 4:15 pm

    We were approved around 10/10 and told our application was going to Benefits. Benefits contacted us on 10/29 and we received our check on 11/6. Taxes were withheld, but we were informed by HAP that we will get them back when we file for this year. The total amount (PCS category) included the difference after 90% reduction plus all associated closing costs/realtor fees. We had sold our house already at a significant loss (closed in August), which may have helped speed up processing of our application.

  311. Pattyon 19 Nov 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Zakary, Which office was your application handled out of and what was your application number?

  312. Rob Son 19 Nov 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Patty,
    I’m working thru the Savannah office (app #1425). I was told I had all documents into the office in late October, got a letter Nov 6th stating it appeared I was qualified, and yesterday I was told that my check went in the mail Tuesday. my report NLT date was Oct 07. I still don’t know how much I’m getting, but I was told that no taxes were withheld due to the new law.

  313. Aaronon 19 Nov 2009 at 4:00 pm

    What documents are required from you the seller ref. your HAP application b/c I am not sure if HAP know (exactly) what I owe on my Mtg loan. I just completed the application process and my packet went to the Benefits Dept (this week).

    Also, what is the turnaround time to expect to see a payment b/c we have buyers that requested to move in NLT 18 DEC 09 and we do not want to fall short of this window b/c our home was on the market for awhile? Thx

  314. Angelaon 19 Nov 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Now that they are paying benefits, do you still have to show up at closing with cash for the loss and the gov’t will reimburse you or will the gov’t provide a check at closing?

  315. Shaneon 19 Nov 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Received good and potentially bad news today. Good news was that our application for benefits was approved. It’s been a long wait that has finally paid off.

    Bad news is this: I was told by our counselor at the HAP that assistance would be provided in one of the two following ways.

    First scenario – Govt acquires our home and then immediately sells it to the buyer that we have already lined up. HAP payout would then cover the first mortgage only, not the equity loan that we took out to make some upgrades around the house. In other words, about $17K that remains on our equity loan.

    Second scenario – We sell the home to the buyer ourselves with zero govt intervention. We then file the claim with HAP and they will reimburse us 90% of our original purchase price as well as pay whatever we put into the house for improvements. This scenario would have us losing about $20K.

    Both scenario’s stink. I then talked to a realty specialist later on in the day who said the previous info was inaccurate and that we could actually have the govt acquire the house, sell it to our buyer and pay off the equity loan. This scenario would almost have us breaking even and would be the best case scenario.

    So now I’ve got two people in the office giving me conflicting info. I’m obviously hoping the second guy I talked to has the correct info.

    Days ahead will bring about the correct info. Going to be a long wait, however. Am I out $20K or am I out $0? Anyone else hearing anything similar?

  316. Angelaon 19 Nov 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Shane,
    I’ve been given the same info that your first guy gave you. I’ve also read 32CFR Part 239 and I believe that your first guy and my guy are correct. Sorry.

  317. Angelaon 19 Nov 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Shane,
    I should add that your 2nd guy would be right as long as you have the receipts to substantiate the 2nd mortgage and they are for improvements, not repairs.

  318. Shaneon 20 Nov 2009 at 2:38 am

    Just to get the opinion of a HAP counselor outside the Savannah office, I gave Sacramento a call earlier and talked to a woman there who says she has worked for ACE since ’92. She went along with the second scenario in which HAP would acquire the property, pay off the first mortgage as well as the second (provided the second mortgage went towards improvements). They would then turn around and sell it to our buyer the same day.

    I was also told that our realtor would still be paid for realtor fees. This was a major concern for us since she has stuck with us for the past year and has busted her tail on our behalf. Realtor fees would be paid once the property is sold to the buyer. Our realtor will get 6% total. It’s then up to her to split it with the buyers realtor.

    This second point is something else I have read conflicting information on. Previously, I’ve heard that with govt acquisistion, realtors are not paid. Just one more confusing tid-bit to go along with the differing opinions floating around. I’ll keep you all posted with the upcoming details since I know there are more than a few of you who are in our predicament.

  319. DJon 20 Nov 2009 at 3:33 am

    Like others, our purchase price was $13K over the conforming loan limit. However, I interpreted the register differently. It states “The PFMV may not exceed an amount equal to the 2009 Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac conforming loan limits (as amended by the ARRA of 2009).” I took this to mean the PFMV and the home purchase price could be different. Everywhere else it refers to the PFMV. So, I think a strong case could be made for benefits setting the PFMV at the conforming loan limit. Has anyone been declared eligible with an amount over the loan limit?

    The folks in Savannah told me back in Jun that if we came back ineligible due to the limit we could appeal and those would be handled on a case-by-case basis (to address county location, family size, etc.). However, my application seems to keep moving. USACE SAS asked for more documentation twice since we sent it in back in May–and on 6 Nov asked if we had a contract, yet. I PCSd w/o my family back in July and am living in a cracker box until this sorts out, or I retire, which ever comes first.

    In the mean time, we put in all the paperwork for a short sale and the mortgage company came out to appraise the house last week. So, we may sell via short sale, then seek re-imbursement. Our agent made us remove the HAP contingency back in September and switch to a short sale since HAP wasn’t processing applications and no one had looked at the house in 3 months. Since then, we’ve at least had a couple lookers.

  320. JPon 20 Nov 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Our contract has us closing on 15 Dec – however HAP says they can’t process us by then – closing may be end of dec more likely early part of Jan. They should be sending our offer letter today or monday. We need to provide buyer’s pre-approval when we accept the offer letter.

    Aaron – we had to send our most recent mortgage statement in when we sent our contract to HAP

  321. Angelaon 20 Nov 2009 at 10:23 pm

    JP,
    Are you doing a government buyout or private sale? If a private sale, will the corps provide a check for your loss plus closing costs at closing or do you have to wait for a reimbursement check and cough up the loss and closing costs at closing?

    Thanks,
    Angela

  322. Karen Davison 21 Nov 2009 at 12:40 am

    When you have the scenario as above, of governemnt acquisition, realtors are not paid at first. HAP first buys the house from you and then they turn around (sometimes same day sometimes not) and sell it to the buyer you have lined up. That is when the realtors get their commission.

    When you turn in your buyer’s contract, HAP sends it to their legal department and two contracts are issued. First one between you and HAP and second one between HAP and your buyer.

    If you are having problems with your local HAP office I suggest you call the DC office and speak with Don Chapman. I spoke to him last week and he said the problem they are running into is that they are dealing with untrained people and part timers.

    Our problem was being told that we did not qualify for the county 10% loss rule yet all the information I was looking at was showing a loss of 20% plus. Don said that the problem is with the company that they are using for the county figures. There are over 600 counties in the US only about 20% has reportable figures that they are able to use. So if you have information that counters what you are being told, send that in to your HAP office. They will use it.

    After 15 months of our home being on the market we have found a military buyer!!!! He is willing to rent from us until we can close with HAP. Praise God!!!! The selling price is $40,000 less than our original asking price but hey the end is near. We are asking for government acquisition so hope we can close before the new year. Our application is 192 and RNL was 12/1/09.

    Here is to better news for us all.

    Karen

  323. Aaronon 21 Nov 2009 at 4:27 am

    Thx JP for the info and yes – we sent in our most recent mortgage statement when we mailed our contract to HAP with hopes they don’t ask us for an up-dated copy which would delay the process.

    We too have buyers that we don’t want to lose.

    I guess at this point – it’s a waiting game from benefits and do anyone know the turnaround time once Benefits receive your packet / application b/c our application / packet was mailed to Benefits on 17 DEC 09? Thx

  324. Karen Davison 21 Nov 2009 at 4:26 pm

    OOps I was wrong on our time. It was 12/08 not this year.

    Karen

  325. Marloon 23 Nov 2009 at 12:08 pm

    JP,

    What office are you working through and what was your reprot NLT date?

    We are in the same boat. We have a buyer (under contract since 2 Aug) who is hanging in there so far…don’t want to loose them.

    We are under the Sacramento District with a report NLT date of July 08. They have asked a couple of times for additional info, but no real movement on our packet so far.

  326. JPon 23 Nov 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Angela – we are doing the govt acquisition. For private sale – you have to complete the sale on your own (pay closing etc) then apply for reimbursement through HAP after you’ve closed.

    Aaron – I would call HAP and find out who in benefits has your file. If I hadn’t called I’d still be sitting on the queue.
    Our file went to benefits on the 14th – I called on the 18th and no-one had been assigned our file yet. They picked it up and assigned it. I hope to hear a verbal approval today – then they’ll fedex us an ‘offer letter’ that we have to sign and send back. We also have to provide pre-approval letter from our buyer. We also have to make sure we’ve paid taxes and interest up until closing as well as maintain home owners insurance until closing.

    Marlo – Our original report date was Jun 09 but our orders were changed midstream and we ended up elsewhere – got report date extended to 1 Oct 09. Our regional office is Savannah. Have you sent your contract to your HAP realty specialist?

    We did have one issue with HAP saying they did an appraisal (how I have no idea) and that we weren’t within 10% of fair market value – we provided additional paperwork – and then were (finally) forwarded on to benefits – who reviews and re-reviews the packet again (geeze)

  327. JPon 23 Nov 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Karen – fantastic news – I’m so glad you finally have a renter/buyer. We too are looking at a 40k loss (from our original purchase price). Hope you close soon!

  328. Karen Davison 23 Nov 2009 at 4:52 pm

    What they are doing for appraisals is a system that some mortgage companies use. Nobody goes out to the house they just put figures into the computer and it spits out the results.

    JP was your price lower than or more than the fair market value? What paper work should I have ready to show them? What is the pre approval letter that you mention? We have been paying on the house and insurance so what do they need for proof as far as that goes too?

    I agree with JP. At this point everyone should have been assigned someone that is managing their case. Find out who it is and get in contact with them. It seems until you take an interest in the case, your paperwork will just sit there doing nothing. Again if you are having problems with your district, call the Washington DC office and speak with Don chapman who is in charge of the whole HAPless mess. Good luck to all. We are sending in our offer today so we will see what HAP comes up with now. Blessings to us all!!!!

  329. JPon 23 Nov 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Karen – our rep wouldn’t say lower or more than or provide a copy of the appraisal – was simply ‘not within 10%”. My guess is our contract was under FMV (we bought at 208k in 04 and contract was for 160k), they shouldn’t care if we were above because its less they have to pay since we’re already providing the contract/buyer. They have a sample of info to provide, I can send you that if you want. Basically anything to show that you sold/are selling your home for current fair market value and how you reached that price. Our realtor (she’s fantastic) provided comps in the area and we also had to provide an archive report that shows historically when we first put the house on the market, when we lowered the price each time etc. to current.

    They haven’t asked for any proof of insurance/taxes – just when we get to closing there can’t be any taxes past due, mortgage payments due etc. (so if we settle say 15 Dec, and my mortgage is due 1 Dec, I can’t not pay the Dec mortgage and expect HAP to cover (would be nice though :) ) you have to be current on taxes/insurance/mortgage

    MARLO – please please call your folks – ask what your status is – is your packet complete? Tell them you have a buyer, make sure they get a copy of the contract – once your realty specialist has a complete packet – they’ll do an appraisal to make sure you’re within 10% of FMV – then if all is complete they should send your packet on to benefits. They have to understand that you have a buyer that you don’t want to lose – and they should pull your packet to the top (or top of those that are in the same boat as you)

  330. Angelaon 23 Nov 2009 at 10:03 pm

    JP,
    You may want to find out what the Corps’ appraisal was. They had ours at our 2003 value of 140 K. We put over 100K in improvements and upgrades into our house. We had an appraisal done recently for 230 K. Mind you in 2006, after we did all of the improvements, our home was worth 295 K when we refinanced 2 mortgages into 1.

  331. Karen Davison 23 Nov 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Jp if you would send on the information that would be great. Should I have my realtor start to gather all the information now since it sounds like they will be wanting it? Thanks for your help.

    Karen

  332. JPon 24 Nov 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Karen – where do you want me to send it?

  333. JPon 24 Nov 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Was hoping to have an answer from Benefits last friday or yesterday – no word. Just talked to them – their system as been down, so now an additional backlog on top of their backlog. Might not be til next week now that I hear if funds have been committed for my closing. Another week down the tubes. I sure would like to be settled and out of this house by the end of Dec..the longer this drags on, the less likely that is. I’ll be glad to not be paying a mortgage and rent at some point. Was hoping not to have to pay both for Dec. Sheesh

  334. Karen Davison 24 Nov 2009 at 9:41 pm

    JP if you would please send it to midavis59@yahoo.com. Any information would be helpful. I have the figures for the past six months (how many times it was shown and when, how much the price was dropped to) but I don’t have figures for the first 9 months (six of those months were prior to HAP announcement) Do I need to contact my previous realtors? What is a pre-appproval letter that you mention having to obtain? What is the latest news with your home JP? It will do us all some good when we hear of HAP actually helping a real live family!!!! Keep us posted on what is happening with all of your cases. We can live vicariously through each winning story!!!

    Karen

  335. Rob Son 25 Nov 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Karen,
    we did get our check last week from Savannah. It covered all closing costs, and the $ amount was what we expected, with us absorbing the 10% loss (We were a private sale). I wish everyone else the best in getting their applications approved and paid.

  336. JPon 25 Nov 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Karen – docs sent :)

    The pre-approval letter from the buyer is just pre-approval financing letter that they are pre-qualified for financing.

    Nothing new on our house yet – still paying mortgage there and rent (TLF) here (more than our mortgage actually), still paying electric, water, pool and yard for Fl house, still have all our belongings in storage. I have til end of Dec before we have to start paying for HHG storage on our own. Still trying to stay afloat and not go under. Money going down the drainnnnnnn and trying to deal with holidays looming ahead.

  337. Angelaon 25 Nov 2009 at 10:56 am

    JP,
    Did you check to see what the government’s AVM stated? If they went with their AVM on our house, we would have to sell our house for 1/2 of what it’s actually worth and a 1/3 of what it was worth 3 years ago.

  338. Karen Davison 25 Nov 2009 at 11:29 am

    Jp thanks so much. Will have hubby get it from his computer. I know how you are feeling. Between the two houses and cost of upkeep on both of them (Alabama and Washington DC) it is costing us over $4000 per month. I am not working now as I am taking diplomatic training with my husband for our next tour in June. Thankfully we have not had to pay out for college this year as my son is using the post 911 GI bill. That was a mess also and took four months for him to get benefits. But that is another DOD story.

    Rob great news for you. We are doing government acquisition and have not heard from anyone who has received this type of benefit. I am just thankful that with the holidays coming up we have found an active duty Major that is going to rent from us until we can close. So there is a Santa Claus!!!!

    Take are and blessings to all the families for this coming holiday season.

    Karen

  339. JPon 25 Nov 2009 at 11:30 am

    Angela – I haven’t checked other than when I first asked and got no answer – HAP is extremely busy, they get enough email/phone calls, I don’t really care what their estimate was since I was able to show that we are selling it at FMV and they adjusted on their end.

    Keep in mind – I think its sick that I have to sell my house at a loss. We bought for 208k in 04 and in 09 are selling at 160k – Also makes me sick that buyers will come in and on top of us taking a 40k loss, will ask for closing help too. Short sales are what killed us – we tried to do the right thing and not short sale but all of the houses in our area were short sales – we had no choice but to drop to their price range. Luckily we have HAP and did not have to actually short sale and ruin our credit.

    That reminds me… KAREN – we also provided our recent tax appraisal (TRIM notice) which also shows the decline in our homes value – and was in range with what we are selling at

  340. Angelaon 25 Nov 2009 at 11:50 am

    JP, I agree with you on all points. It is absolutely gross that this is happening. Our realtor found out that we were going to get government assistance and wanted to lower our house another 10 K than what our appraisal came out at. When I told her no, she had the gumption to ask me if we were going to see that 10K in our pockets. Obviously not! The NERVE!

    I haven’t posted before recently but this blog has been a learning experience for me and trust me, I’ve taken it all in so that we know what we have to provide to the government.

    I’m happy you were able to provide CFMV. Their AVM is outdated and inaccurate. Luckily they are using our appraisal as the CFMV so that we don’t have to sell at more of a loss just to qualify and eat up funds that could go to assist more military homeowners. I wonder though how many people have been denied because of their AVM though.

  341. JPon 25 Nov 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Yeah – I thought 160 was too low – our realtor kept saying it wasn’t. I kept telling her we had to be within 10% that we just can’t go way low just to get it sold. There’s right and there’s wrong…unfortunately not everybody thinks that way these days.

  342. Shaneon 27 Nov 2009 at 11:20 am

    As stated previously, we were finally approved for govt acquisition. This despite the fact that our county only showed a 7% decline according to HAP’s numbers. Goes to show that persistence pays off.

    Right now, we have our buyer lined up. She’s already in the house renting until the sale can go through. We’ve already been told that our first mortgage will be payed off in its entirety. Our second mortgage will be paid up on everything that we can show went towards home improvements.

    Should be noted that providing receipts is not good enough. They want to see where the funds came out of your checking/savings/credit card. That’s gonna be a toughie. We were expecting to see about an additional $14K reimbursed from $20K borrowed. However, we can only find enough documentation at this point for $5K max. After all is said and done, we’ll probably come out of pocket about $12K. Bit of a sting, but nothing compared to some of you guys.

    Will continue to keep you all posted on how things are progressing….

  343. Karen Davison 27 Nov 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Great news Shane for the most part.

    How long after you found a buyer did they approve you for the government acquisition? What was your HAP number and when was yor RNLT? Trying to get a feel how long the process is going to be. We are number 192, RNLT 12/08 and just turned the offer in last week. We have met the 10% personal loss as well as the county loss. Any information would be helpfull.

    Karen

  344. Karen Davison 27 Nov 2009 at 9:02 pm

    We just received a call from our case worker (working on a Friday holiday no doubt) stating that our case was ready to go to benefits as soon as they receive our contract. Their goal is to do 200 applications per months (that is per case worker). She said that files that did not have any home improvements on them are being processed in about 14-21 days. Those with the home improvement receipts are taking longer.

    Shane what closing cost did they pay? We have down that we will pay up to $3500 towards them. Does HAP only pay certain closing cost?

    Hope you and your families all had a great Thanksgiving and I wish all the best to you and yours during the upcoming holiday season. I will continue to keep you posted and let you know what is going on with my case as well as any updates I learn about HAP.

    Karen

  345. Karen Davison 27 Nov 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Rob S I think I meant to direct the question about closing cost to you and not Shane. What closing cost did they reimburse you for? Did they only pay certain ones? Or a percentage or what?

    karen

  346. Shaneon 28 Nov 2009 at 2:08 am

    Karen,

    We have had the buyer lined up since July. She’s been living in the house and paying rent while waiting on HAP folks to give us their nod of approval. They’ve had my file sitting off to the side for the past couple of months waiting on the county numbers to drop.

    I hounded them with other info that was obtained by us online as well as our realtor showing that our numbers, both personal and county, were clearly over 10%. They finally went with our numbers and pushed us to approval. Case # is mid-200′s, RNLT was 31 July.

  347. Rob Son 28 Nov 2009 at 10:08 am

    Karen,
    In our case, they paid all of our closing costs that we had. I don’t know if we had any that were non-typical, but one that I was a bit weary of was our realtor commission, because we up’d it to 7% from the typical 6% in order to sell. But, they paid it, so I guess tha’s good news for all.

  348. Karen Davison 28 Nov 2009 at 10:49 am

    Thanks for the reply ROB. So I can hope that they will pay the closing cost of 3500 plus the 6% realtors fees. We will have to see what happens. Take care and talk again soon.

    Karen

  349. Shaneon 30 Nov 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Karen,

    According to the Savannah office, they cover the following closing fees:

    -Real estate commission
    -State tax stamps
    -Power of Attorney fees
    -Deed tax stamps
    -Pest inspection
    -Recording fees
    -Overnight/courier fees
    -Attorney fees/document fee
    -Wire fee
    -Notary public fee

  350. JPon 01 Dec 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Karen – I was afraid that HAP wouldn’t pay closing costs toward the buyer so I didn’t take any offers where the buyer was asking for closing costs. I’m not sure if HAP pays them or not. I would guess that they wouldn’t since its above and beyond the normal closing (realtor fee’s etc) – I didn’t take the risk though so I don’t know.

  351. Karen Davison 02 Dec 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Just got off the phone with our case worker from HAP. She said that she is sending our contract to benefits tonight before she leaves work. She said that they are taking about 14-28 days from this point to closing. I will be so thankfull when this is over and done with. Any one have any good news such as closed or received money for their past sale? Talk soon.

    Karen

  352. Karen Davison 02 Dec 2009 at 8:35 pm

    JP at what point did they ask for the other documentation such as approval letter, realtor showings etc? Before your file went to benefits or after that point? Trying to see if I still need all the additional information we have talked about.

    Thanks and talk soon.

    Karen

  353. Karen Davison 02 Dec 2009 at 8:41 pm

    JP any news on when you will be closing? I know you were hoping for 12 dec but then said that was unlikely. What is the latest with you situation?

    karen

  354. Marloon 02 Dec 2009 at 8:43 pm

    We speak with the Sacramento office at least once a week. Although they say we are “eligible,” our realty specialist has told us they are still working out the final details on the govt. aquistion part of the benefit. She stated that no cases have been completed/paid for government aquisition thus far (from the PCS category.)

    Anbody have any information to the contrary? Just trying to confirm I am working with someone who has accurate information, or if maybe things have moved quicker in other districts. I hope for everyone it is just Sacramento that has taken longer to move forward on this category of benefit.

    They have said they are “close” to being ready, for 2 weeks now. We have no idea where we stand in the pile of applicants with buyers waiting…. Our thoghts are with all the families who just want this to be over.

  355. Shaneon 02 Dec 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Talked to my caseworker at the Savannah office briefly today. She had my file on her desk and was going to review it one last time before forwarding it to benefits tonight. No idea on how long it will take from that point on.

    Our big concern now is how much of our second mortgage will be reimbursed. I could only come up $9K or so in receipts for improvements made to the house and, of that, have no guarantee that they will reimburse us for all of that amount. I figure worst case scenario, I may have to come out of pocket $12K or so to pay off the second loan. Bit of a sting, but nothing compared to some of the losses I’m hearing from some of you guys on here.

  356. JPon 03 Dec 2009 at 11:30 am

    Karen – our file went to benefits on 15 Nov – no word from benefits by wed 18th, so I called – they picked up the file and assigned it (glad I called). We are still waiting for our offer letter to be sent. They mentioned that if they could get our titled ordered by the end of this week we could still close by the end of Dec. Tomorrow is the end of this week – and still no offer letter.

    They asked for realtor showings/ history before the file went to benefits. Benefits will ask for the approval letter when I sign the offer letter (if it ever comes)

    I am still in a holding pattern

  357. Angelaon 03 Dec 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Karen & JP,
    What “offer letter” are you referring to. Thank you.

  358. JPon 03 Dec 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Angela – we’re doing govt acquisition – once your packet gets to benefits – and they review and re-review your file – funds are then committed, they send you an offer letter stating the facts /making an offer etc. You have to sign the offer letter to accept the offer and send it back, and include a pre-approval letter from the buyer. Then its on to closing.

  359. Nicoleon 03 Dec 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Does anyone no how long it takes hap to review your file once all docs are signed at title and ready to close?

  360. Karen Davison 03 Dec 2009 at 4:57 pm

    A friend of mine is a realtor, working out of San Diego. She was in contact with the DC office two weeks ago (Don Chapman) The FIRST government acquisition (in any of the districts) was suppose to have been accomplished last Monday and was not. I don’t understand what the hold up is with this type of benefit but it seems to be causing many problems.

    Our contract was taken to benefits today (never asked for any realtor showings or anything at this point). Any Air Force people out there? When we were suppose to have the verification of service by someone in the personnel office (on page 5 of the original packet of information sent to HAP) we were told at Bolling to down load the “official proof of service ” which the AF uses. Have anyone of you done differently? We were told that this is the way the AF now verifies your service. Is this what you all have done?

    Would be so nice to be finished by Christmas but I think that Santa is not going to deliver this particular gift to us this year. Talk soon.

    Karen

  361. Karen Davison 04 Dec 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Just heard back from our case worker. Our home was appraised at 197,000 (which is what we bought for) and we have a buyer for 176,000. Turns out it is short by $400 so that it falls within the 10% loss. So, rather than kick it out as not qualifying or having to wait to send documents to support our figures, we asked the buyer if he would up his price by $400 and we would pay it at closing to him. So she is walking the papers over to benefits now.

    It is so unfair that people are not being told this information to begin with. How many people are out there that are selling their homes for whatever they can get only to find out that they are too low? Frustrating, upsetting, unhappy.

    Latest I have heard is that only about 100 homes have been paid for/reimbursed for a total of $5,000,000 so far. That is an average of $50,000 per home. Wonder how many they will actually end up helping. I have not heard anymore about an increase to the original amount approved for use. But if they can get more for cash for clunkers I certainly hope they can get more for this program.

    Talk soon. Karen

  362. Julieon 04 Dec 2009 at 5:42 pm

    We sent the Sacramento office our buyer contract for our house two weeks ago today. We are told we are eligible for a government acquisition. When Kathy at the Sacramento office received our offer paperwork from the buyer she also computed our pay out. The house was originally purchased for $310,000. Our buyer offered $130,000 (Vegas market). We were told HAP will pay $163,000. We are responsible for the rest.

    We’ve heard nothing more from HAP. My husband called today and was told all government acquisitions are on hold until HAP can complete a general contract. They will then start generating contracts for everyone waiting. When asked a time frame he was told probably days possibly weeks.

  363. Karen Davison 04 Dec 2009 at 10:34 pm

    OK friends time for some bad, sad news. Those of us waiting for government acquisition please read on. This is inspite of what you are being told by your case workers that it will only take 30 days to come to closing. It is vitally important for you to read and take action:

    Friends,
    It seems we have hit another stumbling block in obtaining closure for our Service Members who are attempting “Government Acquisition” of their homes. There appears to be indefinite delay to the issuing of the acquisition contract. I would like to ask you to consider taking urgent action upon this matter. Unfortunately, as a “3rd party” who is perceived to have a financial interest (Realtor) in the final results of this situation, I am limited (although I will send a letter).

    I would like to ask that you immediately contact your Congressional representatives. They helped pass HAP and should know it is still not living up to its potential for relief in a timely manner. More and more eligible Service Members are being foreclosed upon daily. If you have contact information for anyone else of influence within the Department of Defense, please contact them as well.

    In doing so, express to them that you understand some good things take time and you are thankful for HAP in concept. However, the concept alone does not bring the needed financial relief. Sales are being delayed by the need of a “government acquisition purchase contract” from the Army Corps of Engineers Legal Department. For several weeks now, HAP processors have been telling applicants the contracts are forthcoming and were saying properties will close in 14 to 45 days (depending on the District). For some that 14 days has already come and gone with no government contract or funds. Each day without this contract has a substantial adverse affect on Service Members financially that will not be recovered.

    Give some details of your own situation as you feel comfortable. Obviously, I do not want any of you to get into any “trouble” for sending a letter. However, as the remedy to this situation may turn out to be a matter of “law” (not rules), if we do not act now it may take several more months to resolve the issues.

    I would ask that you PLEASE DO NOT copy and paste what I have written above. Be clear in your communication that you are requesting their assistance in expediting the LEGAL CONTRACT FOR GOVERNMENT ACQUISITION to be issued and the burden its lack of release places on you personally and fellow Service Members. Make it your own but keep it as brief as possible.

    Potential contacts are:

    -Your Senator/Representative (contact the D.C. office)

    -Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense c/o Ms Deanna Buchner, Deanna.Buchner@osd.mil

    ** Ms. Buchner is the “Interim Rule” contact listed in the Federal Register for the Homeowner’s Assistance Program**

    -Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp, Jr. the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army Send c/o hq-publicaffairs@usace.army.mil
    http://www.usace.army.mil/ContactUs/Pages/default.aspx is the link for other contact numbers.
    –Phone numbers for comments 9:00 am-5:00 pm Mon-Friday:
    White House # 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414
    Senate- 202-224-3121

    I would invite you to post any contact information and updates you come up with on http://www.HAPInformation.wordpress.com

    Denise Korpinen
    Realtor
    Prudential California Realty
    Cell (858)442-7233

    Please take what is being said here seriously. We have to fight now in order to get them to move on the government acq rules. If we don’t let people know what is happening we will not win this fight. Start writting to your senators and anyone else that you think might help. This is a serious blow to us that are awaiting government acquisition.

    Karen

  364. Karen Davison 05 Dec 2009 at 4:21 pm

    My friend Denise, angel in disguise as a realtor, wrote also:

    HAP Government Aquisition
    By hapinformation

    HAP is still “not happening” when it comes to Government Acquisition for PCS Service Members…As a person, I try to stay very positive in life, and on behalf of my clients. This has become a true challenge when it comes to the Homeowner’s Assistance Program for Military Service Members. As a Veteran, Military Spouse, and Realtor- I see the program as great in concept with tremendous potential. I rejoice for the 227 beneficiaries paid to date through the “Government Reimbursement” aspect (as of 12/3/09). Unfortunately this is only one small part of the 4,700 applicants to date seeking relief.

    My concern is for those who are in need of “Government Acquisition”. This is the majority of applicants. Each day, not processed, costs money for housing these folks do not have to spend. They need these funds to put food on the table, clothes on their children, and pay bills incurred while waiting for processing. These applicants would likely have used the ”Government Augmentation” aspect available in the original program. In that system, the government never actually had to “own” or inventory the property to pay off the mortgage- IF the Service Member found a Buyer for the property. Most of the people I work with would have fallen into this Augmentation category.

    Due to law and rule changes under “Expanded HAP”, the member must now use the “Acquisition” aspect to cover 100% of the outstanding mortgage(s). Since the day after the Federal tax legislation passed (Nov 5th) processors at each district have been indicating, “The acquisition contract should arrive any day now”. I am networked with Service Members across the U.S. who have applications in with different districts. This has been a universal answer. Some were told they could close in 14-21 days from that conversation. Each day has passed with no contract. Translated- another day with no closing and no closure.

    I have continuously sought to provide timely information about HAP and be a part of the solution to any challenges as able. Further investigation into the delay in issuing contracts indicates there are additional issues caused by “the government owning the property”…even just for a few minutes! Government ownership under HAP changes the type of deed issued and title policy. According to real estate law in most areas, usual local area and property specific disclosures are not legally required once owned by the government. This would save paperwork; but creates liability questions for the Service Member and the Buyers (as well as their Realtors) that must be addressed. Other old laws require the government to take certain actions once it owns the property. These actions being required will cost more time and more HAP money unnecessarily. The Legal Department at the Army Corps seems to need some help that has not yet come to sort it all out and develop the appropriate acquisition contract. It is a difficult situation for this department to be in. No pressure Legal- but the end to an extreme financial and emotional roller coaster for 4,000 or so Service Members currently resides in your hands. Service Members and associated professionals are all happy to call or write ANYONE you need us to in order to get you the counsel needed to move “Government Acquisition” out of limbo. Just tell us who to contact…!

    Since the announcement of HAP as part of the Stimulus, I have had the pleasure of speaking to many wonderful people at Department of Defense (OSD), Army Corps Program Management, and Military Legal Assistance Offices. The entire processing team at Sacramento has been wonderful with my constant calls and questions. Everyone I have spoken to wants to see Service Members receive the relief and benefits Congress has voted into law. It is clear there is still substantial team effort needed to get HAP where it needs to go…from HAPless to it’s HAPpened!

    Denise

    Friends we can no longer sit on our bottoms and expect someone else to help us. Now is the time to write, call, fax, email, snail mail, smoke signals or whatever it is going to take to get this moving. If you have written or called in the past, do it again. Let others know what is going on. Get your neighbors, your friends, your coworkers behind you. If we don’t do something fast and decisive, it may take months before we see any relief under the government acquisition.

    Karen

  365. Julieon 05 Dec 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks so much to Karen and Denise for posting all information they have available on this website. My husband and I are part of the 4,000+ applicants with buyers waiting for the acquisition contracts to be completed so we can close on our house. We were told to find buyers. Once we found buyers we were told we should close in a matter of weeks. We are quickly depleting savings to keep ourselves afloat.

    Karen, you mention communicating our position to get things moving. Other than HAP, who else can we contact? What representatives initially pushed this legislation through in the ARRA at the beginning of the year?

  366. Shane Ostrom, CFP®on 07 Dec 2009 at 9:45 am

    HAP UPDATE

    See my 7 Dec 09 Post.

    Additional $323M on the way and beat the 10% impact zone requirement.

  367. Karen Davison 07 Dec 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Julie if you read my post of Dec 4th it gives you some people to contact. Google your state representatives and your senators to find out how to contact them.

    Also it is my understanding that under government acquisition pay out, they will pay 90% of PMV (what you paid for)OR your mortage balance. Is your mortage balance more or less than what they are paying you? In our case our PMV (what we paid) was 197,000 and we now owe 189,000. Our buyer is paying 176,400 (offered 176,000 but to keep it at the 10% loss HAP called and said we had to go to 176,400.) so HAP will pay the difference of what is being offered and what we owe on our mortage, $13,600 plus closing cost and realtor’s commision once they buy it from us and turn around and sell to our buyer.

    Shane, it is nice that there is more money on the way but until the gov acq contract is taken care of, it will just sit there. Until the lawyers can make sense of it nothing will move, no matter what we are being told at each district. It is not the individuals at each district that is holding this up but the lawyers trying to rewrite a law that is already a law.

    This is why it is so important to start doing something now. Let those in power, those that passed this law originally, know what is going on. Tell them you are happy that this is avialable for us to use but come on, 9 plus months is long enough.

    Talk soon,
    Karen

  368. Karen Davison 07 Dec 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Just received a letter from the HAP office stating that our “application has been found to meet all the requirements set forth under 32 CFR Part 239 and now has been sent to the government acquisition department to see what benefits we are entitled to and we will be notified in writting.” Anyone else getting this type of letter? Does this mean things are moving or am I just dreaming, again? JP is this what you have received already?

    Karen

  369. Karen Davison 07 Dec 2009 at 2:30 pm

    was sent via email

    Karen

  370. Karen Davison 07 Dec 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Shane this was posted in one of the other areas so I copied and pasted to here.

    For those of you bumping up against the “10% decline in the market impact zone” requirement, we have an update. Plus, $323M in additional HAP funds on the way.

    We spoke to the Corps of Engineers national project officer for HAP Friday. He told us that impact zone requirement can be disputed if sellers can provide data that indicate your immediate area was impacted more than the Corps of Engineers area studies show. He says every regional office has the discretion to allow other evidence and the national/regional offices accept other information. We know of examples here in Fairfax county VA where some areas of the county were hit much harder than other areas. Marketing surveys provided by real estate firms and appraisals from local/county governments can help. The other Shane who has been posting on this site mentioned a case like this previously where a family overturned the 10% rule using this regional office management flexibility.

    Also, there is a bill working through Congress now that will add $323 million to the current HAP budget. This bill stands a high chance of passage from the Congress and the President. This additional money is projected to be enough to cover most HAP claims. Updates will follow.

    Shane

  371. Shaneon 07 Dec 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Shane,

    Yes, I can verify that they are now willing to approve benefits if you can provide data that disputes the program that ACE is using to measure county decline (Core Logic). In my case, we provided info from Zillow.com, Trulia.com and a survey done by our realtor that showed a decline of up to 17%. Core Logic put it at 8%. Quite the difference.

    The county decline was the only thing holding up approval of our application for the past couple of months. As it stands, our package should be forwarded to benefits in the next day or two.

    Never take “no” for an answer.

  372. JPon 08 Dec 2009 at 8:52 am

    Karen – I am still waiting on my offer letter. Last update I got was on Thursday that my offer letter was in for review and signature. I inquired about the status this morning – will post when I get a response.

    So thus far – the process seems to be – get your appliation in,
    it will be reviewed for proper paperwork – once your packet is complete, has been reviewed and it appears that you are eligible, your packet is then sent to benefits. Who then reviews and re-reviews and once they approved an offer letter is generated and reviewed for signature. Seems like a whole lot of reviewing to me. Folks are drowning out there waiting for HAP to come through.

  373. JPon 08 Dec 2009 at 9:05 am

    I could just scream

    Got my response “Please note that your offer letter has been prepared, however due the sale price being a bit below the current fair market value, an additional review has been requested. More information should be forthcoming soon.”

  374. Karen Davison 08 Dec 2009 at 6:31 pm

    OH,Jp I am so sorry. I thought you already went through this once before? This is such as mess.

    I received a reply today from Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp, Jr. the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army but had been rerouted to a Realty specialist. This is the reply I received:

    Ms. Davis:
    We have contacted the Savannah District who handles applications in your region. They are processing your application and will contact you to discuss eligibility criteria.

    Thank you for your service to our country.

    Respectfully,

    Diann Thompson
    Realty Specialist
    HQUSACE, CEMP-CR
    441 G Street NW
    Washington, DC 20314
    Tel: 202-761-1953
    Fax: 202-761-0824

    I wrote her back and said thanks but I already know this. What I wanted was the General to say something about the fact why it is taking so long for this to come to an end.

    Jp, keep me posted as to what happens now. Had you received a letter yet saying that it had gone to the governement acquistion side yet?

    Talk later.

    Karen

  375. JPon 09 Dec 2009 at 9:28 am

    Hey Karen

    Yes – we had been through that review before which is what frustrates me. They review, and review…and re-review..and re-review. Our rep emailed me yesterday afternoon and said

    “Please note that I have received verbal confirmation from our appraisal group that the values are being validated around $162K. You will be okay. I should obatin written comfirmation by tomorrow and then I will be able to execute your offer letter. Thanks for all of your patience as we work through this process. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.”

    I am hoping to hear today that she’s sent the offer letter.

    I’ve asked her twice about the rumors that they’ve put Govt acquisitions on hold – and she hasn’t responded to either.

  376. TJon 09 Dec 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Just signed our offer letter (which came via e-mail) and sent it back! We’ve had to change the closing date 3 different times (Sept / Nov / Jan) due to HAP and now we’ve got it set for no later than Jan 31st. My contact person at HAP (Savannah) said we should be “good to go” for closing by the second week of January. We’re doing a Government acquisition. Nothing to this point has been said regarding putting it on hold so I’m still hopeful (cautiously) this nightmare will finally be over and we can start the New Year off stress free. Our home in the FL panhandle – purchased in 2005 for $307K…..selling price $179K….having all of this finally behind us…..PRICELESS!!

  377. Karen Davison 09 Dec 2009 at 4:28 pm

    TJ I just pray that this is going to work out for the time line you are given. I happen to know that no government acquisiton has been processed as of yet. Believe me, there are many applications that were before you that are still waiting. According to Don CHapman in Washington DC the lawyers are still in debating mode and not getting anywhere.
    TJ are all your closing cost being paid as well? Can you break it down for us the figures so we know what is being offered? Will keep my fingers and toes crossed for you and all of us.

    Karen

  378. Karen Davison 09 Dec 2009 at 4:29 pm

    JP hope it turns out right this time. Keep in touch.

    Karen

  379. Karen Davison 09 Dec 2009 at 5:18 pm

    TJ can you tell me if you are going government acquisition under BRAC or PCS?

    Karen

  380. Shaneon 09 Dec 2009 at 9:33 pm

    I asked my rep at the Savannah office whether there was any truth to the claim that govt acquisitions were either suspended or not being paid. The reply I received was:

    “Money not being paid is not this program, they are referring to Fort Monmouth.”

    Not entirely sure what Fort Monmouth is, but from what she’s saying, our process is moving along as expected.

  381. Karen Davison 09 Dec 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Shane I am not sure where you are getting your information from. The information that I am giving to this blog comes straight from Washington DC and Don Chapman. Fort Monmouth is a Fort in New Jersey and has nothing to do with government acquisitions with HAP. It was affected by the 2005 BRAC and perhaps they are having problems with their payout.

    According to Lt General Robert L. Van Antwerp, Jr. the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army they are working out the kinks with the lawyers right now. No movement is expected until these issues can be resolved. Savanah and the other districts have no idea what is going on and are in the same boat we are. They will continue to tell you “that all is well” but until the first government acquistion is paid out I don’t believe them.

    On November 5th, when the tax issue was settled we were told that everything was a go and payouts would start immediately. Hmmmmmm. I think that was about four weeks ago and still nothing. So as much as I wish that I was wrong and my information was poor I don’t think so.

  382. Karen Davison 09 Dec 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Shane I did not mean to jump down your throat. I had just gotten off the phone with some other contacts in Washinton DC and their news was not good. So I am sorry that I took it out on you with my reply. I wish that what I was writting was dead wrong, and only time will tell, but I don’t think I am. My contacts say that the talks with the lawyers are stalled and nobody wants to make a decision about this. Until someone comes forth and decides that enough is enough we are in a stale mate.

    Karen

  383. Shaneon 10 Dec 2009 at 9:12 am

    No worries; didn’t take it as you “jumping down my throat.” More a matter of exchanging of info. I also hope you are wrong (fingers crossed). Our realtor specialist in Savannah has assured me that the application is moving along smoothly. It should have gone to appraisals by now. Appraisals should take about a week before sending it back to our rep. She would then forward it to benefits for payment.

    Again, this is not a process I’m stating as “fact,” but the information that is being provided to me by Savannah. I guess time will tell whether or not she’s blowing smoke up my six. My buyer is getting antsy, so I hope they figure out something quick.

  384. Karen Davison 10 Dec 2009 at 9:58 am

    Thanks Shane. I pray that this goes quickly for us and that come the New Year (or shortly after) this will all be in the past.

    Karen

  385. JPon 10 Dec 2009 at 10:16 am

    Shane – you got your offer letter before appraisals and benefits??

  386. JPon 10 Dec 2009 at 10:19 am

    I am still waiting on my offer letter – we found a house here we want but can’t really put in a contract with HAP contingency so now we have a house we dont’ want to lose and we don’t want to lose our buyer in fl.

  387. Karen Davison 10 Dec 2009 at 1:13 pm

    JP did you get the letter saying that your contract was going to Government acquisitions?

    Karen

  388. Shaneon 10 Dec 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Negative, no offer letter yet. Just confirmation via email that we had been approved and the occasional follow-up asking for additional documentation. At this point, I believe that they now have everything they need. Just hope and pray that appraisals goes along with our assessment of what the home is worth in todays market.

  389. JPon 10 Dec 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Karen – I am still waiting on my letter. I’ve been in benefits now since 16 Nov. I’ve heard a few times that my letter should be going out only to hit another snag. Last I heard was Tue that I would be ok and that they should have confirmation tomorrow (which would have been yesterday) and then they would be able to generate my letter. I’ve sent an email to my rep – but have gotten no response. I also emailed twice yesterday to ask about the rumors that they are holding govt acquisitions – and have gotten no response.

    I don’t want to lose the buyer in FL and I don’t want to not be able to put a contract in on the house we’ve found here.

    HAP is a nice concept – and will be great if it ever comes through – but I wish the powers that be would understand the situation that us military folks are in – every single day that HAP doesn’t settle on our house in fl is literally money down the drain for us. Every single day…cha-ching….cha-ching.

  390. JPon 10 Dec 2009 at 3:48 pm

    We have been in TLF now since the end of Sep – cha-ching. Paying mortgage in FL (cha-ching)…paying 1850 a month for stinkin TLF (cha-ching)..including 10 bucks a day for animals – 300 bucks a month..for animals in TLF – Cha-ching…paying power bill in Fl cha-ching..paying water bill in Fl…Cha-ching…going through all our savings…cha-ching…drowning..drowning ..drowning

  391. JPon 10 Dec 2009 at 3:49 pm

    and…we’re not as bad off as other folks

  392. JPon 10 Dec 2009 at 3:51 pm

    I wish the media would get ahold of this

  393. JPon 10 Dec 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Karen – who is Don Chapman?

  394. Shaneon 10 Dec 2009 at 4:43 pm

    JP,

    Have you considered finding a furnished house that would be willing to do a short-term lease with you? When we got to Jax, we didn’t want to rush into purchasing a home that we would later regret buying. Spending weeks on end at the Navy Lodge wasn’t an option.

    When we got here, we looked around on Craigslist and found a nice 3 bedroom, furnished house that we stayed in until we could find and close on our own place. We were paying all of $1300 a month. Sure beats paying out the arse at the TLF. Food for thought…

    Despite not yet qualifying for HAP at the time, we rolled the dice and purchased another home anyways. It’s a buyers market and now is the time to buy. We would have been in a bad situation regardless, whether we were having to pay two mortgages or a mortgage and rent.

  395. Karen Davison 10 Dec 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Jp, Don Chapman is the person in charge of HAP through the Washington DC office. JP, are you asking for a straight mortgage payoff or are you requesting that improvements be factored in? Or is this delay just because of the difference in what you are getting for your home versus the 10%?
    I have contacted local media and well known media but never heard back from anyone. I don’t know who else to contact now.

    Karen

  396. Karen Davison 10 Dec 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Chapman is the assistant program manager for all of HAP.

    Karen

  397. Angelaon 10 Dec 2009 at 7:50 pm

    JP,
    I realize that you might think this is a buyer’s market, but I certainly wouldn’t be getting yourself into another mortgage. To be hones, I don’t think there is a bottom in the market yet. Homes in our area keep dropping, houses taboot are sitting on the market in our new location just waiting and wondering if buyers are going to come along. Remember, HAP can only happen once in your life.

    To each his own, but my husband and I and several others I know are quite happy living in base housing until we know we are settled in retirement land. Not building any equity, nope, but sure beats the nerve racking idea of not being able to sell another house when the time comes.

  398. Shaneon 10 Dec 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Angela,

    You addressed the above to JP, but I’m assuming you meant me. By all means, I know that the market can continue to sink. The decision to buy is dependent upon the market in your area and the circumstances surrounding your situation.

    For us, we’ve got our potential buyer already in the home renting until the deal can be closed. Unlike many others who’s house sits empty, we have the additional money coming in by way of rent to offset the cost of two homes. Should that deal fall through, we have the funds in our bank to make the mortgage until we could find another renter (or buyer).

    Additionally, we were able to slip into our new home when the individual who had it built had his financing fall through. As a result, the builder knocked over $50K off the price of the home in order to sell it asap. Bottom line, we paid just over $200K for a home with a $270K price tag. Neighbors on all side of us paid well over $300K. It was too good a deal to let pass us by.

    I hope you didn’t interpret my earlier comments as me preaching to all that they should rush out and buy a house while the market is hot. That wasn’t my intention. Again, it’s an individual choice based on said individuals current situation.

  399. Karen Davison 11 Dec 2009 at 9:23 am

    Hello fellow HAPless friends,
    Today they are meeting in Washinton DC to decide on the interim rules. We are not sure if they will be talking about the government acquisition or not. Below is a letter that my realty specialist angel freind has been sending out to those who will llisten:

    Dear Sirs,
    I am writing this letter of an urgent nature. I am aware there is a blog on your site pertaining to the Service Member’s Homeowner Assistance Program. Much good information has been exchanged there since HAP was announced. I write as someone who has had direct contact with HAP applicants nationwide, and with many of the people assigned to implement this program. I am a Navy Veteran, Military Spouse, and Realtor. My knowledge and experience is from several vantage points.

    My sense of urgency is because there is a meeting in Washington D.C. tomorrow (Friday) to review the HAP Interim Rule for changes, in preparation to issue the final rule. Parties with much influence over the program will be present. The public comments have been very effective in pointing out issues that needed to be addressed. Many of the changes will be for the better. The urgency is that there has not been a “government acquisition” contract issued yet. This subject may, or may not be addressed at this meeting. It is my understanding that the attorneys involved have issue with the law as written due to conflicts with other laws. Verbiage conflicts as interpreted by the attorneys forced HAP program officials to “reinvent the wheel” from the previous “augmentation at time of close” program in an attempt to help the Service Members effectively. Unfortunately, the “Acquisition” method will be more costly than the previous “Augmentation” method. While legal issues are understood- we have to work with what we have and need to move expeditiously forward with processing acquisition applicants for payment. The need for this contract paperwork has been widely known for months. Many of our Service Members do not have any more time to wait because they are near bankruptcy and foreclosure. One processor has roughly 40 claims totalling over 7 million dollars…just waiting for the attorneys to agree upon and issue the acquisition transfer contract. Each day not closed costs these applicants hundreds to thousands of dollars they will not see again. These applicants deserve more honor and respect as members of the United States military than continued HAP delays offer them. Service Members keep to their military commitments- the Attorneys need to release HAP (acquisition) to live up to its promises.

    The point to this- over time, many letters have been written to people in various positions of authority and Congressmen. These letters are funneled down the chain at Army Corps to very wonderful and committed people. These are people who do NOT have the authority necessary to issue legal a directive to stop discussing why they “can’t” complete the acquisition contract and find a way they “can”- with a specific deadline! Thus many Service Members are still holding ownership to properties that are bleeding their bank accounts dry. Hope for the relief promised since February is fading. In November after the tax legislation passed, some were told by Savannah their properties could close in 14-21 days. Sacramento said 30-45 days. Those deadlines have come and gone with no closing due to lack of government paperwork. Buyers are losing their patience. Service Members that have all documentation complete are waiting for this to end and should not be subject to indefinite delays through the holidays with no idea when they can close their homes. This has already gone on too long without remedy.

    I write this letter to suggest that if you are reading this, and have relationship with the Secretary of Defense or someone close in the chain of command, that you contact them. Please ask them to take a direct and personal interest in the timeline for processing properties for “government acquisition” under the Homeowner’s Assistance Program administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. I respectfully suggest a date of December 18th, 2009, be mandated for the Attorneys to issue the HAP acquisition contract. If all those who need to be involved work as a team, this is a very reasonable date for completion. This would make the holidays much merrier for all applicants and those who have been trying to help them through difficult times!

    Should you have any questions on anything contained in this letter, please feel free to contact me.
    Most respectfully,
    Denise Korpinen
    Navy Veteran
    Military Spouse
    Realtor, Prudential California Realty
    Cell (858)442-7233

  400. JPon 11 Dec 2009 at 11:18 am

    Interesting – my HAP Rep says

    “No, government acquisitions are not on hold. We have closings executed daily. Your new offer letter should go out on Monday. “

  401. Shaneon 11 Dec 2009 at 11:25 am

    With regards to govt acquisition; does it make a difference if your buyer is already lined up? The same day Uncle Sam acquires my property, he will turn around and sell it to the buyer I’ve already got lined up. In cases like this, I really don’t see how it’s any different than me selling it myself and then turning to them for reimbursement.

  402. JPon 11 Dec 2009 at 11:30 am

    For govt acquisition you have to have your buyer lined up. I’ve had mine sitting for weeks now waiting on stupid HAP. How they can’t have a general contract already for HAP is beyond me – this isn’t the firs time they’ve had to do Govt Acquisitions. If that is an issue then they should just meet folks at closing to cover their gap and get folks moving. But again – my rep said there is no hold on govt acquisitions. Although – at this point I feel rather strung-along – another week down the drain – I truly don’t expect that my letter will go out on Monday.

  403. JPon 11 Dec 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Karen – our is just a straight mortgage payoff – no improvements, no 2nd mortgage etc. Sounds simple right?

    They estimate our FMV is 162. we are selling for 160. That shouldn’t be an issue either – but has required two reviews at this point. Entirely too much time is spent in review.

    Maybe media will pay attention when this drags on long enought that military folks and their families are living in their cars.

  404. Karen Davison 11 Dec 2009 at 7:42 pm

    JP the reason that they don’t have a contract is simple. The process has been stalled. Lawyers are trying to rewrite the law and can’t decide how it should be done. Again I say I pray that I am wrong but I am not.

    It was explained to me why this time around for government acquisition is different but I don’t know how to explain it. I will contact my realty angel and have her break it down for me and I will get back to you. It has something to do with other things that would be required (more funds out of the HAP pot) to be done to/with the house in order for them to “own” it even for a day. But I will get back with you.

    Will also let you know if there is any news from the big meeting today.

    Karen

  405. Karen Davison 11 Dec 2009 at 7:43 pm

    JP there are already military members living out of their cars. I have been in contact with two such families. THe member moved to their new location, now living in their car, and the family was left behind at the old station. IT it a crime for this to happen.

    Karen

  406. Karen Davison 12 Dec 2009 at 12:28 am

    JP NO government acquistion have been paid out to date. So who ever said
    “No, government acquisitions are not on hold. We have closings executed daily. Your new offer letter should go out on Monday. “
    is lying to you or is seriously being misled. Call up Washington Dc and speak with Don Chapman and he will verify that NO government acquisitions have been paid. This is why people are upset because nobody from the districts can give them the straight story-either because they honestly don’t know or they are being told to tell us this. This makes me furious.

    Karen

  407. flyingjon 12 Dec 2009 at 11:07 am

    Just want to say, HAP worked out well for me. I closed on my house and got reimbursed on the same day. Not trying to rub it in to those who are still fighting thru the beauracracy, I just want to provide encouragement to those who are wondering if there is ever light at the end of the tunnel. I never got “approval” until I was paid. I just documented the hell out of my “reasonable effort to sell at fair market value” and ensured my Pcs dates, 10% community devaluation, etc were all well substantiated. It’s a major leap of faith in other words, but it payed off for me and my family in the end.

  408. Shannonon 12 Dec 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I have a close friend who closed using HAP the week of Thanksgiving. It was a PCS. And I know their RNT was 30Sept09. They had a buyer lined up, renting from them. HAP folks changed the date once on them, moving the date a week later, but otherwise things went smoothly. The house is located in VA, so it was the Savannah office they worked with. Not sure why there are so many different answers being given to people about this.

  409. Karen Davison 12 Dec 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Shannon, did your friends use “government acquisition” or was it a “private sell” where they sold and had to loose the 10%? Or they might had had enough equity that they were able to do it that way. If you would find out under what rulling they sold under I would appreciate it.

    I am not saying that money has not been paid out. As of last week HAP has payed out on 227 application out of 4700. But not one has been under the “government acquisition” rule. There have been several here on the board that have received money with Zachary being one of them. We are also hearing that at least half of those 4700 are probably not eligible for some reason or another.

    Karen

  410. Karen Davison 12 Dec 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I am not making up these figures or the fact that no payment has been paid out under the “government acquistion” payout. This comes straight from the main office for HAP here in Washington Dc.

    Karen

  411. Shannonon 13 Dec 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Karen,

    I’m not sure. I will email her to find out. I know they were going to have to come up with about $160K to close on their own. There was no way for them to come up with that amount, so they were just holding out, renting to the potential buyer until HAP got underway. I’ll see what I can find out.

  412. Denise Korpinenon 14 Dec 2009 at 5:23 am

    All- This is Karen’s Realtor friend (although I think Karen gives me way too much credit with the “angel” thing!). I have come into contact with many of my direct info sources by my relationship with Karen. As you know from the blogs, she has been advocating from the start. All I have done is help her understand the real estate side better. We have learned a lot together and know the adventure is not over till you ALL see your properties closed!

    I would like to share some little known HAP history. I have been told Mr. Don Chapman, from HAP D.C., is actually the person who helped write the HAP Legislation for ARRA. Mr. Chapman is in charge of “implementation” (rule interpretation) for HAP. He holds the position with good reason. He has been an advocate for years of providing some type of housing assistance for wounded warriors. The Bush administration went “door knocking” of sorts amongst departments for suggestions on what to put in a “stimulus package”. Mr. Chapman answered the call and came out if retirement to see this through. For the most part, HAP 2009 was meant to be the same program as old- but be “Expanded” to include more categories of beneficiaries. With new beneficiaries came additional qualifying criteria. HAP made the cut into the Stimulus and word of its inclusion gave us all great hope…

    Enter the other government entities…OSD, OMB, DOJ and the government attorneys. This was no simple review. The conflicts between the “letter of the law” and the “intent of the law” began. What started as an effort to “expand” an existing program turned into a reinvention of the wheel because of a few words in the legislation. Thus, the federal tax law that we saw passed on Nov. 5th, 2009, to make the benefits tax free (remember, your state must have a law that is based on federal, or pass its own law to cover state taxes). A similar challenge arises with the government purchasing or supplementing the home sale. That is why the “Augmentation” aspect went away. They say HAP can’t use the same contract they did before or the same processing mechanisms. This is why the whole “Government Acquisition” arm of the program has become so complicated, confusing, and is taking so long. Karen posted some emails I sent on this previously so I will not rehash.

    To come to date- the week before Thanksgiving folks at HAP thought they would start to issue government acquisition contracts. I talk to Sacramento Reps every few days. Everyone I have talked to there has been wonderful and knowledgeable. They thought they were going to use the old contract with a few minor updates. A DOJ attorney went out there to give a talk and when his information did not coincide with what Sacramento HAP leadership believed to be the case- the breaks were put on the acquisitions. On Dec. 4th, Mr. Chapman told me no acquisitions had been processed. Now, there is a question as to whether Savannah District managed to process a few acquisition claims using the old contract before this all went down. I don’t talk to Fort Worth District. Sacramento definitely did not process any acquisitions.

    There are many applicants who have either foreclosed, have no buyer, or not even marketed their homes yet due to the questions surrounding the program. It has become pretty clear that Districts will likely process all complete applications as quickly as possible regardless of report date date if everything is in order. That is, until the money starts to get tight. I have a member whose application and purchase contract have been at HAP Sacramento since April ’09. His PCS qualifying move was July ’07. The Buyer is in the house as a tenant- thank God! Unfortunate that it is about $1,000 a month loss for the member (much like many of you). It has been quite the ride. Early Nov. we were told 30-45 days max. We were to finally close Dec. 16th (obviously we have extended the purchase contract several times). Our Benefits Rep is well aware of the situation and I know we will process as soon as Sacramento is released to do so. I will certainly post as soon as I hear anything and know will too.

    I hope what I have said helps in some small way to clear some of the fog. It is such a blessing to read this blog and see you share information with each other and offer support to your fellow servicemembers and “family”. Knowledge is power- so stay armed and ready!

  413. JPon 14 Dec 2009 at 10:14 am

    Karen – I am not saying that your information is wrong…I’m just posting what my savannah rep that has my file is saying.

    It is sad though that HAP DC and the regional HAP offices are not on the same page.

  414. Chaseon 14 Dec 2009 at 5:35 pm

    I was told by Tashawna Sumner at the Sacramento office that the Gov acquisition has been been put on hold. She also told me that under the Gov Acquisition, if the lawers ever get everything worked out, closing costs will not be covered. This is the first time I’ve heard that closing costs are not covered. Can any one else confirm this? What about upgrades (Paver Patio, Pergola, etc…) are those upgrades covered under the Gov Acquisition? I’m assuming that if she’s telling me that HAP isn’t going to cover closing costs that they’re also not going to cover improvements. I’d love to hear from others to whether any of this is true or whether I should request a different HAP specialist that knows what’s going on?

  415. Shaneon 14 Dec 2009 at 5:58 pm

    I received word today from my rap at Savannah that our sale price has been approved. On our second mortgage, we were approved for a chunk of the improvements that went into the house. Found it strange that two items did not qualify as “improvements.” Those two were wood blinds throughout the house and a nice front load washer/dryer set.

    Should be noted that the blinds were not merely an upgrade. The home was sold without blinds, so I’d think they are an improvement.

    Later received an email containing a scanned memo again confirming that we met eligibility requirements and that our package was being sent to acquisitions to determine any “benefit owed” and that I would be notified in writing.

    No timeframe given, so I guess it’s a bit more waiting. At least it’s forward movement, so no complaints just yet.

  416. Karen Davison 14 Dec 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Thank you Denise for helping to clarify the muddy waters that I am trying to navigate in. If anyone has further questions let me know and I will have her answer them for us if she can.

    Chase, I have not heard about that aspect of government acquistions but who knows what will be what when everything is ironed out. According to my rep closing cost will be paid for if they are “usual and customary” to your area. One of the posters here had 7% paid for his realtor fees so it just depends on what in the normal practice in your area.

    If you have bills and receipts to verify “improvements” that is added to the PMV of the home. But if you are upside down on your mortgage it does not matter if you have improvements or not. They are only being used to give you a better figure should you be eligible for money back when they come to the table for the 90% payout.

    Karen

  417. Alanon 14 Dec 2009 at 8:57 pm

    I am new to the forum, but wanted to say thank you to everyone who has posted here. This site has been a great source of information for me as I begin the process of applying for HAP funds. I have a quick question for the group and hope that someone has already had this answered. On the HAP website under the Extended HAP benefits for PCS orders section, it states “Property purchased (or contract to purchase signed) before 1 July 2006.” Does anyone know if the “contract to purchase signed” is holding up or do you have to have closed on your house prior to 1 July 2006?

    I am in a situation where I closed in the beginning of August 2006, but signed a contract in May 2006. This program would really help me out of a bind, but I’m not sure that I’m eligible. Thanks in advance for any help that you all can provide.

  418. JPon 15 Dec 2009 at 9:48 am

    Rec’d my offer letter this morning – my rep is still saying that govt acquisitions are not on hold – I don’t know what to say here other than we’ll see I guess.

  419. Shaneon 15 Dec 2009 at 11:01 am

    JP,

    How long after being notified that your package was going to acquisitions did you receive that letter? Received an email yesterday letting us know our package was being forwarded, just didn’t know how long to expect before we saw something.

  420. JPon 15 Dec 2009 at 11:33 am

    Shane – our package was forwarded to benefits on 14 Nov (our rep was working the weekend). I called Benefits on 18 Nov to check the status and they didn’t have it assigned. They pulled it out of the bucket (wherever the first folks send it). We have been told for almost 2 weeks now that our letter should come any day – but it got hung up in a re-review of our FMV issue. (Even though it was reviewed before it went to benefits). I rec’d the letter this morning so all in all – from 16 Nov (monday) to today. One month it took us from arrival in benefits to get our offer letter.

    I’ve already signed/accepted their offer and sent the letter back in

  421. JPon 15 Dec 2009 at 12:31 pm

    me personally – I wouldn’t count blinds and appliances ‘improvement’s – I would call them accessories and cosmetics. we did some home repairs to get the house ready, replaced the fence, replaced the shower door and threshold etc but I wouldn’t claim them as home improvements. If we had maybe added an addition or a whole kitchen redo, maybe..IDK, I’m glad I didn’t have to mess with that part – ours is simple, one mortgage, no improvements

  422. Shannonon 15 Dec 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Karen,

    RE: Previous scenario on my friend’s closing…HAP met these folks at closing to pay off the mortgage. Theirs happened rather quickly. Her husband got word he was getting orders in June. They put their house on the market in July (without official orders), had 2 offers within 3 days on their house, but discovered they could not come up with the funds to close. Originally, buyer was willing to wait for HAP, but did not want to rent. Family ended up PCSing at the end of Sept, leaving house empty. By beginning of Nov. buyer moved in to rent until closing. Closing was originally supposed to happen the week before Thanksgiving, ended up being pushed a week later. She said everything went smoothly. They must have been one that slipped in before things were put on hold.

  423. Johnon 15 Dec 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I have two little ones and don’t have time to read all the recent posts. Here’s our situation: have had house on the market since Nov. of 2007 – were sent a letter stating we didn’t qualify due to the 10% county decline and immediately appealed – that was on Oct. 26th. We have yet to hear anything. I kept calling and emailing and just was given the runaround. Any suggestions? My thought was that maybe they’re just waiting to see if the rule is thrown out altogether instead of reviewing our appeal. Help.

  424. Karenon 15 Dec 2009 at 8:30 pm

    John keep sendin emails or calling them. It could be that they are waiting for further guidance. But packages have been know to just sit there until you contac them. Don’t give up. What does your research show for your area? If you have any information to back up a different percentage then submit that.

    Good luck.

    Karen

  425. Karenon 15 Dec 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Jp great news for you and the family. What closing cost did they pay for if I might ask?

    Karen

  426. Angelaon 15 Dec 2009 at 8:49 pm

    John,
    What district are you in? We are in the Ft Worth and I didn’t even have to appeal. Just so happens when I called they “got new numbers” so we are now eligible. However, we obviously have a huge hurdle to cross and that is selling our house which has been on the market since July 2008. So, God be with us.

  427. JPon 16 Dec 2009 at 9:57 am

    Karen – our letter says “No realtor commissions are considered in the initial purchase transaction; however, realtor commissions are considered in the resale transaction, but will not exceed the normal and customary realtor commissions for the area.”

    no other closing costs are addressed – other than we are required to be current on mortgage, taxes and interest.
    You are required to bring sufficient funds to satisfy mortgage interest due on your promissory note in the form of a certified check. You will also need sufficient funds to pay real estate taxes which are prorated. If your real estate taxes and insurance are paid in escrow, any escrow balance will be reimbursed after closing by your mortgage company.

    property is also subject to and required to pass an inspection three days prior to closing

  428. Karenon 16 Dec 2009 at 2:49 pm

    JP thanks for your reply. Did your buyer ask you to pay any closing cost associated with the sale of your house?

    Karen

  429. Tomon 16 Dec 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Quick question for the HAPless: Under the “reasonable effort to sell” section of the proposed rule, the last sentence states “if an applicant is unable to sell the primary residence, the HQUSACE will determine whether efforts to sell were reasonable.” That’s it. Nothing further, but it has sure peaked my interest.

    Why would they need to make this determination? Is there a possible benefit or additional action for otherwise qualified applicants if they can’t sell the home?

    In my case, my list price is about bottomed out in terms of CFMV and I’m concerned I won’t get a buyer due to market conditions and the high amount of inventory in my area. I have it listed for 105K less than the purchase price and my agent hasn’t fielded one phone call. I don’t even know if I could give it away.

  430. Shaneon 16 Dec 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Tom,

    The following was pulled from USACE’s website. It addressed “reasonable effort to sale.”

    A. Your primary residence must be listed, actively marketed, and available for purchase for a minimum of 120 days. With regard to marketing, up must demonstrate that the asking price was within the current market value of the home as determined by the CoE automated value model (AVM) for no less than 30 days. It is your responsibility to explain marketing efforts by detailing how the asking price was gradually reduced until it reached the true current fair market value (i.e., maintaining a log containing date and asking price recorded over period of time indicating number of visits by prospective buyers and offers to purchase). If you are unable to sell the primary residence, the CoE will determine whether efforts to sell were reasonable.

  431. Shaneon 16 Dec 2009 at 5:12 pm

    I was under the impression that part of the benefits included paying for the buyers closing costs. I’m being informed now that this is not the case. Is this correct? Was buyers closing costs ever part of the benefits offered or being proposed? I can’t seem to find anything related to it now.

  432. Tomon 16 Dec 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Shane- I’m pretty well versed with regards to the language you provided. In fact, it’s the last sentence that I’m questioning. Using current practices, if I’m not able to sell, then there’s no benefit. So, if there’s no sale, what’s the point in the CoE determining whether or not my efforts reasonable. One can only assume that there are provisions in place or being planned for those folks in a particularlly dire market. It’s quite the “hanging chad.”

  433. Karenon 16 Dec 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Shane, this was from 9/30/09 in the Federal register for the rules. Since the meeting on Friday who knows what will happen:

    (a) General Benefits: (1) If an applicant is unable to sell the primary residence after
    demonstrating reasonable efforts to sell (see Definitions, §239.4(i) of this part), the Government
    may purchase the primary residence for the greater of:
    (i) The applicable percentage (identified by applicant type in §239.5(a)(4)) of the PFMV
    of the primary residence, or
    (ii) The total amount of the eligible mortgage(s) that remains outstanding.
    (2) If an applicant sells, has sold, or otherwise has transferred title of the primary
    residence, the benefit calculation shall be the amount of closing costs plus an amount not to
    exceed the difference between the applicable percentage of the PFMV and the sales price.

    The way it was explained to me was the “if the applicant sells….
    means us once HAP buys it from us and then transfers it to the buyer closing cost as well as realtor fees will be paid. Again they must be normal and customary in your area.

    Hope this helps and better yet, hope this is still true when all the smoke clears!!!!! By the way who is informing you otherwise?

    Tom under the old rules, prior to the expantion of HAP, the government WOULD by your house from you. Then they would offer it up for sale. But when they offered it this time they decided that they just can’t handle that amount of inventory. So they took it out of the offering. You HAVE to have a buyer on board before HAP will even look at your application and get it moving. HAP just does not have the money to out and out purchase homes from us like they once did when BRAC was involved.

    I hope that it works out for you.

    Karen

  434. Denise Korpinenon 16 Dec 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Reviewed your posts since my last post. Answer to some of this processing is “it depends” upon your District how it will process. This is what I was told on Monday by Sacramento District about the process and I believe it sounds accurate:

    -Benefits advisor collects all pertinent information from Service Member (SM), Realtors, and any closing agents involved (escrow, title, etc) and assures file is complete (especially HUD1 estimate which they base offer letter on). Check automated value and do review appraisal if needed. Should not need additional reviews/appraisals IF sale price is within 10% of Current FMV. Prepares offer letter.

    Start clock…- Title report goes to District’s Attorney for review. Not sure what the turnaround will be on that part- depends on the Attorney.
    -Offer letter goes to supervisor’s desk for approval.
    - Once offer letter comes back and Title is approved; processor can forward the offer letter to SM and “contract” for Buyer
    - SM can sign and email back acceptance
    End clock…**HAP processors hoping these items will take no more than 72 hours
    **Check for closing can then be cut and forwarded within 24 hours!
    Remember there will be miscellaneous things that have to happen on the part of the “closing agents” to record the transfer that will affect the time from check receipt to transfer of ownership. As the Seller you won’t see these things happen. Just know there are a lot more hands touching that file than you will ever care to know- just pray they all do their job.

  435. Denise Korpinenon 16 Dec 2009 at 11:15 pm

    CLOSING COSTS
    Shane posted closing fees Nov 30th as “According to the Savannah office”. This update is “according to Sacramento”: I added note*
    -Real estate commission
    -State tax stamps
    -Power of Attorney fees
    -Deed tax stamps
    -Pest inspection ONLY* (no “repairs”)
    -Recording fees
    -Overnight/courier fees
    -Attorney fees/document fee
    -Wire fee
    -Notary public fee
    ** As usual and customary for area- your Realtor should know the “definition” of this**If not- have them call me- happy to help! I want my “family” taken care of. Google my name.

    Additionally, some things changed and they also cover (per Sacramento & D.C.):
    -Homeowner Association Document fees
    -Homeowner Association Transfer fees (NO dues)
    -SM Title policy
    -Buyer Homeowner Warranty if in contract between SM and Buyer

    Do NOT cover:
    -SM Escrow fee
    -Interest or taxes through day of close

  436. Denise Korpinenon 17 Dec 2009 at 3:06 am

    Don’t mean to “blog hog” but want to answer some of those specifics posted…can’t let Karen have all the fun!

    BUYER CLOSING COSTS (sorry, missed in last post)- verbiage in real estate is real important. To my understanding, if it is “usual and customary” in your area to “credit” a buyer for “costs” then HAP should allow it. Stay vague. If the credit states for “repairs”- no dice. Need to take this into account before negotiating a purchase contract with a Buyer.

    Date of July 1, 2006 for purchase cut off- I have heard tell it is part of the “law” so it will take act of Congress to change it. No, I am not kidding. You will need to write your Representatives and get another bill going. Anybody know Nancy Pelosi? In all seriousness, she controls what goes to the floor and when. Get it attached it to something popular at the last minute. There have been enough comments about this- it may have gotten someone’s attention already. Not in the know on that part just yet. If it is a “rule” issue OSD can change it. Like extending the orders date to cover 2010 summer movers. The Secretary of Defense can do that if the funds allow. HAP has to pay a few acquisitions first to see if they will have the money in the program…

    Yes, this would be much simpler if the government didn’t have to “buy” the house under new rules and could just bring a check for the “difference” to close like they did in augmentation. It costs the program less to do it that way too. Expanded HAP Acquisition when the SM finds the Buyer is still less costly than if the government bought then carried homes in” inventory”. It cost an average of $29,000 per home when they did that (per Don Chapman).

    Sacramento said today they sent 10 government acquisitions to Attorney for title review on Monday (more since). Waiting for Attorney to approve title so they can send out offer letters. These will be the 1st acquisitions paid out from Sacramento District. FYI- I am working with 7 different members with applications in various stages for this District. I’ve seen a few things.

    Chase- Tashawna at Sacramento is very knowledgeable by my experience. Not sure how long ago she told you closing costs were not covered- as there was a point where most of them were not for “acquisition”. Things change. Now MOST of them are covered (see above post). If you are concerned about anything you are told in Sacramento, I suggest you ask for Janice Will to clarify. Janice is a solid rock in the constantly shifting HAP world. She’s been there a long time.

    Savannah District- if you have concerns there ask for Bonnie Reed. She has seemed pretty solid.

    Karen- you’d better get back on the phone with Savannah and find out if they got that mortgage payoff info….your appraisal was 2-3 weeks ago now and you should be getting an offer letter!

    Alan- send in a copy of your initial offer acceptance with the date circled in bold ink and highlighted in some fascinating color. “HAP Applications for Dummies” so no one can miss it. Include HUD1 (closing statement) from the original purchase. Make a detailed statement about offer date in the “remarks” on your application. You should be ok if offer is from May 2006 as you say.

    Shane- I don’t know how much the blinds were- but I would argue that. In Cali they are attached and are supposed to convey with the property. If there were no window treatments and you put them in- they should count. Sorry on the washer dryer- can’t support it.

    John- Angela asked which District (if I were to bet- you are going to say Savannah). I am also wondering if you have an offer on the property? If not, don’t expect to hear much of anything from HAP unless it is you calling them. Don’t shoot the messenger. I don’t mean to offend you, it’s just processors are real busy right now trying to get people with completed packages and buyers breathing down their necks like Karen, Shane, JP, TJ and my friend Ralph off their desks. Once this initial acquisition push gets out the door they will get back to you. As Karen mentioned, they are also transitioning approval from that crazy county/parish rule to a straight 10% personal loss (from Prior Fair MV to sales price). It will likely come out as a change with the final rule in January. If there isn’t at least 10% loss in value on the property from purchase to sale price you will not qualify for HAP. The loss doesn’t have to be straight out of your pocket- meaning if you 100% financed, you will qualify if the current market value/sales price dropped 10% or more from purchase. If you show 10% based on what I have mentioned here AND you have a Buyer with an offer already submitted- call HAP now. If not, learn what you can from your “family” who are posting here. You will benefit from their experiences. Know it is hard with two little ones. Also know that you are the only one who can keep your application from falling through the cracks, unless your Realtor is willing to chase them around for you!

    Tom & Angela- you need to find a Buyer no matter what it takes. Document the heck out of your efforts (see below). I also suggest you call your processor and tell them you have been on the market a long time (over 3-4 months becomes a long time) and really need the AVM (automated value model) amount for your property to be sure you stay within their rules. Use sugar.

    Efforts to sell…in PCS Gov’t Acquisition YOU MUST FIND the BUYER- PERIOD. Only people who don’t have to are some Wounded Warriors and Surviving Spouses. To be honest- they still have to try to market and will be better off to do what is needed to find Buyer than to wait the timeframe to qualify to be bought out without one (that is where that 120 days comes in). The government does not want to own and carry houses. If they did they’d burn the approved funds faster than the money could be printed. Sales strategy for marketing and pricing depends on the area. It is a little hard to explain. Long and the short of it- you must justify to HAP you did the best possible in your given market. I would suggest starting at higher end of fair market (depending on price of home). Your realtor can do market analysis to find this price. Do it for no more than 2 weeks. Agent must document the heck out of activity (or lack thereof). If lack of activity warrants drop price every 1-2 weeks depending on activity till you get that qualified offer. You have to do it fast enough so house isn’t completely stale on market but slow enough to be in HAP guidelines (min 30 days at market value) . There is a delicate balance. I really feel for those of you in saturated markets. Here there is limited competition in most places- more buyers than houses for sale.

    JP & TJ- Last but certainly not least …CONGRATS on getting your offer letters- so looking forward to hearing you have closed!

  437. JPon 17 Dec 2009 at 11:49 am

    Denise – great info. It has taken both myself and my agent to keep our HAP ball rolling. You really really have to be pro-active or you will get lost in the pile

  438. Johnon 17 Dec 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks for the info. Denise. We do have buyers – and they want to close as soon as possible. For the Fort Worth district we can only call between 10am and 12pm central time and today I have been calling for exactly 2 hours. There’s only two contacts, Sarah Watts and Tina Allen and Sarah isn’t answering calls anymore – you can only correspond with her through email. Since they both check email, the responses are very confusing and they don’t appear to be communicating with each other about our case.

    Does anyone have Don Chapman’s contact informatioon? Thanks to all for your help.

  439. Denise Korpinenon 17 Dec 2009 at 4:29 pm

    John- I can give you Mr. Chapman’s contact. He can get onto them, but Angela mentioned someone to me offline at Fort Worth. Let”s see if you could hook up with him…Angela?

  440. Karenon 17 Dec 2009 at 4:50 pm

    See folks why I refer to Denise as my “angel” disguised as a realtor? And she and I have never met!!! She is ex military,a military spouse, and now married to a Naval Officer. I will forgive her on that point (being ex AF myself and married to an AF officer!!!) But she came to bat for me when I had no one else to go to at least no one that made any sense. She takes calls from me whenever I have a panic attack and always has time to talk. If she does not know the answer she will find it for you. Any one moving to the San Diego area needs to contact my Angel and know you will be in the best hands available.

    Karen

  441. Angelaon 17 Dec 2009 at 4:53 pm

    John,
    E-mail Denise. You can google her.

  442. Denise Korpinenon 18 Dec 2009 at 1:22 am

    Hey- I was a Navy Corpsman, my hubby is a Marine!

    Back to the HAP topic- Karen and I compared notes today on closing costs and processor comments. Her processor emailed and said a home warranty was a no go. Her Alabama real estate agent insists Home Warranty is “usual and customary” for Seller to pay there. Savannah HAP Rep says it depends on area if it is covered and says for Montgomery area it will not cover. Sacramento says Home Warranty is covered for San Diego area. Interesting.

  443. Angelaon 18 Dec 2009 at 8:56 am

    A very HAP savvy realtor had the following to say regarding our situation. I believe it may be helpful to those who haven’t sold their homes yet.

    > I have a few questions for you that I hope you can answer though I’m sure you are busy enough with your own clients.
    >
    > 1. How should our listing agreement read regarding a government buyout and realtor fees?

    > Similar to: “In the event the herein listed property is sold to the United States of America, or an agency thereof, the listing broker will not be entitled to any commission or other consideration as a result of such sale from this Seller. Broker may been entitled to commission from government agency via sale to buyer via separate agreement.”

    > 2. How do you state in the listing agreement that any contracts are contingent upon final approval and benefits from the HAP office? I ask because we need an escape hatch from potential buyers in case our package does not get final approval or the benefits are not in our favor.

    > Confidential remarks/notes in MLS listing to agents only (not public part of remarks) should state similar to: “Seller has applied for DOD military seller assistance program called HAP. All sale contract terms and commissions subject to HAP/Government Agency approval”.

    Any sales contract with Buyer should state similar to, “Buyer understands Seller retains right to cancel and sale is contingent upon financial assistance approval for mortgage differential and closing costs though Dept of Defense/Army Corps administered Housing Assistance Program/HAP.”

    > 3. Our house was listed from July 2008 to June 2009 at 259,000 which was way too high but we couldn’t afford to come down. From June 2009 to Dec 3, 2009 it was listed at 249,000 which again was way too high but bottom dollar that we could walk away with a clean slate. Once we found out we were eligible for HAP, we had an appraisal done which came out at 230,000 and HAP Ft. Worth stated that is what they will use as our CFMV in lieu of their AVM which is basically based on old tax values. Their AVM states that our home is only worth 140,000 (we did major improvements but the tax assessor didn’t catch on to all of those and based our new tax on approx 180,000). Our realtor thinks we need to go down to 219,000 even though the appraisal said 230,000. Can we just drop it down to 207,000 (10 % of CFMV) immediately and still be ok?

    You have had this property on the market for quite some time! Have you had any offers? Problem is that if you just drop it to $207k immediately they will likely hassle you and rereview “forever”. Better to give it 2-3 more weeks of progressive price drops DOCUMENTING ACTIVITY like a mad dog.

    - Is the PFMV and CFMV more important to you because you are trying get cash from HAP after they calculate your 10% contribution? *If so they will look at you even closer. If you are not getting anything beyond 100% mortgage payoff slightly less strict except it still needs to show you did the best you could to save the government money.

    -What has been the showing activity at $249k? Document it well. If you are on automated lockboxes and it has been shown Pennie can pull the box activity off line.

    - What is the market like from $200k to $250k? How many homes and average market time to sell for that price range (absorption rate)?

    -Contact any agents who have shown it in the last 3 months and document feedback. Hope they all say, “nice place but the price is too high”. ASk what they think price should be and put in notes.

    **From what you have said, remembering I am not in your area and my whole market is much different this is were I’d need to run it with Pennie, I am just going by HAP criteria as I know it. I would drop it to $230k/229k immediately. You have way too much market time and need drastic change. I would do this for 1 week to show you tried at HAP CFMV. If there are no showings or some showings but no offers drop price again in 1 week. If there is a lot of activity, you may need to wait to drop price to give opportunity for people to decide to make offer. Likely there will be limited activity if it is as you say) drop to $224k for week 2. If week 2 brings limited showings but no offers (or no showings)…Come week 3 drop to $219k, etc. You don’t want to run out of room financially to give closing costs within the price if that is common in your area. Remember- you can’t give any “repairs”. Hope this helps.

  444. JPon 18 Dec 2009 at 12:37 pm

    HAP has scheduled our closing for 14 Jan

  445. JPon 18 Dec 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Also – there was an article on HAP in the air force times yesterday

  446. Chaseon 18 Dec 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks Denise… I spoke to Tashawna a little over a week ago and that is what she told me about closing costs/realtor fees. It’s a bit disheartening since she is a processor and handling my file. I just can’t afford all those costs.

    Also does anyone know if gov aquisitions are still on hold?

  447. Karenon 18 Dec 2009 at 7:16 pm

    JP I hope that all goes well and smoothly. Keep in touch and let us know how it all turns out. This has to have a happy ending somewhere along the way. Have a blessed holiday and hope to hear great news from everyone soon.

    Denise sorry about getting your services mixed up. It must be my old age. Hopefully the letter will be waiting when we return home-if we don’t get stuck in all of this snow!!!!!Talk soon.

    Karen

  448. JPon 18 Dec 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Karen – I will post as I go along – I hope it all goes smoothly too. I’m afraid to believe it until I see it.

    I hope everyone has a very merry christmas

  449. richon 20 Dec 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Hello to ALL, I’m reaching out and need some assistance. I’ve recently put in my application for HAP in Savannah, but was disapproved.

    I meet all the guidelines, purchased in 12/05 sold 11/08, primary residence, and had to move due to PCS. I submitted all paperwork plus more than what they originally asked for. I almost got through the Appraisal Department…but they stated they needed a County Decline…something they said they had to pay for, from the county that the property was ‘SOLD” in (Jefferson County, New York..Ft. Drum).

    Even though the purchase contract, appraisal, approved buyer’s loan and HUDs (when purchased and when sold) justify my loss. I sent them the County information from the New York State Association of Realtors and they used that to reach their decision. I was being proactive, but got blindsided about this County Decline. Can someone explain the reason behind the county decline? Is the county decline a new step and is it staying around? I don’t understand why that is a factor, when your trying to sell the home before you PCS. I actually had the home on the market for 6 months and had to leave, and pay the mortgage while at my new duty station. They stated the County decline must be at 10% loss, between date purchased and date sold. Another question…why even start process if the County Decline is a deciding factor. It seems, it should be eliminated or a list brought forward stating which counties eligible for the benefits, because alot of people will loss out on the assistance and/or time wasted at the 3x HAP offices.

    Thank YOU.

  450. Karenon 21 Dec 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Hi Rich and welcome to our HAPless site. I will try to answer your question.

    The county decline has always been a factor but we think that it is being rethought as we speak. The problem, as explained to me by Don Chapman from Washington DC, is that not all counties have reported figures for HAP to use. There are over 3000 counties in the US but only about 20% has reportable figures that they are able to use. So if you have information that counters what you are being told, send that in to your HAP office. They will use it. Be proactive and do your research. Many of us here have been in your situation and have been able to get our homes accepted because of our research.

    Due to the above problem there is thought that this requirement will be taken away and only the 10% personal loss will be in affect. This was one of the issues that was being decided at the big meeting in Washington DC several weeks ago. I don’t think they are going to release any information until the new rules are published in January.

    This program will be great once it starts to help people. But because all the rules were either changed or are being changed it has been a heartache to deal with. Districts are telling people that they will be able to close in the next few weeks. I have my doubts as the lawyers are still at a stand still as to how government acquisition will take place.

    On the unfortunate side not all people are going to be helped. Some will not meet the cutoff dates or the 10% loss but the program will help some of us. I think they had good intentions but it is proving to be a long, hard road.

    Rich, I hope that you are able to work this out. If I can help please let me know. I like to do research and have the time right now to help. We are in this together as military families always are. Blessings to your family during this holiday times.

    Karen

  451. Shaneon 21 Dec 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Rich,

    The initial decline of benefits is pretty common. From what I read recently, well over 50% of those applying are denied initially. We too found ourselves at the receiving end of this news. My advice; hound the living hell out of your HAP advisor with information that goes against their numbers.

    HAP uses a program called Corps Logic to reach the figure they came up with for your county decline. We were told that our county decline was only 8% and that we were ineligible. I called and sent in several emails with data that I pulled from zillow.com, trulia.com and numbers that my realtor provided that showed our county at a 15-17% decline.

    It took a few weeks, but they finally caved, accepted our numbers and approved our application. It’s been a long, slow process, but we’re moving forward at this point. Do not give up at this point. Continue to shove whatever data you have that goes against their information down their throats.

    If that doesn’t work, take comfort in what Karen mentioned in the reply above mine. I was also told by my rep that they are in the process of doing away with the 10% county decline requirement. It was disqualifying way too many people.

  452. Denise Korpinenon 21 Dec 2009 at 5:12 pm

    District updates…
    Savannah is processing government acquisitions and making payment. Yes, it has finally been confirmed from the top they have been doing them a few at a time since Thanksgiving week. It seems their leadership was willing to take chances with some items Sacramento was not so confident about in the contracts and process. This district seems to have the most challenges (by comment of members working with them) over what is covered and what is not when it comes to closing costs, warranties, improvements, etc. The environment continues to change.

    Fort Worth is also processing Government acquisitions for payment. There are way less applications there and some major issues with most applicants making the “10% County area decline” criteria. They recently received an update on stats that should help some people. Fortunately, this issue should be resolved in a major way by being changed to “10% personal loss” when the final rules come out. If you have been denied in this district and your CFMV is 10% or more difference from your PFMV you will want to check in with them again.

    Sacramento…government acquisitions are being “prepped” for processing daily but still waiting on title and contract approval from the District’s Attorney. So…still no government acquisitions as yet from Sacramento. Processors will be out of the gate like a shot when the Attorneys finally give the go. We sent over a different type of Title ploicy today for my friend Ralph. Offer letter to come any moment now- just not confident enough to hold my breath yet…!

  453. DJon 21 Dec 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Is there any word on whether the eligibility based on the conforming loan limit will be changed with the final rule? Our purchase price in 2005 exceeded the limit by $13K. Savannah seemed to elude that it may change (in Jan).

  454. Karenon 23 Dec 2009 at 12:16 pm

    We received our offer letter today and it states that we can close in 45-60 days!!!!

    That would make it one year since the program began to finnally pay off. Don’t get me wrong I am happy as can be. It is just how do I accept an offer if I don’t know what it is? How much do I have to come to the table with other than my taxes and insurance? So I am not being ungratefull for I am very happy that an end is in site.

    I guess I just look at it as feeling incomplete. I did write back to the person that sent the offer and asked her for clarification as well as numbers.

    Hope we continue to hear more and more people are getting the offer letters and moving forward. To each of you here, may your families and you have a blessed Christmas and New Year. Please continue to let us know what is going on during each stage so that any questions that we may have can be answered here.

    Karen

  455. Denise Korpinenon 23 Dec 2009 at 6:52 pm

    I have been told by OSD (no guarantee till Final Rule publishes on or about January 15th, 2010) that the max is going to increase to $729,750 (same as FHA). If your PFMV goes over that you will now be eligible for the program (previously you were disqualified) but you will have to come to the closing table with any amount above that.

    3:00 p.m. Wednesday- I just hung up with HAP Sacramento. Sacramento District’s Attorney still has not approved any of the files submitted for government acquisition for payment. There is still hope someone may get good news for Christmas- they work till lunchtime tomorrow!

  456. DJon 23 Dec 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Hello all, I’m looking for some guidance concerning “forced retirement” with regards to HAP eligibility. I am unfortunately being medically discharged under Chap. 61 medical retirement (NOT a Wounded Warrior). I have fought the discharge from the beginning but it was inevitable. That said, is a medical retirement (against my will, mind you) counted as “forced retirement”? I am now 150k upside-down in my Tucson house and will be unable to pay it off when I eventually relocate for medical rehab. Thank you in advance for your help and Happy Holidays.

  457. Shaneon 24 Dec 2009 at 12:15 am

    Received a letter from my contact in the benefits section in the Savannah office today. In it, she states that if we are pressing forward with a govt acquisition, they will pay out 75% of the PFMV plus improvements OR they will pay the first mortgage only, whichever is greater. For us, that means we are hung out to dry on the home improvements.

    Is anyone else hearing something similiar? From reading the rules, I was under the the impression that they would pay for the first mortgage in its entirety plus improvements.

  458. Rob Son 24 Dec 2009 at 12:44 pm

    DJ,
    I don’t know about medical retirements, but I have heard that if you retire before the statutory year limit, they don’t approve because in DoD’s view, if you choose to retire, DoD is not forcing you to move.
    For a forced medical retirement, I would call and ask, but also be prepared to show why you need to move from Tuscon. I would think you would have to give documentation as to why you can not rehab in Tuscon after you retire (show them why you need to sell your house).
    I have a friend who is in a similar spot, and he is trying to reach 30years before he gets forced out.

  459. Karenon 27 Dec 2009 at 11:46 am

    Shane, from what I understand is that they will pay for your first mortgage or will pay 90% of your original purchase price plus any improvements. The only time that there was a 75% payoff was in the original rules (if the government bought your house because you were unable to sell it) but that no longer applies to the PCS rules. You MUST have a buyer lined up before HAP will even look at your paperwork. I would ask your contact where they are getting the 75% figure because that does not apply to us anymore.

    The rule below is what now applies to the PCS moves. Even though it is still worded as “unable to sell” when the new rules in the register comes out in January they will have changed it to say “once you have a buyer”.

    a) General Benefits: (1) If an applicant is unable to sell the primary residence after demonstrating reasonable efforts to sell ( see Definitions, §239.4(i) of this part), the Government may purchase the primary residence for the greater of:

    (i) The applicable percentage (identified by applicant type in §239.5(a)(4)) of the PFMV of the primary residence, or

    (ii) The total amount of the eligible mortgage(s) that remains outstanding.
    As a PCS move this is what applies to us:

    4) Applicable Percentage . (i) If an applicant is eligible under §239.6(a)(3) or (4) and sells the primary residence, the applicable percentage shall be 90% of the PFMV. In addition, closing costs incurred on the sale may be reimbursed.

    But as I have said many times on this blog, things are going to change and will continue to change until the new laws are published. Remember that this program was not intended to put money in our pockets. It is there to help pay off our mortgages and applicable closing cost.

    Hope this helps to clarify your question. If it does not let me know and I will have Denise answer it for you.

    Blessings on the coming New Year to all of you here.

    Karen

  460. Karenon 27 Dec 2009 at 12:18 pm

    DJ,

    Under the electronic code of federal regulations, it is not only wounded warriors that are being considered under the HAP rules but also those that are ill. When did your problems start that are getting you a medical discharge? What is your disability rating? And are you having to relocate because of your illness? If you are not having to move then HAP is not going to help you. Read on:

    1) Wounded, Injured, or Ill . (i) Members of the Armed Forces:

    (A) Who receive a disability rating of 30% or more for an unfitting condition (using the Department of Veterans Affairs Schedule for Ratings Disabilities),

    or

    who are eligible for Service member’s Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection Program,

    or

    whose treating physician (in a grade of at least captain in the Navy or Coast Guard or colonel in Army or Air Force) certifies that the member is likely, by a preponderance of the evidence, to receive a disability rating of 30% or more for an unfitting condition (using the Department of Veterans Affairs Schedule for Ratings Disabilities) for wounds, injuries, or illness incurred in the line of duty while deployed, on or after September 11, 2001 and

    (B) Who are reassigned in furtherance of medical treatment or rehabilitation, or due to retirement in connection with such disability, and

    (C)For both military and civilian applicants there must be a need to relocate from the primary residence in furtherance of medical treatment, rehabilitation, or due to medical retirement resulting from the wound, injury, or illness, and a need to market the primary residence for sale due to the wound, injury or illness. (For example, the need to be closer to a hospital or a family member caregiver or the need to find work more accommodating to the disability.)

    Here is the website for the VA ratings disabilities. http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/va-disability-benefits.shtml

    Good luck.

  461. Karenon 27 Dec 2009 at 12:19 pm

    New information on the HAP website, not sure if you all saw. They have taken out the 2012 date and replaced it with 2010.

    2. Reassignment ordered between 1 February 2006 and 30 September 2010.

    Karen

  462. Denise Korpinenon 27 Dec 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Shane- Ask for a Supervisor! I would love to see that letter. Either you are misinterpreting what your benefits advisor said, or that advisor needs some advising! I think it is the latter based on most of your previous statements from the advisor about closing costs, agent fees, buyer closing costs, etc. You have a good grasp of the program. If this person is telling you so much bad gouge, imagine how many other people they may be affecting. Since you mention the letter stated 75%…I think it is the “advisor” needs help understanding the rules, unless that has changed in the last week. The “75% if the government buys your house” is NON-EXISTENT in Expanded HAP according to every advisor I have ever talked to. You must find a Buyer if you are PCS or BRAC. That is where 75% would have come into play. You have found a Buyer. Only ones who may not have to find Buyer are Wounded Warrior and Surviving Spouse- if circumstances warrant. They still have to try to find buyer and meet the 120 days plus some other stipulations. It is ALWAYS best to find the buyer.

    For PCS- the options are:
    1) 100% of your current outstanding mortgage through “ACQUISITION”. You don’t get any money for improvements or money down back to you in this case because in all likelihood- those contributions on your part of do not meet the 10% or more of PFMV threshold.

    2) 90% of value through “REIMBURSEMENT”. In such case you have to come up with any money needed to close the deal. Outstanding mortgage is usually LESS than that 90% number. Or, you have lots of improvements that went cash out of pocket, or put 10% or more down. Reimbursement method needs to be used if you are trying to recoup any monies spent beyond the 10% PCS required contribution. Essentially, if you don’t already have savings enough, you have to find/borrow more money to close and bridge the time gap until HAP pays you back.

    No, you don’t get a 100% of the mortgage through acquisition payoff and still get any money back for improvements nearest I have been able to tell. It’s because the PFMV plus improvements factored with the CFMV and outstanding mortgages doesn’t typically get you over 10% contribution. Remember, the program is meant to help the majority of members out of trouble, but clearly states it is not meant to “make you whole” for all that you contributed out of pocket.

  463. Denise Korpinenon 27 Dec 2009 at 4:23 pm

    DJ- Rob S. gave some good info. Some of this may depend on eact circumstances of discharge, where your home of record is and why you are selling in Tucson. I know you are Fort Worth District. For a “sanity check” on qualifications I suggest you call HAP Sacramento and run your situation by Ty or Janice. Main number 800-811-5532.

  464. Marieon 28 Dec 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Thanks for all the information on this site! I haven’t really posted but I wanted to share my situation. I am doing a government acquisition on my house (I’m too upside down to sell on my own and be reimbursed). I had all the ducks in a row and a buyer for my house and was told by the Sacramento district office to set a closing date early in December.

    Well, my HAP approved closing date came and went and the Sacramento office told me government acquisitions were “on hold” because of a legal concern over the forms used to acquire the property. After my original closing date went by my caseworker told me that I would definitely be able to close by the end of December. Now it’s the end of December with no end in sight!

    The buyers for my house want to move in January, so this is a real problem. The worst of it is the other Army Corp of Engineers district’s legal counsel apparently had no problem with the forms and the other districts are publishing these very same claims!

    At this point I would advise anyone who has been told by the Sacramento district to set a closing date 30 to 45 days out to call their Congresswoman/man and press the Sacramento district to stop holding this program up, or like me they may be constantly reassured they can close any day yet days go by with absolutely no progress on the issue and assured closing dates coming and going.

    It is unbelievable that military members who have waited so long for this program and who have relied on it, leaving their houses empty to sell, have to wait longer because people are still not prepared to implement a program that has been in the works for months! Meanwhile, some people will certainly lose their buyers over this because their buyers can’t wait while the Sacramento district takes the time to figure out how to process claims the other districts are already processing. It is frankly unbelievable and a real hardship for military to keep paying the mortgages on empty houses when we’ve already been waiting for months.

  465. Karenon 29 Dec 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Marie welcome to the board and I am sorry that you are in the Sacramento district. Yes the lawyers are holding up all government acquisitons coming out of there and yet the other districts are pressing forward. It is so frustrating that not all districts are on the same page.

    Would your buyers agree to rent from you while they wait for Sacramento to move on this? There are many of us here that have done that. My buyer moved in just prior to Thanksgiving and he understands that we are waiting for HAP to come to the table. Being military himself he understands that it is not our fault but the bureucracy of it all. I excepted the HAP offer on December 24th and we have set a closing date for early Feb 2010. Now we wait and see if that comes to past.

    JP is due to close on Jan 15th and we are all holding our breath to see if that comes true. As Denise has said, Sacramento refuses to move on their contracts until they feel comfortable with the wording. I hope that they can come to a decision soon as it is affecting so many good people out there.

    When I contacted my senators and congressmen, throughout this whole ordeal, I would receive “thanks for your concern” letters back from them and then nothing. I found out that each time I wrote to an official it would end up on Don Chapman’s desk in Washington DC for him to deal with, taking him away from his real job of getting HAP pushed through. So I am not sure what good it does to contact our reps in congress.

    I pray that we hear good news from all the districts soon. What a blessed New Year it would be!!!!

    Karen

  466. Karenon 29 Dec 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Just heard from a realtor in Virginia that she closed on her HAP client several hours ago through the Savannah district. Good news when we hear about specific people getting through this process!!!! Lets keep bringing the good news to all of us.

    Karen

  467. VINNYNYon 30 Dec 2009 at 12:40 am

    Does anybody know the ground truth on short sales? I’ve heard that the HAP will treat them just like any private sale and pay the 90% of PFMV plus closing costs. Is that true? If so, am I under any government-imposed obligation to use the money to repay the forgiven amount to the bank?

  468. JPon 30 Dec 2009 at 9:13 am

    We’re still due to close on 14 Jan – however apparently we need a new contract and so far the person at HAP handling that has not responded, hoping she’s just on leave for the holidays or something.

  469. Angelaon 30 Dec 2009 at 11:04 am

    Vinnyny, I took the below from another HAP forum. I’m not sure if it makes since but it may help you to understand how one district handled a short sale.

    These figures are not accurate and are for illustration purposes only. Scenario reflects what happened in my short sale situation.

    $275,000 Principal of Loan on Closing

    – 190,000 amount paid towards prin from HUD1

    85,000 Dificiency

    $325,000 Amount paid for Home off HUD 1

    325,000×95% BRAC on installation on11 May 05

    308, 750

    -200,000, home sold for

    108,750 Brac Entitlement

    -85,000 Written off by Bank

    23,750 amount due me

    I am contending that this 85K should be paid to the Bank to show account settled and not reported as a short sale which is not good for my credit.

    Any feedback?

  470. Karenon 30 Dec 2009 at 11:38 am

    JP why another contract?

    Karen

  471. Karenon 30 Dec 2009 at 11:40 am

    I do know that if you do a short sale and have a VA loan then until you pay back the amount forgiven you cannot ever use the VA loan again.

    Karen

  472. VINNYNYon 30 Dec 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Angela:

    If I read that correctly, it’s saying that the bank received none of the $85k deficiency (the gov’t kept that money) and the SM received the difference of $23,750. So, the bank got hosed for $85K AND the SM’s credit still took a short sale hit. Something seems wrong with that–either the gov’t should pay off the bank and fix the SM’s credit or give him the total amount of the benefit and let him decide whether or not to pay off the bank. When I spoke with my bank, they told me that my credit would be destroyed whether or not I paid them in full.

  473. VINNYNYon 30 Dec 2009 at 2:21 pm

    If anyone has other good HAP forums, please share the links. This is a great forum, but I’m trying to get as much good info as possible.

  474. Angelaon 30 Dec 2009 at 4:15 pm

    vinnyny,
    That is the way I read it as well. The one I took my previous msg from is http://www.moresam.net/Forum/afv/topicsview/aff/7.aspx. You may or may not find some additional information there. The moaa forum is very informative and updated as well.

    Have you already done a short sale? If not, I would proceed with caution and try if you can to obtain a short term loan to cover you at closing until you are reimbursed by ACE. As I understand it, any bank can come after you for years to come unless the agreement between you and the bank specifically states that you are forgiven for repaying any “forgiven debt.” I would contact a lawyer and not rely upon what your realtor or bank are stating.

  475. richon 30 Dec 2009 at 7:25 pm

    ALL,
    HAS ANYONE HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT THE CHANGE FROM 10% COUNTY DECLINE CHANGING TO THE 10% PERSONAL LOSS? Does anyone know where the decision is now in the process?

    Thanks,
    Rich
    -Still pressing forward

  476. Kellion 31 Dec 2009 at 2:38 am

    VinnyNY – We are in the exact same situation!! The Federal Register states that the short sale is to be treated as a private sale (and we thought the same as you – it would then be our decision to work something out with the bank, or to keep the money and have it to essentially help cover all he extra cost and fees we will (and already have) encountered due to the credit being destroyed and also to reemburse our down payment money.

    However, when we submited our packet (per their check list), they requested we fill out an additional “new” form which asked about how much the bank forgave. This concerns me, as we will end up getting nothing back – including our downpayment money, because as we all now know, you can’t short sale without missing payments, so we had to stop payments just to try to sell the house which means that fees from the bank for non-payment added up to almost the purchase price of the house (thus eating way into our downpayment). Our house was in FL and it took a year to get it sold at a 48% loss.

    Don’t they have to stick to their guidelines that are printed – and the formula provided? I did notice that they adjusted their slides to not include short sales on their private sale info slide – so that also seems like they’re changing it up.

    At this point we’ll get nothing back, but be out the cost of sending all this stuff into HAP, thus HAP costing us money. Go figure.

    We are both in he Savannah district, so please keep posting on what you find out, and I will do the same. Our packet is now in benefits (but oddly it says aquisition benefits or something to that affect on our letter, so I hope it’s in the correct department).

    Kelli

  477. Kellion 31 Dec 2009 at 3:33 am

    VinneyNY – I’m sure you’ve probably already read this, but I just wanted to point out section (c) (1). It specifically states that if the funds allotted by the benefit formula exceed what is owed to the bank (and in an already sold short sale, would be nothing if it’s forgiven), that the money is to be paid directly to the applicant.

    A short sale will be treated as a private sale. If an applicant remains personally liable
    for a deficiency between the outstanding mortgage and the sale price, the amount of this
    11
    deficiency may be included in the benefit, provided that the total amount of the benefit does not
    exceed the difference between 95 percent of the PFMV and the sales price.
    (c) Payment of Benefits. (1) Private Sale: Where a benefit payment exceeds funds
    required to clear the mortgage and pay closing costs, benefit is paid directly to the applicant.

  478. JPon 31 Dec 2009 at 8:23 am

    Karen – apparently two contracts are needed, one between me/govt and one between govt/buyer as there will be two ‘settlements’ same day

  479. Walton 31 Dec 2009 at 9:52 am

    This has been a great website especially since people are finally having some success getting through the HAP process. My HAP package finally made it to the benefits department this week (Savannah district). My tenets moved out on Dec 1st and I’m broke from paying 10 months of 2 mortgages last year…now benefits is telling me that there is no closing dates available until at least Feb. This is aggravating since I’ve done everything that was asked but still have to wait because they only have 2 people doing closings. I’m happy that I’m through the process but I may need to take out a loan so I can stay current on my mortgage and then take out a loan to cover my HAP loss. Sorry about then venting I just can’t wait for this nightmare to be over! Happy New Years to everyone and I hope that the HAP process works out for us all!

  480. VINNYNYon 31 Dec 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks Angela. I haven’t done the short sale yet because I’m still waiting for the offer. My realtor is confident that it will be arriving in the next few days.

    I won’t even try to do a regular sale with a loan to make up the shortage because I can’t count on the HAP. As it stands now, my properties still aren’t eligible because of the max purchase price restriction. However, I’ve heard that the rule is about to change. My credit is already shot because I stopped paying the mortgage after 42 months. When I had a cash offer back in September, the banks told me that they wouldn’t even talk to me about a short sale until I was in arrears by 90 days (how stupid is that?). I’m hoping that HAP will approve my “high priced” house and treat the short sale like a regular private sale. If I’m going to lose my credit, at least I should be able to pay off some of the $140K I spent trying to keep the mortgage current (not to mention my $45K down payment and closing costs or the $25K in improvements I made).

  481. Karenon 31 Dec 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Jp,yes thats right there are two contracts. One where the government acquires your home and then the second one is when they turn around and sell it to your buyer. When did you see the figures of how much money you had to bring to the table with you?

    karen

  482. Karenon 31 Dec 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Rich the new rulling should be sometime this month when they publish the rules. The skuttlebutt we have heard is that the county decline will be eliminated and only leave the 10% personal loss. Too many of the counties in the US do not have values for the DOD to use. Hope that we hear soon that this has been done away with.

    Karen

  483. Denise Korpinenon 31 Dec 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Karen and I are both moderators on the VRSam site. It is a great place for information on quite a few topics.

    I have a client who went short sale because they would have been bankrupt waiting any longer for HAP. No exaggeration. We are just in the process of seeing what, if anything will be done to help them clear their name and credit. I believe there should be a letter that goes out from HAP requesting credit companies clear any lates and show all HAP eligible members as “paid in full as ageed- STIMULUS” for any short sale or foreclosure that was a direct result of delay in this program. If HAP would have started paying when approved by Congress (February 2009)- most would never have had a late. HAP is supposed to help pay off any remaining indebtedness to the lenders if you short sold- if any note you carried was otherwise qualified by program guidelines. They are not going to directly give the Service Member the money to send on to the bank- especially if the debt has already been released. The money would be paid directly to the lender on member’s behalf. For many of those who already short sold the challenge is going to be that while you have not been asked to repay anything at this point from the mortgages; you are stuck with mountains of debt accrued on credit cards and other loans trying to stay current. If the program was reimbursing for expenses accrued from application to payout, as it did under the old program- many would be pretty well cleared. But that program change is going to leave folks in a bad place due to all the delays on the government’s part.

    Everyone needs to understand about short sales is there are “recourse” and “non-recourse” loans. Each state has different laws on what a lender can collect after they “release a lien” for a person to do a short sale. Plenty of info on the web about this. Just because they release the lien for you to sell the property does NOT mean they have fully released you of the debt. Usually, if it is a purchase money loan- which is a loan taken when you first bought the house, it is non-recourse. That would mean they have to forgive it and can’t come back and ask for it. Most refinanced mortgages/HELOCs are recourse loans. So they can come after you for the money later if they do not agree to full forgiveness of debt at approval of the time of short sale. There are so many little details to look at in the case of a short sale. Short sale is still better in 99% of the cases then just foreclosing. There is a lot of misinformation out on this topic from Sea Lawyers. Beware. Best thing to do is go see base legal as soon as you have signs of trouble. The counsel is free, they can direct you to other resources, and the documented visit to a military resource should help protect you if you run into issues with your security clearance and debt later. The base attorneys are also receiving plenty of training on HAP.

  484. Waitingon 01 Jan 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Denise

    Thanks for all the updates. I have not seen a lot of information out there concerning Short Sales and HAP.

    My understanding was that The HAP program is designed to protect those military personnel who qualify for the program, and to preserve their credit. The parameters of the program indicate that a qualifying military member who participates in the HAP program, and who does a short sale, is protected from negative credit reporting.

    I did a short sale that finally closed in Nov. It was either that or end up bankrupt My credit score went from a 800 to a 630. I am not even too concerned about the credit score as much as the three year wait to qualify for another mortgage.

  485. Denise Korpinenon 02 Jan 2010 at 4:34 am

    DJ- Just wondering if you called Ty or Janice in Sacramento and ran your potential for Wounded Warrior status (Ill) by them as I suggested. They can also update you on the maximum PFMV and 10% rules. My understanding is Members qualify for Wounded Warrior status if 1) became disabled/injured/ill after 9/11/2001 and 2) were injured or began to notice symptoms of illness while deployed. The definition of deployed for these cases is not what we would think. So, you and anyone with any question on this really should check into it further.

    Marie- My client Ralph is in your same situation with Sacramento. We have been in escrow since late April ’09 with the Buyer renting since July. We were released by HAP Nov 10th (week after tax fix) to set a close date of Dec 16th. Set everything in motion then could not close due to lack of Title approval by the Attorney- also there were concerns by the Attorney about properties with HOAs and how to handle the required “government inspection”. I was told on Wednesday, 12/30, that the HOA issues are solved and sent a form for a government employee to do an inspection on the property. Will be sending this in on Monday and will post again if anything changes. All we will need is Attorney to approve so Ralph can be issued his offer letter for signature. Then Ralph returns his government purchase contract and the Buyer returns his. Government payoff check can supposedly be issued within 24 hours of all these docs being returned. We are looking forward to Sacramento proving this out. It has been a long road.

  486. VINNYNYon 03 Jan 2010 at 11:21 am

    Kelli:

    Sorry I didn’t respond to your posts earlier, but I somehow missed them. I’ve been holding my HAP submission since April because I have two houses that might qualify if they eliminate the purchase price restriction. The Sacramento office recommended that I wait because one case number in the system will knock out the other. So, I don’t know which house to submit.

    I can’t submit until OSD gets their act together enough to publish concrete final rules. If the SecDef’s underlings had merely implemented the legislation as written, I probably would still have perfect credit (800+) and wouldn’t have $100K in credit card debt I used to keep the ship afloat.

    My VA house is rented at a loss of $1200 monthly, but it cost alot more than my AZ house (giving it a potentially higher HAP payout). My AZ house has been vacant for more than 3.5 years and I finally stopped paying the mortgage because the banks wouldn’t even talk to me until I was 90 days in arrears. Now they call me several times a day–not to work on a modification, but to collect a debt.

    If “augmentation” were still a real possibility, then I could have sold my AZ house twice now. I just couldn’t come up with another $80K to make the deals work. IF HAP finally decides to treat short sales as a regular private sale and pay the full benefit to me, then I’ll short sell the AZ house and file the HAP application. If my credit is going to be destroyed anyway, I feel like I should get to use the benefit to pay my other debts.

    By the way, the folks at OSD told me that HAP has no provisions for restoring one’s credit. I thought the purpose of HAP was to alleviate suffering among servicemembers, not just another bailout for the banks!

  487. Denise Korpinenon 03 Jan 2010 at 11:36 am

    The challenge with HAP is that that protecting Member’s credit will work best for those who were able to keep up with their payments and not accrue mounds of additional debt while waiting HAP processing. Old HAP rules helped people in this situation by providing reimbursements. Current rules do not have this provision as they are trying to reserve that money to help more people. Technically, most HAP beneficiaries are “short selling” (sale price less than mortgage balance and they do not have the money to pay the difference) but because government acquisition pays off mortgage balance in full at the time of sale- the bank gets all their money at the time of close. Thus, in theory, there should not ever be a hit to the seller’s credit. For those who short sell and later try to get HAP to help clean up the loose ends- it will be a whole other story. They will already have had the hits.

    I am not a credit expert and would LOVE for someone to help me out with this! My understanding of it at the moment is that it will be up to the bank whether they report it “paid in full as agreed”. I say that with some question in tone because the money paid is from a 3rd party. The bank may report it in another way which would cause a negative impact just because it was not the seller directly. I do not see that as fair, but I do not make the rules, I only tell you what I have heard so far.

    If the bank agreed to close short sale before HAP can acquire then you get that score hit unless you can negotiate otherwise with the lender. My contention is that there should be some sort of letter that should be done by HAP to go to the credit reporting agencies for HAP qualified beneficiaries. It should give specific request to delete any negative items reported against the Service Member since the programbecame available. With the help of some knowledgeable people, I would be happy to draft a letter and send it to the appropriate person to request it go into use at HAP. If you know anyone with in depth knowledge of credit reporting please bring them on board for input on this!

    BTW- According to Home Services Lending representative current FHA guidelines say it is 2 years until FHA will give a new loan to someone with a short sale reported. That is with all other credit payments being timely and positive. The qualifying score is also pretty low. 600 minimum at the moment. I don’t have curren VA criteria offhand, but I will ask.

  488. Stephanie Wardwellon 03 Jan 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Hi, all. Denise just sent me to this site. Too many posts for me to go back and look through. I will tell you that I am the Virginia realtor that Karen mentioned about getting a HAP deal closed. Yes, that is correct. I got one done! I also have a 2nd approval on one, but it looks like it will going short sale instead. I am located in the Savannah district. They are trying to get their act together. Please e-mail me at sdwardwell@comcast.net if you have any questions. I will try to get back here this week to see if anyone has any questions.
    Everyone have a good week!

  489. DJon 03 Jan 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Denise et al,

    Thank you for your guidance concerning my medical discharge. As for further information, it is looking like I will be medically retired at 40% disability (50% VA). The question I have is that I will technically not be considered a “Wounded Warrior” as per service regulations. There are completely different rules to qualify for “Wounded Warrior” status that is beyond simply qualifying for medical retirement. As it stands, I qualify for the latter, but not the former.

    That said, I am trying to make sure that a medical retirement coupled with my PCS back to my Home of Record (for medical rehab) would qualify me for the HAP, even though I will not be considered Wounded Warrior. My particular situation (and I’m sure there are many like me) is not spelled out within the current code. The code speaks of Wounded Warrior eligibility and Forced Retirement. No where is there guidance concerning regular CH61 medical retirement.

    Thanks again for you help!

  490. Karenon 04 Jan 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I contacted HAP today to see what the status of our closing was and this was the reply:

    Colonel Davis,

    We have tentatively scheduled your closing for January 29, 2010. We are currently waiting on Title Work to be completed and then your Realty Specialist, Mrs. Shannon Anthony will be in touch with you to let you know more about the funding/calculations regarding your file.

    Our fingers are crossed for JP’s scheduled closing of 1/15/09.

    karen

  491. Kellion 04 Jan 2010 at 6:50 pm

    VinneyNY – My posts took a while to post. It said they had to be approved (I’m guessing it’s because I haven’t posed on her before).

    I think you’re exactly right that the HAP program is just turning out to be another stimulus for the banks. HAP is making sure they’re getting their money, and doesn’t care about the service member. I thought this program was “for” the service members???
    Your statement, “IF HAP finally decides to treat short sales as a regular private sale and pay the full benefit to me…” is exactly what the federal register says they’re suppose to do! That’s why I don’t understand why they’re not doing it??!!

    This is what is stated in the 32 CFR Final Rules:
    “(2) A short sale will be treated as a private sale. If an applicant remains personally liable for a deficiency between the outstanding mortgage and the sale price, the amount of this deficiency may be included in the benefit, provided that the total amount of the benefit does not exceed the difference between 95 percent of the PFMV and the sales price.”

    “(c) Payment of Benefits. (1) Private Sale: Where a benefit payment exceeds funds required to clear the mortgage and pay closing costs, benefit is paid directly to the applicant.”

    The HAP site specifies the formula for Private Sales: Private Sale (Mil.): Reimburse: 90% of purchase price – sale price + closing costs

    So given that information, it appears that according to final rules that the money “is” suppose to be provided to the service member who has done a short sale – when no money is owed the bank (instead of not giving it to the service member OR the bank).

    also, if a certain formula is to be used in a certain sale situation, it shouldn’t change based on whether the bank or the service member will benefit more. Ex. In previous comments, it appears that HAP will figure the benefit just as the federal register states so long as the bank is owed money. But, if the bank isn’t owed money, then suddenly there’s a subtraction of what the bank wrote off, thus changing the formula, and changing the rules that any benefit that exceeds what is required to pay off the loan is to be paid to the service member.

    I don’t see anywhere in the guidelines where a formula is given, or a statement is made, that says short sales are to be treated differently in any way from a private sale. and actually quite the contrary, it’s stating that they ARE suppose to be treated the same. So why aren’t they? I understand that several of you have heard information from HAP to the contract of the above information. Do you happen to know where the guidelines are that they’re following to get these other short sale calculations?

    Kelli

  492. Karenon 04 Jan 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Kelli, welcome to the HAP forum. You bring up many valid points and raise more questions than answers right now. Until the final rules from the registry are finalized it is all up in the air. Hopefully, and that is with all fingers crossed, that will happen within the next few weeks. Then our questions will be answered………hopefully.

    Karen

  493. Kellion 05 Jan 2010 at 2:00 am

    Hi Karen. So the guidelines that are posted now aren’t what they’re following? I guess I’m confused. I know that there are certain things in the air, but I thought what was published was what was being followed? I would hope that changes wouldn’t be made to be punitive to the service member, but to help them (such as raising the housing price limits). Ugh….so much I’m not clear on.
    Also, since claims have been paid out for short sales, aren’t they following the current set of guidelines that are posted? If there is another set of guidelines besides the federal register ones I’d be appreciative of any information.
    Crossing my fingers for everyone!

  494. Karenon 05 Jan 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Kelli they are suppose to go by what is published right now. But as we have seen with Sacramento they are unwilling to sign off on any of the government acquisitions as written. I hope that once the new rules are published that those questions will be answered. I know that it is confusing and hard to swallow somes times. Hopefully with the new, revised rules coming out soon, that they will help more of our service members.

    Karen

  495. Denise Korpinenon 06 Jan 2010 at 3:04 am

    They are mostly following what is posted in the Interim Rule until Final Rule publishes. Most widely influencing change is the straight 10% personal loss (vs. community or parish AND personal). This helps about 50% more people qualify. Next biggest items are raise in price cap to $729k, and additional closing costs covered; including Homeowner Association fees which they were not going to pay at first for acquisitions. Now they will.

    Kelli- Your post item (2) about short sale treated as a private sale does clearly state HAP will pay- but only funds that are program qualified by the 90% formula (PCS) that “remain as a deficiency” after the short sale. If monies have been “forgiven” by the lender, they no longer “remain as a deficiency”- thus will not be paid by HAP (to the Service member to help cover debts or otherwise). If the lender required an unsecured note/loan be carried to close the short sale- that would be a “remaining deficiency”. Then HAP would forward the funds to pay off the remaining deficiency to the lender on the member’s behalf. I vote with you all that if the bank could be contacted and would report you as “paid as agreed” and delete late reporting for a partial or full reimbursement of the $$ written off- it should be done. Unfortunately that is not how it is set up in the rules. Grrr.

    Item (c) for private sale is referencing if the PCS Service member beneficiary has already met the 10% personal contribution threshold and there is benefit money left once all debts on property have been paid. For example-
    PFMV= Purchased property for $200,000 in 2004
    Put down 20% cash= $40,000
    Mortgage was $160,000
    CFMV Property now worth $170k
    HAP benefit is $180,000 (90% of PFMV) plus realtor fees and closing costs ($10,200+appx $5,000= $15,200).
    $180,000 benefit -160,000 mortgage payoff= Military seller gets to put $20,000 back into their pocket via HAP. It is not as much as the $40k they put down, but better than the $10,000 they got in gross CFMV without HAP, which would have been more than eaten up by Realtor fees and closing costs without HAP.

    As I mentioned numerous times, the original program had a provision to reimburse Sellers the expenses incurred while waiting application processing. For simple example- Program came out in February 2009. Your house is vacant and you apply February. House sitting empty costs you $2,000 per month. Your application doesn’t get processed for closing under acquisition till February 2010. Government would pay you $2,000 x 12= $24,000 towards the expenses you incurred while waiting. Then you use that money to pay off any credit/debt taken out to cover expenses while waiting. If you think it unfair this provision was taken out of program- you need to post a comment on the Federal Register before comments close on February 15th. I have posted a comment already. That is the best thing anyone can do at this point to encourage SecDef to include that provision so members will get money to help pay debts incurred while waiting for this program to begin to pay out. There is no provision to reimburse anyone the expenses incurred while waiting for the program to come to fruition. It is very unfortunate. That is why many people short sold or foreclosed. They didn’t have carrying costs to make it this far.

    One of my clients closed short sale on the day the tax legislation passed. Their carrying costs were over $5,000 a month out of pocket. They went almost bankrupt trying to hold out for HAP and stay current. They had 4 little children and were on their 2nd qualified transfer. Yes, they would love to have $50,000 reimbursement for that 10 months of waiting to help pay down their debt, or the roughly $200,000 HAP was supposed to pay out on their behalf (fortunately forgiven by their lenders). Return of the 200 points lost in credit score and late hits cleared would also be appreciated. However, based on the rules, they will not be getting any help with anything. Big bummer. I am trying to at least find a way to get help with the credit hits. Nobody is alone in this. We just have to stick together and try to find best remedies for each person.

  496. Kellion 06 Jan 2010 at 8:09 am

    Denise – Thanks for your reply! Where did you find this clarification detail of the formula – “only funds that are program qualified by the 90% formula (PCS) that “remain as a deficiency” after the short sale. If monies have been “forgiven” by the lender, they no longer “remain as a deficiency”-
    The bad thing is, some banks aren’t requiring promissary notes, but reserve the right to collect on the funds.

    Thanks,
    Kelli

  497. JPon 06 Jan 2010 at 10:51 am

    Denise – where do we go to post a comment on the Federal Register

  498. Denise Korpinenon 06 Jan 2010 at 7:07 pm

    SACRAMENTO District has finally processed its first government acquisition! I am in the process of updating my website to include sample offer letters and entitlement letters. Will let you know when that is running if you want to see what to expect.

    To post comments for the Rule-
    Go to: http://www.regulations.gov
    At keyword or ID type in the docket number: DoD-2009-os-0090
    You can also check the block: Open for Comment/Submission
    Hit Search
    Should bring you to the most recent comments on HAP

    If you have made your HAP application then short sell…you need to be very cautious of the wording in the short sale approval letter. Lenders are purposefully vague in most cases. If you later find the lender is now coming after you for funds you thought were “forgiven”- then you let legal and HAP know. HAP should reopen your application and process you for deficiency assistance, as long as the deficiency was qualified for HAP entitlement in the first place (had it not appeared “forgiven”).

  499. Roryon 06 Jan 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Dear Everybody (Karen, Denise, Rob S, others),

    First, please let me say on behalf of many who are behind you chronologically in the HAP process, you all have provided such a valuable experience by the teamwork and support you have provided each other and everyone tracking this blog, while providing tremendously important information all along. We appreciate you!

    I am just about to start the process of marketing the house for sale. I have been lucky to have tenants living there while I applied and was approved by the Sacramento office. Now that I’m getting ready to go for an offer, I am wondering if you can clarify a couple of points:

    1. Sacramento said that only AFTER my offer comes in from a buyer do they do the appraisal. I was asking them how to ensure my selling price was in the correct 10% up/down zone. They said that I should allow market forces to determine the listing price. There has been some really specific communication on this blog about ensuring the buyer’s offer is within 10% of the HAP appraisal – how do you recommend setting the initial price, based on what you’ve learned? Simply matching it to what comps in the area are pricing at? Should I start at what I owe (much higher than market price) and move down from there? I also saw some language about the house needing to stay at an initial market listing price for a 30 day period before any lowering of the price. What do you think?

    2. Can anyone see an issue with marketing the house while tenants are still in it, from the perspective of HAP rules? It seems like many on this blog have vacant properties, or are lucky enough to have potential buyers renting while awaiting closing. Are there any danger areas to stay away from that anyone has encountered which good planning could avoid?

    3. I think I’m also confused on even the basic “govt acquisition” terms being used. Do I understand even this most basic info correctly? I perceive myself to be marketing the house for a sale, which I would call the “private sale” option (as opposed to govt acquisition). Once a buyer is located and offer made, then I submit to HAP, they appraise and review, they send word (like what Karen got on the proposed Jan 29th closing date) about when closing can occur, and then the sale goes to the other private party. The HAP applicant is reimbursed up to the level of 90% of original sale price. When I see “govt acquisition” it makes me think of the old provision from February about the govt only paying 75% of purchase price if you ‘sold to the govt’ vice 90% if you had a ‘private sale’. What am I mis-understanding?

    ANY clarification, advice or corrections on what I have written above are welcomed. I think there are more people following this post than many of your realize, and we have had the luxury so far of having time to learn from your hard work. Thank you again, and I hope to hear some of your thoughts soon…

    Sincerely,
    Rory

  500. Denise Korpinenon 07 Jan 2010 at 12:24 am

    I posted a sample entitlements letter and offer letter on my website Homeowner Asst Program page for all to see. http://www.theREAgent4me.com Think the trick is, HAP won’t send you an entitlements letter unless you really press them for it- that is my experience thus far. The letter states they have deemed you qualified for the program and what they intend to pay out on your behalf as benefit. It also indicates the required sale contract price for the property (calculated off AVM). This is the page you really want to see and assure is correct before you sign the offer letter.

  501. JCon 07 Jan 2010 at 9:08 am

    Rory,

    I think I can help answer your questions as I am in exactly the same boat and slightly farther along in the process. We are also working with the Sacramento District and all of what I am about to write was confirmed yesterday with one of the real estate processors at Sacramento yesterday (6 Jan).

    Our home has had tenants since June of 2009 and we have a 1 year lease agreement that lasts until 31 May 2010. We contacted our tenants and advised them that we would be listing our home for sale in December. Since we wanted to honor the remaining lease, we advertised our home as only available for sale to an investment buyer that would keep the tenants in the home for the remainder of the lease. Showing the home has been difficult for our real estate agent as she has to give tenants advance notice each time. The tenants were initially uncooperative as their desire is to stay past the lease, but later cooperated when we told them it’s in their best interest for us to sell to an investor rather than have us terminate the lease at the end of the year and then sell to anyone that would buy – including non-investors. We got our first offer yesterday and hope to close sometime in March. The bottom line is that it is possible to market and get to a contract with a tenant in the home. We just ensured that the contract obligated the buyer to honor the lease to completion as a condition of closing.

    Now for the HAP part. We are fortunate in that we can accomplish a private sale with HAP augmentation (terminology) in the PCS category. They way it was explained to me is that as long as your HAP benefit + the price of your home + any money you bring to closing (optional) exceeds the amount of outstanding debt on the home, you qualify for the private sale 90% PCS benefit. The HAP benefit is defined as 90% of the difference between purchase and sale price (including capital improvements) + covered closing costs. HAP needs all the application paperwork, the contract, loan payoff data, and completed HUD-1 in order to complete their work and eventually deposit your benefit money into the escrow account.

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks to all that have contributed – it’s been very informative!

    JC

  502. Karenon 07 Jan 2010 at 11:56 am

    Rory welcome to our world. Let me try to clarify a few things for you. That which I cannot answer I will have Denise come on and answer them for you. I am not a realtor just a wife of a military member in the thick of things. Denise is a realtor (but she is also a spouse of a military member) and can address the more technical side of HAP and the realtor aspect too.

    Government acquistion, as we know it today, is new. When you opt to do a Gov Acq you are still liable to find a buyer for your property. You find the buyer, HAP buys the property from you and turns around and sells it to the waiting buyer. The percentage, as they stand now and this is for PCS moves (we are waiting for final rules to be published within the next few weeks) will be that they pay you 90% of your home price (which is suppose to be what you paid for PMV) OR your current mortgage amount. The 10% decrease is so that you have a 10% loss to deal with. If you have alot of equity in the house or made many improvements then the 90% payoff value would be better. If you are upside down on your mortgage, meaning value of home is less than what you owe or are able to sell for then paying off your mortgage is better.

    If you go for the private sale, this is where you have sold your home yourself already. You are now coming to HAP for help to make up partially what you lost. For these cases many of them are from sales several years ago. They have already sold and want to get some money back for their losses.

    The new HAP does not aquire any property anymore. It is too costly to the government. So we have to find a buyer, and then HAP comes to the closing table ready to lend a hand to cover the shortfall.

    I will ask Denise to address the first question you have about how to market the home.

    I don’t understand how HAP expects you to know what to market your home for. We just kept dropping the price of our home until we had someone who wanted it. No, thats not right. We had to find someone that was willing to wait until HAP came on board. WE had several offers before that but because they were not able to or willing to wait for HAP to come to the table we lost them. In your case, it should be easier as HAP is now in place and ready to help. For those of us that have been waiting all these months it was harder.

    We kept dropping the price and at the end point we had gone to low. But only by $400 and the buyer upped his price to meet what HAP said we had to have. It is not fair that you don’t know what that price is and hopefully with the new rules they will address that.

    I hope that your sale goes smoothly and look forward to hearing about the process. Keep in touch and I will let Denise know that you have some questions.

    Karen

  503. Denise Korpinenon 07 Jan 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Rory- Karen has answered the bulk of your questions spot on. When it comes to HAP most of the “definitions” of the terms like “Acquisition” and “Wounded Warrior” are not traditional dictionary definitions, or the same as previous or even other Veteran’s programs. To most laypeople, acquisition would mean Government just buys it from you and then they deal with selling it on their own. In HAP, Acquisition means the U.S. Government buys the property from HAP beneficiary, owns it for mere moments, and then sells it to the Buyer the Beneficiary (you) found. HAP is not currently equipped to own property, inventory, maintain and market for sale any homes other than Maine (BRAC). In essence the military member then absorbs all the carrying costs it takes until the home is sold. This works ok for people who are not yet transferred, or those who have amicable tenants who are paying enough rent to cover all property expenses. For other situations, like vacant homes, it is a real drag on member’s finances.

    As discussed- Acquisition works best for those who have less than 10% of PFMV of their own money or repairs invested in the property. Most people using acquisition will be using the 100% of the outstanding mortgage balance payoff option. Private Sale is good for those who put 10% or more into the property and might get a few dollars BACK into their pocket by coming up with the money to close the sale and be reimbursed. The challenge is that most people don’t have the cash available to them to use the reimbursement option. These folks must acquire and are at the mercy of HAP until their payoffs can be processed.

    On marketing for sale- most people when this program started put their homes on the market for what they needed to sell them for to walk away. AS you mentioned, learn by our experience. This is not realistic and certainly not necessary in most cases now that HAP has begun acquiring. Buyers only care what the true market value is on a property. That is what they want to pay. If they are not paying cash, it is all their lender will allow them to pay! So get yourself referred to a knowledgeable Realtor in your area for a market evaluation. If you need help finding one contact me on the backside. I have gotten AVM numbers on 7 HAP properties to date- 5 have market analysis and offer prices above the government’s automated value; 2 have automated values higher than current market. It seems AVM doesn’t really take upgrades and pools into consideration. However, the current market value/buyer offered price is still within 10% (below) the AVM, additional local information supports the value and so the government will still accept. You will have problems if you get outside that 10% difference- this is why Karen had to get her buyer to pay $400 more. It is a little technical but I hope I have explained it in a way that is easy to follow. Btw- in the real estate world there is a difference between a true appraisal (someone actually goes to the house or at least gets more specific data from local records) and the automated value. It is not HAP policy to readily volunteer the AVM. However, Sacramento can tell you the automated value on your property in less than 30 seconds- ask again and don’t take no for an answer.

    Remember, I am not an attorney or an accountant. You should always consult those professionals before making any final moves. Your future depends on it. I am a great advocate of base legal services. I am a Realtor who has years of training in real estate and conducting transactions, so I can pretty easily recognize and address the issues that are property and program specific from that direction. I’ve been on the great HAP adventure right along with my fellow military family. I’ve learned what I know by experience and asking a LOT of questions!

  504. Denise Korpinenon 07 Jan 2010 at 3:23 pm

    JC- good gouge also. The situation with tenants in the property while selling depends a lot on how amicable they are, when the lease is up, etc. Most tenants are understanding of the owner’s predicament and are amicable to show the property. Sometimes you have to offer a little incentive to cooperate in the form of a gift certificate or rent credit. This is usually the case when rowdy pets or extremely valuable possessions are in the property. Tenant requires an appointment so they can be present to control/protect personal interests. If you are in a market where you can do it like JC…help hook them up if they want to stay. If you are in a market where the Buyers all intend to owner occupy it is not as easy to do this. Most lenders will only give a 30 day grace period for a Buyer to move into the property to give the “owner occupied” rate for a loan. Otherwise they raise the interest rate.

  505. Denise Korpinenon 07 Jan 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Correction- Sacramento has still not paid on its 1st government “acquisition”…almost, but hit another snag.

  506. Waitingon 07 Jan 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I wish I had never heard the word HAP. I am now officially disgusted with the process. Everything I heard and thought the program was supposed to be has turned out to be false.

    With the last email I received from my counselor in Savannah I am in no better position than I was before hearing about HAP.

    I did a Short sale which thank god I am finally rid of the house. I am eligible for over $80,000 in benefits but will end up getting nothing. My first Mortgage company forgave a portion of the mortgage and the second mortgage which was a Home equity line of credit I had to sign a promissory note for is not reimbursable.

    This Heloc was basically my down payment, both my first and second did not go over the price of the house when i bought it.

    I am probably rambling now but basically I ended up with no money and my credit took a beating.

  507. Denise Korpinenon 08 Jan 2010 at 10:22 am

    Waiting- Can’t tell more without knowing all the details- but if the HELOC was part of your original mortgage purchase money- that sounds WRONG. Are they trying to tell you the note left is your part of a 10% contribution? There is either more to it, or you need to appeal.

  508. Terryon 08 Jan 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Ok, we are stationed near NAS JAX I was just about to mail in my HAP PCS package. Just listed the house about three days ago don’t have a buyer yet and have a few questions.
    1) Should I wait to submit until I have a buyer? I am upside down with my mortgage do not have money to bring to table to close.
    2) I have spent lots of money on improvements like new A/C unit can I get money for that stuff in my situation?
    3) What should the starting price be based on, COMPS?
    Thanks and good luck to all!

  509. Terryon 08 Jan 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Does any one know if your loans have to be by Fannie/Freddie to qual? I have a 1st and 2nd the first on is Fannie/Freddie the second junior one is not it is by some random company, does this matter?

  510. Scott Campbellon 09 Jan 2010 at 2:47 am

    I know this may seem repetitive, but I’m trying to simplify what I’m reading. My house is vacant, one mortgage, pretty straight forward. I bit the bullet and stopped paying before all my funds were gone and applied for short sale. When I find a buyer, here is what I understand my options to be:

    Option 1 is use HAP to pay off outstanding mortgage and sell to the buyer I found. Credit hurts for missed payments, but not for short selling. Problem is I would need to bring the loan current and hope my escrow has enough to cover part of the property taxes. That’s a lot of cash to come up with.

    Option 2 is to short sell. Lawyer thinks he can get them to forgive entire debt and closing costs with no note (kinda over confident). If the bank comes after me, thats what HAP is for. Credit takes a beating, but I don’t pay anything.

    Am I missing anything?

  511. Denise Korpinenon 09 Jan 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Scott- You have it pretty well understood! There are some HAP benefits advisors really fighting for changes in the case of Option 1- because it REALLY STINKS that the banks are made whole but the service member is not. Particularly for those who transferred before the program “expanded” and have had to wait since February ’09 while the government figured out how to process. Given that there is no reimbursement for your expenses while awaiting processing- where are you supposed to get the money from to bring current? Technically they purport you should have stayed within your BAH to remain current on the mortgage- but if you were upkeeping two households that is a no go. Sad but true with no solution designed into the program in the name of helping more people with the money allotted.

    Option 2- If you have a Lawyer negotiating short sale for you; be sure they also negotiate how the credit is reported in the pay status. Not sure on the verbiage (researching). However I do know that there is such a thing as a pay for delete agreement (Google it). Usually this requires you pay something in exchange for deleting it from the credit report entirely. Don’t know how successful this is as I don’t work in the credit arena. If they won’t do that then you can ask for whatever status is next best. Again, this is something I am researching. Unfortunately, I can’t find much specific to pay status categories on the internet and most financial people I have asked don’t seem to know.

  512. Alanon 10 Jan 2010 at 9:44 am

    Thanks again for everyone’s comments and answers provided on this forum. I think this type of information sharing is invaluable and I really appreciate any help that you all can provide. I was hoping that I could ask for clarification of the acquisition vs. private sale one more time. I have read this forum from start to finish, but it seems that some of the information conflicts a bit or perhaps I’m just not understanding everything correctly. In any case, my question refers to whether an acquisition can still pay the service member 90% PMV – sales price + closing costs OR whether acquisition simply means that the government pays off your mortgage balance + closing costs.

    My situation is that I’m PCS’ing in May of this year and I’m beginning the process of marketing my home. Over the last few years, I’ve been able to pay off about 20% of my mortgage, so I have 80% remaining balance. As I understand it, if I went with an acquisition then I would be relieved of my 80% remaining on my mortgage and closing costs, but would surrender all of the money that I put in towards paying down the principal on my mortgage. If I go the private sale route, I believe that I would be reimbursed for a portion of the money I’ve put towards my mortgage (would have to take a 10% personal loss).

    My concerns are two-fold. First, if I execute a private sale, I would have to find a way to come up with $100k or so while my file is reviewed and processed. Secondly, I would always have the risk of HAP denying my claim and leaving me with another $100k in debt that now has to be repaid. Am I correct in assuming that there is no review that HAP will do prior to my private sale to pre-approve me for funding?

    If my above facts are correct, it seems that with a private sale you have to take a huge risk and leap of faith that you will qualify for funding. And if you don’t qualify for some reason, you are completely screwed. It sure would make alot of sense for the program going forward to offer the more pre-approved “acquisitions” where you can get either the 90% of PMV option OR the mortgage payoff option. I just don’t know that I can take the additional $100k risk that I’ll get approved if I do a private sale. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  513. VINNYNYon 10 Jan 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Alan:

    Just my humble opinion, but I WOULD NOT count on HAP for anything. DO NOT borrow money to complete the sale and hope that HAP will pay you back–unless you’re prepared to kiss that money goodbye.

    HAP has proven itself to be the typical government program: slow, expensive, and (worst of all) arbitrary and capricious. Congress screwed up when they used the words: “the Secretary may…” They opened the door for all kinds of foolishness: different classes of beneficiaries, 90% versus 95%, arbitrary caps on home values, PFMV calculations that bear no relation to the “fair market value” at the time of orders, 10% county losses versus 10% personal loss, no augmentations, and government acquisitions that are really augmentations.

    Nearly a year after the legislation was signed into law and they still don’t have final implementation instructions. These guys should all be fired–publicly!

  514. Karenon 11 Jan 2010 at 9:55 am

    Alan please don’t loose heart. I will ask Denise, my angel realtor friend who is well versed (as well as anyone can be) in the HAP process to come on and try to answer your questions. I would try to but I would probably just confuse you more. Better to go straight to the source.

    Yes, there are more questions right now than answers. That is not the fault of the people that are running the different HAP offices. They are just as confused as we are and they don’t have all the answers either. Perhaps when the final rules are published in the next few weeks we will have more clarity. While the program has not helped everyone as fast as we would have liked, applications are being paid out. It takes time to work out the kinks and to get the ball rolling. People will be helped with this program and patience is the key.

    Karen

  515. Denise Korpinenon 11 Jan 2010 at 11:19 am

    Through this whole process I have gotten to learn a whole lot about our government processes I do not like and wish I did not know. There is a lot more to what happens regarding this program- or any other government program, than meets the eye. Here is the issue in a nutshell- the rules could have lined up a whole lot better with the actual needs of the people being served. Because of some wording attorneys didn’t like in the law, they got involved and said HAP had to process in a way that makes no logical sense in most cases. OMB said they could only do certain things to stay in budget. Half these people know little to nothing about real estate and how their decisions affect people across the board. If they actually had to talk to any of you maybe they could relate better. HAP processors have to talk to you. Most of them are not happy with all the things they can’t do for you. For the sake of their own sanity they do what they can. There are lots of great processors in HAP system advocating for changes. Change of this order takes way more time than we would all like.

    Because Sacramento has not fully processed for payment any of the government acquisitions yet- I sadly can’t confirm they are going to do it differently or better than any of the other districts. I have spoken to Stephanie (posted earlier) who actually closed one out of Savannah- and they did some things different in Savannah than they are telling me they will do in Sacramento. Makes no sense since it is the same program! I know the rules as they stand and most of the changes to be made. But it seems not much has gone at face value so far. I know the processors I have talked to after correspondence since February and most of what they have told me aligns with what I have seen on paper.

    It has always appeared that to get money back into the pocket a Service Member would have to use the private sale method. It is only possible to get money back if you have a 10% or more cost share off the PFMV (5% for Wounded Warriors and Surviving Spouses). This involves coming up with more money to pay yourself out and then getting reimbursed. So yes, it appears as it stands, that if you can’t come up with money to close through private sale, you do not get any of your investment back. Yet you can decide to acquire at 100% mortgage. You get a house worth way less than what you owe on it off your payment cycle and stop the bleeding. This is a very unfortunate situation because if they were using the augmentation at time of sale method (old method) more people would actually get money back. Now, I have heard that some transfers are functioning almost like augmentation (the checks arrive day after close). I am not sure how it is working that way for some and not others. I am investigating this rumor from an escrow officer this week, as well as seeking more information on “bridge loans” to post for you all. I have a client who is Wounded Warrior checking into bridge loans now. If you have your entitlements letter confirming $$ of your benefits and it looks accurate, then hopefully you would not end up in the situation referenced by the others…hung out to dry with more debt and no collateral to show for it. I would certainly not make a move without clear HAP confirmation of how much I was getting and when I could truly expect to receive it. This would involve a little bit of faith that they will actually do what they say. It is a personal choice to make no less than fully informed.

  516. JPon 12 Jan 2010 at 9:22 am

    Checking in – we’re still on for 14 Jan closing – rec’d fedex package late yesterday that was due back to HAP yesterday (go figure). We were out of town for a funeral – would have been nice to know that HAP was sending paperwork. Also notified that I have to come to closing with January’s interest plus taxes (surprise!). I hate this whole thing and can’t wait until its over with. Not sure if I can get what they need back to them in time for closing on thursday – we’ll see. My HAP person hasn’t called back or returned my email yet.

  517. Alanon 12 Jan 2010 at 9:39 am

    VINNYNY, Karen, and Denise,

    Thank you very much for your replies and continued information. After thinking about my situation of needing to somehow come up with $100k to come to closing in a private sale with no guarantee of getting reimbursed, it seems like too big of a risk for me. I contacted the Savannah office (my place is in MD) regarding private sales and whether HAP would process my application after a contract was in place but before closing. This would at least give me the piece of mind that I qualify for the program and what my expected entitlements would be. According to them, the will “review” the application to basically make sure that nothing is missing, but they won’t make any final decisions until the closing paperwork is in. They won’t provide an entitlements document or anything for private sales. Somebody out there please tell me that this isn’t true and that you were approved for private sale reimbursement prior to closure…

    The other idea that I had in an attempt to get “pre-approved” for funding in a private sale would be to put in my paperwork for a gov’t acquisition instead of a private sale. Then ride that out to the point of the entitlements document being sent to me. At that point, I would have some confirmation that I was approvable and could try and switch my application to a private sale. I realize that this still leaves me with a huge amount of risk because there is never any absolute guarantee that you will get funding until the reimbursement check is in hand, but it would give me a little more security in that I was approved for another part of the overall program. Who knows though, they may come back and say that it can’t be converted to a private sale, I’d have to start the whole process over again, or who knows what else…

  518. Karenon 12 Jan 2010 at 9:43 am

    JP, so glad to hear that you are in the final lap. Keep us informed as to what happens. My prayers are with you and the family.

    Karen

  519. JPon 12 Jan 2010 at 10:50 am

    Thanks Karen – If I can’t get a certified check and signed paperwork back to them by tomorrow closing will have to be rescheduled. I swear (literally). We have no banking centers here for pete’s sake. I am working with the bank to overnight a check and my husband is on his way to FedEx to send the signed paperwork. Would have been nice to have known we needed $. We scrambled late last night to find a notary. SO..for those that will be closing – be prepared to sign some papers which requires witness and notary. Also be prepared to pay interest for the month you’re settling in via cashiers or certified check. They tack on 7 days of interest ‘just in case’ and you’ll also have prorated taxes to pay. Any overages, escrow etc will be refunded to you at some point. Now I have to cross my fingers that both make it there in time and we hit no other snags.

  520. Karenon 12 Jan 2010 at 11:14 am

    JP thanks for the heads up. We are too close two weeks after you so I am hoping that yours goes well. They still have not given us our paperwork showing what funds are needed at closing. When are they going to let us know? We are out of state until closing so I am worried about funds needing to be transfered and paperwork needing signing. Oh well such is the way of the HAP world.

    Karen

  521. JPon 12 Jan 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Karen – I would have gotten my settlement paperwork on Fri 8 Jan due back by Mon 11 Jan and closing 14 Jan. Not much notice. Up until Monday – I didn’t expect to need any funds for closing. I ended up needing $1931 for closing (interest and taxes, nothing else). If you’re due to close the end of Jan and have already made Jan mortgage payment you shouldn’t need much.

  522. JPon 12 Jan 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Also – there was ZERO communication on the settlement package. Neither myself nor my agent knew it was coming. We thought we were on top of things and all paperwork was done until I got a call that I had a package at the front desk.

    Make sure you talk to your HAP rep….ASK about settlement.
    (Who’s your HAP rep?)

  523. JPon 12 Jan 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Alan – if I’m reading your stuff right – you already have a buyer but have a 100k gap right? If your packet is in, make sure you’ve sent in everythign they need – get a contract with your buyer and include the clause that the sale is contigent upon HAP approval. Send your contract to HAP to include with your packet. Hopefully your buyer will be patient.

    HAP will move faster if you have a contract pending – otherwise they have no reason to pull your folder out of the pile. Once HAP has a COMPLETE package AND a contract they will then send your file to benefits. They can’t move forward though unless they have a reason to (CONTRACT)

  524. JPon 12 Jan 2010 at 12:32 pm

    addition: they can’t move forward unless they have a reason to (Contract or private sale where you’ve already completed the sale and taken the loss).

  525. Karenon 12 Jan 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Jp I believe my agent is Shannon Anthony. I just spoke with the HAP office and they said I should receive the package you mention this week. My husband and I will both be TDY the week that we close so I told them that if they are going to send us any paperwork that we needed to sign that they needed to do it before the 22nd of January (we close ????? January 29th).

    Did they pay all your closing cost then?

    Karen

  526. JPon 12 Jan 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Karen – we have the same rep. Yes, it seems (so far) that they will pay all our closing costs.

  527. JPon 12 Jan 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I wish they would have just paid the interest due as well – more money down the drain that I’ll never get back. I was hoping not to have to pay rent and mortgage for Jan.

  528. Karenon 12 Jan 2010 at 3:49 pm

    JP where in Maryland was the house? We are here in Waldorf right now renting. Our home is in Mongomery AL where Mike was at the Air Space Institute. And where are you all now?

    Karen

  529. Scott Campbellon 12 Jan 2010 at 5:44 pm

    On the HAP website under FAQ’s:

    Q. Will I have to bring any money to closing?
    A. If you occupy your home until or nearly until the closing date and have not made payment for the month, you will be responsible for interest due for the previous month plus year-to-date real estate taxes.

    Does that mean that since my home is vacant for the past 6+ months I don’t have to be current on my payments? Too good to be true.

  530. Karenon 12 Jan 2010 at 7:55 pm

    You are right-it is too good to be true because that is not what it means. What it does mean is if you are closing this month, and have not made your mortgage payment for the month, you are liable for it at closing. HAP will not make the payment for you to bring you current. Also, depending on how your state handles taxes, you might have to pay several months up front as prorated taxes and then get it back from your escrow company. You must be current on your mortgage and taxes when it comes time to close.

    Karen

  531. Roryon 12 Jan 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Thank you Denise and Karen,

    Can I put out some actual numbers, so we can all play along and learn? (I appreciate when others do so, and it seems less awkward here than if you’d say the equivalent in casual conversation)

    I bought for $220,000 in Nov 04. I had an 80/20 primary and HELOC for 176,000 and 44,000 through USAA. The entire HELOC went only to the purchase of the home – nothing else. There was no money put down.

    Since then, principal and interest have been paid down to just over 201,000, which means my loan balance isn’t yet at the 198,000 which triggers the 10% loss.

    Zillow.com lists the current market value as 147,000. Clearly, that’s beyond the 10% loss. What I’m seeing is that my current mortgage owed (critical for me that we include both the primary AND the HELOC) is almost at the same level as what HAP would seem to reimburse up to (the 198,000, which is the 90% PMMV).

    So a couple of questions to draw from your knowledge:
    1. First of all, people in my position seem to be eligible to have BOTH the 80 and the 20% original loans taken into the math of PMMV, right? (they wouldn’t use 176,000 as PMMV in other words)
    2. Since the 201K I owe is close to the 198K of the 10% threshold, can you detail again “which option is more advantageous” between the 90% PMMV reimbursement or the govt paying off the mortgage?
    3. Lastly, is there anything in the scenario described above that sets of bells in your head saying “You don’t qualify?” or “Watch out for this?”

    Thanks again – I think you’re seeing from how many times we’re asking similar questions that many of us are having trouble seeing the “why” behind some of the rules or about the things to watch out for.

    Sincerely,
    Rory

  532. Katieon 13 Jan 2010 at 12:05 am

    Hi all! I am the Wounded Warrior in a pickle :-P
    Alan- we are in exactly the same boat!! I have to come to closing with approx $80,000 (includes everything). No one will give me a loan to cover since I have no collateral. I have tried getting a bridge loan from USAA, NFCU and Citibank- no luck. It’s not that I’m not approved- these banks aren’t doing those risky loans. Where do I go? MoneyTree??? Ha! I have resisted calling random banks b/c I have no established history and imagine it would be harder to get a risky loan. But I may head down to my friendly “military loan scalper” eventually… I’m sure there’s one right outside the front gate of the base :)
    It appears (based on the way we are running numbers via the formula listed in the Navy Times HAP article from 21 Dec 09) that we will be eligible for some money back.
    Our HUGE question is if we would get that money back if we did acquisition… it seems to appear that we lose it all.
    But private sale is forcing us into asking relatives to help with the $80,000- when we don’t seem to be getting a warm fuzzy about ensuring we will be getting any money back. Making us all extremely uncomfortable…
    To say that I am freaking out a bit here is an understatement. I don’t feel secure about this process at all and am thoroughly expecting to get screwed horribly at the last minute.
    Just waiting to hear how Sacramento handles acquisitions…

  533. Karenon 13 Jan 2010 at 10:13 am

    Hi Rory and welcome. Well you are throwing around words that I have no idea what they mean I will defer you to Denise. I emailed her and asked her to come answer your questions with a little more authority than I can. Talk again soon.

    Karen

  534. JPon 13 Jan 2010 at 11:23 am

    Karen – I’m from MD :) Our house was in Fl, we’re currently in Ohio. Fought with the bank yesterday to get the certified check overnighted, checked FedEx and both the check and the closing packet have been delivered so hopefully there are no more snags and we’ll close on time tomorrow. I sent an email to Shannon and asked her to confirm receipt and that there are no issues. I tell you from the get-go you have to absolutely be on top of HAP every step of the way.

  535. Karenon 13 Jan 2010 at 11:27 am

    Thanks JP. I am keeping all fingers and toes crossed that everything goes well and as planned. Keep me posted as to what is going on. Anyway you can send me a copy of your two contracts so I can see what to expect?

    Karen

  536. JPon 13 Jan 2010 at 11:29 am

    one thing to watch – since there was no coordination with HAP, if I had made a Jan payment after they did their settlement statement (6 Jan) and figured out interest etc, it would have caused a problem and that portion would have had to be redone, new payoff would have had to be ordered, return original pay off checks and processed the closing packet again which would delay our closing.

  537. Karenon 13 Jan 2010 at 11:52 am

    I made my January payment JP. Is there going to be a problem because I did that? I have not received my settlement papers yet.

    Karen

  538. JPon 13 Jan 2010 at 1:29 pm

    You’re probably ok Karen – as long as you made it before they get their figures you’re ok. I would guess they have not gotten the figures yet if you’re not closing til the 29th.

    They got my figures on the 6th – my payment is due on the 1st but isn’t late until the 17th so I hadn’t made my payment before they got their figures. If I had done it after the 6th then it would have messed everything up. Good thing I hadn’t made it yet

  539. Karenon 13 Jan 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Oh my I don’t send in my payment till the 10th so that they get it on the 16th when it is due. So we will have to see.

    Karen

  540. JPon 13 Jan 2010 at 2:32 pm

    You’re probably still ok – just ask Shannon when they will pull the payoff figure and let her know you want to make sure to pull them after your payment has been received/credited -

  541. Karenon 13 Jan 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Thanks JP for the information and quick replies. Again I wish you luck tomorrow and pray that it goes well. Let us know.

    Karen

  542. Con 13 Jan 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Alan – my family did a private sale in Jun 09 and had to close nearly an $80,000 gap until HAP paid out (finally Dec 09). We could not get the HAP office to “approve” our package before taking the plunge, but they told us based on what they knew it “looked good” I also spoke with Mr. Chapman in DC and he told me my situation “should” qualify. We decided we were willing to accept the risk, despite the fact that final guidance had not yet been published. Fortunately, in our case, it worked out, all bridge loans are now paid off and we have closed the book on HAP! Also, I must say that my reps in Savannah were great when we contacted them and kept up with our package – including working with us to get the check to my husband while he was on a brief TDY to the states (we are currently residing overseas). I recommend just reading the requirements VERY well and any thing you are unsure about, just clarify with your rep. Good luck to you!

  543. JPon 13 Jan 2010 at 4:06 pm

    another rush to the notary and fedex – I’ll be so glad when this is all done…sheesh

  544. Denise Korpinenon 13 Jan 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Trying to catch up…been swapping emails and calls with HAP reps the last couple days trying to get Sacramento to break through to paying acquisitions! I may be a little unavailable to blog the next few days…

    C- If you are still out there…where did you get your bridge loans???? Navy Fed and USAA both say they don’t do bridge loans- even though aware of this government program. Personal loans they offer don’t get most people the $$ they need. Have several people who need to do it this way…would prefer loan than beg and borrow from friends and relatives to cover costs to go private sale. All help appreciated.

    Rory- 1) According to what you said, the HELOC is purchase money which should make it eligible. Although, Waiting has apparently had some issues with them taking care of HELOC. 2) 10% of PFMV personal loss/contribution has no relevance if you go 100% of outstanding mortgages (acquisition). You are close to the line if you need $3,000 more to be in the 10% window. The greatest benefit to going private sale, if you can come up with the money you need, is that Seller and Buyer can close as they deem fit. Problem is most people need loads of cash to cover the part that they will be getting back from HAP.

    Terry- makes no difference which lender carried the loan. Loan does not have to be Fannie or Freddie like a Making Homes Affordable modification. I would send application in as soon as possible. Go with current comps. Nobody is going to make an offer if you don’t- you can see above posts for marketing info. You are wasting more time if you come on market too high. Contact HAP and ask to give you the Automated Value on your address. You have to be within 10% up or down on the sale price. As I have said before, they CAN give AV to you- you just have to find someone who will.

    Angela- Have any offers yet?
    TJ- You are supposed to close soon too…status?
    JP- looking forward to good news!

    Providing we get the go from the Sacramento Attorney, one of my PCS clients is scheduled to close Jan 29th. We shall see if Karen and I have the same HAP anniversary date to celebrate!

  545. Angelaon 13 Jan 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Denise,
    No offers yet. We went down to 209,900 last week (we can’t go any lower than 207,000). I’m praying earnestly that we get a buyer at this price!

  546. Marloon 13 Jan 2010 at 10:22 pm

    As I have posted before, we are trying for a govt. aquistion in the PCS category through the Sacramento office. We have been given a closing date of 8 March, but not sure how firm that is yet. (PCS’d in 6/08, have had buyer since 8/09.)

    I still do not have a firm answer on whether MY realator will be paid by HAP when the govt. sells to my buyer? Has anyone who is near closing gotten an answer to this? Would be nice to know how much money we need to finally end this chapter.

    It is so good to hear the aquistions are beginning to move forward. I wish you all good luck!

  547. Denise Korpinenon 14 Jan 2010 at 1:48 am

    Marlo- My client Ralph PCS’d June ’07 and has been in escrow with buyer and full package at HAP Sacramento since May ’09 (see 1/2/10 blog comment to Marie). Now supposed to close no later than 1/29. Each day brings requests for more documents.

    PROCESSING- Hit another snag today in HAP Land. Now DOJ has told all districts they need a “Form 1 or Form 2″government inspection completed. Today HAP asked for all disclosures between the Seller and Buyer. As the government is disclosure exempt they shouldn’t really need these. However, I get the impression someone is hoping that by presenting all the forms they can circumvent having to do this particular inspection. Will know more tomorrow. Don’t be alarmed-it seems to change daily.

    HAP acquisitions run like two transactions-
    Transaction 1= Service Member to HAP (no commissions to agents)
    Transaction 2= HAP to Buyer Service Member found
    Agents are paid through transaction 2. Wording on the FAQ is confusing. They say Service Member does not and should not obligate to pay commissions. However, they do not add that HAP does pay the agents in acquisitions through the 2nd transaction.

  548. Marloon 14 Jan 2010 at 7:14 am

    Thanks Denise. I had heard agents would be paid in the second transaction, but no one has been able to verify for me if they will each get their 3% (6% total), or if they will have to spilt the 3% the govt. would pay the buyer’s agent.

    Our agent has been wonderful, and we will certainly pay him out of pocket if the govt. does not. It would just be nice to know much more money we need to come up with.

    We will be anxiously watching your client’s closing for 29 January!

    We were also given a form this week to have someone inspect the property. We were instructed it needed to be someone in the military, E-7 or above. The inspection sheet did not have “Form 1″ or “Form 2″ on it, so not sure it is the same one you are referencing.

    We also received a copy of a documentHAP sent to the title company requesting a special kind of title insurance and stating the US Government was aquiring our property. The date of 8 Mar seems a little far, but just to see the ball rollling even a little has been a big relief.

    I will keep everyone posted as to what documents they request and how the transaction proceeds. I know this Blog has been a life saver for me….it is nice to know we are all in this together.

  549. Alanon 14 Jan 2010 at 7:55 am

    JP – We are still at the very beginning of this whole process with a long way to go. I’m not PCS’ing for a few months so will be putting the property on the market soon. I’m just trying to learn as much as possible before diving into this HAP mess and trying to figure out what my options are. At this point, I’m trying to figure out when to submit my application since I don’t have my PCS orders yet, so HAP wouldn’t really be able to process anything I wouldn’t think. HAP says that I can send in the application now and PCS orders/contract/etc later, but I wonder if that would simply add to the confusion with multiple extra packages that would have to find their way into my file. Although, based on what everybody has stated here with regards to constantly sending more documents in, maybe I should get used to sending numerous packages to HAP. Thanks for all the info!

    C – Thanks for relaying your situation regarding your private sale. If you don’t mind I ask, was there a single bank/resource that you used for your “bridging” loan or did you have to scrounge up $10k here and another $10k there? Also, would you mind sharing who your rep at the Savannah office was? Thanks.

  550. Karenon 14 Jan 2010 at 8:48 am

    Marlo, they should be paying whatever you agreed to with your agent and then they will pay your realtors on the second contract. In most cases it is 6% although we have heard of them paying on a 7% because that is what was usual and customary in their area.

    I am to close on the 29th and was just told that because I made my January payment (they received the payoff on the 13th and my payment had not been credited by then-I mail my payment on the 11th and it is usually out of my checking account on the 16th) they will have to order another payoff which might hold up the closing. So check with your mortgage companies and let them know when you are being told your closing date is as to whether you should make your monthly payment or not.

    Alan I would get your paperwork in as soon as possible so that they can check it out and give you a preliminary nod as to whether you qualify. You will be asked to send in other paperwork throughout the process so don’t worry about not having your orders right now. Just get the ball rolling for now. I never had a problem with them getting everything that I sent in as long as I put my application number on it.

    The best to you all and I will let you know how my closing goes in a few weeks.

    JP good luck!!!!!!

    Karen

  551. Karenon 14 Jan 2010 at 9:06 am

    Just spoke with Shannon, my HAP realty specialist, and she said that they will request a new payoff statement next Tuesday and that it should not delay the closing for the 29th. We will see.

    Karen

  552. Robert Dionisioon 14 Jan 2010 at 10:41 am

    We closed on 12 Jan 10 using the option where they repurchase our home and sell it to the buyer I found. I was supposed to close on 15 Oct 09 but the DOD were not ready yet as most of you know. So I let the buyer live there rent free until the closing. The DOD picked up everything except for an agreement I had with the buyer instead of doing repairs (repiars would have cose around 1800, buyer wanted 1000 at closing) and a years home owners insurance (400). I ended up paying 2600 at closing which included the 1400 + interest on my loans until the closing as well as misc fees that the Banks charged. Once I got there an understood what the DOD would not pay it was pretty easy. Documents were emailed to me, I signed them with a Notery and then fedexed them to the folks handling the closing. I was told the closing with the buyer went well except the DOD did not have a signed HUD-1 yet.

    They made up around $80,000 at closing, I purchased the home for 380,000 with around 10,000 or so down and sold it for 300,000. It was a townhouse in Springfield, VA.

    I would recommend making sure what HAP will not pay for before you make any agreements or repairs to your home and get ready to sell it.

  553. JPon 14 Jan 2010 at 10:46 am

    UPS delivered our re-signed deed paperwork – hopefully all wiill go ok with closing today. I’ll keep you posted as I hear. Last I heard closing was supposed to be sometime between 12-2 today

  554. Karenon 14 Jan 2010 at 11:09 am

    Fingers crossed and praying for all to go well. Good luck!!!!!!

    Karen

  555. JPon 14 Jan 2010 at 11:23 am

    ARGH! – closing is delayed until tomorrow – buyers mortgage company is confused with this whole deal, they’ve never seen anything like it, something about underwriting and the FHA #, IDK…GEEZE

  556. Karenon 14 Jan 2010 at 11:46 am

    Well then, I will keep them crossed all day long and through the night. The end is in site JP-hopefully for all of us. I need to get a life!!!!!
    Karen

  557. JPon 14 Jan 2010 at 11:51 am

    this is crazy – I’m thinking if the mortgage company is confused they should have worked it out before now. Now we’re set for 1030am tomorrow – doesn’t make sense to me

  558. JPon 14 Jan 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I’m getting conflicting information – one says closing resched tomorrow at 1030 another says sometime next week. Every stinkin day its more $$ out of my pocket that I”ll never get back.

  559. JPon 14 Jan 2010 at 12:38 pm

    what I don’t get is..how on earth could we have waited for HAP to get their ducks in a row all this time..and now the buyers lender isnt’ ready..how is that possible? EVERYONE has been waiting on HAP and now the buyers lender isn’t ready??…unreal

  560. JPon 14 Jan 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Ok – latest is – we now have a clear to close – we are scheduled tomorrow at 10:30am

  561. JPon 14 Jan 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Karen – do you have contact info for Don Chapman? A friend is having major issues with the Chief of HAP Benefits (Savannah)

  562. Karenon 14 Jan 2010 at 3:17 pm

    National Program
    HQ, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    DoD Homeowners Assistance Program
    411 G Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20314-1000
    202-761-1566

    JP I am not home now; TDY with my husband in Florida so not sure if this is his direct number or not. But they should be able to direct you to him. Good luck.

    Karen

  563. JPon 14 Jan 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks!

  564. JSWon 14 Jan 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Good evening, all, and thank you all for the information and the mutual assistance.

    I’m preparing to put our house on the market in the DC area. We bought it in May 06 for $436K. It’s now being listed for $325K in anticipation of a summer 2010 move.

    Can I get some vectors to make sure I’m on the right page? These might be some fairly basic questions but I had trouble finding the answers above.

    1) We put 5% down and have made timely payments on a conventional mortgage for the last 3.5 years. We now have the two mortgages paid down to about $395K total. Assuming I can sell for the listing price, I understand that I would 95% of the difference between $436K and $325K back, right? In other words, I would walk away from this deal with money in my pocket, correct?

    2) Do I understand that for a private sale, I have to come up with the difference between what I sell it for and what I owe, and then I have to hope that HAP comes through?

    3) Should I start the application now or wait? I don’t have orders in hand yet but should any day now.

    4) What else can you see that I should look out for?

    Again, thank you all, and I look forward to your guidance. I’m disappointed that HAP has put out such little guidance. What guidance they do have is hard to find and confusing.

  565. Denise Korpinenon 14 Jan 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Got acquisition contracts out of Sacramento today! YEAH!!!!!! Sorry to drop a bomb and run- but my hubby has put me on blog restriction! As he outranks me I must roll. Be back tomorrow…we are getting more escrow paperwork and will update after I receive it!

  566. Karenon 16 Jan 2010 at 11:20 am

    Ok Jp what is the news? Can I uncross my fingers and toes now? Did the closing go as you hoped for? Let us know as we are all waiting on pins and needles!!!!!

    Denise are you off blog restrictions yet? What is going on with your client? Good news? Who wins the bet now?

    Karen

  567. Denise Korpinenon 16 Jan 2010 at 2:47 pm

    JP- What’s up? Are we there yet?
    Based on what I am getting from Sacramento- all the FedExing and such was about the deed? As we close via escrow (instead of attorney), the escrow company actually prepares all that and we won’t end up dealing with it last minute as long as escrow is provided the correct names/vesting.

    Most of what I am about to say will not mean much to you- unless you are well versed in real estate terminology. It may help you understand why it still takes so long to get through the process. More moving parts than you will ever see. Pass info on to your Realtor. So, we got government contracts Thursday. It is a little strange to have all the Seller’s expenses reflected in the contract to the final Buyers, but this is the government we are dealing with. As long as everything ends up paid. Realtor’s commission to be “usual and customary for the area” (most areas 6%- they use the number on the list agreement which should match the submitted HUD1 estimate). In California we do Grant Deeds. Sacramento HAP requires Warranty (from Seller) and Quit Claim (to Buyer) – same as most “Bank Owned” properties. We did NOT get additional escrow instructions on Friday as there were so many revisions to each revision there was no final by the end of the day! We are still looking to close on January 29th or sooner via PCS Acquisition.

    No further word on that Form1 or Form 2 inspection. Hoping that was cleared as unnecessary. Yes, that was going to be in addition to, or in place of, the form sent out by HAP for a government employee to complete.

    Karen- got contracts on Thursday, 5 business days later than told by HAP. If I recall I traded odds with you on Monday…making you the winner! Double or nothing between us on who closes first? That would be a $50 Starbucks card….

  568. Robon 16 Jan 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I’m supposed to close on my home under HAP on Thurs, 21 Jan through gov’t acquisition. The buyer is requesting title insurance. Is that being offered through the gov’ts closing company? Any words would be appreciated.

    I’ll post on Fri the final results if/when the closing is complete. Wish me luck!

  569. Karenon 16 Jan 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Mike said that we know now that angels drink Starbucks coffee!!! Nice to know for the future.

    JP what is going on? Can I uncross my fingers and toes yet?

    karen

  570. Marieon 16 Jan 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Denise-

    I was excited when I saw your post about government acquisitions in Sacramento since I had been told that Sacramento would have contracts for the government acquisitions by Friday. Unfortunately when I called my caseworker Ty Chamberlain on Friday he told me that there were still no contracts but that a few contracts had been released “mistakenly” because of a misunderstanding and that there’s another hang up (and he’s not sure when this will be resolved) involving whether the contract has to include mandatory disclosures. Ty had no estimate on when this new issue will get resolved, though he hopes by early next week. I have so say, at over a month from when I was supposed to close with no end in sight, this whole thing is becoming a little bit of a nightmare. I’m hoping you’ll have some better news. Every time I call I’m told things are being worked and will be resolved soon, but I have to admit I’m starting to lose hope… I know it’s not the caseworkers fault but watching time slip by like this is extremely frustrating (not to mention financially difficult). Do you have any ideas on how to get this thing moving? Someone who will have more pull?

  571. Con 17 Jan 2010 at 10:59 am

    Alan and others – we used personal loans from USAA and PenFed, I believe max for one was 25K and 20K for the other, plus savings. I believe they were unsecured loans with interests rates around 9-11% (not ideal, but we were hoping it was short term). They were not officially considered bridge loans and were not requested as such.

    Alos our POC in Savannah was Bill Oliver. He was very helpful to us.

    Good luck to all of you!!!!!

  572. Alanon 17 Jan 2010 at 11:01 am

    Question for the acquisition savvy…do you really have to put your house on the market for more than 120 days to qualify for a gov’t acquisition? I was reading the interim rules today (which hopefully will be replaced by the final rules soon!!) and they make it seem like you have to “make a reasonable effort to sell” before you qualify for an acquisition. I’m wondering if this is simply left over from the previous acquisition practices and isn’t really the way things are done now. Sadly, I know that most of the people here have all had their places on the market for more than 120 days so this hasn’t been a concern. I’m hoping that I won’t have too much trouble selling my place and, therefore, this may be a factor for me.

  573. Alanon 17 Jan 2010 at 11:11 am

    C – Thanks for the info with regards to your loans and POC at HAP! Still trying to figure out what we are going to do, but risk and difficulty of obtaining enough funds may preclude any chance of a private sale.

  574. Denise Korpinenon 17 Jan 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Karen- Tell Mike this angel drinks DECAF mochas only. Caffeine makes me only wish for an out of body experience I get so spun up!

    C- Thanks! I was afraid that’s what you would say. In other words, you pieced it all together.

    Alan- No, the house doesn’t have to be on the market 120 days to do acquisition. That was leftover from the days of government buying outright then trying to sell. Here is the thing- you can sell it in ONE day IF it is at a documentable fair market value. That value has to be within 10% of the Automated Value. I should qualify it with- be sure your Buyer is willing to wait 60-120 days to close in case you hit bumps. All going absolutely perfect it would be 45-60 days to close if you already have all else in to HAP.

    Marie and all fellow Sacramento applicants…sadly, the bulk of the roller coaster has been due to the District’s attorney. Her M.O. since the other two districts started closing has been- solve one of her legal concerns, another arises. Every file requires her sign off. There have been plenty of people coming from the top of the chain down toward Sacramento, but it hasn’t resulted in any closings yet. HAP Army Corps officials all know. One of my clients has a D.C. connected Colonel tracking and I know there is an applicant relative who works for a General (two star) following. There was a USMC email sent approx. Jan 4th, via Legal Assistance asking for all issues with Sacramento HAP to be reported up the chain to USMC HQ Legal. Of course, if someone has not checked in with Legal they will not be aware to send info. Not sure if other services are doing the same. I do agree with Ty that we have to be getting very close to running out of reasons to delay from what I have seen (FYI- I have 2 files with Ty, 1 with Tashawna, 1 with Ryan). I was requested to send all “Disclosures” last Thursday and did so expeditiously. I had to send all Homeowner’s Association documents to cover the bases the week before. The caseworkers are advocating very hard to bring closure for Members. Don’t cast away your confidence. The walls have to fall real soon.

  575. Waitingon 17 Jan 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Are there any chances that when the final rules are published there will be changes for prior short sellers?

  576. Denise Korpinenon 18 Jan 2010 at 3:17 am

    I emailed Deanna Buchner at OSD to see when Final Rules will hit the street. Hopefully she will answer Tuesday.

  577. JSWon 18 Jan 2010 at 7:53 am

    Hello, all, and thank you all for the information and the mutual assistance.

    I’m preparing to put our house on the market in the DC area. We bought it in May 06 for $436K. It’s now being listed for $325K in anticipation of a summer 2010 move.

    Can I get some vectors to make sure I’m on the right page? I have been reading the posts but just want to confirm what I think I have learned above.

    1) We put 5% down and have made timely payments on a conventional mortgage for the last 3.5 years. We now have the two mortgages paid down to about $395K total. Assuming I can sell for the listing price, I understand that I would get 95% of the difference between $436K and $325K back, right? In other words, I would walk away from this deal with money in my pocket, correct?

    2) Do I understand that for a private sale, I have to come up with the difference between what I sell it for and what I owe, and then I have to hope that HAP comes through?

    3) Should I start the application now or wait? I don’t have orders in hand yet but should any day now.

    4) What else can you see that I should look out for?

    Again, thank you all, and I look forward to your guidance. I’m disappointed that HAP has put out such little guidance. What guidance they do have is hard to find and confusing.

  578. JPon 18 Jan 2010 at 6:24 pm

    We closed on the house on friday – WHOOHOO!!!

  579. JPon 18 Jan 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Denise – the Fedexing was deed, affidavits, settlement sheet, limited power of attorney etc. we had a last minute fax that they forgot in the first packate (another affidavit). For the most part was smooth on our end, apparently there was a flurry of paperwork at closing with the buyer. But I got the call Friday afternoon that it was all over with.

    Now that its all done – the process was painful at times, confusing at times and long, but I am thankful for HAP.

    Karen – make sure your closing packet has two witnesses (we only had one plus the notary and we had to do it over)..the notary can also be a witness.

  580. Karenon 18 Jan 2010 at 8:58 pm

    JP Praise God that it is all over with. Did they pay all the closing cost? Did they pay for a home warranty? The money you had to send was because you had not paid for this month right? What did they not pay for?

    I am so happy for you and the family. It has been a long, long road. I hope I can give you good news on our end on the 29th. So they will send me a packet with everything in it next? What I owe and what needs to be signed?

    Talk soon.

    Karen

  581. Karenon 18 Jan 2010 at 9:05 pm

    JP looking over your previous post you mentioned that you had to have an inspection three days prior to closing? Did this happen?

    karen

  582. Roryon 18 Jan 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Congratulations, JP! And Thanks Denise for the “120 day” response to Alan. That answers many people’s questions, I’m sure. I know it made things click for me.

  583. Ryanon 19 Jan 2010 at 12:16 am

    Hello – does anyone have any new info in the legal holdup w/Gov Acqs? Has the Sacramento office processed one? Also, is this legal issue expected to be resolved with the new rules?

  584. Kellion 19 Jan 2010 at 5:16 am

    What is the trick to getting through at the HAP office? When we call nobody answers. If we leave a message, we don’t hear back. We’re just trying to get a status update. We got a letter saying our packet was going to benefits but haven’t heard anything from that department, at all.

    JP – Congrats!!

    Kelli

  585. Karenon 19 Jan 2010 at 9:28 am

    Kelli the best thing to do is to email them. I have had better success with this way of communication in the past year. Also what district are you with? If you are with Savanah I can give you a number directly to benefits. Let me know how I can help you.

    Karen

  586. JPon 19 Jan 2010 at 9:59 am

    Thank you everyone – what a load off our backs I tell you.

    Karen – The only thing I had to pay was interest for the month of Jan. They add 7 days in to the interest pay off amt in case settlement slides (ours slid one day) – they say we will get refunded any overages plus any $ in escrow. we also had to pay taxes for 1-15 Jan (prorated). Our settlement was fairly simple. Settlement between gov and buyer was where realtor commissions were paid and any applicable fee’s. Basically HAP paid for our gap (40k) plus just under 11k in closing fee’s between them and the buyer

  587. JPon 19 Jan 2010 at 10:00 am

    Karen – we settle here on our new house the 29th – same day you settle with HAP. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed for you. Please post as you go along.

  588. Karenon 19 Jan 2010 at 10:32 am

    Wishing you the best in your new home!!!!! Will let you know what happens.

    Karen

  589. Texas Momon 20 Jan 2010 at 10:57 am

    What a wonderful forum and thank you to Karen for informing me of this valuable source of information.

    I’ve had my house on the market for 18 months and my husband has already PCS’d six months ago. (His squadron was BRAC affected)

    Has anyone had luck with a PFMV of over $417k? I would love to lower the price on my home and move me and my four kids to be with my husband but our original home purchase price was over the current limit and I understand I won’t get reimbursed one penny for my loss the way the current HAP is written.

    According to this forum, it appears that the new Rule may allow homes with a PFMV higher than the current limit to be included. I’m crossing my fingers. It seems to me the most fair way to apply this benefit is to limit the “benefit amount” regardless of what your home is worth. We’re all on the same payroll chart and any loss will ultimately affect us the same. As it is now, we’re having to maintain two residences…that’s stressful and expensive.

  590. Denise Korpinenon 20 Jan 2010 at 11:30 am

    Final Rule- I just spoke to Deanna Buchner at OSD. HAP Rules comment period is closed. Office of Management and Budget/OMB has to review and approve the changes made to the final rules. From the conversation my paraphrase is- there were a lot of changes that affect the budget bottom line so they could not just publish without another review from a higher financial authority. Hopefully OMB approves and rules are published in 30 days or less. HAP Districts will continue to process applications based on Interim Rules until Finals are approved.

    Sacramento is status quo on “PCS Acquisitions”- none closed yet.

  591. hopkinson 20 Jan 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I am still trying to figure this all out. Bought out house for $325,000..And zillow says it’s worth $179,000. Had it appraised and they said $185,000. Now we might have a buyer in the Northern Virginia area for an amount in between. Problem is

    1. What route do we take to get this paid off. Have 15 grand in recieptsfor upgrades.

    2. Can’t get through to the HAP people to give tell them we have a buyer. Our house was sold word of mouth never on the market…It was a for sale by owner. Do we have to list it?

    3. Do we need to get a realtor? Do they pay that fee anyway?

  592. Denise Korpinenon 20 Jan 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Need to clarify something that has been a little misty for people…when this all started it appeared HAP could not bring money to the closing table unless you were Augmenting at 100% mortgage payoff. The only other option was to come up with all the money yourself then be reimbursed. Currently, a member can do a PRIVATE SALE with the money coming to the closing table from HAP (more aptly described as AUGMENTATION) IF they have 10% of PFMV or more of their OWN money invested into the property. If you have some personal money into the property but less than 10%, and do not have additional funds to make 10% contribution- then you use ACQUISITION. From the way things are worded on HAP site it appears a PRIVATE SALE involves bringing 100% of mortgage balance plus closing costs to table by the member and later being reimbursed for all those funds. That is not the case now. However, this is what some people did prior to HAP beginning to pay out. I think this is where some of the confusion comes from about what is now being reimbursed. Remember each situation is unique.

    Acquisition typically works best for people who 91%- 100% (or in the case of some VA loans 103%) financed their properties at purchase and did not put in many improvements. It is a more complicated process than Private Sale Augmentation. However, in many cases it is the only option to sell the house.

    Hopkins- Did you put any money down when you bought this house? If you put 10% or more down (you can apply the $15,000 towards it) then you can go private sale. See 1st paragraph explanation. If not- you go Acquisition. HAP offices are much better about emailing. You could try Bonnie.M.Reed@usace.army.mil or JP, Karen, or someone can you post another competent person’s email…Not sure how North in VA your property is. Know a few Realtors that could help you through the process. It won’t cost you any extra and assures you meet all the proper legal requirements. I have talked to a few agents who have now closed these in VA and could refer you if they are close.

    JSW- if you are PCS the benefit is 90% (not 95%). You are a perfect example, as was Karen, of being close to the line for Private Sale with Augmentation at the time of close (see 1st paragraph). $436K-$395k=$41k personal contribution. You need a 10% contribution= $43,600 minimum to Private Sale with Augmentation where HAP would bring all the mortgage money. Short $2,600. On the face of it you might be able to pay off that much more in mortgage principle and have HAP private sale augment instead of acquiring. You would then still pay mortgage interest and taxes in the month of close. Have not heard of anyone doing it that way yet…would have to ask a benefits advisor.

  593. JPon 21 Jan 2010 at 11:04 am

    Man I am sooooo glad we are done with this whole thing!

  594. Karenon 21 Jan 2010 at 11:25 am

    JP good to hear that you are alive and well. I am still trying to get Shannon to call me back on our closing next Friday. We are TDY starting Sunday and busy in classes all day throughout the week. Worried that we won’t get the paperwork before we leave and then having to find a Notary in Austin!!!! I can’t wait to be in your shoes!!!!!!

    Karen

  595. JPon 21 Jan 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Good luck – we had no idea they were sending paperwork and we were in NC for a funeral. If she would have told me I would have had them send the paperwork to NC.

    They will overnight it via FedEx but its THursday and you leave Sunday. They sent ours on a Friday and wanted it back that Monday..and we weren’t even home.

    You’re almost there…hang in there

  596. JPon 21 Jan 2010 at 12:54 pm

    We spent three nights in a row going to a Notary. Luckily UPS had one til 7pm each night

  597. Karenon 22 Jan 2010 at 1:57 pm

    On my way to get the notary to sign the paperwork (and two witnesses). Even though I paid for this month they are saying that I have another 1100 to pay so I had to scrmable to get that today. Will let you know what is going on as soon as I find out.

    Karen

  598. Denise Korpinenon 22 Jan 2010 at 10:36 pm

    As HAP Turns Sacramento Edition continues. Legal issues about Goverment Acquisition contract content continue to plague Sacramento processing. D.C. higher ups stepped in today to authorize a few files to move forward towards close. Looking forward to the end of this adventure for the first run of Sacramento Acquisition members. Everyone send your best thoughts towards Sacramento for us!

  599. Marieon 23 Jan 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I recieved a contract Friday from Sacramento with a closing date of 29 Jan. It didn’t come with instructions, just a contract for me to sign and mail back to HAP. Pest inspection required (which will be reimbursed). I’m not sure what happens next but I really hope things go through this time!

  600. Chaseon 23 Jan 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Marie, are you doin g the gov acq? Also, what is your PCS date? I’ve been in a holdinmg pattern for a while w/Sacramento and hope the legalities get worked out soon so I can close.

  601. Denise Korpinenon 24 Jan 2010 at 12:55 am

    Yeah Marie! There should be more direction come Monday, as some things changed Friday in Sacramento. Several Wounded Warriors and Surviving Spouses to get off the line first. You will want to turn the paperwork right around via email. Check with your Realtor to see what else needs to be done to fund Buyer’s loan if they are not all cash.

    Chase- assuming you already have a Buyer under contract and all paperwork turned in?

    My client and his buyer returned acquisition contracts Tuesday, Jan 19th. PCS 2007. We are waiting for notarized deeds and HAP final closing statements. Treasury checks were ordered Friday with authority of D.C. due to Sacramento legal issues. Supposed to close no later than Friday, Jan 29th. Hope that gives you a picture of the process!

  602. Kellion 24 Jan 2010 at 3:54 am

    Karen – I would really appreciate the number to benefits! We are in the Savannah District.

    We didn’t get the e-mail to the person who is suppose to be handling our packet in benefits – only the name and phone number (which rings to someone else’s voicemail), so that number would be awesome!
    Thanks!

  603. JPon 25 Jan 2010 at 8:40 am

    Karen – I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you this week!

    Kelli – I don’t know of a general number to benefits

  604. JPon 25 Jan 2010 at 9:28 am

    Kelli – who’s your benefits rep?

  605. JPon 25 Jan 2010 at 9:50 am

    for email you can try firstname.lastname@usace.army.mil

  606. Kellion 25 Jan 2010 at 10:32 am

    JP – I just pulled out the letter again, and it says the name is Mrs. Gennetta Jordan, but is saying our application was forwarded to the HAP Acquisition Section. Since we fall under a private sale (we did a short sale), I’m not sure if the packet is even in the correct department. I will try the e-mail format you provided. Thanks!

  607. Alanon 25 Jan 2010 at 11:15 am

    Denise – Thank you so much for your recent post with regards to private sales versus aquisitions – that was one of the clearest explanations I have ever seen for a program like this. I wish you were the one writing the HAP guidelines!!!

    That is terrific news that they are starting to do Augmentations for private sales at this point. Am I understanding this correctly that funds will be pre-approved through HAP and transferred at the time of closing with no requirement for bridge loans? Man, that would be unbelievable! No risk, some of my down payment returned to me, and a huge monkey off my back. Also, did you say that you know a few realtors in the Washington D.C. area that have completed some private sales with augmentation? Thanks again.

  608. Kellion 25 Jan 2010 at 1:01 pm

    So we now have a new contact. I guess our other one no longer works there. This contact says we should be assigned to a real estate specialist within the next few weeks. Her information wasn’t even showing whether or not we had already sold our home. I am glad to atleast have a contact again!!

  609. Marieon 25 Jan 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Chase-

    I am doing a gov acquisition. I PCS’d in July but I believe at first HAP was organizing applications by order of priority among packages that were complete. My package was complete months ago (I’m sure I was one of the first to have a complete package), so I was told to set a closing date in early December. Then, about two days before I was supposed to close Sacramento HAP told me there were no contracts but they should be done within the next week or so. That’s been the pattern for two months now. I’ve been lucky so far that the buyers really like the house and have been in a position to wait but they have an offer on their current house and want to move now.

    I’m really hoping the closing happens this time. I keep thinking how much longer can this not happen? The bad part is this delay has cost thousands of dollars and there’s no reimbursement for those of us in this position. This kind of delay could really drive some people over the edge, especially those who have left their houses unrented rather than stemming some of the loss because this program was out there. For the sake of the military members this program was meant to help I hope they resolve this… it’s already been so long.

    I will keep you updated on how it goes and what might be involved. Also, a few tips when you do get a buyer (I believe I’ve seen these mentioned before). I made the contract contingent on HAP approval (I didn’t want to be bound by a contract if HAP said my purchase price wasn’t ok — my realtor did the comps and said the price was good, but I wanted insurance). Also, I put in the contract that closing date may be slipped for HAP (a good thing as it’s almost two months since I was supposed to close). Good luck, I wish you all the best!

  610. Denise Korpinenon 26 Jan 2010 at 1:48 am

    Hope you are moving along Marie! We are waiting on government deeds and Treasury checks from Sacramento to close PCS augmentation by Jan 29th.

    Rob- no posts…did you get it done on the 21st? Yes, title insurance should have been ordered by whoever your closing agent was.

    Alan- Glad my description of Private Sale Augmentation vs. Government Acquisition made sense to you. The HAP website does not reflect that the government can bring the money to the closing table for the private sales if service member has put in 10% or more. It still looks like you have to get a loan based on the site. Found out recently that is not the case. Processors will tell you they can send money to close. I am in the middle of augmentation for a Wounded Warrior (priority) so will let you know where theory and reality meet. That’s smiley Katie from Jan 13th post. She has such a great attitude. All my others thus far are acquisitions, thus slow going uphill with Sacramento no matter the PCS date. My other augmentations are coming to market between now and April as they are summer movers. Marie is correct- they are going with orders date but having the most complete file will push it closer to the front. Of course, to attain a complete file, you have to know what they want and need! That is where these blogs should help you.

    Stephanie Wardwell who posted Jan 3rd is in Prince William County. Not sure if she is northern enough for you Alan. I have good contacts for HAP in Fredericksburg/Quantico, Pensacola, Panama City, Lemoore, and a few other places.

    Robert- Were you happy with your agent out of Springfield? HAP doesn’t allow “repairs”. You likely could have called those expenses “costs credits” to the buyer and had them paid. As long as all Buyer costs/credits were less than 3% of sale price in total. HAP should pay for items usual and customary for your area as long as they are in initial negotiations. Savannah does seem to see a few usual and customary things differently than Sacramento. HAP doesn’t tell you all these things on the site. They’re things we learn by doing and asking questions.

  611. Marloon 26 Jan 2010 at 7:19 am

    Denise, you touched on a great point I have been trying to get someone to answer for me for months!

    We went under contract with our buyer in August. She has been patiently waiting with us for HAP. She did not want to order an inspection or appraisal until HAP was rolling since she would loose this money if HAP never came through. So my question has been, at what point do we re-negotiate the price based on home inspection and appraisal? There is a real possibility the home will not appraise for the selling price…she is financing 100% with a VA loan.

    Do we re-negotiate this or will it be the HAP office? My case worker at HAP is very aware of the situation and has not had an answer for me so far. Any insight you have would be appreciated!

    Marie, good luck this week! We will be anxiously awaiting news of your closing. I hope all goes smoothly at the end for you!

  612. JPon 26 Jan 2010 at 9:42 am

    Marlo – I had the same issue – my buyer didn’t want to do the inspection until we had approval from HAP that they would come through.

    My two cents – HAP is not in the business of negotiating the sale price of your home, they are there to cover the gap and minimize your loss financially. You have to provide the buyer and negotiate the sale price but be within 10% of CFMV to qualify for HAP help :)

  613. JPon 26 Jan 2010 at 9:49 am

    Kelli – within the next few weeks?!? THats crazy

  614. Robon 26 Jan 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Closing tomorrow. I’ll update my whole situation once complete. Wish me luck!!!

  615. Karenon 26 Jan 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Wishing you buckets of luck Rob for tomorrow if you will so the same for us on Friday. Will keep you updated.

    Karen

  616. Waitingon 26 Jan 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I got some good news from the Savannah office today.

    I did a short sale back in Nov and I am still patiently waiting for my payment.

    I was told initially that my HELOC of credit that I had to sign a note for in order to close was not reimbursable. I was also told that closing cost were also not reimbursable.

    Today I was told that I would be paid for both. She mentioned something about the guidelines changing I guess that may have something to do with final rules.

  617. Denise Korpinenon 27 Jan 2010 at 12:28 am

    Yippee! So, like JP, as much as we tried to avoid it…we are in the midst of the Sacramento HAP FedEx shuffle! Seller needed a new Warranty deed. HAP is sending to escrow overnight the Quit claim deed and the Treasury checks. Military Seller and Buyer had already signed Gov Acquisition contracts but we got revised ones today and turned them right around. We will get more escrow instructions tomorrow. Moving along for Friday’s 8:00 a.m. San Diego time closing…

    Short sales…Waiting/Kelli- paying the note off for the purchase money HELOC (even in case of lien release for short sale with new unsecured note for balance) is how it was stated in rules to be all long. So glad they are finally getting that straightened out for you and the others. I’m thinking that Savannah is having a bit of a time processing the short sales because they have so many acquisitions they are trying to turn out to meet closing dates with active buyers. As JP is indicating- I don’t think I would wait “a few weeks” for them to assign me a processor and get me some answers.

    Marlo- also with JP on the renegotiating if needed. Not HAP’s deal. You are in a, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” situation with the Buyer. This is where getting HAP to issue you a benefits/entitlements letter helps. No reason for Buyer to spend the money on appraisal till HAP confirms you can sell. The letter is used as proof of benefits and the Buyer should move forward. No reason to renegotiate the price or terms till the appraisal and inspection are done. Then you can renegotiate sale price as long as it is still within 10% of AV. If something needs to be repaired and buyer won’t purchase if you don’t do it…sorry, NO REPAIRS unless the money is coming from your pocket. In most cases you are allowed to credit “costs” to the Buyer (recurring and nonrecurring) up to 3% of purchase price- if reasonable and customary for your area. Trade secret- technically, you may be able negotiate something that IS allowable to help the Buyer feel compensated for something that IS NOT allowable. Negotiating involves holding a few cards for a rainy day. Government wants you to make best effort to assure they do not put more out than needed, as if it were indeed your own money (you are a taxpayer- so it is your money!). My understanding is Seller and Buyer can negotiate changes to terms as needed, within guides of HAP rules, up until purchase contract is issued by government. Have your agent contact me offline if needed.

    JP- thanks for sticking with us!
    Go Rob! Looking forward to good news!
    Marie must be out at the local FedEx……?
    Can’t believe that Karen is off getting training on the week this is all coming to a close!

  618. JPon 27 Jan 2010 at 9:31 am

    Good luck Rob!

    Karen – still got my fingers crossed for your closing on friday.

    Denise – now that I’m through the process I figure I’ll help where I can :)

  619. JPon 27 Jan 2010 at 9:34 am

    Rob – once we got our offer letter from HAP – our buyers then scheduled their appraisal.

    I think the key to getting through the process is you have to be proactive and keep on top of it and keep it moving.

  620. JPon 27 Jan 2010 at 9:36 am

    I wish HAP would cover our loss while we were paying a mortgage and rent

  621. JSWon 27 Jan 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Thank you to those who have posted responses to my earlier questions. Tomorrow we will most likely accept an offer on our home in anticipation of our PCS this summer. We bought it for $436K in May 06; we will sell it for somewhere around $325K.

    I’ve tried to call Savannah several times to ask this question, but they are maddeningly difficult to reach. I have orders in hand. Any other advice on things I must do before accepting a contract? I plan to complete the application as soon as we have a contract. Any advice on that?

    Thanks for whatever you can offer. I’m frustrated that we are left to figure this out on our own.

  622. Denise Korpinenon 27 Jan 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Sacramento Acquisitions on the move! End of the line “legal” paperwork for the first closing acquisitions all handed over to Mike Anda to deal with. Pray for him…it is a desk load! Processors are excited to finally get some of us to where we want to be- CLOSED!

    If you want to know details for the final hours- In our 1st PCS case…escrow company just confirmed government checks arrived along with deed from government to buyer. Deed from Seller to government is in FedEx to arrive by 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Buyer’s lender to send money via wire Thursday morning. Escrow is still working on some last minute instructions but they can be faxed. Title will set up to record at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning. Almost there!

    JSW- Remember to have verbiage stating you require HAP approval for financial assistance to close. NO REPAIRS or repair credits- unless you are paying. No homeowner’s warranty per Savannah. Buyer would have to pay for these items themselves. You could potentially give some “closing costs credits”. Make sure the Buyer is flexible and can wait for HAP to process.

  623. Alanon 27 Jan 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Denise – Thanks again for the clarification. The reason I asked is that someone at the Savannah office said private sales must be completed prior to HAP considering providing funds. They told me that they need to have the HUD-1 before final processing of eligibility. This was a few weeks ago, however, and maybe they have changed their rules. I will definitely ask again and see if I receive a different response. Thanks for tracking this down!

    JSW – I will defer to Denise and some of the others here on the forum for more details, but I’m pretty sure they will all say to put in your application NOW and not wait until the contract offer is worked out. There’s no need to wait and HAP can begin processing your file a few days earlier if you send it off ASAP. Also, be sure to put a clause in the contract that references the HAP program so you can back out if you aren’t offerred assistance for one reason or another. There are a couple of posts earlier in this forum that contain the language to put in the contract. Finally, try sending the Savannah office an email. I have found it easier to contact them through that route.

  624. Katieon 27 Jan 2010 at 4:06 pm

    An update! I’m sure Denise would love if I actually checked this more frequently so I wouldn’t ask her questions that she has already answered here…

    We have another offer (after our first one fell through) and are in escrow. Waiting for the home inspection and the docs from the escrow company so I can get to a notary.

    I saw that you need 2 witnesses for the notarized stuff? Like the forms may not have lines for 2 witnesses but you need them anyway? Just want to clarify so maybe I can cut down on the number of trips to the notary. Another question- did any of you use the notary on base or in your command? That’s what we plan to do… since I’m pretty sure Base Legal has a free notary. At least, that’s what we plan to do until we need more stuff notarized at 6pm at night to ensure we can close on time!

    We are going the “augmentation” route and will see how that plays out. Thanks to Denise!!! Or we never would have known that avenue had opened up. We still have the relatives going forward with the huge HELOC to help us out (just in case the gov’t changes its mind about augmentation so we can be sure to close on time). It works out for us since they wanted to do a major kitchen upgrade anyway… we just got them thinking about doing it earlier than planned.

    I am guessing we’ll close mid to late Feb. Hoping! Our renters leave the beginning of Feb, so hopefully we only have to cover the mortgage for Feb and will be closed before we have to pay out-of-pocket for March too.

    The ride hasn’t been too bumpy yet, but I am fully expecting some potholes as we get closer to closing.

    I didn’t think about paying the taxes, mortgage, etc for extra days prior to closing. I really appreciate you guys mentioning it! Not a big deal- we can cough up that little bit of cash if we need to for closing but it’s nice to know that expense might be there (and then be reimbursed for some of it based on when we actually close).

    I’ll keep posting updates on my experience. So happy that JP is done! My fingers are crossed for the rest of us, that’s for sure!

  625. Pattyon 27 Jan 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Does any one know how many of the applications have been processed completely in the Savannah District?

    I called about our application two months ago and I was told I would hear something within a month and hear I sit without any information. I hate calling and being told nothing. I just love (not) programs that are designed to help and still be waiting 9 months later.

  626. Denise Korpinenon 27 Jan 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Katie- Girl you know my life revolves around closing Ralph’s Acquisition on Friday right now…but I will always be HAPpy to answer any questions! The progress of your sale is in the Buyer’s hands at the moment with inspection and appraisal. Then we will fly over any potholes…

    Patty- you need to call again. That is crazy. As everybody says, email tends to work best with Savannah.

  627. Texas Momon 27 Jan 2010 at 8:50 pm

    to JSW, you mentioned you purchased your home for $436k — is that in an area where the Fannie/Freddie limits are more than $417k?

    My original home purchase was more than $417k (my area’s max for Freddie/Fannie) so I’m wondering if I qualify. 18 months on the market and not one offer. We’d like to lower our price but only if HAP assistance comes through.

    I keep hoping they rewrite the Rule to allow homes with a PFMV of more, but cap the benefit amount….still waiting.

    Are people putting in their HAP applications prior to having a buyer ready? I thought you had to have a buyer and offer before submitting if you were going the augmentation route. Does anyone know this for sure? I’m in Texas.

    Thank you to everyone who posts….you give me hope and that’s worth a lot these days.

  628. Karenon 27 Jan 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Texas mom, we put our house up for sale 16 months ago before HAP was on board. Then in Feb of last year we heard about HAP. We had several offers during the past year but because non could/would wait for HAP to come on board we lost them. Best thing to do is put your paperwork in NOW and start to aggresively market the home. It will be so much easier for you all now because we long timers are working out the kinks for you and hopefully handing it to you on a silver platter!!!!!! You do have to have a buyer on the hook before HAP will go any further with your paperwork but getting it started would be the best.

    We are in Savanahh and suppose to close in two days. Will let you know what happens,.

    Karen

  629. JPon 28 Jan 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Karen – good luck tomorrow!!! (assuming you’re still on track)

  630. Karenon 28 Jan 2010 at 8:46 pm

    JP will let you all know tomorrow. Karen

  631. Denise Korpinenon 28 Jan 2010 at 11:36 pm

    First Sacramento District PCS Acquisition set to record in the morning! Hopefully Marie is right behind us…? What a long road. Will let you know when it is confirmed.

    Spoke to Karen and there was a little hiccup about needing some initials but hopefully it is all resolved and will make close.

    Texas Mom- think I mentioned before, final rules are anticipated to set the cap for each individual PFMV at Fannie max of $729,750. The rule also may not disqualify if PFMV is over- just limit the benefit. So seller would need to come up with $$ over cap to close. No guarantees till rules come out. OMB has to approve as this will cost the government a whole lot more dinero to open up the top end like that. That is why publish is taking longer than we had hoped. Yes, people are putting in their applications to get initial review for qualifications confirmed. Then going to market to get a buyer. HAP will not give you any numbers till you have a buyer.

    HUD1- All, as soon as you have a buyer and submit contract to escrow/attorney they can give you an “estimated HUD1” after confirming your loan balances. In a straight private sale you close without assistance and get reimbursement- thus why you would need a “final HUD1” to get any money sent direct to you. Keep in mind that the private sale “AUGMENTATION” route has opened up where they bring money to the table for you if you have had that 10% or more contribution. That involves an accurate estimated HUD1 for Gov to know how much money to send to table. Same with Acquisition- very accurate estimated HUD1 needed to determine benefits. Remember, a lot of this stuff is not clear on the Army Corps HAP site.

  632. Marieon 29 Jan 2010 at 12:37 am

    Unfortunately it looks like I will not close tomorrow. After being told earlier in the week nothing more is needed at that time no one has contacted me with further instructions. I’ve tried to reach the person who has my file for the last two days (it’s been forwarded by my caseworker) and haven’t recieved a return phone call or email explaining what to do and why I’m not going to close on the date on the contract I signed. Sadly this has been par for the course for me. There’s no way I could close tomorrow based on what would need to happen logistically. At this point I’m not sure what’s going on and when I will close. I will update more when I know more.

  633. jasonon 29 Jan 2010 at 1:14 am

    Can anyone with a completed benefit show their numbers? Or even just a generic set? Or just check my basic assumptions below?

    Most interested in the private sale option (PCS cat.). Seems like the trick is to get the price within the FMV price (which we don’t have access to), but still low enough to sell quickly… is that right?

    Our situation: 230K purchase price in 2005, Owe 170, think it could sell for 190. If so, I calcuate that HAP would give 90% of difference between purchase (230) and sale price (190) as long as the selling price was within 10% of the FMV. So HAP would give me 36K (90% of 40K), plus cover my closing costs, and I’d get the 20K equity (difference between selling price and what I owe the bank). Bottom line, I walk away with 56K total (HAP benefit of 36 + 20 equity). Is this right?

    For those who’ve done a private sale, how long did it take to get paid after the closing?

    Thanks in advance, this blog is very helpful!

  634. Con 29 Jan 2010 at 9:03 am

    Jason – we completed a private sale. I think you may need to recalculate your numbers. I believe it is 90% of purchase price, so for you, 207K – 190K(sales price) which would result int 17K + your equity. Also, your closing costs will be reimbursed. A friend of mine miscalculated and was disappointed when the refund was not what they expected.

    As far as how long it took for reimbursement it was nearly 6 months, but we started the process and closed before rules were announced (we took a big risk), but once the rule was published – it was about 6 weeks.

    Be sure to have all your paperwork complete and send it as you get what you need. Keep on the HAP office, because we were told on several occasions our package was complete to find out later they wanted more things.

    Good luck!

  635. Texas Momon 29 Jan 2010 at 9:18 am

    Jason, if you read above more you will see that the calculation is not as you think. They aren’t really paying you 90% “of your loss” but rather, they will reimburse you for any amount you suffer that is below 90% of the value of your home at the time you purchased it. 90% of 230k = 207k. So, if you sell for 190k you would be entitled to the difference between 207k and 190k which would be $17k (plus closing costs).

    Big difference. Think of it like this: you have to suffer the first 10% decline, then HAP will come in to help with the rest.

    What’s weird about this formula is that one is not really affected by how much of a “loss” they sell their house for, but rather, how much their home cost to begin with. If we’re all responsible for the first 10%, then in reality, the more expensive home you bought the more of a loss you suffer. If you bought a 100,000 home, you lose $10,000. If you bought a 500,000 home you lose $50,000. It doesn’t matter if you sell for 30% or 50% of what you paid. YOUR loss is only relative to what you originally paid.

    Does your 230k figure include your closing costs? From what I understand, that should be included so you may be entitled to a bit more if you forgot to include the closing costs in your PFMV.

    Over 630 responses on this blog….clearly a helpful board for a lot of people!

  636. Karenon 29 Jan 2010 at 9:37 am

    Hopefully, I will hear in a few hours that the closing is a done deal. Of course having played the HAPless game for the past YEAR I am a little bit leary about all of this. I have my cell phone right next to me (home for sale is in Alabama, our home now is in Washington DC-rental and I am in Austin Texas now with husband TDY for rifle and pistol training prior to going overseas) and waiting for a call that all is a go. Keep your fingers crossed please and I will let you know what happens!!!!!!!!

    karen

  637. jasonon 29 Jan 2010 at 10:03 am

    Ahh… that sounds a little different. Thanks for the quick replies. Good luck to all with the program.

  638. Ryanon 29 Jan 2010 at 10:31 am

    Any news on when the final rules should come out? Also, will the final rules fix the hold-up on Gov Acqs or is it expected that these will go much faster after the first one goes through today? Thx

  639. Karenon 29 Jan 2010 at 12:03 pm

    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrr. For some reason, the second contract between government and my buyer has not shown up for the closing. My realtor is trying to get it faxed/emailed to her so that we can still do a closing today. Will keep you updated on Hapless to Happening.

    Karen

  640. Marieon 29 Jan 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Well, I’ve spent all day on the phone trying to get ahold of someone to figure out why I got no further instructions for closing and not even a call to tell me the closing wasn’t going to happen today. My buyers are really getting upset–this is the second time we’ve been given a closing date that didn’t happen and this time I can’t even tell them why!

    After emailing and getting no response for the last few days and leaving messages (my casewoker is out of the office and his mail box is full–the person my file was supposed to be with hasn’t returned my phone call or emails). I finally got ahold of the Chief of Operations and she promised to have someone get back to me by the close of business today. I really can’t believe this!

    I can understand to some extent the delay over legalities (although at almost two months and counting to figure out a program that had been in the works for months seems a little excessive), but to not even call me to tell me closing wasn’t going to happen on the day the contract they sent me said? No response to emails when I try to figure out what’s going on? Hopefully I will be able to post details on this further snag by the end of the day.

  641. Denise Korpinenon 29 Jan 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Hooray! Sacramento finally had an ACQUISITION closing! Hopeing it will pave the way for the rest of the West Coasters.

    Marie- processors are working Saturday morning and some were at meetings in Savannah this past week.

  642. jasonon 29 Jan 2010 at 11:20 pm

    C & Texas Mom,

    After a bit more reflection on your inputs, it seems there’s a lot of incentive for me to lower my price to get a quick sale, because HAP will make up whatever the difference is (as long as I’m within 10% of the current FMV).

    That sounds crazy that there’s no incentive for us to get as high a sales price as possible… but from the numbers I gave you, it seems there’s no difference in what I would get whether I sell for 200K or 190K. Both would net me the 17K Texas Mom calculated.

    The part that keeps me from going too low with my sales price is the need to be within 10% of current FMV, right? I’m trying to extract the answers to my questions from all the above posts… put it I just want to be sure before we get too deep into HAP.

    Thanks!

  643. Alanon 29 Jan 2010 at 11:43 pm

    For anyone who’s curious, I confirmed with HAP Savannah that Private Sale “AUGMENTATIONS” are a go here in the Savannah district. Here’s the email:

    Dear Sir,

    The Expanded HAP program offers these options: Government Acquisition, Private Sale and Private Sale Augmentation. Thanks so much!

    Respectfully,
    Nancy Erler

    Hope this helps somebody and thanks to Denise for bringing this to light!!! This arm of the program will save me a ton of money and reduce my loss by 1/2 without risky “bridge” loans.

  644. Karenon 29 Jan 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Well we finally closed– sort of. Early during the day we found out that HAP had not sent the second contract in but we were able to get it faxed in and signed. So we are closed now but money will not be dispersed until Monday when they receive the real deed, not just the copy. It has been a long year but I hope that we, and the others going to closing soon, have worked out alot of the kinks for folks that come after us. Of course who knows what will transpire once the rules are published. Hopefully only good things will come about from that.

    Waiting the year (plus the first four months before HAP came into the picture) has cost us thousands of dollars and many gray hairs. I am so very thankfull for all of you on this blog that shared stories and heartaches with all of us. Denise will continue to monitor and be as helpfull as she can while still being a full time realtor, mom, wife and angel extraordinaire.

    I know that the people with HAP are doing their best but sometimes it is very hard to see that. Their hands are tied until someone defines the rules for them. Be patient with your representatives but stay with them the whole way. Don’t expect them to hand hold you because they won’t. They are bogged down with applications and having to deal with new rules, disgruntled folks and unhappy bosses.

    Good luck to all of you. I will check back occassionally to see how my “friends with HAP” are doing, God speed to you and your families and may you all come out winners!!!!! At least get rid of the houses!!!!!

    Karen

  645. Marieon 30 Jan 2010 at 12:05 am

    Closing saga update

    I’m glad to hear someone closed today in Sacramento with the government acquisition! As for myself I finally ended up calling the section Chief at Sacramento HAP (after all I was supposed to close today and haven’t been able to get any information for the last several days). She was helpful and had someone call me back immediately. According to the person who called me (Janice, since my casewoker is out for training) I somehow got lost in the system. They obligated funds for my closing today and I should hear more on Monday (and should be able to close soon). At this point like many people I am leery because of experience but hopeful that this will finally happen sometime. Here’s to crossing my fingers for the third time!

    Just a thought for those who are close on the private sale augmentation vs. government acquisition… by the time HAP gets this together I might have been better off going private sale augmentation. Because this has taken so long I have paid thousands of dollars in mortgage payments and utilities. Hopefully for future applicants the process will go more quickly so this doesn’t happen, but at least at this point people who are close might end up better off going the private sale augmentation route as I get the impression that doesn’t have the same delays/legal issues as the government acquisition. It might be something to ask your caseworker.

  646. DJon 30 Jan 2010 at 1:58 am

    Texas Mom,
    We too are over the 417K PMFV limit for our locale. If you get an offer, there apparently is a waiver process that requires Chief of Staff of the Army approval (if you want to force the system). Since we are barely over the seemingly random PMFV limit that has no basis that considers the size of our family or actual market at the time of purchase, our HAP case worker seemed somewhat optimistic on our prospects for a waiver considering the final rule changes pending. However, when we asked (two months ago) how long this would take, they said we would be the first one for them. After 9 months on the market, we still need an offer. I had to PCS without my family over 6 months ago.

  647. Jason Ron 31 Jan 2010 at 8:43 pm

    I’m getting ready to submit application package but cant get a clear answer from the Savannah office. My situation has a grey side. I was station in Florida (June ’03), bought the house in Oct ’04, re-assigned to Spain in Sep ’06. All is good, right? Well, I took the Voluntary Separation in Sep ’07.

    Can anyone tell me if I’m still eligible? The way I read the elibility criteria, I’m still eligible in light of my “voluntary separation” since i separated from Spain and not Florida. What do you guys think?

  648. Roryon 31 Jan 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Denise,

    You mentioned previously getting the HAP processors to tell you AVM on a property so that you could be sure you were good. Mine didn’t refuse to do so, but didn’t offer. He simply told me that what I planned on listing for “seemed at or above market value.” Since then, a great realtor of mine has shown solid-looking research that indicates the local market is less than what I discussed with the HAP rep. Do you have any recommendations on how to get the AVM? Also, I’ve read others write of getting or wanting a definitive letter from HAP stating that they qualified, to use in buyer/seller negotiations. I have some statements to that effect in an email from HAP, and I have my case number, but no letter. Again — any suggestions?

    Sincerely,
    Rory

  649. Denise Korpinenon 01 Feb 2010 at 2:05 am

    For the 1st Sacramento PCS Acquisition just closed….two qualified transfers since June 2007. Initial HAP application submitted 4/9/09. Fully executed Buyer contract and additional paperwork to HAP on 5/21/09. Closed 1/29/10. Buyer stayed the course and started renting the property in July. Although the website always listed 90-120 days…from application arrival to close it took 295 days! The greatest contributing factor was the time it took to make the benefit Federally tax free so OSD would allow any payments to be made. The next greatest delay was Sacramento legal department.

    As mentioned before, it takes a processor 30 seconds or less to give you the AVM number if they have their password readily available. As per Jason’s comment, I respectfully suggest they like to keep it a mystery to assure you have a little incentive to negotiate for as high an offer price as possible- and possibly because even that 30 seconds takes time away from another file that already has a viable offer. If you really need AV because your market is so slow and your house doesn’t seem to be getting offers where it comps, or you are close on the 10% loss, be persistent or have your Realtor call. Tell HAP rep. you would like the number to eliminate the concern. Of the AV’s I have known, only 2 were higher than CMA indicated and the properties got offers barely within 10% below and were fine. It is starting to look like Angela’s AV was high as well in the absence of offers. The AV’s on the others I have seen were all less than the CMA and offers indicated.

    So you know what you are asking for- a sample “entitlements letter” is on my website (www.HAPInformation.com). Sometimes they can skip the letter and go straight to contracts with the numbers on them. Just depends where you are in the process. Both the AV and benefits confirmation amounts are things I am advocating that HAP processors put on their checklists of things to provide to the applicants. There is a lot of needless conjecture and stress that occurs by all parties involved because this information is not readily available. At worst case, if there is not an offer yet, they could provide potential benefits information based on the AV. That helps assure Buyers they are not waiting for nothing.

    Marie- Janice is good people. There is just a whole lot happening there now so you have to keep in touch to keep your file moving. Get her/Ty to tell you what your next projected closing date can be. Hopefully the delay does not mess up your buyer’s loan. That was how we finally got them to close ours- pulled a lot of strings as buyer’s loan was about to disappear after all this time. You will need updated numbers for HAP dollars to that new prorated date (from your closing agent- escrow or attorney). I am guessing you never got Warranty (Seller-HAP) and Quit claim (HAP to Buyer) deeds. Need those as they have to be originals. That is always the primary holdup with each District from what I can tell. Everything else can fax or scan. Also pretty sure the HAP contracts changed from the ones that you signed (ours did and had to sign another set the day before we closed). If you need more help with process (or to vent) email or call me.

  650. Denise Korpinenon 01 Feb 2010 at 11:37 am

    Jason- very muddy situation. They are pretty fussy when it comes to voluntary vs. involuntary situations for “needs of the military”. But if your purchase, orders and transfer dates are in order- not sure it should matter. I’d just submit the package and then press them for review of entitlements.

  651. Terryon 01 Feb 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Does anyone know the turnaround time for private sale augmentations in the Savannah district? Homes is on the market and we are due to transfer in early May there has been very little interest. I heard that the city tax value of the home is very close to the elusive might tell you might not AVM can anyone confirm??

  652. Con 02 Feb 2010 at 4:23 am

    Alan – I would agree with you – I would lower the price to a very competitive one (but within the 10% of FMV) – it will help the house to move quickly and perhaps even keep it competitive with foreclosures. We PCS’d from the Tampa FL area and our home sold for $120,000 less than we paid and we could have sold for less and still been in the FMV rage – home values were decreasing by nearly 40%. Ugh. Friends say it continues to decline. Our realtor was able to provide us with lots of listing of comparative homes which showed our sales price was higher than most in the area. There is no need to get the best price and wait for months while people take up houses for less when HAP will make up the difference. Good luck to you. ANd it is VERY nice that they are doing private sale augmentation now – that would have saved us lots of $$$ in interest we had to pay on our loss to cover the difference. :-)

  653. Marieon 02 Feb 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Denise-

    Thanks so much! I appreciate that. Right now Mike Anda tells me we are waiting on the funds to come in. He said we will likely be able to close by the end of the week but couldn’t commit to an exact date.

    I’m having a hard time getting ahold of anyone (Ty’s inbox is still full and I always end up leaving a message for Mike Anda). But, at least Mike Anda has called back (and I of course missed that call and just got a message). Right now I feel like I’m stalking HAP but my early experience with them was if I didn’t call I think they forgot who I was.

    Anyway, more updates to follow. Hopefully I’ll know more in the next few days.

  654. Karenon 03 Feb 2010 at 4:17 pm

    They finally got the HUD straightened out yesterday so everything has been taken care of. Almost one year from when we first heard of HAP and it has been a roller coaster ride for sure. But I have met some fantastic people on here and I wish you all the best. Hang in there and persevere and you will make it too!!!

    Karen

  655. Denise Korpinenon 03 Feb 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Marie- STALKING works! I know, it is no fun to feel like you have to. Ty, Mike and the rest of the gang are great people. They want to help everyone get done. Challenge comes there are so many to do! If I could tell you the number of hours in calls and emails it took to get just ONE done…well you have a pretty good picture of what it is taking on your behalf to get yours done. Imagine that amount of communication multiplied by 40 (average rough count of actively pushing to close files on each person’s desk). You do have to look out for yourself and they know that. They are rumored to be working on a new checklist so that members will know what needs to be sent in after there is an offer. Then members can call the others who have to send it and not have to call HAP until you know it is all in.

    I should stress to you all- it doesn’t matter what kind of sale you are competing against (standard, short sales, foreclosures) – a closed sale value is a comparable! You can price the home to meet the market anywhere your Realtor can justify it by comparables. If the agent is worth their salt, the $ value should be within +/- 10% range of AV. Yes, it is great to have the number verified by HAP. But in all likelihood, if you put it up for sale at comparables and you get one or more offers at or around the list price within 2 weeks you are good. You can keep lowering the price if there is no documented activity (described in previous blogs). You have to go until you get an offer from a qualified buyer. Even if you end up lower than -10% of AV- if you have documentation that shows that’s what it took to get an offer over time you should still be ok.

  656. Josephon 04 Feb 2010 at 9:06 am

    I would like to know if the following events is what others are experiencing in the Savannah District. My understanding is that there are several tiers with HAP depending on the benefits.
    A. Seller can close but must pay the difference between their mortgage balance and the benefit at time of closing. These transactions would be priority one.
    B. The next tier are personnel who are taking the HAP benefit for their payoff. HAP gives them 90% of their original purchase price minus the sales price of the new contract plus any closing costs and this is their HAP benefit if it pays off the mortgage. These would be priority two.
    C. Government acquisition. The HAP benefit does not pay off the mortgage but purchases the property and resells it to my buyer. Currently the file is in Eligibility only awaiting the official orders and the moving B/L. Orders will be received in 10 days and will be reporting to new duty station on April 1. Upon receipt of orders and b/l of lading the files move to Benefits. I’m told that once it gets to Benefits and a benefits processor is assigned it will take another 45 to 60 days to close. These transactions are reimbursed last.
    Since I fall under the government acquisition and the claim was opened in late November does this look like it is a May closing??

  657. Denise Korpinenon 04 Feb 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Joseph- Welcome to the forum! Please see my post from January 20th for the descriptions of each option. Your descriptions are not quite accurate (close) and I would be more apt to describe these as options “A, B, or C”. Not “priority”- as each one goes to a different benefits processor, some handle only one option type of processing, and the speed with which it processes will depend on the completeness of the file and teh number of files that person has to work on. The 45-60 days to process an acquisition is based on the extensive additional paperwork to be shuffled by the various parties (see other January posts). This is actually the same amount of time it typically takes to close a standard sale these days. Priority of processing is based on type of beneficiary (Wounded Warrior, Spouse, PCS) then transfer date.

  658. Josephon 05 Feb 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Denise….Thank you for your response!

  659. Denise Korpinenon 05 Feb 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Sacramento update…here are the current “Acquisitions” stats-
    Week 1 (Jan 29th) closed- 1
    Week 2 (Feb 5th) closed- 8
    Week 3 (by Feb 12th) looking to close 14 more…Marie among them!
    A little mouse suggested Marie is off on a humanitarian adventure in Haiti and that is why she is not posting. Stay safe Marie!

  660. Waitingon 05 Feb 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Still trying to find someone that has been reimbursed after a short sale from any District.

    I know I am not the only one waiting.

  661. Josephon 06 Feb 2010 at 8:49 am

    Denise, do you have the acquisition stats for Savannah? I’m sure those working through the Sacramento office were happy to see their stats!!

  662. Denise Korpinenon 06 Feb 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Sorry- no acquisition stats for Savannah. Will see if I can get ahold of some. Will also see if any of my contacts can tell me why it would be taking so long to deal with a short sale reimbursement. I have a client who short sold- but it doesn’t appear they were entitled to any type of reimbursement based on current rules.

  663. Marieon 07 Feb 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Denise-

    Thanks so much for all the great information! I know everyone on here really appreciates it. Yes, I am currently working seven days a week to support Operation Unified Response for Haiti and it makes it difficult to post.

    According to Mike Anda he will be working to close on my file by 12 Feb. I’m a little nervious because I haven’t received any paperwork from him (deed/Hap etc) and I’m sure I’ll have to have that by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest to close by Friday with all the logistics that need to happen. I will post next week to let everyone know the process (if it happens this time– they say the third time’s a charm!).

  664. Denise Korpinenon 07 Feb 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Marie- HAP, or your escrow company, can email you (or whoever you gave POA to) the deed (contracts, etc) for you as the Seller to HAP if you have a place to print it…then you need a notary and FEDEX to get original back to your escrow/title company for recording. They can email a file copy back to HAP. HAP needs to send the US Government deed signed by Sharon Caine back to escrow or Title Company to be recorded along with the checks for mortgage payoff and closing costs. I hope they already ordered the checks for you. The time frame for the original deed to be at Title for recording with the County (and the checks for payoff) is the biggest issue. Your real estate agent should be relaying the needs between HAP and escrow if you are out of the country. I’m sure whoever your agent is, they likely have less files on their desk to track than Mike Anda does!

  665. Reneeon 09 Feb 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I am new to this blog today and wanted to post my experience so far with HAP. I wished I would have searched for a HAP blog earlier but thankful that I now know you exist for support and updates. Our history:

    PCS’d out of Key West last February. House had declined so much since purchase in 2005 (about 300K!) that we couldn’t sale so rented it at a 2K loss each month. I applied for HAP in August 2009 to the Savannah District. Email from them in September saying they received my package and assigned me a realty specialist. Heard from realty specialist assistant in November saying that they were missing documents. Submitted them the same day. Didn’t hear anything all of November or December. Finally in January I was able to reach via phone the realty assistant. I asked if my file was complete, was I eligible, etc? She said she was still missing documents (same ones I sent in November) but we stayed in close contact in the next few days to ensure she had the whole package). She transferred me to my realty specialist to answer some specific questions. They told me that my file was complete and I was eligible, I just needed to bring them a buyer. I was concerned since my house wasn’t listed on the MLS (I didn’t want to list it until I knew HAP would be available for me). I immediately put it on the market. We priced it 20% above fair market value, held our breath that we would not only get an offer but hope that HAP’s desktop appraisal system number would match ours (or be within 10% which is the guideline). We got three offers within the first week. Accepted the highest offer (which is also a strong one, buyer paying 50% cash down) and submitted it to HAP along with a letter from our real estate agent supporting the listing price and a 24 pages Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). It took an entire week to hear back. Realty Specialist (RS) said it was held up in appraisal. They were having trouble getting the numbers to match up. This was a fear of mine since they are not familiar with how bad the market is in Florida. RS asked for more information from my agent to give to the appraiser to help him with getting the approval. I had a strong sense at this time that the appraiser really wanted to approve it but he just needed more documentation (instead of feeling like they really didn’t want to help us). By the next morning I received an email from RS that the contract price was approved! That was 1 week ago. Process now is that it goes to Benefits department. My buyers are nervous and asking for an approval letter. They ordered an inspection for tomorrow. I gave my tenants 60 days notice. HAP finally sent me an eligibility letter today (not an approval, really, so that is frustrating) but I do have an email that says my contract is approved. Received another email this morning from my RS saying that she needs an extension on my contract because once it goes to benefits it takes approximately 60 days to close and our contract date was set for March, needed to be April 10th or so. She said she can’t send it to benefits until that is done….SO we are drafting an extension today. Having all parties signed and hoping our file goes to Benefits tomorrow. Overall this has been a great process for us because we have not expected much. I am staying right on top of my RS and her assistant. I am telling them how much I appreciate all that they are doing. Some days they get right back to me and sometimes it takes a week. But sounds like they are really trying to help. Will keep you all updated. I am just so excited that they approved the contract price! One step in the right direction!

  666. Marieon 09 Feb 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Quick update: Funds from HAP have reached escrow! Now we just need the proper contracts to sign and FEDEX back.

  667. Charleson 09 Feb 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Just got the official declination letter from Sacramento for my claim. Seems I paid too much in Arizona in 2005. By the way, 417K is really a low amount for homes in Phoenix/Tucson area circa 2005. Anyways, it seems odd that my claim would be denied almost a year after filing, with the final rules soon to be released. Please keep the HAP updates coming. At least I have a case worker’s name and number now!

  668. Lauraon 09 Feb 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Charles – Don’t give up. We also paid over the allowed amount in Sacramento in 2006. We are awaiting our official denial letter from HAP as well. In speaking with various individuals in the Sacramento HAP office and in DC, there are pretty strong rumors that the cap will be lifted in the final rules. Obviously we cannot count on it until it happens but hopefully denial letters will be followed up with letters that say we now qualify. In the meantime, I was told to start making my case for an appeal based on prices in your community at the time you bought. Possible arguments for appeal might be if your town had a higher average price that the other towns in your county or if your county borders another more expensive county (with a higher cap).
    I have no problem with capping the total amount any one service member can receive, but using purchase price as a reason to eliminate someone from eligibility is unfair and that seems to be recognized by those involved in writing the legislation. Let’s just hope that the rumors are true, that no changes are made and that the final rules are posted soon.
    Anyone know anything about potential timing of final rules. I heard mid-March from someone but it was really just their best guess.

  669. Pattyon 10 Feb 2010 at 9:21 am

    Charles- Although I have not received the official decliniation letter, I have received an email from the case worker basically saying we will be declined. I asked him to re-look at the file because of some items that affect the net selling price. I have not heard back and I’m not holding my breath!

    This whole process is VERY frustrating to me as we sold our home before there ever was a HAP. Turned down low offers that would have now made us eligible and decreased our loss and our realtor fees would have been paid. The rules don’t take into account that the loss we experienced (mid 2008) when taking the gross selling price divided by the purchase price (not including closing costs when purchased) is much less than what people are experiencing in 2009-2010. They should have considered this when setting the 10% percentage loss threshold. Yes, I did leave comments but I would have so MANY more comments to leave now if I had known what the basis for declining us benefits. We easily lost over one year of pay. The government can use our tax dollars to bail out businesses (GM, Chrysler, Bank of America, etc) but helping the service member (who doesn’t get large bonuses, requiring them to jump through hoops right and left and then telling them no you don’t qualify even though your loss is over 100K) is out of the question. Yes, I will appeal and when I’m denied I will write every senator because the process has greatly let us down.

  670. Jessicaon 10 Feb 2010 at 10:50 am

    I just want to say that this website has been so helpful and informative. Going through the HAP process can be intimidating and just having some answers and hearing other people’s experiences has calmed my nerves.

    We’re in Northern VA and PCSing to the West Coast. We bought our house in 2006 for $354k and just got it under contract for $209k. We’re really hoping that HAP will come through for us and at minimum pay our lender the difference for us. We’re really thankful that we only have one mortgage, so hopefully it will be less painful than multiples.

    The only thing I’m concerned with is the 120 marketing rule. Does that seem to apply only for gov’t acquisitions?

    My HAP contact has been pretty good with communication, so I’m hoping (with fingers and toes crossed) that this works for us. We would’ve kept the house and rented it out, but we were unable to take advantage of the 125% refinance program to lower our payments more (I think we’re at like 150%) and can’t take a $1000 loss every month!

    Thanks again for all the advice and input on this site. I’ll be sure to post updates of my experience.

  671. Ericon 10 Feb 2010 at 1:47 pm

    First off, this information on the site is SO helpful. Thank you for those taking the time to help us that are less experienced!
    Here is my background:

    District- Savannah
    Goal- Private Sale Augmentation (I think)
    Purchase Price: 190K
    Down Payment: 10K
    Current Amount Owed: 170K
    Estimated Selling Price (within 10% of FMV): 170K
    Potential HAP Benefit for closing costs: 10K

    In order to be eligible, I must have a 10% loss and sell my home within 10% of FMV. Assuming I have a 10% loss (which I will by selling at 170K- which is also within the 10% of FMV), I can afford to pay off my mortgage (170K), but would need the private sale augmentation to cover closing costs. Ultimately, I would be losing my initial 10K down payment no matter what.

    Question 1 is- Does anyone know how long the HAP benefits will continue? I have heard FY12, but no applications past Sep10? No sure if that is correct. If it will last a few years I could try and rent for a few more years to recover some of that down payment and get the HAP assistance in a year or two. Not sure what is the better option- cut losses now and break even, or risk HAP being around in 2 years and still being able to show the 10% loss?

    Question 2 is- Will I have to pay the closing costs out of pocket, or how do I go about getting HAP to pay the closing costs at closing so I can just cut my losses and be done? Is that possible?

    Thank you so much for any help, and I wish you all the best with navigating this complicated program process and recovering your hard-earned $$

  672. Denise Korpinenon 11 Feb 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Eric-You understand the program fairly well. In HAP world it is more accurate to say you should sell your house within 10% of Automated Value/AV- which comes from the system HAP uses. In theory- AV is typically within 10% of FMV. You must have a minimum 10% personal loss if you are not so upside down that you qualify for 100% of mortgage. You are very close on 10% loss between PFMV and CFMV (contracted sale price). It appears you will have that given your 10% down and the additional $10,000 paid off in mortgage value. If you have any improvements to document and add to PFMV you would create a better fudge factor. This should make you an Augmentation. See January 20th post for rest of details to answer question 2.

    Question 1- It will go till the money runs out and Congress is no longer willing to add more money to the pot; in combination with however far Sec Def is willing to extend the dates (forward/beyond Sept 2010 transfers). Also there is hope the date would go a little backward/before July 1, 2006. I understand backwards would take help from Congress. If they raise the cap PFMV to $729,750 as rumored, we will see the “burn rate” of funds increase substantially (comment to Texas Mom 1/28/10). It is completely up to you if you want to chance still qualifying and there being money in the future.

    Jessica- I have posted previously on determining list prices. Basically, as long as the current FMV based on comparables and offer price end up within +/- 10% of HAP’s AV they will not question how long the house has been on the market. The sale price just has to be fair for market. The 120 was when they used to buy houses outright and inventory- that no longer happens unless it is Wounded Warrior or Surviving Spouse. Even then they like to try to find a buyer first to save the government the $29,000 it costs to inventory. Sounds like you are an Acquisition at 100% of mortgage if you put less than 10% down (also described in 1/20 post and others).

  673. Waitingon 12 Feb 2010 at 10:22 am

    Denise

    Have you been able to get any info from your sources on short sales?

  674. DJon 12 Feb 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Like Charles, we just recieved our declination from Savannah for the package we sent in last May for being $13K over the seemingly arbitrary $417K PMFV limit that doesn’t seem to account the area around the base has the highest housing in the county or that we have a large family. We plan to appeal. Has anyone been successful? Any word on the final rule?

  675. Oliviaon 13 Feb 2010 at 5:09 pm

    We, too, bought above the price limit of $417,000 for our county. We paid $655,000 for our property (at the time, this was actually just below the median home price in our particular city). We invested at least another $10,000 in remodeling our place. Through a lot of hard work and saving, we put at least $165,000 of our own money into this home (we put 20% down, paid off our second loan in full, and paid our remodeling costs outright) and now owe $500,000. My husband recently had to PCS to another state and we have not been able to sell this property without doing a short sale. So, we’re currently renting it out at a loss of about $1,000 per month and contemplating a short sale, though we currently have excellent credit and my husband needs to maintain his security clearance for his job. Unfortunately, our property is now worth somewhere in the low to mid $300,000′s (our state was one of the hardest hit real estate markets) so we can’t even refinance our loan to try to get a lower interest rate. I lost my job prior to the PCS and have not been able to find a new one yet, so this really puts us in a real bind. We were very hopeful when we first heard about HAP, only to learn later that we would be completely shut out by the DOD due to our home price. I sincerely hope the final rules will be revised to allow us to participate in this program.

  676. VINNYNYon 15 Feb 2010 at 10:46 am

    Olivia:

    I’m in the same boat as you (except that I’ve got two houses that would qualify if not for the arbitrary and capricious sales price restriction). After 42 months of paying mortgages, utilities, and maintenance on our vacant house in Tucson, I finally gave up. I wasted more than $150,000 trying to keep my credit clean. The banks wouldn’t even talk to me until I stopped paying. So, once my TSP was drained, my credit cards maxed out, and the interim HAP guidance was published, I quit. I WAITED MUCH TOO LONG!

    I currently have an application filed for a short sale. The bank is playing hardball, but I’ve told them that this is their last chance to get anything back on the house. If the second mortgage company doesn’t approve the short sale, I will give the keys back to the primary lender. My credit is already gone so it really doesn’t matter. My other house is rented at a $1200 loss monthly, but I’ll probably live there when I get out.

    My advice to you: unless you hear that HAP rules will change soon or if you plan to move back into the house someday, cut your losses early. In spite of what your morals and principles may be, you’ll be better off cashing out early. Your house will NEVER be worth what you paid for it, so the $1000 loss monthly is just financial bleeding that will inevitably end in a huge loss on the home. If your home is in a “non-recourse” state, the bank won’t even be able to come after you for the deficiency. Security clearances can survive a foreclosure if you keep people informed of your situation.

  677. TeeJayon 16 Feb 2010 at 1:03 pm

    If anyone could help me out with this question, it would be greatly appreciated.

    I believe I meet all qualifications for HAP (PCS, private sale): purchase date, orders receipt date, value loss, etc except one. My “no later than report date” is 02 APR 2010. According to the HAP FAQ, I miss the cutoff date by one month (28 FEB 2010).

    The FAQ says “The orders must specify a report-no-later-than date of on or before February 28, 2010. These dates may be extended to September 30, 2012 at the discretion of the DUSD(I&E) based on availability of funds.”

    The last sentence does not clear up the confusion. I cannot tell precisely what they mean. Do they mean that I should wait until further guidance comes out to see if I would qualify? Or should I request some sort of waiver? Or should I just submit the packet and roll the dice?

  678. TeeJayon 16 Feb 2010 at 2:31 pm

    In reference to my post above (1303, 16 FEB):

    I emailed HAP personnel that question and they responded rapidly.

    Good news: they have extended the “no later than report date” requirement out to SEP 2010.

  679. Denise Korpinenon 16 Feb 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Waiting- I did ask this week when I called. Please don’t shoot the messenger- and remember the circumstances of each case are very wide and varied. This is a very broad generalization. I was told that factors around PFMV adjust a little when you short sale due to the debt forgiveness by the lender. I referenced a client of mine that gave up and closed before the tax fix (November 4th). They are in horrible financial straits because they took out credit card advances to stay current on mortgages (like so many). This was done out of moral obligation and to meet HAP old rules as published on the website at the time. We had many discussions about moral obligation vs. feeding the children and trying not drown in cash advance debt. They made the choices they thought were best at the time. They never, ever, nor did I, expect it to take so long to process. Ended up they had to stop paying stop Bank of America would consider the short sale. I was told by Ty at HAP I was correct in my assumptions that they should not expect any funds. It basically appears that if the bank “forgives” 100% of your outstanding mortgage in any combination of loan amounts and types, you are not likely to get any money at all. If lender releases lien so you can sell but required you to carry back a note and you have been making payments- the note should be paid off if it is funds HAP would have covered under Augmentation or Acquisition. HAP is not likely to give you the cash and let you keep paying the note. If you would have been Gov. ACQUISITION, HAP will not be giving you cash for benefit they would have paid on your behalf to the bank to avoid the short sale. There is someone contesting that position. Will pass on info if I hear more about the appeal.

    The fuzzy part comes in if you would have been AUGMENTATION (because you had put in 10% or more of PFMV). Or, if you had to pay some money to get the bank to approve the sale. Getting any funds from HAP is going to depend on final sale price of property, what was forgiven and how much had been paid in cost share.

    Cap at $417k- please remember that not all areas cap at this amount. Some run up to what the “jumbo” conforming loan cap was for your area (very most $729,500 under current rule) based on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac limits. The program caps are based upon the suggested government entity guidelines for lending. If you want to know more read here: https://www.efanniemae.com/sf/refmaterials/loanlimits/

    Here is a version of the high cost list. To my understanding some of these limits (like San Diego) are actually higher than listed here: http://www.fhfa.gov/GetFile.aspx?FileID=134

  680. Shannonon 17 Feb 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Does anyone know what they are using to determine the CFMV? We sold in Aug. ’09 and are in the HAP appraisal process now. Will they use CFMV at the time of the sale or as of right now? Just a little worried that we will be in that 10% range. I heard they use the county tax assessment amount. I know the tax assements for our county we sold in are done only every 2 years (last one 2008.) There was no way we were going to get the assessed value when we sold.

  681. Charleson 17 Feb 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Lots of talk about appealing a declination over the PFMV cap of 417K, but how do you go about that? You would essentially be arguing that the regulation is inane, arbitrary, and of course, shouldn’t apply to you. Many areas of the country hit 200 sq/ft, which puts a modest 2200 sq ft home at 440K, but now face the Fannie Mae limit of 417K. It is ironic that our applications are being denied by the arbitrary guidelines of a failed financial entity.

  682. Oliviaon 17 Feb 2010 at 7:21 pm

    VINNYNY:

    Thanks for your response. It sounds like you’ve been through the ringer – hang in there!

    I agree the price restriction is arbitrary and capricious. What bearing do the 2009 Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Maximum Loan Limits set forth in ARRA have on properties purchased several years prior to that? The DOD says they don’t want to bail out million dollar homes, but there is a certainly a large spread between the $417,000 limit set forth in most counties (our particular county is very large, so some areas in the outskirts must have driven down the limit because, like I said, we paid less than the median price in our city) and $1 million. Why not, as Texas Mom suggested, just limit the benefit amount per applicant rather than completely cutting off those who paid over the current price limits? Even if we had to throw out the $165,000 we’ve lost, but, by using HAP, we could pay off the gap between what the property would sell for in today’s market and our loan balance, it would be a lot better than losing $165,000 AND destroying our credit by doing a short sale or foreclosure.

    Admittedly, it’s sometimes hard to know when to cut your losses (though few businesses seem to have any trouble with this). Our lender blew us off when we inquired about a loan modification and/or refinancing, especially now that the property is no longer our primary residence after PCSing (we have an interest-only 5-year arm, so we’re not even paying off this property at all!). Our lender won’t even consider a short sale until we start missing payments (our state is also a non-recourse state). Surprisingly, my elderly in-laws, who I thought would totally frown upon us doing a short sale based on morals and principles, actually RECOMMENDED that we do one (we had been too embarrassed to discuss that idea with them previously).

    In good conscience, however, I want to wait and see how the final HAP rules shake out and whether the maximum price limit increases. I tried to get my husband to complete the HAP application in the meantime, but he thinks it’s a total waste of time and doesn’t want to do it just to receive a declination letter in the mail. I have also thought about moving back to our property with our young kids to try to cut our losses, but my husband is vehemently opposed to his family voluntarily living in another state for several years. I doubt we could really afford to maintain two separate households in different states anyway.

    As you well know, this situation is extremely stressful, but we should still fight for our HAP rights and appeal these ridiculous limits. Don’t give up! There are others in our same boat. Why should we just accept getting the shaft on this without a fight? Ironically, under the current rules, those who paid more than the current limits may actually be losing a lot more money than those who didn’t and, thus, are in more dire financial straits.

    Charles, the DOD’s website says the following about appeals under the frequently asked questions section –

    What rights do I have if I am not satisfied with decisions made regarding Expanded HAP?

    A. You have the right to appeal any decision denying benefits or contesting the amount of benefits allowed. No particular format is required. Simply submit a written statement of your objections to the district office. The appeal will be reviewed at the district level. If favorable action cannot be taken, your appeal will be submitted to higher headquarters. If a favorable decision cannot be made at this level, a final decision will be made by the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment).

    Hope this helps.

  683. VINNYNYon 17 Feb 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Olivia:

    Having never made a late payment in my entire adult life, the decision to become a deadbeat did not come easily. I drained every last dime of my TSP and completely maxed out the credit cards in the hope that HAP would come through. As it turned out, the promise of the HAP probably cost me an extra $50K (otherwise I would have bailed more than a year ago). Don’t make the same mistake! If I had bailed three years ago, (as everyone I know suggested), I’d be $150K richer and my credit report would have been three years closer to recovery.

    Some will argue that the bank shouldn’t get stuck with the bill, but if they hadn’t made so many irresponsible loans to unqualified buyers, your house wouldn’t have cost so much in the first place and would not have lost so much value. Don’t feel bad for the banks because it’s clear that the bureaucrats are intent on helping banks rather than military members. Otherwise, a short sale would be treated like any other private sale. Worry about your family first…

  684. Waitingon 17 Feb 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Thanks Denise

    Your phone call must have done the trick because I got my check in the mail today.

    I am extremely happy to get something back but the explanation is confusing.

    I paid over 200k for my house with a 20% down payment. Unfortunately for me I took a HELOC out about two years later. This is not reimbursable under HAP even though I had to sign a note for the short sale to go through.

    From my computation I was entitled to over 80k under Hap, because they add the deficiency written off by the bank to the sales price I ended up with a little over 20K.

  685. Denise Korpinenon 18 Feb 2010 at 2:54 am

    Shannon- What was your original purchase price and what was your selling price? Also, did you 100% finance or put money down at purchase? The CFMV can be justified by local market statistics provided by a Realtor or by Government’s system AV. Depends which one works better. However, once the property is sold and you are applying for reimbursement, the CFMV is typically locked in at the Buyer’s purchase price. If you have 10% decrease between PFMV and your Buyer’s purchase price you should be ok for some benefit- but your coverage is based on new rule.

    Charles, Olivia and VINNYNY: It is completely up to you what choices you make as you and your family have to live with the consequences. Just continue to seek information as you have been so the decisions are informed. For some it will be better to just cut and go. For others, if the rules do change to make the max $729,750 across the board irrespective of location- they will be covered. Right now being over Fannie Mae max for area completely disqualifies from receipt of any benefit at all. They are trying to change it to where person is qualified up to that amount and personally responsible for anything over $729,750, but not disqualified. Supposedly you may be able to negotiate with the lender partial forgiveness if over the max amount or late on some payments in new rules- but that is not official either. I will try to find out status tomorrow. If I recall correctly, final rule must publish within 90 days of comments closing. That would put latest publishing at April 15th. Do know OSD wants it all done- it is OMB (penny pinchers and numbers crunchers) that usually causes the slowdown. They hold the purse strings.

    Waiting- glad to hear you finally got something! A couple things…Using the flat $200k number and you putting down 20%= $40,000. Thus $20k (10%) is your cost share as a private sale benefit maxes at 90% PFMV. The other 10%= $20k is your reimbursable expense. I still question the note required for HELOC not being covered if the money was used on the house and you have documentation (invoices, receipts, cancelled checks, credit card statements, etc). I’d appeal. If HELOC money was used for something else (car, vacation, other debt payoff) then they are doing it properly.

  686. Shannonon 18 Feb 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks, Denise. We bought for $665K (we were in an area that has the Fannie Mae max of $729K, thankfully)and sold for $515K. We put 20% down when we bought. We also had improvements (decks, driveway). We originally listed for $550K, but had to come down as our PCS date drew near. In looking at the homes in our neighborhood that sold last year, we were right in the range (some higher, some lower) for what selling prices were. You mentioned our coverage is based on new rule, what would that be? Thanks for all of your input on this forum, BTW!

  687. Denise Korpinenon 18 Feb 2010 at 12:54 pm

    All- Just hung up with Deanna Buchner at OSD. She states final rule is at Pentagon for review. There are a few more steps. They do have 90 days from close of comments to publish (mid April). She really hopes for everyone’s sake it doesn’t take that long. They are trying to get it done asap.

    REGARDING APPLICATIONS- it is highly suggested that even if you CLEARLY do not qualify under current rules for some specific reason- you pass the max PFMV cap, your dates are off by a little bit one direction or another, disability rating not high enough, etc…you should send in a HAP application.

    HERE IS WHY: By logging the reasons Service Members disqualify OSD/Army Corps have the data to back up potential rule changes. OSD can say “If we change this rule to _____, then we can help ___ many more applicants and need $___ to make it HAPpen”. The program is all about doing what helps the most people with the monies available. So, if you haven’t sent in an application yet for such a reason, please send it now- before the final rule decision is made so your numbers and needs count!

  688. Tomon 18 Feb 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Denise- Here is a comment from you earlier today:

    “The CFMV can be justified by local market statistics provided by a Realtor or by Government’s system AV. Depends which one works better. However, once the property is sold and you are applying for reimbursement, the CFMV is typically locked in at the Buyer’s purchase price. If you have 10% decrease between PFMV and your Buyer’s purchase price you should be ok for some benefit- but your coverage is based on new rule.”

    Based on what you wrote, am I to assume that HAP is going to arbitrarily accept the buyer’s price as CFMV if I’m applying for reimbursement regardless of the market activity stipulations in the proposed rule? Also, I’m not sure I understand your comment regarding the availability of “some benefit” based on the new rule. Can you please explain further. To help you help me and to put my question in context, here’s my situation (I must add that my home is still on the market with no offers yet):

    PFMV: 320K
    Down payment: 10%
    Improvements: $3500
    *Currently owe: 269K
    Asking price: 215K
    *I took a second loan to cover the other 10% at the time of purchase.

    Operating under the current rule for reimbursement, I’m assuming that I’m eligible for 90% of PFMV, which in my case is 288K. If I sell my home for 215K, then I’m anticipating a benefit of 73K + 3500 in improvements. Is that correct?

    Thanks again for the help.

    Tom

  689. Texas Momon 18 Feb 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Thank you Denise for encouraging us to send in our applications — I appreciated the reasoning. I thought I needed a buyer/offer even if I knew I was over the PFMV but I’ve had my completed application sitting here waiting anyhow so I’ll send mine in tomorrow.

  690. Oliviaon 18 Feb 2010 at 9:06 pm

    VINNYNY, I don’t think you’re a deadbeat. It sounds like you did all you could have done. Frankly, in these difficult times, I doubt that there is really much of a stigma on doing a short sale anymore (though, admittedly, it is difficult to stomach when you’ve always paid your bills on time). About 2/3 of the homeowners in my old neighborhood had to do short sales and no one seemed embarrassed to talk about it at all. If we do one, we will view it more as a business decision than a personal failure. Like you, my husband also pointed out how if we do a short sale sooner rather than later, we can start repairing our credit sooner.

    Believe me, I’m not worried about the banks. They received lots of government bailout money and they didn’t care if the borrowers could really repay on those foolish loans they originated because they were going to sell them anyway and someone else would be left holding the bag.

    Denise, thanks for your advice. I’ve always thought we should do a HAP application even though we’re over the price limit. All they can say is no. Personally, it would give me peace of mind to know that I tried every other alternative before going down the short sale route. I’d hate to do a short sale, only to find out later that the rules changed and I would have been eligible under HAP afterall. I agree that it would be helpful for the OSD to log information on actual servicemembers who are being disqualified and the reasons for such disqualifications to effect necessary rule changes and obtain additional funding for the program.

  691. VINNYNYon 18 Feb 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Denise:

    I appreciate your comments and value your inputs to the forum. I apologize for the negativity, but it’s been a year since expanded HAP became law and we still don’t have final guidance–frustration has set in. Congress found a way to get billions added to the Cash For Clunkers program in a matter of days while war veterans have been waiting a year for help on homes the military directed us to leave. The SecDef should be ashamed of himself for not making this a priority.

  692. VINNYNYon 18 Feb 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Olivia:

    One final thought: as long as you sell your house within 10% of current fair market value, you should have no problems qualifying for an “augmentation” sale (assuming HAP guidance changes to allow for higher PFMVs). Maybe you’ll get lucky and the timing will work out for you. If it doesn’t, make the short sale and get on with life. Whatever you do, DON’T WAIT FOR HAP! If you go all the way back in this forum, you’ll notice that we have been waiting for “final guidance” for almost a year and were teased by “interim final guidance” twice (?).

    OK, one more “final thought”: the secondary lender told me today that they may wait to see what happens with the HAP before they sign off on the short sale. I told them they should take what they can get right now because I’m not going to wait another year to mail the keys back to the primary lender.

    I’m really starting to wish Congress hadn’t teased me with HAP in the first place!

  693. Denise Korpinenon 19 Feb 2010 at 2:20 am

    VINNYNY-Trust me, your frustration is not lost in these ears. I have definitely shut my office door and screamed more than a few times over the last year. But I have also focused that frustration into advocating getting this program moving as Congress intended. There is plenty more I could share about why it took so long and what all is behind the continued delay. You are absolutely correct about “Cash for Clunkers” and other programs that have come and gone in the interim. It is just amazing that some things get done so fast, and other worthy issues do not. Wish we could all be of more help to you on this.

    Olivia- As suggested, you may want to go ahead and prep the short sale paperwork as well. You can submit and start the clock on the process…if HAP comes through in the meantime you are good as gold. If they don’t change the cap rule as anticipated you will be jump started on the short sale.

    Tom- If your house is not under contract already you do not want to go reimbursement. Under reimbursement you have to come up with all the money to close and have no guarantees of any funds returning to you. Those who have done that because they did not want to have to wait for HAP to get where it is today (paying claims) are the ones where sale price is locked because they closed already without HAP approval.

    I am a little confused at your note though, as if you took an additional loan for 10% at time of purchase then you actually 100% financed? That would be ACQUISITION, if you have not paid down any balances. You are talking AUGMENTATION if you have met a 10% cost share. If you already paid off at least $32k in loans you don’t get any of that part back- but you pass the threshold to start getting money back. Your house is not already sold and you can have HAP bring the money to close table. It would appear that HAP could send in $73k as you suggested toward mortgage balance and what you already paid off out of pocket, most closing costs, customary Realtor fees, and 90% of $3,500=$3,150.

    Shannon- I am also not sure why they are not processing your claim if you are in an area that allowed up to $729k as the Fannie Mae max. If you were in an area deemed “high impact” with higher Fannie Mae limits…you would already be covered under current rules at PFMV of $665k as long as decks and driveway didn’t push you over the top- unless I am missing something. San Diego is high impact and they are processing claims over PFMV of $417k and up to $729,750 for this area in Sacramento. The new rule is rumored to be that a purchase over Fannie Mae max would no longer be disqualifying from any benefit at all. You would get some benefit up to area max- then be responsible for any overage if it is money still owed for mortgages. So, 90% of PFMV $665k is $598,500 less $515k sale= $83,500 benefit plus 90% of deck/driveway money and reasonable and customary closing costs/realtors fees. That is no small chunk of change.

    Does this calculation for Shannon and the one for Tom- each in the $100k plus range- help everybody understand why the Brass is so concerned that raising a cap will run them out of the money allotted in no time at all? A $100k payout is actually pretty low. I will grant you, our government spends way more money on far less deserving causes! Grrr…working with what we’ve been given till they change it again.

  694. Texas Momon 19 Feb 2010 at 8:55 am

    I feel like somewhere in the chain above they are forgetting the reason for the need for this program. In my opinion, it’s not a “bailout” for anyone….regardless of what your home price, what you owe, how much of a loss you suffered or how much this will cost the taxpayers (of which we all are). None of us would be asking for a penny if they weren’t forcing us to move.

  695. Shannonon 19 Feb 2010 at 11:16 am

    Thank you, again, Denise, for your insight. We heard back from our HAP rep yesterday with the approved improvements/appraisal. We are now right at the $729K threshold for PFMV. They are moving us along in the process. We just have to get our hands on a copy of the original HUD when we bought that has the seller’s signature on it. Our only copy did not have that. Beginning to see a light at the end of this very long tunnel!

  696. Denise Korpinenon 19 Feb 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Texas Mom- Very valid point! We also all know we signed onto life in the military without any “relocation sale benfits”. Uncle Sam promised to move our stuff and pay us local BAH to wherever he sent us. That is all. ANY help towards mortgage funds and closing costs is a huge benefit!

    Shannon- glad to hear I had not missed the mark on that one!

  697. Karenon 19 Feb 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Don’t loose faith people!!!! There is light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully the rules will help more of you to victory. For those that are no longer here I pray that it is because you have been able to benefit from HAP as we have. It was a long, long road (over a year for us from when HAP was first announced and a total of 18 months on the market) but having people on this board (especially knowledgeable ones such as my guardian Angel Realtor Denise) who are in the same place as you are is so helpfull. Just know that there are others out there with the same stories and same questions. Don’t think that you are alone because you are not. I have felt the frustrations, the fear of not being able to get help and yes, the anger at the whole process. But down the road, when you get to close on the whole mess, it is worth it. I just never thought I would have to go through so much hair dye to get rid of the all the gray that I accumulated over the past year!!!!! So have faith that you too will come through and one day soon you can say goodbye to your mortgage and get on with your lives!!!!

    Karen

  698. VINNYNYon 20 Feb 2010 at 10:13 am

    Denise: While I agree with your response to Texas Mom that the HAP is an added benefit that we weren’t previously promised, I’ve got to take issue with the concept that we should be happy with “ANY help towards mortgage funds. Most of us appreciate the fact that the Congress chose to try to help us with HAP. Where most of us take issue is with the insane bureaucratic red tape (that other nonsensical programs seem to avoid). We take issue with the arbitrary and capricious caps & restrictions on eligiblility. We take issue with the decision to establish privileged classes who not only get benefits quicker, but receive more help with fewer restrictions. We take issue with the fact that the government forced us to move from our homes, making most of our homes something other than primary residences–thereby eliminating us from consideration for many other programs.

    Had the DOD taken the old HAP rules, tweaked them around the edges, and hired additional staff, most of us would have been able to move on with our lives. Instead, they chose to rip apart the program, redefine all the terminology and develop an entirely new process–leaving most of us in limbo for a year now. We may not have an entitlement to mortgage help, but we do have a RIGHT to expect that the DOD will implement the program efficiently and effectively so that it benefits MILITARY MEMBERS as it was intended. Nowhere in the legislation does it say that the intent is to help banks, yet that is how it’s being implemented.

    We were ordered to move in support of the nation’s needs. If the nation NEEDS to move us every three years, then they need to factor in the total cost of moving us each time. Until they provide quality on-base housing for every servicemember who wants it, then the government bears some responsibility for ensuring that we don’t get destroyed financially every time they move us. Each and every military family deserves help before all of the deadbeats who bought homes they couldn’t afford using teaser rate, liar loans.

    The President just dumped another $1.5B into civilian mortgage relief programs that won’t help 99.9% of military members–that’s right three times as much as the entire HAP program. Why? Because he made a few off-hand comments about how people shouldn’t go to Vegas during the current economic crisis…

  699. Texas Momon 20 Feb 2010 at 1:22 pm

    When Congress expanded the first time homebuyers credit to include current homeowners who have lived in their home for the past five years (they could get up to $6500 toward their new home purchase) I was left feeling let down again and wrote to my Congressmen. In the twenty years my husband has served in the military we’ve NEVER lived anywhere for five years.

    I was hopeful that maybe it included an exclusion for active duty military who moved on ORDERS but no such luck. Then I was hopeful when one of my congressmen responded to my letter that as long as we’ve owned a home for five years we would qualify — but that didn’t mean owning “a” home for five years, but owning the “same” home for five years….so I felt they were basically “excluding” military.

    So, even when/if I sell my house for a loss….I’m not one of the lucky ones who can take advantage of the $6500 credit toward a new home because the military made that impossible for me by giving us Orders to move before then.

    I’m not a crybaby about what’s fair and what’s not fair — because I know life is not fair. And I’ve never held a grudge for uprooting my family 13 times in the past twenty years or seeing my children having to leave friends and change schools 13 times. And I’ve appreciated that my husband had a job with a steady income and great benefits. But it’s hard not to stand up and say something when through no fault of my own I’m forced to sell my home at a huge loss that will wipe out my entire savings and possibly ruin our credit (of which my husband’s security clearance is dependent on) and watch as Congress helps those they didn’t force to move.

    It seems backwards to me that Congress would say to military members: “Move because the needs of the military and national security depend on it , and sorry I can’t help you if lose any money cause that’s not part of the deal you signed up for.”

    And on the other hand it says to the rest of the country — who lost jobs, made poor decisions when getting their mortgages or whatever the cause may be through no direct fault of Congress: “We’re sorry you’re in this mess and to help the greater good we’re going to help you.”

    And let’s not forget that our government civilian friends are not crying about their HAP benefits. My neighbor has no stress at all. She was told they’re moving in July so she’s preparing the house for sale starting in March knowing that if it doesn’t sell by then the government will pay her what she paid and off she goes to join her husband. Meanwhile 18 months later I’m still trying to sell mine and join my husband in Florida.

    My packet goes out on Monday and I’ll continue to hope that Congress does the right thing for those they directly affect.

    All this being said, we must not forget that while someone always has it better….someone always has it worse.

  700. Denise Korpinenon 21 Feb 2010 at 4:19 am

    Friends, I did not mean to offend anyone with the comment about us signing on knowing property value loss in a transfer sale was not a benefit. Just please remember that HAP was truly meant to be a HELP- not create more problems for you. That was my point. Each person’s situation is unique. Unfortunately many people were caught up in what can best be described as a poor timing situation due to the red tape. It stinks really bad. Those who managed to spend a few rotations in the same place, thus only transferring now, will not be through all many have had to weather. Believe me- I whole heartedly agree that we should get “relocation” benefits like this. It is crazy to me that civilians that transfer get such benefits while we active military with regular transfers, do not. There is a gentleman named Joe Gladden out of Virginia who is advocating for changes to the system. I will post his information separately. He is looking for military folks to send him short (preferably one page) letters about their experiences with military moves. Texas Mom- your last post is perfect for forward to him. He is meeting with some folks from National Association of Realtors. We are trying to get their lobbyist team to take on the military relocation cause.

    I too, am a military spouse. We have been very fortunate not to have to move too many times based on my husband’s rather unique career progression. Years ago when we sold at Camp LeJeune we got just enough more than we originally paid to cover the Realtor fees. However, I do laugh now that, in August 2008 (7 months pre HAP), we sold our beautiful “I could live in it forever” house for $570k. We had bought in November 2004 for $630k. Fortunately, the money we “lost” was equity built on a previous sale. We sold because we thought my husband was getting orders out of area and did not want to lose any more money in the quickly depreciating San Diego market (yes, house depreciated another $35k since). We were close to break even after expenses to make the sale. Moved to what we thought was a short term rental. Low and behold- we find USMC is NOT moving us out of area. It was a good move to sell the house anyway on a monthly expenses basis at the time. Unfortunately, with HAP, we could have stayed in the house till we transferred (likely 2011) and gotten benefits if money is still there. If we had just played it slightly differently, we would likely have been eligible for the very program I now help so many people with. Ah…hindsight is 20/20. We are very thankful and blessed to be out from under that substantial mortgage payment nonetheless.

    I also agree that the 5 year ownership requirement to get the tax credit should be waived to something shorter for military. We are also disqualified from using this benefit on replacement housing now that we are staying put. Many programs do have special stipulations for military. The current 1st Time Buyer credit has provisions to extend the buy date for deployed military personnel. As well, some of the laws about a property being a principal residence for other tax laws are waived or extended. I believe the Mortgage Forgiveness and Debt Relief Act has a military provision. Military Legal Assistance representatives are trained in all this.

    VINNYNY- On 12/14/09, my very first post to this forum…I explained much of the little known, behind the scenes history on HAP. The intent of law as written was to strictly “Expand” beneficiaries and begin paying as per previous program. No taxes and no reinventing the wheel. It made sense and it was simple (for once). Enter Government Attorneys, et al who said “STOP- No can do. We interpret it differently”. The saga began…I won’t rehash. You can read it if you scroll back. The situation and the way it unfolded makes me sick for you all if I think about it too long. Please trust that all the redefining has purpose. Without it, HAP would still not be sending out any checks. You’d be waiting on Congress to totally rewrite that law. I have learned some very warped things about our government over the course of the last year. Getting HAP funds moving should have been so much easier. As you say, we have been forced to sit here and watch as so many other programs helping other people groups or industries have flown through without a seeming second thought. I could also share many details about how those programs are actually not too successful either. That is a whole other forum! It is my active decision daily to wake up, stay positive, and do everything possible to pass the accurate information you all need to benefit from HAP as able. Some days I know it is not enough. Unfortunately, I don’t make the rules- I can only tell you how to work within them. It is the best I can do.

  701. VINNYNYon 21 Feb 2010 at 9:33 am

    Denise:

    I truly appreciate all that you do for us here on the forum. I just don’t want anybody reading this forum to get the idea that the government has handled this correctly and that we should be happy for any table scraps they eventually throw our way. Congress recognized that we had a big problem and tried to help military members. DOD, OSD and OMB have destroyed what Congress set out to do.

  702. Denise Korpinenon 21 Feb 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Vinnyny- Please pardon me if I have missed it in a previous post- but are both the properties you purchased over $729,750? Would you mind sharing the previous purchase prices and the zip codes on the properties you own? Want to assure you are not in Waiting’s situation…concerned that someone is just stearing you wrong.

  703. Denise Korpinenon 21 Feb 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Whoops- it wasn’t Waiting it was Shannon.

  704. VINNYNYon 21 Feb 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Denise:

    My AZ (85755) house was $550K and my VA (23662) house was $650K. Both have about $25K in improvements added and both were contracted/purchased prior to 1 Jul 06. Neither is in a high cost area (unless they changed that designation).

    I’ve had my HAP package complete since April 09, but I’ve been waiting for any indication that it would be approved before submitting it. My earliest PCS orders date was Apr 06 and the other was May 09.

  705. Angelaon 22 Feb 2010 at 11:45 am

    Why would anyone purchase another home if they hadn’t sold the previous one and didn’t plan on renting it out?

    Why would anyone even consider buying another home in the current environment we are living in?

    Why would anyone consider purchasing a home with an interest only loan?

    We purchased a home because base housing wasn’t available for 18 to 24 months or so we were told. Two months after our purchase, base housing called with a house for us. We were just a little upset to say the least. We wanted to live in base housing because I decided to be a stay at home mom and we weren’t sure what the budget would be like. Renting was out of the question, since we have a medium sized dog and rentals were not available to our additional canine family member. We purchased KNOWING that we would have to sell at some point and the military would not be there to help.

    Now they are. I think we should all think about that and praise GOD and country for coming through. Perhaps the help hasn’t been to everyone’s advantage. Perhaps some rules indeed need to be changed. But as Denise stated previously, watch the funds dry up once the rules are changed. I believe all of us better get our letters ready for Congress to add more funds.

    How many troops are there across all of the branches of military? If they were to offer help to every homeowner when a PCS was necessary, don’t you think everyone would be buying a home? Where would the money come from? Oh, that’s right, our tax dollars.

    Yes, it is frustrating to know that Congress has bailed out the banks. It is also frustrating to know that the banks lent money to those who could not afford the loan. However, aren’t those borrowers also to blame for taking on loans they could not afford?

  706. Marieon 22 Feb 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I feel everyone’s frustration. I am truly grateful to our government and the people of the United States for this program. This program is truly a gift since this financial burden would have been crippling for me. Yes I did buy more house than I should have so I know I bear some responsibility but I don’t think anyone foresaw the severity of this crisis and military members suffer more than others in this kind of situation because we’re forced to move… so I appreciate the help we’ve been given. I lived in Las Vegas so I can personally tell you how many military members suffered financially and were foreclosed on or had to short sale in the worst market in the country.

    That said this process has been incredibly frustrating. As one of the previous posters said may not have had a right to expect this help but we should expect that this program will be run at least relatively well. One has to expect new government programs to move slowly… but this has been ridiculous. I’ve had two prior closing dates doing a gov acquisition that both passed. The worst of it was those closings would pass with no warning from HAP. With the latest I was given closing contract for the 29th of Jan from HAP and called and left messages and emails all of the week prior to when I was supposed to close. The closing date came and went with no word at all… not even that the closing was going to be delayed. On the day I was supposed to close I finally reached the program director basically upset as you can believe and not knowing what to tell the buyers. She helped and finally over three weeks later escrow actually has funds and contracts to close! (Though I haven’t yet closed… contracts just arrived Friday).

    The point of this is that I think in a lot of ways the program hasn’t been well-run. It’s disorganized, inefficient and I often was left hanging with no communication. The two month delay as HAP revised government contracts in Sacramento was excessive… I work in the legal field and I find it hard to believe given the urgency of this issue that it should have taken two months (especially as they could have pre-reviewed these contracts-they knew expanded HAP was coming). Military members suffer trying to get by paying more and more money to keep current on their mortgage-if they can-while this inefficiency goes on.

    I really hope for the sake of all our military that this program will become more efficient and organized. I hope the benefits will be expanded to help more of our military.

    And despite the incredible frustration if I actually do close this week I will still be incredibly grateful for this program. So hang in there. Oh, and if you’re having problems like I did call and keep in touch with HAP on a regular basis. Don’t give up when you experience a setback. If your case worker isn’t helping you call someone else.

  707. BSTRICKon 22 Feb 2010 at 5:21 pm

    My experience hasn’t been as pleasant as some others. My husband has had PCS out orders since last year. We put our house in Florida on the market summer of 09. I stayed on top of my application and made sure that I had all the correct paperwork submitted. It’s just really awful that it takes them 2 to 3 months to call people back. I don’t believe that any of us are expecting a handout from the gov’t. My husband serves this country everyday and is proud too. Some people in the Savannah office are great to talk with and very helpful. However I have also been in contact with people who attempt to make us feel as though we are asking for Welfare. That is so unfair. We are waiting for our contract confirmation. I hope that this doesn’t take long to obtain. That way I can show my buyers that their contract has been approved. I am praying that the gov’t sees how this process is not organized. There needs to be some serious guidelines to get this process handled in a better manor. HAPlessly hopeful.

  708. VINNYNYon 22 Feb 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Angela:

    With regard to your question: “aren’t those borrowers also to blame for taking on loans they could not afford?” Yes, they are to blame for taking out loans they couldn’t afford.

    Although that might be the case for many people who lost their homes, it doesn’t apply to all of us. I bought two houses because of PCS orders and made big downpayments totalling more than $200K of my own money. I used conservative financing with no teaser rates and didn’t have to lie on my application to qualify. I could have easily afforded both houses–

    IF THE AIR FORCE HAD ALLOWED ME TO ACTUALLY LIVE IN ONE OF THEM.

    When I got my latest set of orders, I essentially begged to go back to my AZ house so that I wouldn’t lose it to foreclosure, but the “Needs of the Air Force” dictated otherwise. If it’s so important to have me where I am, then perhaps it’s important enough to provide me the aid that Congress intended.

  709. Texas Momon 22 Feb 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I think it’s unfair to see everyone grouped into the “taking on loans they could not afford” category because in so many cases that is not the case.

    In fact, I think it’s fair to assume that the reason any MILITARY member wants help is because they can’t afford TWO mortgages after PCS’ing — not because they are underwater on their mortgage or made bad decisions.

    We can’t sell our home so we haven’t purchased another at our new base, but even without a second mortgage, my household budget is forced to absorb an additional $1000k monthly expense while my husband rents an apartment separate from his family. It really stinks to pay for rent and utilities when he has a roof over here. And those are just fixed costs — this doesn’t include babysitters, lawn care, vehicle maintenance costs and things like that as result of his not being here.

    I wish he had received TDY orders instead of a PCS — then we’d be receiving per diem to help offset these expenses.

    Every family should be financial ready for “some” type of emergency but I think the 18 months I’ve been waiting is plenty and have no shame in saying that I’ve reached the bottom of my emergency fund and need financial help. I took a conventional, fixed rate mortgage — no funny stuff here. I’m currently listed for $200,000 less than I paid

    Asking every family to take the first 10% loss seems plenty fair to me. Why can’t everyone see this?

  710. Oliviaon 22 Feb 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Angela:

    Although I don’t think it’s particularly productive to criticize/judge folks on this board for past decisions they’ve made (I’m sure many of us could have made some better decisions – I know I could have!), I’ll respond to some of your questions:

    Why would anyone purchase another home if they hadn’t sold the previous one and didn’t plan on renting it out?

    I doubt that anyone on this board intentionally bought another home and planned to just let their other home sit around empty. Some folks didn’t know that they could rent out their homes and still qualify for HAP benefits and/or that it would take them so long to receive any benefits under HAP (or that they wouldn’t be receiving any benefits like us). I can see where it wouldn’t have made a lot of sense to rent out your home for a short time (or an uncertain amount of time) if you believed your HAP benefits would be arriving in a reasonable amount of time.

    Why would anyone even consider buying another home in the current environment we are living in?

    In certain areas, such as where we have PCS’d, there is a very long waiting list for base housing and my husband actually works in another part of town that doesn’t even have nearby base housing so he would have an extremely long commute if we were to live on the base. Also, the cost to rent is actually higher than buying here because there are so few rental properties available due to all of the short sales/foreclosures.

    Additionally, renting can be a very risky proposition here. My husband knows at least a couple of colleagues whose families have been forced to leave their rental properties because the properties were foreclosed on, even though they had been dutifully paying their landlords rent every month.

    Finally, our CPA/friend has recommended that we buy another home in our new location (especially now that the prices here have dropped significantly) so that we can save money on our taxes because she doesn’t think we can do itemized deductions anymore because our former primary residence in now a rental property.

    Why would anyone consider purchasing a home with an interest only loan?

    I cannot speak for others, but we used an interest only loan because we bought this property one month before we closed on another home that we sold (at that time, the real estate market was very hot in our area and homes there were selling very quickly – some homes would have multi-offers/bidding wars on the first day they came on the market). Of course, we could have refinanced this loan after we sold the other home, but we didn’t, per the advice of our mortgage broker, since we weren’t planning to keep this property for more than 5 years anyway as we knew we would have to move again before then.

    We would have had no trouble affording our home if my husband hadn’t PCS’d. Also, we would have had a better chance of availing ourselves of some type of refinancing option if this home were still our primary residence. However, renting it out at a $1K loss every month and paying high rent at our new locale is what is hurting us (our current landlord is really upsidedown on the home we’re currently renting, so who knows whether she will ultimately do a short sale/foreclosure).

    By the way, we and virtually all of our military friends bought a home during every assignment over the years and most of us at least broke even when we sold (a few lucky ones even made some money!). I don’t think any of us had any reason to believe that the home prices in our area would drop by 50% during our assignment – so I don’t think any of us behaved foolishly by buying a home.

    —–
    Although we currently don’t qualify for HAP, I am still grateful that other military families can benefit from it. However, the program’s inefficient and untimely implementation shouldn’t be driving those same families to the point of financial ruin.

    And if we ever do qualify for benefits under HAP someday, believe me, I will be thanking my lucky stars! As far as our tax dollars, I’d rather see them going to military families than to banks or other less worthy recipients any day, but I think we should be writing letters to Congress asking for more funding for HAP.

  711. Tomon 22 Feb 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Denise-

    With regards to your 19Feb reply to me, are “reimbursement” and “augmentation” two separate but related processes as they relate to the HAP’s private sale assistance? Is reimbursement designed for people who sold at a loss before the HAP program was expanded? I’m operating under the impression that if you have money to go to closing, reimbursement is a better, more timely route than waiting for HAP to process you for augmentation.

    What I have been told by HAP is that I need to present them a signed contract to confirm whether or not my offer is within the CFMV. If it is, then I can proceed with the sale. I suppose the question is, should I wait for augmentation and continue to pay two or three more months worth of mortgage payments waiting for HAP to process me or just sell now and wait for reimbursement with a firm understanding from USACE that I sold my property within the CFMV. I just want to be sure I’m asking for the right assistance and that I’m providing my relator and buyer with the right information.

    By the way, after 486 days, I finally got an offer today. And to answer your question regarding whether or not I’m 100% financed, I did an 80/10/10 at purchase. So no, I’m not. Thanks again Denise. You deserve some flowers…

  712. Oliviaon 22 Feb 2010 at 11:04 pm

    My husband just reminded me that we actually did try to refinance this property after we sold our other home. Although the property had not yet declined significantly in value, it was at the point when jumbo loans basically dried up and we didn’t have the $83K in cash needed to refinance to a $417K loan. If we did, we’d only be out another $83K in addition to the $165K cash we had already put into this property (plus the negative cash flow we now have) so it’s just as well. It wouldn’t have changed our eligibility under HAP any.

  713. Angelaon 23 Feb 2010 at 7:53 am

    Wow, it is amazing how persoanally my comments were taken.

  714. Marloon 23 Feb 2010 at 10:02 am

    Denise,

    Any updates on the status of Aquisitions closing in Sacramento district? Do you know if the sales you mentioned in the Feb 5th post all closed? We have a date in March….just trying to figure the odds on closing! Thanks.

  715. TeeJayon 23 Feb 2010 at 2:59 pm

    This board has helped clarify things immensely, but the last few weeks worth of comment have me a little confused. Everyone’s situation seems to be different. Maybe someone can help me out here. I will keep this short and simple.

    First, is the following paragraph true or not?
    A short sale is when you sell your house for less than you still owe on the mortgage. You have to get the bank to agree to the price, which is why it is usually a long process. Even if you don’t ask for any forgiveness on the remaining debt to the bank, it is still a short sale (although I believe most short sales involve some negotiated debt forgiveness).

    Second, this is my situation:
    Bought house in Massachusetts in MAY 2006 for $348k. Loan is a VA Loan through USAA/GMAC. Received orders to PCS to California with a report date of APR 2010. Have paid off $10k of mortgage; still owe $338k. Two separate realtors did a market analysis that says house is worth between $290- $300k. (So house dropped about $50k in value).

    Here is what I intend to do with the house:
    Get GMAC to allow a short sale. Will probably have to sell for around $290 – 300k. I will NOT ask for any debt forgiveness from GMAC (for preservation of credit score, and so I can qualify for HAP). Instead, the remaining mortgage debt will turn into some sort of note to the bank, where I still owe them the rest of the balance (about $50k, say). My lawyer says she has done this for clients in the past.

    After all this is done, what I want to do is submit the completed packet to HAP and have them reimburse me for the closing costs (example, around $15k) and the remaining debt to GMAC (example, around $50k).

    From what I have researched, all this seems possible and a sound decision. It also seems the simplest way to do it (ie, not asking for a government acquisition, not intending to send my HAP packet in until the sale is complete, etc.). However, a lot of the comments here now make me second guess whether I am right that this will work.

    Can anyone tell me if there are any flaws in what I have said above? Is there something I haven’t considered, or have I misapplied any logic?

    Thank you.

  716. Denise Korpinenon 23 Feb 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Marlo- no, they did not all close, as Marie didn’t and she was in that count. But it seems most did.

    For timeframe reference- We have one that was scheduled to close Augmentation on February 23rd (Katie’s) that got contracts and escrow instructions Friday. The check was supposed to have been ordered but then it turned out it processed as “Acquisition” instead. So we had to reorder. Still hoping to close this Friday if checks arrive. We have one due to close March 8th (Augmentation) that we just got contracts on. That one is a little ahead of schedule as HAP goes. Checks are supposedly ordered.

    You need to make sure your deeds are notarized, you have received the government contract to sign (notarized if augmentation), and your check has been ordered. Only you (or your Realtor) can look out for number one in this case. Keep asking your benefits person.

  717. Denise Korpinenon 23 Feb 2010 at 3:21 pm

    TeeJay- NOOOOOO! Stop where you are. I am headed out but will get back to you.

  718. TeeJayon 23 Feb 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks Denise. I look forward to your guidance!

  719. Kathleen Brownon 23 Feb 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Greetings all, and thanks so much for your participation on this forum. So my bottom line question: Who owns this issue? Who can I communicate with? Congressional reps–the House Ways and Means Committee? Surely not the DOD. White House? I’ve communicated w/ my state representatives. My husband reported Dec 1 to his new duty station. We have been trying to sell our home since late Sept and are looking at more than a 10% loss. Where can I find the info used by this program to evaluate home values for my area if average sale prices are not enough?? (Freddie Mac site didn’t give much but I’m probably missing things.) Our biggest problem however is that we purchased June of 2007. I would have to disagree w/ earlier posts that said the bulk of the drops happened before that point–most definitely not the case for us. We’re looking at a life changing loss of equity for PCS orders that are actually 1.5 years early. I noted above an Act of Congress is required to change that purchase deadline….who in Congress? How do I work to get this on someone’s radar??

    The ultimate add on to the frustrations w/ this program: We also will not qualify for the Homebuyer’s Tax Credit–the $6,500 (expires April 1 I believe) for folks who currently own but are moving to a new property. Why? Becuase you are required to reside in the same house for five years. WHO in the active duty military has that luxury?? I know millions of people are struggling and are ruined by this mortgage crisis. I certainly feel that our military life is ensuring we see no benefit–and only staggering losses–from efforts by Congress to recitfy the lack of parity in relocation costs for active duty military versus their civil service counterparts.

    Thanks for any insight and again thank you for this forum.

  720. RodBon 23 Feb 2010 at 7:01 pm

    I haven’t seen much on here about reimbursements for improvements, Savannah is saying that they need individual receipts (like I have kept all my receipts from 2006…)and if its an invoice from say Lowe’s you have to prove that you paid. My problem is that we use on-line bill pay to pay the Lowe’s bill, how do you prove that, any ideas? I have pictures of a really nice deck that I can’t enjoy because they made me move… Also, it seems to me that as long as you can prove you bought something, who cares how you actually paid for it, seems out of scope…anyone else on here have any insight?

  721. Angelaon 24 Feb 2010 at 10:53 am

    I would ask that they prove to you in writing that they require documentation of a paid receipt. My friend here received the same information written up in a Word document by someone in the Savannah District. My friend disputed the information and asked them for something in writing from Sec Def. Needless to say, no documentation was then required.

  722. Denise Korpinenon 24 Feb 2010 at 11:35 am

    TeeJay- Your reasoning is logical and sound- IF you were dealing with an entity that functioned in application as such. However you are not! Most likely you will have more headaches than I care to think about trying it this way. At least, that is my opinion based on what I have seen and heard from beneficiaries trying to get reimbursed for short sales. You could get USAA to agree to let you sell easy enough if you are willing to carry the note. They are pretty efficient and amicable about releasing lien for those who continue the note. But the HAP reimbursement aspect is shot! Because when you do this, even though your mortgage was 100% (less the small bit you paid off), HAP Savannah will try to process you as though you have to contribute 10% cost share of $34,800 (90% benefit). Since you don’t have that already, it will be problematic. There is also no reason for you to have to pay more in than necessary- except if your house is sitting vacant and the 10% dollars will be burned anyway while waiting HAP processing. If the house is vacant and you find a well qualified Buyer, you could potentially rent ahead of closing to them. Qualifying the Buyer is your Realtor’s job. It is a little risky but not as bad as vacant house with mortgage payment and no income.

    The very best thing for you to do is to get an offer on your property quickly and submit for Acquisition. As always, you can have your Realtor contact me and I can tell them what to send to Savannah to have a complete package so there are no excuses for them not to process. The trick is to chase it hard enough at Savannah to get a responsive benefits processor. If you send them everything they need- they don’t have look at your file as often and it will be smoother. Those are my suggestions based on experience; the long term effects of your choice now impact your family and finances. You make the ultimate decision.

    Kathleen- your concerns are best addressed to Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House and Vice President Biden from what I can tell. I have been told more than once during the tax exemption process the only way to get anything done quickly in Congress is to get Ms. Pelosi’s attention. Vice President Biden, or one of his aides, has also been keeping pretty well abreast of HAP and all its various issues. You have to be consistent and go till you get someone on staff who will advocate to the top. As well, you can prep a 1 page letter about your concerns and need for advocacy to the National Board of Realtors.

    Rob- On improvements they want invoices/receipts as well as proof you paid them. If a receipt or invoice says cash was received you don’t need anything else. If receipt or invoice reflects check, they want a cancelled check. Mastercard, Visa, etc, they want a statement showing paid. I would think that there is a line of your final bank summary statement each month that reflects that Lowe’s payment made electronically. It is a lot of cross referencing but if you want the credit for improvements without having to appeal- you have to provide it all.

    Tom- reimbursement is only a better, timelier route if it is what you actually qualify for. If you owe more than 90% of PFMV and are an ACQUISITION candidate before you close, yet you come up with money to pay yourself out, you are in an uphill battle to get that extra money back (see my comment to TeeJay). Because by paying $$ at close you have now bumped yourself over into the AUGMENTATION/Private sale category where 10% cost share is required. If you are an AUGMENTATION because you have ALREADY put 10% or more of your own money in at purchase or via improvements (thus it is not coming back to you anyway)- you are ok to bring the money to close yourself and get reimbursed. You likely won’t lose anything by it (as long as you know what HAP covers) and gain more control of your closing date. From an individual perspective, if you are an AUGMENTATION and an escrow runs about 45 days anyway, why would you put your own money on the table if HAP will bring it there for you in that amount of time? EXCEPT that if something gets messed up at HAP you may not get money on time…that would be the only reason. Again, if you find out what they need and get it to them the checks are usually there in plenty of time in an AUGMENTATION. It is ACQUISITION that is a bumpier road. Hope this makes sense to you.

  723. Karenon 24 Feb 2010 at 1:02 pm

    When we were thinking of doing home improvements for our HAP package I contacted Lowes and asked them to send me receipts of everything we had purchased (fence, upgraded carpet, wooden floors) and they were able to as longas you can pinpoint about when the purchase was made. I believe they can only go back three years but I am not sure. I I was then able to backtrack as to when I paid each bill and then went through my bank for statements and cancelled checks. We ended up no needing to do this but this is how we did it. I hope that this helps you.

    Karen

  724. Josephon 25 Feb 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Denise:

    Do you have any positive stories to tell us about transactions that went cleanly through the system. A little positive re-enforcement as we progress through the system would be appreciated.

  725. Keithon 25 Feb 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Here’s my timeline as an example – not sure how representative it is, but thought it might help paint a picture for Joseph and others (I’m pursuing a HAP augmentation via Savannah office):

    Apr 09: submitted application to HAP (not ready to sell yet – just wanted to get an app into the system)
    Jul 09: request from HAP for a few items to complete application
    Oct 09: notification from HAP that implementation procedures are in place (sent to me via e-mail)
    Dec 09: second request from HAP for an item still needed to complete application (one missing signature page)
    7 Feb 09: put house on market
    24 Feb 09: ratified contract sent to HAP (we received an offer much sooner than expected – HAP stated my application now went to “Appraisal”, no estimate on how long that will take)

    Assuming the offer is within 10% of CFMV, does anyone know how long it takes to go through the Appraisal and Benefits offices en route to closing, i.e., what are the next 2-3 milestones and expected timelines?

    I’ll keep you posted on my timeline if that helps others….

  726. DCmomon 26 Feb 2010 at 6:14 am

    Denise:

    You seem to have a lot of insight into this EHAP. We bought our home in 2006 with a 80/20 loan, interest only arm/loc, as we did not anticipate the market crashing. We have since lost about 150K in value (550K, now maybe 400k). My husband will pcs by Dec 2010. So EHAP augmentation would cover 90% of 550K, and we would still owe the bank the remaining 10% to close? If we chose the gov acquisition option, they would assume the entire PFMV? We wouldn’t have to pay the bank the 10%? Your help would be greatly appreciated! What seemed to be a great idea due to booming real estate in 2006 has since turned into a nightmare. My husband and I took a risk with this loan with a worst case scenario of breaking even or slightly in the negative. Never in our dreams did we anticipate a 150K loss. Thank you for all of your help on this blog.

  727. Josephon 26 Feb 2010 at 9:20 am

    Thanks Keith! The timeline I’m working with is similar. It appears that it goes from Appraisal to Eligibility where they ensure the packet is complete including a copy of official orders. Once they are satisfied with the packet it goes to Benefits and we’re told we should close within 60 days.

  728. Jonon 26 Feb 2010 at 11:32 am

    Frustration with Sacramento office…

    -PCS date Jul 2009

    -Aug 2009: HAP application in

    -Sept 2009 Offer on house received with HAP stipulation stating that buyer will rent until funds come through. Granted I am losing near $800/month. (Only paid 277k for house, my zip took 75% hit in Vegas.)

    -Tax liability finally waived then I started weekly comm with office.

    -early Jan 2010: told all docs in order will be transferred to gov’t acquisition specialists at Sacramento office

    -Late Feb 2010: no returned phone calls, gov’t acquisition folks told me this AM I am still assigned to private sale augmentation
    folks and they are too busy to give application status updates.

    Look all I want is to know I am not lost in the shuflle or in some filing cabinet!

    Any advice? I still am unaware of my liability in way of private sale augmentation versus gov’t acquisition. They told me thay couldn’t detail that for me at this point. Is this normal?

    I appreciate any and all info.

    Regards,
    Jon

  729. Marieon 26 Feb 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Jon-

    That sounds like the kind of trouble I’ve had with Sacramento. My application was complete around May last year and I too PCSd from Las Vegas. I was first given a closing date of 12 December for a gov acquisition before being told they had a legal problem with the contracts. My second closing date after they fixed the contracts was 29 January. However, that date went by with me calling emailing daily and getting no response from HAP. I finally called the director of HAP in desperation on the day I was supposed to close, didn’t know what had happened and didn’t know what to tell my buyers. I apparently was “lost in the shuffle.”

    Finally a month after my second closing date it appears that everything is set to go as escrow now has funds and signed contracts which are being fedexed to me and buyer as I write this. However, with all my problems with HAP even as this seems so promising I still feel like the rug could be pulled at any moment…

    Anyway, the bottom line is that I never stopped calling these people. I really think if I had this would have NEVER happened. At first I’d call my HAP worker and he would think I was in a different category or would forget who I was. Even so another caseworker actually helped me get this started. I’m told the most important part of the government acquisition is actually getting the funds obligated (so shoot for this). Do you mind if I ask who’s been assigned to your case?

  730. Katieon 26 Feb 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Hello again everyone! I am closed! Another HAP attempt that actually worked! Here is my timeline:

    Jul 05- purchased condo

    Feb 09- PCS’d and rented out condo in San Diego. Losing $1000 a month. Planned on selling normally in 3 yrs or so when market recovered.

    Nov 09- Found Denise online and asked about HAP (glad we had the realtor before we did anything)
    Put in HAP application with Denise’s help. No missing paperwork.

    Dec 09- Condo put on the market. HAP contacted us and said that my hubby didn’t qualify since the condo isn’t in his name, but I would under Wounded Warrior (I was medically retired in APR 08).
    Received several offers in the first week.

    Jan 10- First buyer fell through- got another buyer on the line.

    Feb 10- All paperwork done and we closed today, 26 Feb 10. I used Augmentation (I put 10% down, had lots of home improvements, and had paid off a nice chunk of the loan). HAP came to the table with the money and the Escrow company distributed as necessary. My check with the remaining funds should be in the mail early next week. I did NOT have to come to the table with any money… luckily!!

    Now, please remember that I am Wounded Warrior and had priority handling… but I also give huge props to Denise b/c she knew how to work the system. She ensured that things were worded correctly to get HAP to cover costs. There is no way we would have used this program if we didn’t find Denise first. She worked marvelously with the Sacramento office and pushed when they were stalling.

    My biggest recommendation is to find a Realtor who has done this before. It still may take a while to go through the gov’t bureaucracy, but a Realtor who knows the system can seriously help untangle the web.

    I really hope that all of your properties close quickly! I know how painful it is watching your money go down the drain every month :( Good luck! Please let me know if you have questions… but Denise has been awesome on this board about answering questions, so you may not have any questions left!

  731. Denise Korpinenon 26 Feb 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I am posting for you all some information from Joe Gladden, Captain, USN (retired). He is a Realtor in Virginia who runs VRSam.com where there is also a bit of HAP information. Karen and I help moderate. This is what Joe shared with me edited ever so slightly for space:

    I received an invitation to brief the National Association of Realtors on the military housing crisis. After numerous letters to NAR officials over the years, I was able to get the attention of Vick Golder (our new president) via email. BTW, a very nice lady. I expect to travel to Chicago within the next 2 weeks to give the key full time NAR staff a presentation of the situation and advise them on what should be done, etc. They were in the very early stages of forming a legislative agenda on this issue. They were focusing primarily on returning deployed members, a good thing, but it is my belief that they should take a very comprehensive approach to issue.

    My overall pitch will be: 1) Form a standing advisory committee within NAR of Realtors who have “lived the military life” and who work with today’s military families to advise them on a legislative agenda
    2) Focus on a short term fix that brings relief for those who have lost / losing in the recent housing market debacle (tax credits)
    3) Tackle a long term, cost-effective solution that mirrors the benefits what other federal employees enjoy

    As a part of the presentation I plan to offer several examples of the “pain” experienced by folks. I will pull a number of these from the forum and our experience. It would add credibility to have the experiences of others in this effort. If you have 2 or 3 “poster” families who have (or will) take a major hit, I would appreciate a 1 page synopsis of their plight to include:

    Branch of service, amount of expected losses, deployed status (if applicable), family stress, and “how they were boxed into a corner” with PCS orders or otherwise, the applicability of HAP (or not). This should be a 1 page letter summary of your situation tweaked toward requesting their overall assistance with the military housing plight.

    If they were willing for us to use their full names, that would be helpful but if not, I completely understand. They should know that this is with a trade organization, not anyone in the military chain of command, and that I would insist on confidentiality if desired. If full names not acceptable, we could use first names only or to be completely anonymous if necessary. I have dealt with the “credibility” issue with the media and assuming that we will have more credibility with NAR if we have actual names.

    If you would like to send a 1 page letter to Joe for forward to National Association to ask for help in obtaining a more permanent fix for military housing- please forward to rjgladden@comcast.net

  732. Denise Korpinenon 26 Feb 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Katie- Thanks for posting! Wish HAP Sacramento folks could have heard the excitement in your voice when I told you we were done! I did call Janice (as she had ordered your check) and emailed everyone else I have emails for to say “Thank You”.

    Joseph- Katie would be the best success story so far! Again, remembering she got priority as a Wounded Warrior and I know the paperwork. She had more than 10% contribution but did not have the cash to close private sale so we set her up for Acquisition. When HAP said they could now come to the table with money via Augmentation, we swapped options and it didn’t get changed in the HAP computer system. We had a week delay due to the snafu. Part of that is due to some major computer issues up there over the last few weeks. So that has slowed them down as well.

    DCMom- Yes, you are tracking accurately… as you have not really paid off any principle on the 80/20 loans. You should qualify for 100% of mortgage via an Acquisition. Now, keep in mind, you can[‘t close till within 90 days of RNLT date for the qualifying outbound orders per current processing guidelines- roughly sometime in October.

    Jon- If you have contributed or intend to contribute 10% of PFMV (or more) you are augmentation. If not you are acquisition.

  733. Shaneon 27 Feb 2010 at 7:25 pm

    This is where we stand thus far….

    Applied way back in February of last year. Potential buyer moved into the house back in July and is renting the house until we can go through with the sale. Agreed upon price was $250K. House is in southern Maryland, so we fall under the Savannah district.

    Once rules came out (finally), we were initially told that we didn’t qualify due to our area not meeting the 10% decline in property values. Their figures (Core Logic) showed a 9% decline. We went back and forth with them for a few weeks with our own research that showed that decline at closer to 15% (our realtor and zillow.com figures.) They finally caved in and used our figures to qualify us.

    Lots of misinformation at first from HAP. Initially, Savannah was telling us that if we were doing the Govt Acquisition, they would not pay for a dime of the improvements, despite us having receipts. We had taken out an equity loan shortly after purchase to do some stuff around the house and pay bills. We had receipts showing just over $7K in improvements. Once we were told they would pay for no improvements, we went ahead and paid $15K towards the equity loan just to get it out of the way. Lucky for us, we found out within a couple of days that they would, in fact, pay for improvements. That money would only go towards the loan, however. So, we called the bank, had them refund the payment. That was a CLOSE call. Came awful close to flushing $7K and change down the toilet.

    Looking like we will be closing some time towards the end of March. Been a long and bumpy road, but the end is in sight. HAP is going to pay off our original loan as well as the $7K towards improvements, realtor fees and my closing. I only have to cough up $5K towards buyers closing.

    After all is said and done, I’ll be coming out of pocket the $5K for buyers closing as well as another $10K or so to close out that equity loan. Don’t really see the $10K as a loss, seeing how that money was used to pay off my motorcycle and a couple of bills a few years back.

    I’ll post once the end is near and let you all know how the final process goes as far as what they need from us to complete the deal. Wish us luck in this last stage. Best of luck to each of you out there….

    Shane

  734. Shaneon 27 Feb 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Just one more point I wanted to stress.

    For those who find themselves being denied benefits due to their counties not suffering the 10% declination in property values; do not simply take their denial as being set in stone.

    I called and emailed them a couple of times a week with my figures until I got the answer I wanted to hear. Core Logic, the program they use to determine property values, was WAY off the mark when compared to real-world values.

    If you’ve got figures from your realtor or your county is listed in zillow.com, take those figures and shove it down their throats until they start to hear the message loud and clear.

  735. Karenon 28 Feb 2010 at 11:13 am

    Shane it is great to hear from you. I was wondering what had happened with you and the house. Good to know that it is almost a done deal for you as well. What a relief not to have to write that mortgage check along with a rental check. Will keep you in our prayers so that everything continues to go smoothly. Best to all of you still in the process.

    Karen

  736. Denise Korpinenon 28 Feb 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Shane- Your defining points- you had an equity line taken out for your improvements…that is virtually the only way under Acquisition to get HAP money paid in for improvements. As you found out, if you paid cash (or paid off the loan) the money would then have counted towards the 10% personal contribution needed to qualify for Augmentation. On the decrease in value- it is a little easier to fight that battle now. Early in the game they were strictly using that Core Logic program for determination. Current processing involves proving a 10% decline from PFMV to CFMV/best offer you can get from marketing efforts.

    On the closing costs- if it is “usual and customary” in your area to pay some closing costs for the Buyer, HAP should be paying that too…up to 3% of the purchase price. A lot of this depends on wording of your purchase contract. I have heard Savannah sometimes has issues with processing some of these closing cost items correctly- like they also argue about paying home warranty for buyer, which is customary almost everywhere. I haven’t had issues like that with Sacramento.

    If you want things to go smoothly from here…you need a solid estimated HUD1 for your close date from your closing agent to be sure they have all the credit/debit numbers and your mortgage payoff right. From there you contact HAP and push them to send you your Deeds (You to HAP and HAP to Buyer) and Acquisition contracts for you and Buyer right away. Be sure they have requested your Treasury checks while you are swapping these papers. This process tends to be what holds everyone up at the last minute and delays closing.

    Based on government usage for this program- buy stock in FedEx.

  737. Denise Korpinenon 28 Feb 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Received the stats from D.C. on HAP applications processed through February 24th, 2010:

    http://hapinformation.wordpress.com/2010/02/28/hap-benefits-processed-as-of-22410/

  738. Karenon 28 Feb 2010 at 10:03 pm

    You rock lady!!!!

    Karen

  739. Karenon 28 Feb 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Hey by the way, who won the bet for Starbucks? You or me?

    Karen

  740. Emilyon 01 Mar 2010 at 11:45 am

    I have a tax question for anyone who may know…

    We received our HAP benefit in November 2009 (Savannah District) so HANG IN THERE! At that time it was declared earned income and taxed as such. Subsequently the benefits were declared tax free. Received a W2 with the benefit reported as wages and previously withheld taxes also reported. According to the IRS, there is no way to apply for refund of the taxes withheld – only have a new W2 cut from the USACE with the benefit reclassified. I have been trying to call the Savannah office and emailed repeatedly with no response. We did have a very good caseworker during our application process who was responsive.

    Anyone else trying to recoup withheld taxes? The benefit (while appreciated) has pushed us into the phaseout range for deductions and tax credits so without a reclassification of the benefit (out of wages, tips, other) we’ll owe an additional $5k in taxes on top of the $20k which should be refunded from withholding at the time of our benefit payment.

    Our history:
    Purchase in FL $405k in 4/05
    Listed home in 4/08 @ $385k
    PCS’d in 6/08
    Applied to HAP 3/09 Savannah #0195
    Sold home 5/09 @$320k
    Eligibility letter – file forwarded to Acquisition Section in 10/09
    Rec’d HAP benefit 11/09 of $85k less $21k taxes withheld

    The benefit included about $25 in improvements. We also had additional improvements for which I couldn’t document costs and prove payment. Credit card statements did suffice for proof of payment because they assume that we paid our credit card bill.

    If anyone can answer my tax question, I’d appreciate it. Has anyone had success applying for a refund of taxes?

  741. Emilyon 01 Mar 2010 at 11:47 am

    Oops. My post should have said $25k in improvements.

  742. JJon 01 Mar 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Hi everyone. Does anyone know where I could track to see when the final ruling will come out? I believe someone posted no later than April 15th? I am actually a buyer looking to purchase a home from someone selling under HAP who just got told they were over the 417k threshhold. After reading through these posts, I feel terrible for all the BS that the government has put you through needing to sell your homes at losses and wait and wait and wait for answers.

    What is the likelihood of the 417k cap being lifted or raised in the normal areas? I would sure like to help out this homeowner who needs to sell and is now being told he doesn’t qualify, as well as get him some more information for his benefit.

    Thanks!
    JJ

  743. Wesleyon 01 Mar 2010 at 6:50 pm

    I thought I understood the difference between private sale augmentation and acquisition but I read the examples of the offer letters on Denise K’s site and got way confused as to how each actually works. My case is that we paid $327K, put $70K down, have a contract to sell for $255K and owe $250K. We have a $60K HELOC, some of which went into the house, so imagined that it would go something like this: at closing HAP would provide us with a check for our portion of the benefit, much like the example Sacremento offer letter but was confused why it says “in your case the gov will buy your house and sell it to the person you have contracted with” If this transaction was a private sale, why does the government buy the house? Also why does the acquisition example say that a buyer must be identified, I thought the sole purpose for acquisition was that people can’t sell their houses so the government was either paying off the mortgage or 75% of pfmv whichever was greater.
    I guess its the unknown, we have never been told by savannah what category we fall under even though our application has made it passed appraisal into benefits.

  744. John B.on 02 Mar 2010 at 7:49 am

    Hi all,

    I’ve been tracking this site for awhile… DOD civilian who’s billet was BRAC’d in April 2008, almost 3 years after the intial May 2005 date. Put a contract down to build a house in WV in February 2006 and closed in July 2006 for $398,000 (well before I knew I’d be BRAC’d). Real-estate in my area has dropped significantly, with homes like mine selling for around $240,000. Needless to say, the HAP program could be a real life saver, but I’m concerned about the dates. From what I’ve read, for BRAC applicants 15 May 2005 is the magic number, however our office wasn’t BRAC’d until much later. There is at least one other person in my office who is in an identical situation to mine.

    I submitted my HAP application (0471) in early Febrary for Gov’t Acquisition under BRAC 05 (including April 2008 letter on gov’t letterhead stating that my billet was BRAC’d as well as PCS orders to new duty station). My house went on the market in January, and I’ve got an offer from a retired military couple, but the offer is contingent on HAP funding. Also, they’ve reserved the right to pull out of the contract if the process becomes too lengthy.

    Just yesterday, I received an indication from the Savannah office (non-official) that I would not be approved. Of course I intend to appeal if that is the case. I’d be interested to hear a) what are the rules for BRAC billets who didn’t receive BRAC notification or orders after the 15 May 2005 deadline, and b) any experiences / recommendations for the appeals process.

    Many thanks.

    John B.

  745. Reneeon 02 Mar 2010 at 9:32 am

    Just wanted to keep you all updated on our status. As I stated before, things have gone completely smoothly.

    To review:

    1. Purchased house in Aug 05 for $550,000. We owe $528,000.
    Moved out Jan 09 at a $2000.00 a month LOSS in rent.
    2. Applied to HAP in Aug 09.
    3. Put house on Market in Jan 17 10 at $297,000 (ouch!)
    4. Got an offer within a week for $280,000.
    5. Submitted it to HAP in Savannah office
    6. Got approved in 10 days (after asking for extra documentation justifying the list price). Paid the renters $3000.00 to vacate early.
    7. It’s already went to Benefits.
    8. They asked me for additional repair receipts and approved those within a day or two which will save me an additional $3,600.oo at closing.
    9. Title was ordered Feb 26th.
    10. Closing date is scheduled for April 15th. Everything looks in line!

    NO major problems, it is going smoothly. I think we will only have to come to the table with the monthly interest (15 days plus an extra 10 = 25 days (about $3000.00) and taxes from jan to april (which we will get back when we get an escrow refund). It could not be going more smoothly! Don’t get me wrong, I have to be in constant email communication with my Realty and now Benefits specialist. Sometimes it takes a few days to hear from them which is frustrating but if they are going to help cover a $248,000 loss I am not going to complain! I also profusely thank the workers at HAP when I speak with them. I let them know how much I appreciate what they are doing. I think they are overwhelmed and get a lot of unhappy and stressed out clients that they feel people are ungrateful. That’s not it at all, but their perception may be that way. I have gotten the best service I can expect from a government employee!

    I know we are fortunate simply because of timing. We waited until things were actually moving in HAP before we put the house on the market and we didn’t proceed forward to a sale until they approved the sale price. We had to take a HUGE loss every month and I had to get a job just to pay for the house during it’s vacacy and cover the $2000/month loss. Overall we spend 40 grand on the house waiting for HAP to move. But it’s better than loosing the $250K and our credit. I know that is not the case most of the time so my wonderful experience thus far is not the norm. but for those of you who don’t have an offer yet – it might be a good thing!

    I am keeping my fingers crossed. I hope it isn’t too good to be true!

  746. Karenon 02 Mar 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Wesley, under the “original” HAP rules (which did not apply to PCS moves, WW or spouses), yes the government out and out bought your home if you could not sell it in a reasonable amount of time. But things are different now. Too much money would be spent from the fund if HAP just went and bought your house. They don’t have the funds to manage homes nor do they want the inventory to get rid of.

    Jump to “now” in HAPland. Either you have to have already SOLD your house to somebody to benefit or you must have a buyer WAITING to purchase your house. Once you have that buyer, HAP purchases the house from you and then resales it to your waiting buyer. It is a convoluted mess I agree but that is the way the government has to do it in order to follow the law.

    If it works our correctly (and you can read when it has not gone smoothly for some of us here on the board) HAP buys your house and immediatly turns around and sells it the waiting buyer. This is when your realtor would get paid in this final purchase.

    Unless I am wrong you have to tell your rep how you are planning on having your sale done. On your original paperwork you filled out you should have had to pick a block as to whether it was a government acquisition (you have the buyer waiting to purchase your home) or you can go to the table with whatever funds you need and pay it yourself and then get reimbursed from HAP. You can also apply to HAP for reimbursment if you meet all of their qualifications and have already sold the home.

    I hope that this helps to clarify the issue somewhat. If not let me know and I will have Denise come on and give you a better answer. My point of view is from having been on this board for almost a year and having been through the process. Yes ours did get settled and we are no longer home owners. Much of what we went through (and the other “old” timers here) you will not have to as we have helped to iron out the wrinkles. I know that it is frustrating as one who went through it and now has more gray hairs than a year ago. Keep reading the post here and gain some relief knowing that others are out there, have done it and are doing it.

    I believe that this program is working just slower than we all wanted or expected. Let me know if I can help in any way. My thoughts and prayers are out to all of you still going through your own HAPless situation.

    Karen

  747. Texas Momon 02 Mar 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Renee,

    Thank you for your post….it’s wonderful to read things like this!

    Are you in an area where the max purchase price was $417k? I’m one of many just waiting to see when/if HAP announces new limits on PFMV.

    I’d be thrilled with a tax credit for my loss. Deductions are great, but not when your loss is as big as mine will be.

    Thank you!

    Lisa

  748. Wesleyon 02 Mar 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Karen,
    Thanks for the reply and always being a strong advocate and bringing your realty specialist angle friend to the fight, Denise has also been a HUGE help. I have been a long term reader here, was really happy to see you finally get a ticket out of Hapland. We had our package in the 2nd day Savannah started accepting so know a bit about the pain of the unknown at the start of this, but at the time we ended up with renters instead of a buyer so we submitted and put on hold until our renter’s lease was up and now have gone back into “got to get rid of the house” mode. I actually checked both boxes on the application because I didn’t know what category I would fall under, I guess for me my main concern is that I want to make sure that I will get the difference between 90% PFMV + improvements – sale price vs. just getting the mortgage paid off or 75%, we did put $70K down and that is what I am unclear about, what are the conditions where 90% applies vs. just mortgage payoff (or 75%) and what is the timing, do they send you a check for the benefit amount before you go to closing or at closing? Thanks for any additional information you can offer.

  749. Karenon 02 Mar 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Wesley I will contact Denise and have her answer your questions. I know it all depends on whether you can go to the table on your own or whether you need help with funds to close.

    In our case we bought our home for $197,000, sold for $178,000 and owed $189,000. HAP bought our home and paid off the mortage amount of $189,000 and then sold to our buyers for $178,000 plus paid for our closing cost and realtor’s fees. We were just at the 10% loss so it worked well for us.

    So let me end now and email Denise. She will be better equipped to answer you. Take care and may your soon get your own ticket out of HAPland.

    Karen

  750. Jonon 02 Mar 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Marie.. I am assigned to Ty Chamberlain. I am told I am gov’t acquisition at this point, still unable to determine how much $$ I will need to bring out of pocket to closing. Is there a formula anywhere I can determine this?

    Thanks.

  751. Josephon 03 Mar 2010 at 8:58 am

    Renee…………………Thanks for sharing your experience. It is great to hear that the program does work smoothly for some of us! It is uplifting for some of us who are going through the process.

  752. Marieon 03 Mar 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Jon-

    HAP pays “customary closing costs” though I’ve never seen a formula. Customary closing costs in LV ended up being most of the closing costs. HAP pays realtor fees at 4%, and I understand they pay a home warranty, transfer fees, etc. I am responsible for unpaid interest to the date of close and any early pay-off fees that exist. I believe what they pay varies by region, though overall it seems like most people end up with a liability of somewhere around $2000.00. For me I just wired around $2,200.00 (though the amount you owe will depend on the particulars of your loan).

    I was also assigned to Ty. I think the HAP workers get overwhelmed and my early experience with Ty was that I would call and be assigned to one category and a month later he would forget and think I sold my home and just needed to be reimbursed (frustrating!). I started calling frequently after this because I didn’t want to be forgotten and after awhile he remembered who I was. But I still had two closing dates pass with little info (my case was supposed to be passed on to Mike Anda for the last closing date and Ty was out of town… I didn’t hear from anyone despite calling and emailing and had no idea what to tell my already frustrated buyers when closing date came and went).

    If you have too many problems the person who actually helped me move this forward after my second passed closing date was Janice (no one else was in the office). She obligated the funds for me and I’ve been told this is the most important part so push for this. Though to be honest it’s taken over a month after the funds came in to get signed contracts from the government to finally close (Ty working my contracts). Now everything appears good and I just fedexed in signed contracts so I’m crossing my fingers and will let you know how it goes! I feel your frustration though… I know the workers there are overwhelmed but it go to the point where even I, a very patient person, got upset (plus my buyers were beginning to think HAP was some sham). Anyway call Ty a lot. If worse comes to worse maybe you can call Janice.

    If you’re close to the 10% mark you may be better off doing an augmentation (if things go like they did for me). I have to tell you that because of delays in the program I’ve ended up paying out about $16,000.00 in mortgage payments (my buyers wanted to pay cash and had a little time so they didn’t want to move in and rent). That might be something to consider if you’re close to that 10% mark anyway.

    Good luck and I will let you know how it goes. If everything works out I will still be glad for this program… I just hope it goes more smoothly for all who come next.

  753. Keithon 05 Mar 2010 at 9:44 am

    Here’s an update to my timeline – not sure how representative it is, but thought it might help paint a picture for others (I’m pursuing a HAP Augmentation via Savannah office, house is in northern VA):

    Apr 09: submitted application to HAP (not ready to sell yet – just wanted to get an app into the system)
    Jul 09: request from HAP for a few items to complete application
    Oct 09: notification from HAP that implementation procedures are in place (sent to me via e-mail)
    Dec 09: second request from HAP for an item still needed to complete application (one missing signature page)
    7 Feb 10: put house on market
    24 Feb 10: ratified contract sent to HAP (we received an offer much sooner than expected – HAP stated my application now went to “Appraisal”, no estimate on how long that will take)
    4 Mar 10: made it through Appraisal and received Eligibility letter; package now going to Benefits. E-mail from my original HAP POC says I should be contacted by a Benefits Realty Specialist in a few days..the letter states “will be contacted within 45 days.” I’ll keep you posted on my timeline if that helps others…

    Two lessons learned:
    - There was no “appriasial” feedback explicitly stating our offer was within 10% of current FMV (nothing in the eligibility letter states this explicitly so I confirmed with HAP office that getting the letter means we met the sales price criteria).
    - Eligibility Letter also stated my package was going to the “Acquisition” Section of the HAP branch for further processing of benefits. The title of the office confused me a bit as I am pursuing an Augmentation not a Govt Acquisition, but again my HAP point of contact confirmed Augmentations go to the Acquisition section too.

    Hope this helps…

  754. Denise Korpinenon 05 Mar 2010 at 11:41 am

    Going to Sacramento on Tuesday afternoon to meet HAP Sacramento processors on Wednesday! Really looking forward to having some faces to go with the names. Sorry about posting- the time is really flying by and I have been negotiating contracts for my HAP Sellers before I go. According to HAP Sacramento, the lead time for Acquisitions is getting longer- closer to 60-90 days. Augmentations need to allow at least 45 days.

    FINAL RULE- still at Pentagon to the best of my knowledge. They still have 41 more days to comply with Federal time limit to publish (90 days from close of public comments).

    Karen – I was counting on you to keep track of the Starbucks bet! You don’t remember?

    Emily- I am told if HAP had not paid the money to IRS, they could just delete the transaction and send you back the money. In most cases it appears the money was sent in on your behalf pretty quickly to IRS. Thus- you are now stuck having to deal with the IRS to get it back. You should be able to push for an adjusted 1099 from HAP if you can get in touch with someone. Next best bet is to have your tax person include a letter explaining why you are NOT counting that money as income and a copy of the Legislation making the funds tax free, circled underlined and highlighted. Like ly that means no electronic filing this time. You also have to be sure you are not liable for STATE taxes on the benfit. Some states do not auto comply with Federal and have not passed laws to make it tax free as yet (California).

    Wesley- Karen answered well- except that, in your case, the government should not have to “buy”/acquire the house (and then “sell” to your buyer). According to what you wrote, you are an Augmentation case. Government brings money needed to close table- because you have already put 10% of PFMV out in cash. If you close without HAP sending money…then you are Private Sale Reimbursement (but all money to close comes from you but you ask for your benefit back from HAP). The HELOC after purchase must have receipts in order to get any money for anything spent on house- it may push you back into the Acquisition category (less than 10% cash into house). There are a bunch of posts on this blog from late December you should review. The 75% does not apply- that was only if the government BOUGHT the house from you with no buyer- which, as Karen said, they are not doing for PCSers (only WW and SS) You are in the 90% benefit category if you PCSd and because you already put cash in/can’t trace all HELOC money directly back to house.

    John B.- You and I emailed offline. I think you, Caydra and your friends needing BRAC benefits need to communicate with your Congressmen about the situation you fall into. Original vs. Expanded HAP rules make it look like you should be ok if purchased by July 1, 2006- but go back and forth on dates making it confusing. AS you know, in Don Chapman’s reply he stated dates are a matter of “LAW” thus military system can’t change it, need Congress.

    Marie- I hope you are finally closed by the time you read this! The bulk of what you said and advised is very accurate. I am not sure where you are getting the information HAP pays 4% commission. Are you referencing “total” commission split between Sellers and Buyers Brokers. That is incorrect, UNLESS that is all that is usual and customary for your area. In San Diego 6% total commission is easily justifiable as usual and customary. That 6% would be split with 3% going to military beneficiaries’ list agent, and 3% going to the Buyer’s agent.

    Keith- Good info. However- do not wait 45 days to be contacted. If you are Augmenting, you should be able to be closed within 45 days, not just contacted about closing. There again, a difference between Savannah and Sacramento may be the whole closing by attorney issue. It appears to make a big difference when you are in an escrow state.

    VINNYNY- Although this is by County and for 2010, it looks like your VA house has more hope than the AZ house. You are one of those people who shoul make a choice between the two and submit an application so you are in the system for possible notification if/when things change.
    http://www.fha.com/lending_limits.cfm for state by state

  755. Jonon 05 Mar 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Marie,

    Thanks so much. May I ask when you PCSed?

    Janice and Cheryl, with who I communicated initially in the Sacramento office have always returned calls, been as forthcoming as possible. I appreciated them a great deal.

    On the other hand, I called my new specialist again yesterday & he again told me he would call me back (4th or 5th time he has said that within the last few weeks) and I still have not been called back..

    Trying to walk that line of being proactive and not a nuisance.. All I want to ask him is if the file is indeed in order & what he anticipates my timeline to be..

  756. Josephon 05 Mar 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Keith…………………sounds like we are on the same track. File went to benefits and has been assigned to an agent. Expect call within next few days. No new info on closing but was told earlier before it went to benefits that it should close before April 30.

    Is that what you’re hearing?

  757. Keithon 05 Mar 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Joseph -

    I had a desired mid-April closing date on my contract and my original HAP POC said I will probably not make that date but she didn’t offer an estimated date…just the standard line that it should take 60 days once it gets to Benefits (right now that would be early May based on 4 Mar transfer to Benefits).

    Since you’re a step or two ahead of me, what can I expect from the initial call from Benefits? Without transparency to the process it’s difficult to be prepared for the next step or two (and to keep realtors and buyers informed).

    Also, do you know if there an opportunity to add improvements at this stage (I finally found some receipts)?

  758. Oliviaon 06 Mar 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Does anyone know if there is a specific cut-off date for submitting HAP applications? I have come across a date of March 10, 2010 on a couple of blogs, but I can find anything official to substantiate where that date came from.

    Thanks.

  759. Oliviaon 06 Mar 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Ooopps…I meant I can’t find anything official…

  760. karenon 06 Mar 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Olivia, when they first published the rules for the expanded HAP the program was to included those PCS orders dated between February 1, 2006 and September 30, 2012 (subject to availability of funds). Then the rules were changed to what we now have which is Reassignment ordered between 1 February 2006 and 30 September 2010. Of course this all depends on whether they can get it funded and what the new rules will show when they are posted. I hope that this helps.

    Karen

  761. Denise Korpinenon 07 Mar 2010 at 12:05 am

    Olivia- I have not heard anything about a March 10th date That would be a little difficult as most people moving by Sep 30th still won’t have orders by that time. My advice is always to get an application in as soon as possible.

  762. Oliviaon 07 Mar 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Thanks, Karen and Denise!! Good point — with the PCS cut-off date being September 30, 2010, it makes sense that the application deadline couldn’t really be March 10, 2010.

  763. JJon 08 Mar 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Denise,

    Any word on if they are definitely going to raise the limit over 417,000 even if you aren’t in a high priced area?

  764. Denise Korpinenon 09 Mar 2010 at 12:02 am

    JJ- Rumor has it max PFMV will go to the FHA number of $729,750, if Pentagon and Office of Management and Budget approve. If you paid above that you will have to pay the difference. If you paid less in any area it appears you would be in the window. Again, that is the rumor.

    Getting on a plane to Sacramento in the morning! Headed to the HAP office on Wednesday….hoping I can better explain why HAP processing works the way it does upon my return.

  765. Josephon 09 Mar 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Keith:

    I’m pretty much on your time frame. When the file went to benefits I was told it would be a May 1 closing but I have not received anything official from benefits. That would have been the proverbial 60 days. I’m moving soon and waiting for the official contract from benefits.

  766. DJon 09 Mar 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Hi everyone, I’ve got a question concerning the last date of reassignment (30 Sept 2010) for the PCS benefit. Will the PCS benefit expire past this date, or will it still be renewed (subject to funding)? I ask because my career field involves long assignments (6+ years) and I will unfortunately be one of those that bought in 2005 and has watched my housing value plummet, only to PCS WELL AFTER Sept 2010. Thanks in advance.

  767. karenon 09 Mar 2010 at 9:40 pm

    DJ it all depends on what funds they are able to get to keep the program going. If they get an approval then the program will continue. The program was originally intended to go through 2012 but they did not anticipate how much it was going to cost them. I hope that they will find funds to help everyone out. Keep us posted DJ and best of luck to you.

    Joseph keep pushing them until you get an answer. Don’t let up on them because then the date will be past and you will have no resolution. Good luck to you.

    Karen

  768. Jessicaon 09 Mar 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Joseph and Keith-

    It sounds like I’m on pretty much the same time line as you as well. I’m in the Savannah district and my package was sent to Benefits on 3/5. I’m definitely interested to see how this progresses.

    I’m impressed that you guys were given estimated dates. This is what my contact person stated, “When a determination has been made on your reimbursement you will be notified. Until then, please be patient as we have many other applicants awaiting the same assistance.”

  769. karenon 10 Mar 2010 at 8:56 am

    It amazes me how each one has a different story even when working with the same people. There is no consistency to the program even within each district. And then how different each district is to the other!!!!

    karen

  770. Jessicaon 10 Mar 2010 at 11:26 am

    I am amazed! I just posted that comment last night and this morning I have an email from my newly assigned HAP person. They are trying to work with us to ensure we close on our April 15th contract closing date.

    Fingers crossed! :-)

  771. Marieon 10 Mar 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Finally closed!!! Well, I’m happy to report that I finally said goodbye to my house and despite everything and all the delays I am intensely grateful for this program.

    I especially want to thank Denise for all the information and support to everyone on this forum. I wish I had had you as my agent! If I ever get out that way and need to buy a house I’m going to come see you. Thanks so much.

    Best of luck to everyone with their HAP experience!

    Jon-

    I’m afraid to say the story you are telling sounds very familiar… I PCSd in July but I had my package in well before that and had already had my house on the market 120 days (in anticipation of the old requirement). I already had an offer before I PCSd and I believe that HAP was moving forward with the few applications that were complete (not so much at that time by PCS date).

    I also had a hard time getting information from my caseworker and my realtor and the escrow company just gave up after months of getting no return phone calls. All I can say is if you’re calling and checking in regularly and your case isn’t going forward at all it may be wise to talk to someone else… I hate to do things like that but again after months that was the only reason I think my case actually ended up going forward. Pin him down on a date and if that date passes like mine did (twice) get someone else to help you.

    Good luck!

  772. Keithon 10 Mar 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Jessica -

    Awesome news!!! Just curious, are you pursing an PCS-Augmentation or another category. It seems I’m a day behind you so I hope to receive an e-mail tomorrow (all things being equal – knock on wood).

    Did this first HAP Benefits e-mail request any information from you or provide any details (or was it just a heads up for a 15 Apr closing)?

  773. Jameson 11 Mar 2010 at 1:46 am

    Help from anyone…I submitted applications to HAP over a year ago. I’ve been waiting for the program to solidify while renting out my home. I just put the house on the market and am awaiting a buyer.

    My main question is Govt Acquisition vs. Private Sale Augmentation. Sacramento office tells me they can close Private sales within 30-45 days, and I can’t get an answer on how long it takes to close Govt Acquisitions…I’m told they still have some active with contracts from August 09.

    Does anyone have any insight/experience with this. Do I pay out of pocket to close via private sale or try and convince a buyer to hang on for the Govt Acquisition process.

    Any thoughts?

  774. BSTRICKon 11 Mar 2010 at 9:38 am

    Before we go thru this program all the way we just have a question for anyone who has closed already. We are currently stationed in our home state and being sent California. Are there any stipulations on how long before we can buy in our home state again? When my husband retires we want to come back to this State or if he can in the next 8 years find orders to come back?

  775. Reneeon 11 Mar 2010 at 10:26 am

    Texas Mom – We bought within the guidelines, I think the cap was $729,000 or something in our area. So we didn’t have a problem with our purchase price of $550,000.

    Title has been ordered. I have been contacted by the closing attorney handling the acquisition. There was some confusion on whether the buyer would get to pick their own title company but apparently not. The government is using this attorney/title office to acquire our property and then also to sell it directly to the buyer. They draw up a new contract for purchase from the government. We were told that there is nothing left to do for now, that we will hear in a few weeks what we need to come to the closing table with! I will keep you updated as things progress toward closing which is approx April 15th.

    Maybe Denise knows for sure, but I don’t believe there are any stipulations on when you can purchase another home. The purpose of the program is to help you sell a property that you are upside down on due to the military forcing you to move during high and low times of real estate values. Since they know you are moving, it would be logical that you would eventually buy again. They don’t have any control over what you are doing now, nor do I believe they want to.

  776. Reneeon 11 Mar 2010 at 10:37 am

    James,

    For government acquisition, once you get a contract approved, it takes approx 45-60 days to close, at least in the Savannah office. I am right on track for 60 days. Whenever someone submitted their HAP application is really not as important from what I understand. Files receive priority from when the service member received orders out. Right now they are working on files of people that moved last Jan, Feb, March. We moved last January. The most important thing is that you get a contract on your home and get it approved by the appraisal department. You should close within 60 days of that. Should close, doesn’t mean you will. Government acquisition has been smooth for us so far.

  777. Markon 11 Mar 2010 at 11:20 am

    Jessica –

    Your post makes me hopeful. I was transfered to the acquisitions dept on 11 March and am waiting to hear back. Our buyers want to close on the 23rd of April and I didn’t think it was going to happen, but you give me hope.

    Thanks to everyone for their posts. There is a lot of information here.

    -mark

  778. Denise Korpinenon 11 Mar 2010 at 11:34 am

    Wow- I have missed a lot while on this adventure. I have mentioned this before but the timing of your closing REALLY depends upon your tranfer date and how complete your file is. They try to factor in the close date you have requested when the offer comes in, but that is not the deciding factor of where you get placed in line. Augmentations require less paperwork, have more folks working them, and will go faster- closer to 45 days. Acquisitions from Sacramento are increasing to closer to 90 days. They are labor intensive and lots more paperwork.

    Sacramento applicants…email has been up and down for 3 days there. Unfortunately, if you sent something via email in the last few days it was likely lost. No backup system (yes, believe me, HAP processors are not happy about it either). I would say this after my visit- although we are all into technology and think of email as the best way to communicate…much of what is done here is done via PAPER. What you send via email documents wise has to be printed. No saving trees here. By observation, you will likely be better off faxing or mailing to Sacramento. Then what you send does not take additioinal processor time to print. If you mail you can highlight your name and information that you want to bring attention to. Send it with a return receipt if you want confirmation it arrived.

    I will try to answer some of the above questions tomorrow as I am travelling back today.

  779. Denise Korpinenon 11 Mar 2010 at 11:36 am

    Buying again- you just can’t turn around and rebuy in the same town immediately after receiving HAP benefit…as the point to the help is to be moving more than 50 miles. If you are talking after a tour or two elsewhere, it will not have effect.

  780. bstrickon 11 Mar 2010 at 11:46 am

    THANKS THAT HELPS AND ANSWERS OUR QUESTION ABOUT WHEN HE RETIRES AND IF WE EVER GET ORDERS HERE AGAIN AFTER THE YEARS HE HAS LEFT IN CALIFORNINA. WE JUST WEREN’T SURE IF WE COULD EVER MOVE BACK HERE.

  781. Jessicaon 11 Mar 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Keith-
    My package was sent to the Acquisition (and Benefits) section. That was how they phrased it, parentheses and all. So, I’m not sure where that differs from Augmentation.

    They requested realtor and attorney/title company info and a HUD-1 that showed my mortgage pay off. The person they assigned to me is great with communication and I have a rockin’ realtor who turns around things in 1-2 days. She already had the title company draft up a new HUD-1 and sent it to them.

    Hoping things go smoothly and we close on April 15th. We got out contract on Feb. 15th. So that would put us at 60 days. We did PCS in January, so I don’t know where that put us in the line.

    Good luck with yours! Keep us posted!

  782. Roberton 13 Mar 2010 at 6:48 am

    HELLO EVERYONE,

    Just found this blog and am at 10DEC09 reading it in its entirety. A couple of quick questions as I go through the application process.

    1. The website says the house has to be on the market for 120 days. What if I get a buyer quicker that is paying fair market value sooner than that.

    2. I read that 40 applications cost 5 million. Quick monkey math says 4500 applications will use up 555 million by the time I get my application in. Does anyone think I will see any benifit

    3. Skimming over the comments, there was something about a 10 March deadline.

    Any info would be appriciated and I will be sure to post everything I go through in this process as it appears it will be a wild ride.

    Thank You

  783. Keithon 13 Mar 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Here’s an update to my timeline – for full details on my situation see my post on 05 Mar 2010 at 9:44 am (I’m pursuing an Augmentation via Savannah district)

    24 Feb 10: ratified contract sent to HAP
    04 Mar 10: received Eligibility letter from Appraisal dept (offer witin 10% of CFMV), package went to Acqusition (Benefits) dept
    12 Mar 10: Received e-mail from Benefits requesting HUD-1 (seller’s side only), loan payoff amount, POA and other minor details related to closing. Realty specialist said 16 Apr closing was “doable”

    Anyone have recommendations on who they used as their POA when not able to go to closing (realtor, friend, etc.)?

    I’ll keep you posted on my progress…thanx to Mark, Jessica, Joseph and others for their tales as well.

  784. Angelaon 14 Mar 2010 at 2:27 pm

    WE SOLD OUR HOUSE! PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!!

  785. Denise Korpinenon 16 Mar 2010 at 5:35 am

    Working on a list of items needed to turn in for augmentations and acquisitions for you all…

    Karen- Got my package! Thank you soooo much. Love my “Realtor Angel”. My husband was very jealous over the coffee.

  786. Jeannette Haynieon 16 Mar 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Hello everyone,

    I was just directed onto these posts for the first time, and thank you all for the information! I’ve read through many of the posts but haven’t been able to read them all.

    I have a question:
    My husband and I are both Marines (he’s active duty, I’m a reservist). We PCS’d in June 2008 from the Camp Pendleton, CA, area, to New Orleans, where we’re renting.

    We’ve been going through the HAP process since last fall as well, trying to sell our CA home (purchased in June 2004). We received a number of different, sometimes contradicting, pieces of information from the Sacramento office about how the HAP worked, what was covered, etc., but were happy to be doing SOMETHING.

    We were also told that due to the flood of applications and our PCS date of Jun 2008, it would be a year till the HAP could give us an up-or-down approval, so to go get a realtor, get an offer, and fax it to the Sacramento office and they would talk to us then.

    So that’s what we did. We’re now 3 weeks from closing, and the HAP agent eventually assigned to us said that the HAP will not cover all of the closing costs.

    Specifically, our realtor had sent us an offer from buyers offering to bring an additional $5000 to the purchase price if we’d pay $5000 of their closing costs. He said this was a standard San Diego-area breakdown in offers for home sales, so we agreed to it. The HAP won’t pay that, since they say it’s “nonstandard”. However, they wouldn’t give us any information ahead of time, before we got an offer, and most families we’ve talked to in the Pendleton area say it is pretty standard.

    Does anyone know about this stuff?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy to be getting out of this place (it’s a $185,000 loss, and we’re losing a ton each month on what the renters don’t cover, like everyone else on here). But having pretty much no money left, I hope there is a way to appeal this closing cost decision to the HAP. If we’d had that information ahead of time, we would have been able to say no (but possibly lose the offer as a result).

    Anyone? We really don’t have the money for the closing costs, and were operating under good faith that our realtor and the HAP phone operators were doing their best.

  787. Jeannette Haynieon 16 Mar 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Sorry, I didn’t mean for that first post to be so wordy!

  788. JPon 17 Mar 2010 at 8:07 am

    Jeannette – we didn’t accept any offers where the buyer was asking for closing money – we didn’t want to risk HAP not covering as they will cover normal sellers closing costs, not the buyers. Paying towards the sellers closing costs would have had to come out of our own pockets. You should also have a claus in your contract that the sale is pending HAP approval.

  789. Keithon 17 Mar 2010 at 8:17 am

    Jeannette -

    I don’t have an easy answer for you, but I had a similar situation with the offer on my house (they initally asked for $5K at closing as well, but I countered for them to lower the price and remove the request for $5K.) The Savannah office had sent me a short two-pager which explicitly stated:
    “HAP only pays seller’s closing costs. If you agree to pay for buyer’s closing costs it will come out of your pocket.” Not sure how Sacramento office operates, but this two-pager was the only guidance we received beyond info already on the web site.

    One suggestion: Did you have a contigency on the contract for it to be “Subject to HAP approval”? If so, you may be able to go back to the buyers and reduce the offered price by $5K since HAP didn’t approve the closing costs (HAP would likely have to re-evaluate your offer to ensure the reduced price is still within 10% of current Fair Marker Value – may cause time delays).

  790. karenon 17 Mar 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Not sure if this is specific to each district or not but we agreed to pay up to $5000 towards closing cost and it was paid. I will have Denise look at this posting as she is a Realtor in San Diego and she helped us with the whole process (we are not in San Diego but in Montgomery AL and dealt with Savanah district). Good luck and keep posting!!!!

    Karen

  791. JPon 17 Mar 2010 at 1:06 pm

    wow karen – I’m really surprised they paid money towarsd the buyers closing costs

  792. Jeannette Haynieon 17 Mar 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks for the help so far. The buyers have a VA loan, which stipulates that some of the normal buyer closing costs aren’t allowed by the VA (their half of escrow fees, notary fees, etc).
    That counts for $1800 of the $5000.

    I did try (many times over) to get HAP guidance prior to getting the offer signed and none of the guidance stipulated anything like this. We did get about 10 different contradictory statements from the Sacramento office throughout, dealing with different aspects.

    Our realtor is trying to fight the $5000 with the HAP now, since he believes he can show that what we agreed on with the buyers is standard in the San Diego area (specifically, Carlsbad and Oceanside).

    I would love to hear Denise’s thoughts on this!

  793. karenon 17 Mar 2010 at 4:34 pm

    That is why I am asking Denise to look over what I said. I know that we paid $5000 towards closing cost but whose they were I don’t know. Denise can answer better to that one. Knowing me, I am wrong!!!!! All I know is that on the contract it said that we would pay up to $5000 towards closing cost.

    Karen

  794. karenon 17 Mar 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Jeannette I left a message for Denise to come on the board and address your questions.

    Karen

  795. Richon 18 Mar 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Does anyone know when the 32 CFR Interim Rule is going to be updated or voted on to reflect a 10% personal loss, instead of 10% county housing decline?

  796. Jesse Lon 18 Mar 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Mid Jan I accepted $4.5k over asking price and 6k towards closing costs after consulting with my sacramento hap agent, who had no issue with it. Supposed to close next week but appriasal came in 4k low, ironic ? Had to redo contract for less and pushed closing out another month due to hap having to resubmit. So if you have chance don’t accept to pay closing costs to avoid this mess. Also if have receipts for improvements also get copies of credit card or bank account charges. It can take weeks for companies to send them/difficult if you had multiple cards/accounts. I was not able to get all mine due to it being 5+ years ago. Once you close does it take awhile to get balance due or is it immediate?

  797. Roryon 18 Mar 2010 at 11:31 pm

    A question on improvements: Does anyone know the rules on what counts? Let’s say you have a receipt for $500 in tiles that you used to upgrade from a carpet floor to a tile floor – that should count because it is not a “repair”. It is certainly an “improvement.” That seems clear. Now – what if on that receipt you also had $30 in sales tax, for a total of $530? I’m computing all improvements as being MATERIALS ONLY, but if sales tax counted as well, that would start to add up. Has anyone successfully closed and been reimbursed for improvements who can answer that question?

  798. Shaneon 19 Mar 2010 at 12:10 am

    Rory,

    They are funny with improvements. I add a ceiling fan and they count it as an improvement. I add almost $1K in nice wood blinds throughout the house, they say no. Mind you, these blinds were not replacing another set. The windows in the house had zero blinds. Didn’t matter. Same applies to appliances. Fridge, yes. Washer/dryer, no. Guess you’ll just have to submit your improvements and see what they say. BTW, yes… taxes are reimbursed.

  799. Denise Korpinenon 19 Mar 2010 at 1:36 am

    Jeannette- I am pretty sure I could guess your processor…but let’s leave names out of it. They are all good people just doing their best and learning a lot as they go. Some are newer to the processing and several people stated they are saying HAP won’t cover any Buyer closing costs/credits. Thus, I spoke to Janice several weeks ago- in particular about HAP covering the “non-allowable costs” for VA Buyers on HAP homes. Janice stated that if the Buyer is VA- HAP would be required to cover those costs on the Seller’s behalf. Sounds like it is time for me to call again and see where/why the wires are crossing.

    FYI- There is also some debate when it comes to VA and FHA buyers on HAP homes due to termite clearances being required. HAP contract says HAP pays “no more than $400 for inspection” (which is usually about $100) – no repairs. Yet wood repairs and fumigations to get clearance often cost well over $400. So that one has been a battle as well.

    Know that things do change all the time, but it is still “usual and customary” for a Seller to pay up to 3% Buyer closing costs in almost any area of the country. HAP has a rule they will pay NO MORE than 3% closing costs IF negotiated in good faith by beneficiary. I don’t have chapter and verse for it. The wording is “closing costs credit”, and has to be very generic. It is an undeniable fact documented by HUD1’s in my possession…I have closed San Diego properties with some buyer closing costs being paid by HAP via a “closing costs credit” with no problems out of Sacramento.

  800. Jeannette Haynieon 19 Mar 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Denise,

    Thanks for the info! What do you think we should do? Our processor (can I say her name?) insists that she is NOT allowed to pay any of those costs and that we’ll have to appeal it after closing (which is Apr 6).

    We’ve tried several calls to her to get it fixed, and our realtor has called as well, to no avail. The costs were $5000 (actually $4996), and $1800 of that was mandated by the VA.

    The remainder was, according to our realtor, a standard offer for the area. He can back it up with his work as well.

    Any recommendations on who I should call?

    Thank you all–Jeannette

  801. Joseon 19 Mar 2010 at 6:54 pm

    I’m expecting to receive my HAP payment in the next couple of days under the military PCS category. I’ve been reluctant to ask too many questions as my application went through the process for fear of delaying it or drawing attention to any new rule that may end up making me ineligible…. so, I have no idea whether the payment is going to be tax-free for federal and state taxes. I perused the net for a while trying to get the specific answer and I should see it with the letter in the next couple of days when the payment arrives (fingers crossed that it actually shows up!).

    Can anyone tell me if a payment that I am expecting to receive this month, March 2010 would be tax-free?

    This payment will be a real blessing for us. I decided to go ahead and do a clean sale on my FL home late last year, fronting another approx $40K in addition to the $60K that I put down on it originally. Looks like I will be getting about 90% back. I considered putting in a claim for a few improvements back when I submitted the package in November but considered anything extra to be a potential delay in the overall package processing.

  802. Roryon 19 Mar 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Thanks for the info, Shane. I talked to Ty today at Sacramento. We didn’t go through specifics (I also installed the blinds you describe over bare windows) but I was happy with how he validated existing info that I “think I know” about programs – he did quick math and validated that I’d qualify for Private Sale Augmentation vice Govt Acquisition, for example. When he realized that, he said “Boy, that will make this all go faster!” That validates some of the other comments on this blog that others made who were going through the painful process of discovering all this a month or two ago. We all benefit from their knowledge now. I have been very happy with the HAP personnel. I certainly agree with Denise that they are eager to help, but they DO have to comply with existing rules and paperwork requirements — many of us have been through IG inspections I’m sure, where your whole office is judged by whether you kept the right records or not. Those are some of the limitations they must work under.

  803. Denise Korpinenon 20 Mar 2010 at 2:41 am

    Jeanette- Did reclarify today that yes, HAP will cover the REQUIRED costs for the VA Buyer to close. In any case, your Realtor should get from the Buyer’s Agent/Lender a specific list of what is required to be paid by Seller for this buyer to be submitted to HAP with your estimated HUD1.

    That said- terminology is very important in the contracts submitted. I must correct myself- my contracts have NOT said “closing costs credits”. I usually say “Seller to credit Buyer up to 3% of purchase price”. Or, “Seller to credit Buyer $3,000″. I only allow clients to give credits in contracts if we really have to, just to avoid the question all together. I have stayed away from saying what exactly credit is for when it comes to HAP. Using the word “credit” is typically covered, using the word “pay (something specific)” is where the issues come in. I would ask your processor to speak to Janice about covering the required VA costs at a minimum now. If Janice has already ordered checks, there is possibly a buffer that can cover at least the VA requireds. I would NOT recommend delaying your closing over the additional funds if you can bring them to the table and appeal after. No guarantees you will get it back, but it will be worth the end to the emotional roller coaster when you couple it with however many days delay you will have to pay a mortgage (Certain we will get a couple seconds to this notion- Marie and Karen?). Hope that helps.

  804. Jeannette Haynieon 20 Mar 2010 at 8:32 am

    Denise,

    Thanks. I’ll talk to our processor (Katherine Burnett) about talking to Janice. We definitely don’t want to delay the closing–but don’t have the extra $5000 to cover what we thought the HAP covered all along.

    We called our processor and her supervisor yesterday afternoon with the information you had given us, and the two still insisted the HAP couldn’t cover the VA-mandated costs and up to 3% of the purchase price as a “usual and customary” part of the offer.

    I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks again…
    Jeannette

  805. Denise Korpinenon 21 Mar 2010 at 5:07 am

    Jeanette- based on the wording above you agree to pay VA mandatories AND up to 3% additional? If so, that would be over the top.

  806. Texas Momon 21 Mar 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Got the expected letter of denial due to PFMV, but I got another surprise….a second reason for denial due to my husband “voluntarily retiring prior to reaching his mandatory retirement date.”

    This one surprised me more I guess because I didn’t understand “mandatory retirement” vs. early retirement vs. regular retirement. This was not an early retirement….but he wasn’t forced to retire and I guess that’s who the benefit is for when they say that retired folks qualify.

    My husband served over 20 years and then when he was told the squadron was moving (BRAC affected) he had a choice to stay in, move with the squadron and continue on, or retire. We didn’t want to move where the new squadron was moving so he retired and got a civilian job at another base.

    I obviously didn’t understand that getting out when he was “eligible” after serving his 20 years meant it was considered “voluntary” and we’d only qualify for this benefit had he been made to retire.

    I knew I was already out of luck due to the PFMV, and it just so happens that last week I accepted an offer on my home for $250k less than I paid four years ago….and after closing costs I’ll be out more than that. Boy am I just happy to be putting this terrible ordeal behind us and hopeful we can make some of it up on our next purchase.

    Hindsight is 20/20 and if we knew then that there was a chance they would have raised the PFMV, it would have been well worth it for us to take the new assignment — to the tune of about $285k.

  807. Jeannette Haynieon 21 Mar 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Denise,

    No, the total of the costs that we agreed to pay was $5000. The VA mandatories are part of that $5000 (somewhere around $1800-$2000 is what our realtor estimates).

    Since the selling price is $295,000, the $5000 is well under 3% of that.

    Our agent pushed us over to her supervisor Friday, Mike Anda. My husband was able to talk to him for about 30 seconds before his call got dropped (cell phone). When he tried back, Mr. Anda had left for the day.

    Any ideas who we should ask for at that office? Is there a main office in DC that I should try calling?

    The conflict between what I’m seeing here, and what I’ve been told by other HAP personnel, and what our HAP agent is telling us is pretty upsetting, especially when it concerns money we don’t have.

    Thanks–Jeannette

  808. Beckyon 22 Mar 2010 at 3:10 pm

    I am not a seller but a buyer that is buying from someone (or trying to at least!!) that is supposedly approved to pay off a 3rd lien he had on the house using this HAP program. When we submitted the offer we knew nothing about this or that he even had a 3rd lien (it did not come to light until the title search was done) abd believed it was strictly a short sale for the 1st and 2nd mortgage he had on the house. Everything went quickly with that and our offer was accepted and we were set to close on 3/16. We then got the call the last week of Feb. telling s about this 3rd lien and that basically everything was in a holding pattern. We have now been in limbo since 2/25 with my realtor telling us that neither her nor the listing agent have ever dealt with this program before and have no clue what to expect. My questions is once your file has been assigned and approved how long does it typically take to get to the closing table?? From my understanding they requested and received last week the HUD-1 Settlement Form from the seller. We are so lost and trying to be as patient as we can. Thanks for any insight you can provide.

  809. Jessicaon 23 Mar 2010 at 11:34 am

    More good news!

    Our check is at HAP and is just waiting on closing. We’re trying to move up our closing to April 7th!

    I hope that closing goes as smoothly as the rest of this process has!

    Fingers crossed!

  810. Denise Korpinenon 23 Mar 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Congrats Jessica!

    VA Buyer issues- Clarified that at least all processors in Sacramento are aware VA mandatory fees will be paid by HAP. To avoid some of the HAP VA costs issues the estimated HUD1 from escrow needs to have a line that states similar to “Buyer loan is VA- Seller to cover mandatory fees of $___”. If Escrow has to line item each cost to work for buyer’s lender, then they should note “VA Seller mandatory” for each line item. If you are giving additional money, there should be a HUD1 line that indicates, “Seller credit to Buyer $____”. You may need a contract addendum to get it through depending what the wording was in your original contract. It’s an odd way to think about it but…the best way I can describe situation…it is ok to “credit” Buyer “cash” for HAP. But when you “credit” a Buyer and mandate what specifically in the contract (closing costs, repairs, etc) you have an issue. Jeannette part of your problem is likely the way it is lumped together. Tried to call Mike but didn’t get an answer in 3 tries. I don’t leave messages. Hope that helps and he clears it up for you.

  811. Jeannette Haynieon 23 Mar 2010 at 3:48 pm

    We just got some resolution on our closing cost issue.

    Our realtor drew up a list of the VA non-allowables that we were covering, and the fact that they were part of what was a “usual and customary” agreement for the area, complete with some past history in the area.

    I talked to Mr. Don Chapman at the National HAP office, and emailed him this information as well.

    Just heard back from both Mr. Chapman and from Janice in Sacramento–everything will be covered for us by the HAP, since it was entered into in good faith, and it’s a normal agreement these days.

    Denise, thank you so much for your help, and everyone else as well. The experience in this blog is wonderful.

    Jeannette

  812. Shannonon 23 Mar 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Got good news today! Fed will deliver our check tomorrow! So thankful this process is coming to an end finally.

  813. Shannonon 23 Mar 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Meant Fed Ex above…

  814. Gabeon 24 Mar 2010 at 10:44 am

    Jeanette,

    Congrats on your recent victory with regard to HAP paying for the Sellers Credit. Respectfully request you send me your phone number to this email: elexxonlibre@gmail.com

    I would like to ask some questions so that I may build my case.

    Thanks,
    Gabe

  815. Samanthaon 24 Mar 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Since people appear to be getting more answers on here than from their HAP Representative I guess I will post my situation and see what response I can get. Here is a guideline of events:

    07/09 – Submitted preliminary application and assigned HAP#2199 – Did not have a buyer yet

    9/09 – Followed up on letter received for missing information but did not have a buyer yet

    02/10 – Had 2 potential buyers started trying to contact Savanah Office to get in touch with my case person to review our options. Could not get anyone to call me back

    3/10/10 – Despite numerous unreturned calls to HAP went ahead with signing a contract with a closing date of 4/19/10.

    3/11/10 – Finally got someone on the phone at the Savanah HAP and she provided me the email address of the person handling my case. Emailed the contract to said person. She responded within an hour that she would review my file and get back to me later that day

    3/19/10 – Over a week later after emailing her several times regarding the next step and if anything was missing from my file she finally emailed me back to ask for Home Improvement Receipts as well as Mortgatge Information Verificaion Form. I quickly filled out the form and scanned my receipts and had them back to her within an hour. No confirmation from her or response.

    3/23/10 – Have emailed her twice to follow up with a confirmation and the next steps and can not get a response.

    At this point I’m not sure where I stand. We would really like to do the Gov’t Acquisition as we bought our house for $155000 and our current payoff is $150000 and we had to sell the house for $135000 at the current FMV for our area. But I’m not sure since I can’t get anyone to talk to us about the programs if we even have enough time to do this with a close date of 4/19. Can anyone please help.

  816. Reneeon 24 Mar 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Samantha – start calling them. Two or three times a day until they call you back. Always put your last name and HAP number in the title of your emails, too. Send more of those. Just be a squeaky wheel until you hear from them. Even if they call you back tomorrow, however, they will have to approve the contract and send to appraisal and then Benefits. After that it will take approx 60 days to close, give or take. I worked with the Savannah office and it will take 57 days to close and mine has gone smoothly. But I really bugged the people when I didn’t hear from them. And I kept telling them how much I appreciated their work. You will not be able to close by the 19th, I am pretty sure. I would just warn your buyers that you are in the process and that they should expect a 60-90 day window. Since they are asking you for Mortgage Verification and other documents that is a good sign and things move quickly once they get to your file. Savannah has been great to us but you have to keep pestering them. Once mine got to Benefits then that person was very communicative and is really helping us through the closing process. Just hang in there and tell your buyers to hang. Good luck!

  817. Samanthaon 24 Mar 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Renee – Thank you so much. I will definitely take your advice. Since orignially we didn’t think we would have to go as low as we did to be able to utilize the HAP program we have some funds saved up and a loan already taken out to be able to actually go through with closing and use the Reimbursement Program but we were really hoping to use the Acquisition Program that way we could go ahead and repay the loan. But given your informatoin which is way more than I have gotten from the Savannah office I’m guessing that’s not going to be possible. Our contract was not signed with a HAP clause and at this point I am already 6 months pregnant and can not stay seperated from my husband who already PCS’d in January for much longer than the current close date.

  818. Denise Korpinenon 25 Mar 2010 at 2:20 am

    Texas Mom- I am so bummed for you to be caught in the middle of such a snafu!

    Samantha- Renee is correct. Most likely you can’t make that close date, particularly under Acquisition. All Districts like 60-90 days to close an Acquisition. Here’s what you have to keep in mind…if you bring money to the table to close without HAP you transition from Acquisition to Private sale. You move from 100% of your mortgage value plus closing costs as the benefit to a required 10% of PFMV contribution. According to your post $155,000(.10)= $15,500. You already have $5,000 in mortgage payoff from PFMV. In this case, the way I understand it, you will not see back a portion of the money you contribute to close ($10,500). If you have the money saved, you and your hubby have to be the judge of if the value emotionally in this vs. the $ out of pocket over a 60 day or so wait, providing it all goes smoothly with HAP.

  819. Denise Korpinenon 25 Mar 2010 at 2:42 am

    Jeannette- Caught up with Mike Anda yesterday…and he told me it was worked out. Glad of that for you! It is always interesting to talk to someone else when things come up. Mike said the issue is that HAP is currently NOT agreeing to cover “costs” with Augmentation. That is any “costs”, including VA mandatory fees. To get them covered you have to do just what you did, fight it from all angles. They only cover “costs” (as I have previously worded it) without a fuss in PCS Acquisition (or Wounded Warrior and Surviving Spouse). It is strange how they are not required to make this more uniform for both types of benefit.

    As mentioned before, HAP reps are all good people doing their best within the guidelines. Just closed a PCS Augmentation from 2007 with Kathy and it was all smooth on the HAP end. Because HAP doesn’t provide a detail of what they are paying for closing costs, and the client was over 10% contribution (so he got a few dollars back), lastly it closed a few days late due to Buyer’s lender which adjusted the HUD1 at the last minute- it was unclear HAP did not cover the small credit in his case. I don’t think we could have sold the property without the credit! He could probably appeal, not sure if he will. His family was so happy to be done and out from under the house with money in hand they didn’t expect…closing was a glorious moment! The really sticky point here is that processors want to help beneficiaries get their properties closed, yet one little contractual verbiage issue can cause massive challenges to a transaction. It is correct that if you can avoid agreeing to pay any costs you will save yourself arguments (obviously). However, there is no way I am aware of as a Seller to avoid paying mandatory fees for VA and FHA buyers. The government looks pretty ridiculous ruling out their own VA beneficiaries from purchasing HAP properties. Yet, they have snafus in place like this. They will not pay any repairs (often required by VA) or any wood destroying pest treatments (even though clearance is a requirement for VA loans). Until now, the buyers on my listings had all been conventional loans. Typically the houses were newer requiring very little repairs. However, I have two that just received offers that were VA/FHA, and one has some termite damage…also have an associate I did a HAP referral to where they could only find a VA buyer. We’ll see how these go.

    Also, contracts should include wording stating your closing is contingent upon the HAP benefits. If HAP will not cover the additional closing costs and you do not have the funds, then your realtor should talk to Buyers Realtor and try to renegotiate.

  820. Lauraon 25 Mar 2010 at 8:53 am

    We are one of the many families that currently do not qualify for HAP because we purchased our home for over the PFMV for our county. We happen to live in a county with several lower price towns and one (our) higher price town with a great school district. The average price for a home in the county, then, is significantly lower than the average for our town. We will appeal, if necessary, but are first waiting to see if the final rules lift the cap. All rumors I have heard (on this site, from our HAP rep, and from a DC contact) suggest that the final rules will lift the PFMV cap as a criteria for eligibility. Until the final rules are published, however, we cannot enter into a contract to sell our home. Our loss would be so staggering that it would make more sense to try to rent it for several years (even at a monthly loss) and hope the market turns around. We put a huge downpayment down on our home so we are not upside down on our mortgage but would now just break even (at a loss of over $200,000).

    The comment period on the interim rules ended January 15th and the OMB had 3 months to post final rules suggesting we should hear about the final rules in the next few weeks. Does anyone know if that April 15th deadline is a federally mandated one that OMB must meet? I have been holding out for that date for a few months now and hope that they don’t have the option to postpone it at will. I appreciate anyone with insider information on how that process works.

  821. Samanthaon 25 Mar 2010 at 8:53 am

    Thank you Denise…. Originally we did have a 60+ day window but as I could not get anyone on the phone and the house had been on the market since July of last year we did determine the piece of mind of being out from under this house and no longer having a multiple state seperation to far outway the monetary side of things. Granted we would really have liked to have had the full cost covered and not have a loan but at the price we were originally hoping to sell for was right above the 10% loss to allow us to use the HAP program so it is money at this point we considered to be gone anyways. And at this point even with the private sale option something is better than nothing. I prepare taxes and I see people who have lost way more than we have so I am thankful this program is here and can help in someway. I just really wish there could be more communication available as everytime I call Savannah or my rep directly all i get is voicemail. And despite emailing almost everyday it takes over a week just to get a response.

  822. Marloon 25 Mar 2010 at 9:09 am

    Hello All. I have not posted in some time, but here is an update.

    PCS’d in 07/2008, Hap application in 4/2009, put house on market and had buyer in 1 week in 08/2009. We have been waiting with HAP to process since Aug! The buyer has been very patient, and we are finally getting ready to close March 30th.

    We have been working with Sacramento district and are processing through govt. acquisition. Many great HAP reps have helped us through the process including Ryan, Janet, and Kathy. There were times we were lost in the shuffle, so I learned to contact them repeatedly. At first I felt like a nag, but in the end it is money out of our pockets. It was definitely worth the effort and put our file back onto their “to do list.”

    We have signed the government contracts and will notarize the deeds, etc. today.

    Hap covered our 2 “closing cost credits” offered to buyer….one at time of initial contract and one given in a later addendum to keep the buyer. Normal closing costs plus the credits were well under the 3% cap (excluding realtor fees.) We are selling our house in Phoenix at a $110K loss (plus closing costs,) so every little bit helps. We were very willing to pay the promised credits if needed to close the sale, but it ended up HAP covered all.

    I will keep you posted the next few days as closing approaches. I think by now many of the kinks are worked out. I hope it all goes smoothly. We are so anxious to have this be over!

  823. Denise Korpinenon 25 Mar 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I have asked at OSD a few times what the consequences are if the final rules are not published within 90 days. Deanna just keeps saying she hopes/thinks they will make it in time. I have read all that I can find about rule making and the Federal Register. I can’t find anything about whose hand gets slapped or how hard…smile. Hoping as Deanna is- that we don’t have to find out and it gets done here pretty quickly.

  824. Lauraon 25 Mar 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts Denise – I also have read all I can about the process on the Federal Register and couldn’t find anything about “punishment” for failure to abide by the 90 day timeline. I was hoping you might know something else. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed.

  825. JPon 25 Mar 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Karen – did you get any $ back after you sent in your money for closing? They cushion a few days interest into the closing payment. My rep said the mortgage company would return any overages but the mortgage company says there isn’t any. How could there not be when HAP cushions in 3 days of interest?

  826. Jeannette Haynieon 25 Mar 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Denise,

    Thanks again for the help. I was pretty upfront with the HAP office about the situation…that we were enormously relieved that this program exists, and monumentally happy that we qualified.

    At the same time, having lost more or less everything in the housing market collapse, we didn’t have an extra $5000 to throw in due to some administrative gray area or fuzzy guidelines.

    I am very glad it worked out, and am warning everyone I know involved in a HAP sale to be careful of the wording when selling to a VA buyer.

    Good luck to everyone.

  827. karenon 25 Mar 2010 at 6:33 pm

    JP, nice to see you again. No we did not get any money back. We paid our monthly bill and then paid an additional month as you always have to pay one month in arrears. So I technically did not have any extra days built in I am assuming. We did receive our escrow account amount back though and a refund from the insurance company as that is payed ahead of time.

    How are you doing? Is it a done deal with you? I am so thankful that it is all behind us. We take off in two months for the UAE and I am just glad that we don’t have to worry about this anymore. Eighteen months was long enough!!!!

    Karen

  828. Jenniferon 26 Mar 2010 at 6:41 pm

    After reading all of this, I am starting to wonder if I am being too hopeful……
    We are in the process of purchasing a HAP home. We signed a contract in early February and seller says we are on track to close mid May. Does this sound too good to be true?

  829. Roryon 28 Mar 2010 at 1:58 am

    Jennifer – It is very hard to estimate unless you know some details about the seller’s finances. Hopefully he/she is doing a Private Sale Augmentation, which goes faster than a Government Acquisition. You could ask the seller whether he has received his “offer letter” from HAP, which states what HAP is offering to pay for in the deal. If he/she has received the offer letter, THAT is the point where they informed HAP of the date they desired to close, at which point HAP would let them know if that was a good closing date, based on the work still left to be done. If you indicate that you want to hang in there, and that you remain interested in buying the property, I think most HAP sellers would want to tell you exactly what they’re facing, so that they can keep you on board. He/she might be right on track for a mid-May closing!

  830. Denise Korpinenon 29 Mar 2010 at 10:00 am

    HAP has finally posted some decent application directions on their website! I know many of you are already past this point, but it will be much easier to refer your friends to the site now for application directions now.

    Jennifer- As Rory has said, Acquisition takes longer than Augmentation. The seller’s transfer date is also playing a bigger part. If they transferred a while ago and are/were renting out the house- they will usually closed faster than someone who just transferred. In any case the timeframe to close you have been given is reasonable. Just keep in mind that HAP tends to do a lot of paperwork in the very last minute. As long as the seller is in contact with HAP benefits and they confirm regularly paperwork is moving along…you will likely close +/-4 days of the date given.

  831. navygalon 29 Mar 2010 at 10:32 am

    Has anyone used Private Sale Benefits vs. Private Sale Augmentation? Which is the better route to take?

  832. Denise Korpinenon 31 Mar 2010 at 1:31 am

    NavyGal- Private sale Benefits/Reimbursement was basically the only way to close a sale between Expanded HAP introduction February 2009 and late November 2009. Many people who closed during that timeframe found the benefits were not what they thought when they finally got reimbursed.

    Private Sale Augmentation currently takes about 45 days to close with the government bringing their part to the close table. You know for sure what HAP is paying just before you close and can make adjustments or appeal. In either case you have to submit virtually the same paperwork. I respectfully suggest that it would be better at this stage in program to augment with HAP’s blessing/commitment on the funds at the closing table.

  833. Denise Korpinenon 02 Apr 2010 at 1:03 am

    Marlo- did you get closed?

  834. Roryon 02 Apr 2010 at 11:48 am

    Guys,

    Some NEW news out of Sacramento, but it may not be all good. I just spoke to “Shelley” who is very helpful and friendly…she is one of the new hires in the last two weeks. Here’s what she told me – does anyone else confirm this is what they’re hearing? (I ask because I’m trying to make sure I’m not getting well meaning but incorrect info) Shelley says that 9 new processors have been hired in the last 2 weeks, and have received basic training. At this point, the processors are going through packages where the PCS date is in 2008. When your package is assigned a processor, that person will call you. At that time, you’ll learn if you’re missing anything else they think you need, etc… This is a concern because I felt that Ty Chamberlain had been my processor, but Shelley says that Ty is the boss of the processors, so he would not normally be working a PCS case (exception might be for WW or surviving spouses). At any rate, if today a package arrives that a 2006 or 2007 PCS date, they move to the head of the line. Barring that, they continue to cycle through 2008 PCS dates. Shelley said that if you are a 2009 PCS date (for example) and you HAVE a pending contract…it will not matter. They will get to 2009 when they are done with 2008. Using the info I have from previous blog posts above, I made sure she understood that I have an active offer and that I’m an AUGMENTATION case (speedier processing) but she said that doesn’t matter and that I’m going to get called as soon as they get to my date. I want to go out of my way to say that Shelley is very hard working and professional, but some of her information is alarming because it’s different somewhat than what we’ve all posted above as our experiences. Thoughts, anyone?

  835. Denise Korpinenon 02 Apr 2010 at 12:39 pm

    All- Yes, what Rory has conveyed from Shelley at Sacramento is accurate. I will tell you that I think it is ALL GOOD, as I have watched it develop over the three weeks since my visit to Sacramento. I was there the week before the new processors started. They have essentially been helping “clean house” and completely reorganize HAP Sacramento since their arrival. It was needful and will work out well for us all. Last week they were in 2007’s. So if Shelley said they are in 2008’s this week…they are actually going pretty fast. I will add more later, but I am headed out now to an appointment.

  836. Reneeon 02 Apr 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Just an update on our case. We are progressing smoothly! Signed acquisition papers and sent off our check for closing. Buyers have signed and now we are all waiting on the closing date of April 12th. However, a little hiccup that is NOT related to HAP but can affect all closings in areas where homes need flood insurance for the mortgage: the National Flood Insurance Program bill is on hold until congress resumes in a few weeks (the 12th) and until then, from what I am understanding, NO NEW flood policies can be issued anywhere in the US. Which means no closings for those who need mortgages and also need flood insurance. No big deal in most locations but in our house it’s an issue. So we can’t close until Congress reconvenes and signs the bill. Just waiting. Until then, HAP is ready and has processed our file exactly in the timeline they promised.

  837. Roryon 04 Apr 2010 at 10:26 am

    OK, thanks Denise. So just to start the conversation thread for Monday (because I’m sure I’m the only one who will post on Easter Sunday — forgive me!) this is the most alarming point I learned this past week. Please let me know if you think this is correct: Shelley said that “having an active offer with a scheduled close date does NOT place your package in a higher priority, or ‘front of the line’ status.” When I pressed her on this, she said (paraphrasing here) that there are so many offers coming in on houses right now, that it’s as if ALL of the 2,100 applications that Sacramento has might as well have offers. Since there are so many, we are just plowing through packages by PCS date — as packages. NOT sorting through them as “who has offers.” They are cycling through every package they have, administratively, and assigning them to processors. You can see my concern with this — both because it would be a major change from their previous SOP of moving active offers to the head of the line, and because it puts things into a state of suspended animation until your processor calls you. What do you think Denise — does active offer status have no significance during this period where they ‘clean house’ and get re-organized?

  838. Katieon 04 Apr 2010 at 11:47 am

    Hi again! I have a quick question. Called Ty to find out where we would be taxed on the money for state taxes (live in FL but sold in CA). Ty said we would be taxed in CA since that was where the property was. He also mentioned that he heard about legislation in the works to make the HAP benefits tax-exempt (like they are Federally).

    I read back through a ton of posts but couldn’t find anything about CA taxes. Does anyone know if this legislation is really in the works? Is there hope that I won’t be taxed CA taxes on my HAP benefits?

    Thank you so much for any help!

  839. Marloon 05 Apr 2010 at 7:04 am

    Hello All. Just wanted to let everyone know our house did close via govt. acquisition on 3/30. The closing went smoothly, without any issues. I guess they have finally done enough of these to have all the kinks worked out. We are so happy to finally NOT be homeowners! :)

    Thanks to everyone who has provided information over the last several months, especially Karen and Denise. This forum was a true lifeline of information and moral support for us as we navigated the very murky waters of the new expanded HAP program. Although we waited almost a year for this program to really help us, we are so thankful that the program even exists. We feel very, very fortunate to finally be able to walk away and start a new chapter.

    We wish you all good luck!

  840. karenon 05 Apr 2010 at 11:31 am

    Marlo so glad that this has ended well for you and the family. It seemed like the past year was so stressful for those of us trying to work out the kinks in the program only to have new ones creep in every day. I pray that we hear many more success stories and that everyone comes out a winner. God speed to you and yours in your new life, being non-homeowners. take care. Karen

  841. Roryon 05 Apr 2010 at 12:23 pm

    An update to the situation I described above. I got this info from Ty, who once again proves the statement (cited several times already on this blog) that if you do your research and are able to talk from an informed position to the HAP employees, they are very helpful. I imagine that as hard as it is for us to sift through old or dated data, it must also be hard on them to converse with people who have wrong info and don’t realize it. Ty contacted ME, by the way – not the other way around. I am very appreciative. At any rate, here is what he told me: They ARE pulling applications by date of PCS right now. This seems consistent with the updates of Sacramento going through a re-organization process after hiring their new employees. Ty said that anyone that has already been assigned a POC (or processor) is unaffected by the new “sweep” (my word, not his). If you’re already working with someone, which is likely the case if you have an active offer, then you stay with that person and they are working the process. However, it sounds like they are going through the rest of the packages by chronological PCS date (many of whom likely don’t have offers yet or haven’t even marketed the house). At that point, it will proceed as described above, where a processor gets your package then contacts you to let you know if any more information is required, etc… One more detail: Let’s say a processor has an active case and then he or she brings it to closing — at that point, the replacement file they get to start working another package comes from the “chronological by PCS date” pile. I agree with Denise that this will be a good thing for all involved once they cycle through the full 2,100 applications there and get processors assigned to each. Let me also re-iterate: This is a process where you get more bees with honey than vinegar. Every point in the process where I have gotten frustrated, I later found out that I had incorrect info. The HAP employees, as well as Denise, Karen JP and others, have all been huge information resources. Stay patient and read backwards in the blog to look for others who have had similar issues to your current ones…

  842. karenon 05 Apr 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Rory, you are so right. I think that most “situations” have already arisen and someone has asked about it or spoken about it here. In the past ten months, that this blog has been active, someone, somewhere has “been there and done that” so it pays to read through each and everyone of the responses. Who knows, you may learn something that you needed to know!!!!

    I know that it gets so frustrating (pull hair out type of feeling) but the processors at HAP are doing their best with what they have. And if they are inputing new people now it may get sticky for awhile. Remember, in most cases, this is brand new for them too. Work with them, keep on their case as it is ultimately your money and peace of mind we are talking about but do it with a smile and a thank you at the end of the day.

    Keep posting and keep us all updated on your progress.

    Karen

  843. Ericon 05 Apr 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Hi all and thanks for the posts!

    This question is for “Keith” or anyone working on an private sale augmentation.

    I just received an acceptable offer on 4/3/10 that meets all the requirements but asks for 5K in buyer closing costs that are somewhat “customary” in SC, but not always. My questions are:

    1) Will the HAP benefit $ to help with my closing costs come in time for an August 1st, 2010 closing? It is 116 days away?
    2) Will HAP pay for $5K in buyer closing costs if it is within the 3% window?

    I just don’t know if I can accept the offer I got if buyer closing costs can’t be covered and if the money won’t come by August 1st. They say 60 days, but does it really only take that long? Thanks for the help, take care and good luck everyone!

    -Eric

  844. Keithon 05 Apr 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Eric -

    Each case seems to have it’s own nuances, so I can only speak to my situation (specifically: Savannah district, 2007 PCS, augmentation). I am closing two weeks from today and could probably have closed earlier if my buyer’s didn’t have to wait. I plan to post my full time line and final lessons learned once settlement passes, but here are some highlights to answer your question (see my post on 13 Mar 2010 at 8:30 pm for more details). To answer your questions:
    1) Will the HAP benefit $ to help with my closing costs come in time for an August 1st, 2010 closing? It is 116 days away?
    >>> Based on my situation, I would say definitely yes. I sent my contract to HAP on 24 Feb and HAP cut my check late last week (i.e., funds obligated – the last step). Closing is 19 Apr (>>Due to the initial guidance I received from Savannah office, I structured the offer on my house to avoid any buyer’s costs. I have not seen a 3% rule and have only casually read about it in other posts on this blog.

    Hope that helps…

  845. Jessicaon 05 Apr 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Eric-

    I am in a similar situation to Keith and have an almost identical timeline. I am waiting on the buyer’s Rural Development loan. I could’ve already closed on my end. We’re still shooting for an April 15th close date.

    We agreed to pay buyer’s closing costs, and HAP is covering those. I think as long as it’s not ridiculous and common place, they shouldn’t have a problem.

    Good luck!

  846. Denise Korpinenon 06 Apr 2010 at 12:11 am

    To reaffirm- those Sacramentoites (Rory and quite a few others) already assigned to a benefits processor are in processing and will move forward as confirmed by your benefits processor. Essentially, if you already had an offer AND were assigned to benefits processor, it is still assigned and processing. Processing did NOT stop and bump you behind older RNLT files without offers. That is if your offer arrived before roughly March 12th and had already moved to benefits.

    Up till recently, application files that did NOT have an offer already or were missing parts of application were “on the wall” (not assigned to benefits person) awaiting info/purchase contracts to process. This is where most applications are now. For the most part, till two weeks ago, files didn’t really get touched unless member called about file or a new document was received. They got one letter saying, “We are missing ___, please send it”. If member did not respond with, “Here is ___. What do I do next?”- file sat on the wall. Not because Sacramento HAP employees were not doing their job- but because there were so few of them and so much to do…they could barely process for members actively sending things to them. Let alone ask for documents more than once. Plus, if your application was complete, but you have no purchase contract, there is nothing else to ask for. No one ever knew if something got lost in mail, misfiled, etc, if member didn’t get through to follow up. We all know how challenging that has been.

    What Shelley was indicating, for lack of better terminology, is that all the newbies were tasked to “work the wall”…that’s ALL FILES IN HOUSE NOT ASSIGNED TO BENEFITS…get it all in order of RNLT date…at same time-find out what people were missing, go back and ask them for it…if no longer using program note it and close file, etc. Find out whose fallen through the cracks and get them moving forward. Explain to those who haven’t been fortunate enough to have gained info needed the process so they know what to do next and how long it will take. Some of them also took stacks off processors desks that needed worked and made calls to move those forward (I received one of those calls about an applicant who short sold). That way benefits could focus on closing a few things. This is a VERY GOOD THING! So, if you treat the newbies as “extra help” until that wall is worked- it is super news. The 8-12 processors they had could not have organized the wall, and processed benefits, and answered the phone. From there the newbies will join the crowd in benefits processing and hopefully wipe out the “the wall” in short order!

    If all goes according to plan, pretty much so everyone with an app in Sacramento should soon know where they stand and what to do next!

  847. Denise Korpinenon 06 Apr 2010 at 12:41 am

    Eric- You have to be extremely careful about the terminology here…As Keith was clearly an Augmentation, whereas Jessica’s previous posts indicated she may be an Acquisition.

    1) Yes, in either type of benefits, you will likely have your HAP monies in plenty of time for that close date. You just need to continue to communicate and move documents along. Be sure to keep asking:
    What happens next?
    Who does it?
    How long should it take?
    Then you will know what to expect, who to expect it from, and when to ask again if you don’t see things are clearly moving along.
    **Most holdups with Augmentations involve the documentation of receipts/invoices/payments for improvements. If you need copies of cancelled checks from the banks get them asap.

    2) Closing costs- at first it appeared HAP covered up to 3% costs credit to buyers across the board. Never have covered repairs or termite work. Along the way, I have learned they will cover “costs” up to 3% given to a buyer on a Wounded Warrior or Surviving Spouse sale. I understand that is no matter the category (Acquisition or Augmentation). HAP will also cover up to 3% costs on an ACQUISITION without question in most cases. This would include VA and FHA mandatory Seller costs. HOWEVER, at last check (subject to change any time), HAP will NOT cover any costs credits to Buyer on an AUGMENTATION. Now, I also know of Augmentees (like Jeanette) who have fought this, and gotten them paid.

    You will need to see what your benefits processor says about it and then go from there. Note- it has been very hard to tell what exactly HAP is paying for on an Augmentation where someone put in more than 10%, as HAP will not give a line by line accounting. Whereas, if you are an Acquisition it is pretty easy to tell based on what HUD1 says you must bring in to close.

  848. Jeannette Haynieon 06 Apr 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Eric,

    As Denise indicated above, I am doing a private sale augmentation and am covering part of the buyers’ closing costs ($5000 in fact). We did get that eventually covered by the HAP, but only after a bit of work on our part.

    It came down to a few things that won our case: 1) buyers brought $5k extra to the offer, 2) VA non-allowables encompassed about $1800 of the $5k, 3) our realtor did homework and showed that the seller-buyer split is very normal, especially in this market.

    I had to go through the national HAP office to get it resolved, but in the end it worked.

    Hope this helps…

    Jeannette

  849. Heatheron 07 Apr 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Hi,

    I won’t bore anyone with the details of our HAP application. To make a long story short, we were denied HAP approval based on the fact that our home’s purchase price excited the 417K limit. We bought a home in FL and put 200k down to afford the mortgage payment. Does anyone have an info. if and when the HAP may raise the purchase price limits?

  850. Jenniferon 07 Apr 2010 at 6:49 pm

    We received our new contract today, stating we are buying the house from The United States of America to replace our contract with the actual owner. This contract says it expires in 30 days so I am keeping my fingers crossed we actually close within that timeframe…….I really love this house!!!

  851. Tomon 08 Apr 2010 at 12:42 pm

    After almost a year of dealing with HAP and two years of looking for a buyer, I am going to closing tomorrow the HAP augmentation assistance. Here’s what I learned through this process:

    1. You need an offer, i.e., signed contract before HAP will consider your application complete. ONLY then will HAP do an assessment on your property to ensure you’re within the 10% CFMV. So the sooner you get an offer, the better.

    2. Make sure you have the appropriate language in your contract to protect yourself while the assessment is taking place. You don’t want to get stuck with an offer and then have HAP tell you that you undersold your property.

    3. Become an expert on HAP. Chances are your agent and buyers will not understand this process. You will have to reassure them with facts, documents, HAP contact info, etc.

    4. I went the augmentation route and my HAP poc (Savannah office) only needed a preliminary HUD1 from the title company. The sooner you can get the title company to cooperate, the better. She only needed the seller’s side vs. the whole document to secure funds.

    5. HAP staffers are getting better and more efficient at their jobs as this program continues to evolve. I found them ALL to be professional, courteous, and responsive to my questions and concerns. I approached my dealings with them the same way as I think a good attitude goes a long way…even if you need to hide your anger or frustration.

    This is a huge gift from the government and I’m extraordinary thankful I qualify. I have been following this blog for a long time now and I found everyone’s stories and experiences reassuring and educational. I’m glad you shared. I’ll continue to follow along and I’ll be praying for success and relief for all of you. GOOD LUCK!!!

  852. Cherylon 08 Apr 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Tom, I am so happy that you all are able to finally put this whole process behind you.
    Much happiness to you all, Cheryl

  853. Denise Korpinenon 09 Apr 2010 at 1:41 am

    Jennifer- Dealing with Sacramento…you can usually close 7-10 days from the time HAP gets those contracts back from Seller and Buyer. HAP orders funds from Texas based on that agreement (which is based on estimated HUD1). Close date is also going to depend on your lender though. You will want the Seller to verify timeline for funds with their benefits rep as soon as you send contract back- then let your lender know to be sure loan documents are ready. Several people have blogged about finally getting HAP funds and not being able to close because buyer’s lender isn’t ready.

  854. Denise Korpinenon 09 Apr 2010 at 1:43 am

    Final rules- Tomorrow is April 8th. I will try to call OSD and see if there is any news. “D-Day” is supposed to be one week from today!

  855. Jenniferon 09 Apr 2010 at 8:57 am

    Thanks Denise! We are dealing with the Savannah District as we are in Florida. Our lender is ready. We started that process as soon as we got the original contract on the house. The only hold up may be that the title company is requesting a new survey because there is a fence that wasn’t there for the last survey. The company doing the new survey says they can have it done in 3 days though, so maybe it won’t be a problem.

  856. Denise Korpinenon 09 Apr 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Deanna Buchner at OSD said Final Rule still moving about at Pentagon. She was very clear they have been “moving”, not sitting, so she was upbeat about hearing something soon.

  857. Heatheron 09 Apr 2010 at 10:01 pm

    So glad that we might hear something soon about the final rule decisions. I just hope it includes either raising or lifting completely the purchase price limits. This is the only thing standing in the way of so many of us being able to benefit from the HAP. I will keep my fingers crossed! Thanks Denise for making that phone call.

  858. Heatheron 09 Apr 2010 at 10:03 pm

    So glad that we might hear something soon about the final rule decisions. I just hope it includes either raising or lifting completely the purchase price limits. This is the only thing standing in the way of so many of us being able to benefit from the HAP. I will keep my fingers crossed! Thanks Denise for making that phone call!

  859. Terryon 13 Apr 2010 at 9:32 am

    Ok, mailed my HAP package about a month ago to Savannah and have not heard anything from them, I now have an offer does anyone know who should I contact?

  860. Tomon 13 Apr 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Terry-

    You’re not going to hear anything from them until you provide them a copy of your contract. HAP will need to verify that your offer is within 10% of the current fair market value before you can move forward. Even so, you could face a substantial waiting period based on when you submitted your package. Your timeline will also depend on when you PCS’d and whether or not you’re seeking augmentation or acquisition.

    Hope that helps.

    Tom

  861. Terryon 13 Apr 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks Tom, So I should send in the contract to the same office I sent the HAP package? How will I know that they will be able to put the two togerher I thought I would have a point of contact by now??

  862. Tomon 13 Apr 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Terry-

    I received a letter four months after I submitted my package. That letter contained my case number and list of additional documents required, including a contract, before HAP would consider it a complete application package. So, it could be sometime before they do an initial review on yours. I think I read that 90 days is the minimum. My best guess is that there could be 1,500 people in front of you. My recommendation is to send your contract to Savannah with a cover letter explaining that, although you don’t have a case number, you would like it included with your package submitted on “whatever date.” I would also send it with signature confirmation to the same office.

    Tom

  863. VINNYNYon 13 Apr 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Current Fair Market Value? Does anyone know the ground truth on how the HAP is calculating CFMVs? I may have a buyer, but he only wants to pay 9.9% under CFMV.

  864. Alanon 13 Apr 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Terry,

    Send an email to CESAS-RE-HM@usace.army.mil and ask if they can provide you with your application number. I have found that emailing the Savannah office is the best way to get answers. I was in the same situation and received my application number back within a few hours. I am doing an augmentation through the Savannah office and have worked with 3 or 4 different people as I have moved up through the system. Everyone I have worked with has been responsive and really willing to help. I hope your interactions with them will be the same!

    Alan

  865. Denise Korpinenon 15 Apr 2010 at 12:36 am

    VINNYNY- Did you finally submit an application for one of your properties?

    On CFMV- out of Sacramento they use RealQuest program to establish what Savannah calls “appraisal” values. Most of the time, the RealQuest numbers are slightly lower than what agents find the potential market value to be based on local listings. As the HAP processing does vary slightly by district- not 100% sure if all 3 districts use exact same determinant. Honestly, the statement about the buyer wanting to be at 9.9% below CFMV is EXACTLY why they try to keep it a mystery!

    Terry- If you put as a face sheet/body of email your full name, transfer date, and type of transfer, they can usually find your file pretty fast. You should have gotten a letter stating application has been received within a few weeks of application being sent in. As mentioned, you don’t get anything else from HAP until after purchase offer has been received and your file comes up in PCS order date. You will want to send in with your offer a note that says you are requesting someone call/email to confirm receipt of the offer and confirm your application file is complete (if you never got 1st letter).

  866. JJon 15 Apr 2010 at 11:00 am

    Today was supposed to be the end of the 90 day comment period? Anyone think the final rules will come out today?

  867. Lauraon 15 Apr 2010 at 11:23 am

    It is unclear how we will even know if the final rules are posted. The Army Corp or Engineers website is not updated very regularly and the Federal Register is difficult to negotiate. Denise, would you be willing to call Deanna Buchner tomorrow for an update? You seem to be the only one I know who has been able to contact her. I’ve called her dozens of times and always been sent directly to voice mail. I have left a few messages which were never returned. She seems to recognize that you have been a great representative for us and has been willing to talk with you. It would be terrific if you could get an update tomorrow and let us all know. Thanks.

  868. Denise Korpinenon 16 Apr 2010 at 3:15 am

    I just have good fortune in timing I guess. Spoke to Deanna at OSD today (1st try). Rules did not make it out of the Pentagon as yet. I was teasing that HAP rules are like the Energizer Bunny….they keep on going, and going, and going…round and round the Pentagon. Where they’ve stopped and what happens now that they are not finalized on time per Federal Regulations- who REALLY knows?

    Have to stay positive and keep pressing through friends. It took 10 months from ARRA Expanded HAP approval to first payment of any benefits. Keep asking around till we find the route to pull the trigger on this aspect.

  869. VINNYNYon 16 Apr 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Denise:

    Thanks for the information. I had looked back through as many posts as I could stand and then gave up!

    I haven’t submitted a package on either of my houses yet. The AZ house looks like it’s going to be a short sale and my tenants are moving out of my VA house in July. As I said, I’ve got a potential buyer on the VA house, but it will all come down to the numbers. I’m looking for a realtor who understands HAP and is willing to work with a HAP contingency hanging over the deal.

  870. Shaneon 17 Apr 2010 at 7:15 am

    Prob gonna be my last post. Looking like things are finally wrapping up. Just a couple of quick updates on how it all finally played out.

    We missed our first closing. Buyers bank was not ready. It all eventually happened yesterday and today. Couple of final surprises thrown our way as well.

    First off, we found out that the $5K we had agreed to pay towards the buyers closing was being taken care of. Lucky us. Come to find out that if it’s typical in your area, they will pay up to a certain percentage. I guess $5K on a $250K property fell in the norm.

    We then we found out that 100% of our second mortgage was being paid for. Not just the portion that we provided recepits for (approx $7K), but all $17K of it. Very nice! So, after all was said and done, we have $15K in our bank account that we get to hold on to.

    Everything else was as some folks had already mentioned. Mortgage had to be current with a few extra days worth of interest paid on. For us, we cut a check for $400′ish to cover for the first close. When that was delayed, we had to cut another check for $300′ish. No biggie, considering the $15K now collecting dust in our savings.

    Lots of stuff to FedEx, but HAP provided a FedEx acct number so we didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket. The realty specialist we were eventually assigned at Savannah HAP was a HUGE help. The folks along the way were okay, but it was kind of difficult to get a hold of them along the way and we got a lot of conflicting info that made the overall process pretty confusing.

    Last piece of the puzzle is to check with my bank later today to ensure the check sent in by HAP made it to them okay.

    Good luck to the rest of ya’s. Hope everything works out for you all in the end as it did for us.

    -Shane

  871. Karenon 19 Apr 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Shane so happy that you are seeing the end of the rainbow. Great feeling isnt it? I wish you and yours great success as you move forward.

    Karen

  872. Chrison 19 Apr 2010 at 12:41 pm

    First of all, this is a great site. Second, I really don’t have the time to look through all the postings. That being said, I was wondering if anybody has appealed a denial and won?

    Here’s my situation:

    Bought a house for $424,000 (Over the $417,000 limit for that area) and was denied due to being over the limit.

    I was told some six weeks ago that the final word would come out in 4-6 weeks, so I am still waiting like alot of you.

    I was planning on appealing and allowing my limit to be $417,000 which would mean I would lose another $6,300 (10% of $424,000-$417,000).

    I guess, bottom line, I was just wondering if anyone would know wether or not they have accepted an appeal like this or if they would accept an appeal like this?

    Thanks,
    Chris

  873. Shaneon 19 Apr 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Chris,

    I was initially denied eligibility. HAP stated that my area didn’t meet the 10% decline in home sales prices needed to meet criteria. I appealed that decision and won. They use a program called Core Logic to determine the market in a given area. Core Logic reflected an 8% decline. I presented them with information I found online as well as a chart put together by my realtor that showed that number at closer to 16%. Took a few weeks, but they eventually reversed their decision.

    Just got off the phone with the bank. Checks from HAP received today. Looks like we are officially DONE!

  874. Denise Korpinenon 20 Apr 2010 at 4:27 am

    Yeah! We all like done!
    Closed another Government ACQUISITION for a 2007 PCS transfer today. Timeline:
    Listed in San Diego MLS- 2/5/2010
    Contract of sale- 2/16/10
    PFMV $433,333
    Sold $315,000
    Buyer credited 3% “costs”
    Seller out of pocket appx $700
    Recorded 4/20/10
    Would have been done Friday accept for a little wording issue on the Warranty Deed the County Recorder was not happy with. Marlene, one of the Sacarmento “newbies”, was a super champ to work with! Keeping in mind, she has been an escrow officer for many years…that made it a whole lot easier!

  875. JJon 20 Apr 2010 at 8:00 am

    Denise,

    Vinny asked a question earlier about a buyer wanting to submit an application that suggested 9.9% below appraised value. Could that language even be used in a contract? Who would determine the appraisal value…HAP, or the person who comes to do the actual appraisal? Would HAP even look at that kind of contract or throw it out because the language suggests the buyer is trying to take advantage of the system?

    Also, if the contract comes in with an offer price too low below appraised value, if you resubmit the contract with the price within 10% – how long would it take for HAP to accept it?

    Last question… as I understand it, the seller is responsible for the first 10% loss on the home. So once you get past that 10% decline, it doesn’t matter to the seller what the contract price is, correct? For example… home purchased for 700k. Now worth 400k. Contract in for 375k. Is the seller responsible to cover 70k? Of is it 10% of the difference between where they bought it and final contract price?

    Sorry for all the questions…thanks for your time in responding!!!

    JJ

  876. Lauraon 20 Apr 2010 at 9:09 am

    I spoke with Deanna Buchner (I actually got through) on Friday. She told me that she truly felt final rules would be finished by the end of the month. I asked her how we would know they had been finalized and she said she would make Army Corp of Engineers update their website immediately.

    She also asked why I had not filed an appeal. I had explained to her that we were denied because our PFMV was over the cap but mortgage is well under the cap and that we also happen to live in a community with homes that cost much more than other towns in our county. I told her I was waiting for the final rules to be posted to see if the cap was lifted and she suggested I send an appeal anyway. They are continuing to process appeals and she said she approved 10 last week for reasons similar to mine. I have spent the last several days gathering data and writing my appeal.

    My 2 points then – look for posting on ACE website that indicates final rules have been published and until then consider putting together your appeal just in case they continue to drag their feet.

    I’m still trying to maintain my optimism.

  877. Frank R.on 20 Apr 2010 at 10:45 am

    Laura
    I’m in a similar situation as you are…my home is $10,000 over the cap but my mortgage is well under. I sent in an appeal back in Feb and the Sacramento office denied my appeal in a letter and said that it would be forwarded through the appeal process. I made a call last week to inquire of its current status and was informed that they were told to hold all similar appeals until the final rules are approved.

    With the information you received, I’ll give them a call and see if they can send it forward.

  878. Chrison 20 Apr 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Thank you all for the response. Laura, sounds like you are in the same boat as me…I have been waiting for the final rules as well. My house has been on the market for two months with no bites…I think it’s time to lower the price and hope that: 1) The final word comes out with raised limits and/or 2) the appeal gets accepted.

  879. Reneeon 20 Apr 2010 at 3:01 pm

    CLOSING DAY! All paperwork is signed, just waiting to hear that the buyers finished signing (we are now out of state, they are in the state with the property and are signing at the real estate office). Savannah HAP was great, especially my Benefits Specialist in this acquisition!

  880. Reneeon 20 Apr 2010 at 3:17 pm

    JJ – I will try to answer some of your questions. “Who would determine the appraisal value…HAP, or the person who comes to do the actual appraisal?” In our experience, we asked local real estate experts to tell us what the current FMV for the house was, then we priced the house about 20% higher than that (figuring that we would get low-balled anyway). I knew that the local market would be worse that what HAP might see from a distance, so with our offer we supported the listing price with a 21 page Comparative Market Analysis and supporting letter from our listing agent/broker explaining why our house was priced the way it was and why this offer was the best we were going to get. Regardless, HAP still ran a desktop appraisal and came up with FMV for the property. It was higher and so our offer was outside of that 10% window. But I asked them to review the CMA and within a day or two it was approved. Remember that your local agent knows the local market better than HAP does and HAP really just wants to move things along. The more info you give them, the better. What I am trying to say is that FMV is more flexible if you have supporting documents. Overall, it only took about a week for the contract to be accepted in our case.

    As for the 10% loss, if you are doing a goverment acquisition then you do not have a loss to absorb. I think that is a different program. Not sure, but it never came into play on our deal.

  881. DJon 21 Apr 2010 at 12:03 am

    Laura, Chris and Frank R.,
    I have a PMFV $13K over the limit (with original mortgage under). I sent my appeal at the end of Feb (2 weeks after the denial letter) with a contract containing a HAP contingency. Unfortunately, the contract didn’t push the process and the buyer eventually backed out (first offer in 10 months). After I finally made contact with the person holding non-eligible cases a few weeks later, the Savannah office responded with “they’ll process the appeal,” adding that they “hoped the new rules would help me” in the same sentence. So, it does sound like they may be sitting on some of these appeals in hopes that the final rule comes out soon. We sent in another contract last weekend contingent on HAP (or short sale this time). I also just got PCS notification to be in Europe by July. So, I essentially just completed my second unaccompanied tour and am about to go on a third if this doesn’t work out.

  882. Christineon 21 Apr 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Hi everyone who awaiting final rules to lift or increase the purchace price loan limits!

    I spoke with someone at OSD last week who informed me that they are processing and granting appeals if the purchase price limits are the only reason the HAP application was denied. I am in this boat myself, and unfortunately am unable to get in touch with the HAP represenativies who handle the appeals (my appeal has been at the Savannah office since the first week of March). From what I was told by the person at the OSD, the appeals just need to get to DC and then the process takes about a week. I feel the real issue will be the lack of cooperation at the office level- mine be Savannah.

  883. Keithon 21 Apr 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Success! Here’s my final post to wrap-up my earlier timelines…along with some lesson learned (I’m pursuing an Augmentation via Savannah district)

    24 Feb 10: ratified contract sent to HAP
    04 Mar 10: received Eligibility letter from Appraisal dept (offer witin 10% of CFMV), package sent to Acqusition (Benefits) dept
    12 Mar 10: Received e-mail from Benefits requesting HUD-1 (seller’s side only), loan payoff amount, POA and other minor details related to closing. Check was cut a few weeks later we could have closed in early April if buyer would have been ready.
    20 Apr 10: Closing – very smooth (even after a one day delay due to emergency room visit involving my power of attorney en route to 19 Apr closing; HAP subcontractor returned the next day to present check, very accomodating for an unusual circumstance).

    Lessons learned:
    - ALL closing costs covered…including $500 for buyers credit (no justification requested)
    - Approved improvements included new carpet, a new kitchen cabinet, & built-in microwave. Not approved: new washer/dryer that conveyed with house
    - I added the improvements to my application after going to Benefits and HAP still turned it around extremely quickly

    Good luck to the rest of you and thanx to all for your posts – they helped immensely!

  884. Dani Echolson 22 Apr 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Thank you all for your posts – I’ve learned so much! Here’s our story/status:

    Bought in Key West in 2005. Our PFMV is $610,000 + $45,000 in improvements. We owe $450,000 on the mortgage, and we just got an appraisal and listed w/ an agent for $350,000. (Ouch!!!)

    We got orders to PCS in July 2010.

    Sent my package in to Savannah last week – received an email this week saying they had received it and would send a letter within 14 days. It also said “Please understand that you must have a buyer for your property in order to be determined eligible for a benefit under this program (wounded warriors and surviving spouses of fallen warriors exempted). If your application package is complete and you appear eligible for the program but do not have a Sales Contract we will forward you a notice reflecting that you appear to be eligible for the program.”

    My Realtor wanted something more concrete than “appear to be eligible” when marketing the house, but I think this is the best we’re going to get.

    Prior to sending in my application, I called Savannah twice and my calls were returned promptly. I’ve had a good experience so far, and I’m hopeful things will go smoothly once we find a buyer.

    One question – I’m hoping for private sale augmentation based on the amount of equity we have in the house. Does anyone know if my circumstances will qualify for the 90% of PFMV reimbursement?

    Thanks so much!

  885. Dani Echolson 24 Apr 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Just got an email request for our home improvement receipts and a new mortgage verification to fill out. I wonder why they don’t just tell people to put in receipts with their initial package? Anyway, this is going quickly – now to convince someone to buy my house.

  886. Denise Korpinenon 26 Apr 2010 at 2:11 am

    Dani- First, your application is moving incredibly fast so far! Next, be aware you need receipts, cancelled checks, credit card statements, etc. NOT just showing you bought something for the house but also proving how you PAID for it (if not cash). It goes much faster and easier if you can put it all together clearly and concisely for submission before obtaining an offer.

    You sound like a perfect Augmentation candidate. A straight PCS mover is up to 90% PFMV benefit. You should get a fair amount from the transaction back into your pocket based on a more than 10% personal outlay already (your posted numbers).

    Do tell your Realtor you have already gotten more documentation about the program and your personal eligibility than most people have 10 days before they close! It’s time to find a buyer for a roughly 60 day closing and get the contract sent in.

  887. Denise Korpinenon 26 Apr 2010 at 2:33 am

    Renee, JJ, et al,
    Don’t confuse Augmentation and Acquisition. Which one the seller is using depends if the seller put 10% or more of their own money into the property- via money down, mortgage payments towards principal or improvements. If the person 100% financed and has not paid anything off or done 10% of PFMV in improvements- then they are likely going for the 100% mortgage payoff option (Acquisition). This does not require a 10% personal contribution to loss.

    Valuations are subject to local market criteria. The government just wants to be sure beneficiaries are not “underselling” the properties because the money is not coming from their own pocket. It is a fair expectation! Best case, any contracts submitted fall within 10% of the automated value as determined by Real Quest (Google it). They fly through quickly that way. If you or your Realtor gains access to Real Quest, you can tell very quickly if there will be a challenge to values. Local MLS information can be used to help document sale price if outside 10% rule. Details are critical to show marketing and response (# of showing to # of offers over time) as well as pricing supporting documentation. Just know if you have to resort to local market information as support for pricing outside of Real Quest valuation- it usually takes a little longer to process than if sale price is within 10% of Real Quest. Usually 2-4 weeks longer depending on District and workload. The more cut, dried and well documented a transaction is, the faster it will be processed.

  888. Reneeon 26 Apr 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Dani Echols – please email me your contact info because I just closed down in KW and can answer lots of questions! drcher@me.com.

  889. Roryon 27 Apr 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Friends,

    I had a very disappointing development today. My closing is set for Monday, five days from now. The buyers info and requirements are all in line. Paperwork is in escrow, etc…and so this week I’m trying to simply clarify that checks are being mailed to escrow and that deeds are being mailed to buyer/seller. The development: Today, my package got handed off to one of the experts for final processing and immediately upon looking at it, she started seeing details that still need tightening up. One positive thing I can say is…Cathy in Sacramento seems to know her stuff! I was very impressed with her. What’s depressing, though, is that with all of the effort and attention I have put in to date, I might still have uncoordinated details that could make me miss my closing date and potentially cause the buyer to lose his loan/blow the deal. Hopefully not! Staying positive is key, as we all know in these situations. At any rate, one item for everyone to know: It seems that the final check for HAP benefits cannot be cut during the final calendar week of ANY MONTH from the Dept of the Treasury facility that does that work in Tennessee, so do NOT schedule a closing date during the first week of any month (like I did) because that makes it unlikely that your check can be ordered without a delay. A mid-month closing date would be far superior. I have become VERY familiar with the rules of this program and have followed this blog and any other info available for over a year, and THAT was news to me when it came up. So, Cathy and I will do a review in the morning and see where we stand in terms of processing. i’ll keep the group posted.

  890. Denise Korpinenon 29 Apr 2010 at 4:55 am

    Still no Final Rules to my knowledge.

    On check issuance…heard back in February it was very difficult to get a check in the last week of the month. We were trying to close Katie’s property at the time. Since the program was newer and she was a Wounded Warrior, we got some grace and got it closed. The issue was not as pronounced then as it seems currently. Now I understand the Treasury gears down as much funds issuance as possible the Sunday before the last full week to begin month end accounting. Essentially- taking the last week of the month to clear up all accounting and balance from the first 3 weeks…

  891. Dani Echolson 29 Apr 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Denise – thanks for the feedback. I spoke to my Realtor and we’re going to kick it up a notch. He was hesitant to list until I got approved, but of course they won’t approve until the contract is submitted. It would be so helpful if they’d do something like saying the homeowner is approved pending approval of the sales price, or something like that.

    Renee – I just emailed you. I’d love to hear about the process. The market here in the Keys is so unique, and now that season is over I’m afraid we won’t even get any showings.

    Rory – when you find out what the little things are that are holding you up, would you please post? I want to make sure I’ve got all my bases covered. And that’s good to know about the closing date – I’ll try to schedule mine for mid-month if possible.

    Right now I’m waiting for all the copies of my cancelled checks to come in from the bank, then I’ll be able to send the improvement package in.

    I also received a request to fill out a different Mortgage Information Verification. I’m not sure how to do this, since it doesn’t have an option to check that I’m requesting augmentation to close. The choices were either it will be a short sale, or it will not be a short sale. So I checked that it will not, and wrote to the side that we’re trying to avoid the short sale by doing augmentation. Anyone run into this problem?

    Thanks – Dani

  892. Keithon 29 Apr 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Dani -

    I was in the same situation for my Mortgage Information Verification. I left all the options blank and I was never asked about it during the rest of the process. We closed our augmentation on 20 Apr.

  893. Dani Echolson 29 Apr 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks Keith – I’ll just send it in as-is.

  894. terryon 30 Apr 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Can you E-mail in your buyer contract? I hope so because thats what I just did to Debra Graham! My buyers are trying to close before the 30 June tax credit deadline hope it works out for them and me!

  895. Dani Echolson 01 May 2010 at 11:15 am

    Terry – they told me to email in everything. I’m going through the Savannah office, so I’m not sure about the others.

  896. richon 01 May 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Does anyone know he status of the 10% personal loss rule change compared to the 10% county decline in the Interim Rule 32? I know Congress was working on changing this rule…so more people can benefit from the program, does anyone have any news or clarification?

    Thanks
    Rich

  897. Deeon 02 May 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Denise,
    I have been reading the blog and have come away with alot of great information. Thank you all.

    We are scheduled to PCS June 1st. We submitted our HAP application with a purchase contract, pending buyer’s inspection. Over two weeks have passed and we still have not been assigned a HAP rep, but did receive a letter stating that they have our application.

    Our buyers want to close the last week of May. As per Stephanie at the Sacramento HAP office, we can close and submit the final HUD to complete our HAP application and wait for HAP reimbursement.

    Our buyer is using a VA loan and one of the things that came from their inspector was the need for a new roof prior to closing. This will cost approximately $7500. Will any part of that be reimbursed by HAP? We are already down $75,000. We cannot afford to lose any more money. Do you have any advice or suggestions?

  898. Colleenon 03 May 2010 at 11:37 am

    Dee,

    We are working with the Sacramento office as well and I would think that the end of May could be difficult to do. We submitted our package in January, got a buyer and contract February 19th and submitted everything on the 20 Feb. We got a specialist within a month and the ball started rolling later that month. We are set to close on May 14th. Our Realtor is awesome and has done a great deal to make sure that both Title Co. and HAP have been kept up to date. In order to quickly process your application keep on top of both HAP and your agent to make sure everyone is doing what they need and has what they need. I e-mail my Realtor daily to check for updates(we’re overseas). As for the fees and what not we were told from the Sac. office that they would only cover the cost of the outstanding principle, so I don’t think that the roof would be covered although I am not sure.

    Please feel free to e-mail is you have any questions.

    Colleen
    c_english03@yahoo.com

  899. Jeannette Haynieon 03 May 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Dee,

    We just sold our CA house–closed on Apr 22 using augmentation, and our buyers used a VA loan. We ran into a number of issues, so this may hopefully help you too:

    –first, the HAP would not cover any repairs. We only had minor ones, but we paid those out of pocket.

    –second, I’m not sure if all VA loans or just some do this, but there are certain closing costs that are VA non-allowables. in other words, someone other than the buyer has to cover these, generally the seller. Our offer had us paying $5000 of the buyers’ closing costs. The VA non-allowables made up about $2000 or so of this $5000.

    The reason for the offer to pay $5k to them was most offers in this market contain similar agreements to get buyers in. It is a very normal split. However, at first the HAP wouldn’t cover that $5000 in closing costs. We ended up getting approval finally, but not until I called the main HAP HQ in DC because I got so many conflicting pieces of info.

    If yours has similar wording, let me know and I can steer you in the same direction.

    Third, the HAP came through much faster than the VA. The HAP check got to our escrow company in mid-March, before the VA documents were even complete. The buyers’ lender took so long that the closing got delayed day after day from Apr 6 till the 22nd, and from what I understood it was partly due to VA issues.

    Anyway, there’s my info…hope it helps.

  900. Roryon 03 May 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Friends, a quick update: After the hiccup we discovered very late in the process toward closing, my new realty specialist Kathy in Sacramento has things cooking! She is so professional and writes back right away whenever she can, it seems. I’ll post more complete lessons learned when the process is complete, but for now I would say that you want to request to be assigned to a realty specialist every chance you get. I used the technique of leaving a phone message, then emailing the person I was trying to contact, then printing out the email and faxing it to their attention. (HAP has had server issues at various times where they lose emails, and it’s hard to track phone messages. I feel like fax and US mail are the most reliable) Once assigned to a specialist, make sure they understand the date you have set up to close, and the hurdle that started things really moving in my case was when Kathy prepared the “Escrow Authorization” which is the instructions to the escrow company saying “NAME will be receiving XXXX number of dollars, to be used toward closing YYYY property.” That escrow authorization was the letter I had been previously trying to get along the lines of ‘official qualification’ that others talk about wanting. Learn from my mis-steps and ask for the ‘escrow authorization’ as soon as the realty specialist is able to prepare it. (as soon as she has all the needed info) The final key item that takes care of is that the same process is what gets your check ordered from the Dept of the Treasury facility in Tennessee. It is reportedly a two week process between when escrow authorization is generated and when your check will arrive, so ensure that this is happening several weeks ahead of your closing. That’s all for now!

  901. Denise Korpinenon 03 May 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Everyone- PLEASE keep in mind that a substantial number of HAP applicants buyers are trying to close before June the June 30th deadline. Do not make any promises to your Buyers you can’t keep. If you are just now submitting an offer on an Acquisition you are likely not going to make the end of June. Augmentations MIGHT barely make it if in this week. I have numerous offers submitted back in early March that are just now making it to processors desks in Sacramento. Each is receiving a different report on when it will closed based on what else is on the assigned processors desk. Last week, Sacramento processors were quoting minimum 106 days for Acquisitions.

    Dee- If you are augmenting and all your paperwork is in, it should take a minimum 45 days to close your property on the HAP side from the time it gets to a desk. As Jeanette mentioned, the only way you will see if you can do anything about the roof situation is to take it to the top (D.C.). Neither benefit type allows any “repair” credits or payments. Acquisitions can allow an unspecified “credit” as long as it is within local area customs and needed to be negotiated at the start. It is true that the VA loan may cause delays as well.

  902. Denise Korpinenon 04 May 2010 at 12:07 am

    Yes, you can email in the buyer contract. However, email does often go down often in the HAP system (at least Sacramento’s does). Things drop out of system before they are read. The best time to email is ONCE YOU HAVE A BENEFITS PROCESSOR. Then you have their direct email and can confirm receipt. Otherwise mail with receipt and fax seem to be better.

    Rich- If you do not have county/parish criteria met but you will have a 10% personal loss, you should try an appeal.

  903. Deeon 05 May 2010 at 12:11 am

    Thank you all for your response and great information, I am so glad to have found this site. Following is an update on our progress.

    1. As per Janice at HAP, there is a big difference between “repairs” and “improvement.” Our roof is not damaged or in need of repair, however has reached the end of its “serviceable life” per the inspection, so we need to replace it in order for the buyer’s VA loan to be approved and for us to sell our house. That makes it a required “improvement” in order to make the transaction, so that would make it a HAP reimbursable expense. Apparently, it will be treated as all other improvements to the property and be reimbursed at 90%. We were told to get three (3) bids from different roofing outfits. If we don’t go with the lowest bid, then we need to provide ‘justification’ as to ‘why.’ One such justification could be that the lowest bidder could start the job for a couple of weeks and would not meet the seller’s time constraints, etc.

    2. We were given a POC today, her name is Cheryl Williams, I don’t know if that’s the same as a benefits processor. (?)

    3. Denise, yes we are augmenting, and 45 days to close on HAP sounds like a dream. We fall in the 2009 PCS dates. All our paperwork was submitted with our initial application, except for the final HUD of course, so hopefully things will move along faster.

    4. Jeannette, we will be paying $3500 towards the buyer’s closing costs. That does not include the other VA non-allowables. Knowing that it may be an additional $2000 helps a lot so we are not blindsided. I am a little nervous about VA financing, I am praying that things will go smoothly, but bracing myself for the worst.

    5. Colleen and Jeannette, thank you both so much for your input. This is very new to us and having someone out there to trade information with and get feedback from is awesome. I am a little less crazy because of this blog.

    Finally, if any of you have experience with VA financing, we would appreciate any input you could offer. This is our first time dealing with VA and it’s very different than closing with a conventional loan. Anything you can offer would be appreciated. We are hoping for a smooth closing…..

    We will keep you posted as things progress for us. Thank you all!

  904. Denise Korpinenon 05 May 2010 at 3:27 am

    Posted updated HAP stats at
    http://www.thereagent4me.com/frame.shtml?http://hapinformation.wordpress.com/

    Yes, the really great thing about the blog is that we all get to learn from one another’s experience! It is an exponential way to go.

    Dee- 1. Glad to hear Janice confirmed the roof could be an “improvement” due to useful life versus repair. That is super!
    2 & 3. Cheryl Williams is great at clearing her desk. If you have already thoroughly documented the improvements you should sail.

  905. Meredithon 05 May 2010 at 7:10 pm

    This website is FANTASTIC! It’s the only place I’ve found ANY real information about the HAP program. With that said I’m still confused!

    Here’s our situation.

    We’re PCSing the end of June. From what we understand we want to do the government acquisition. We owe 310K. We put our house on the market Mar 1 for 310k. On April 1st we lowered it to 299K. We have only had 2 people come look at the house since it’s been listed. We submitted our HAP app and have only received the letter stating they have received it. We’ll be using the Sacramento office, we’re in Utah.

    When I originally called the HAP office just to get some info, I was told they have no idea to even guess when they would be getting to our application as they were still processing 08 and 09 apps.

    I guess what I’m unsure of is where to go from here with the selling of my home. How often should I drop the price or , should I take it off the market and try and get a renter and once I’m approved put it back on the market, I got the impression that they won’t be able to get to my application for a LONG time. I’ve heard of having the potential buyer rent it from you while you wait on the HAP office but how do you convince a buyer to rent while waiting for approval? Just seems that unless I find a military buyer who has experience with HAP no one is going to understand what is going on.

    Any ideas/suggestions/experience whatever please email me or post on here.

    Thanks for all the great info posted so far!

    Meredith

  906. Colleenon 06 May 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Meredith,

    From my understanding the price for a Government Acquisition, for them to buy your home is based off comparable listings; therefore you would want to work with your Realtor in order to come up with a listing price based on homes that best match your own.

    We are selling in Las Vegas; our mortgage is still $226,000 however Fair Market Value based comparable listings and recently solds put it between $69,000 and $90,000. We listed at $90,000 and got an all cash offer three days later for $88,000. We are also using the Sacramento office, we were a 2008 PCSer.

    We submitted our package in December, sent the offer in February, and are looking to close within the next week. The one thing that I think is key is having a Realtor who knows the HAP system and is willing to work with you. Also, make sure that your buyer completely understands that it is a liquid time frame and therefore changes(usually for the longer), we are lucky because ours is an investor however she is getting anxious and doesn’t want to wait much longer.

    Key everyone up to date, complete paperwork quickly and accurately, and price your home well.

    If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me c_english03@yahoo.com

  907. JJon 10 May 2010 at 4:39 pm

    No rules updates…pathetic.

  908. Oliviaon 10 May 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Yes, any word on when the final rules that were supposed to be done by mid April are coming out?

  909. Denise Korpinenon 11 May 2010 at 12:09 am

    Sorry- have had some heavy volume on my HAP files and company in town. Made blogging difficult.

    Navy Region Southwest brought in Bart Wivell, Realty Specialist with HAP DC, to do the HAP brief last week on North Island. He used the slideshow on the website. He stated that rules are now not expected out till “later in the summer”. No specifics at all on timeframe as it is beyond HAP rep control.

    Bart Wivell and Don Chapman in D.C. did confirm what others have previously blogged- that HAP has begun approving appeals on a case by case basis for the cap on PFMV. You submit it through your District and it goes all the way to the top in D.C. These approvals are in anticipation that final rules will lift the cap. A client sent a Congressional inquiry on their file. They referenced the fact that final rules were due out April 15th and were not released, with no confirmed publish date in site. Waiting for a response. We’re hoping it will obtain some interest and move the final approval along for all. Case by case approval is tedious and unfair to those who don’t know this is how it is working.

    I posted a link on May 5th to HAP stats chart. Helps give you a picture of current volume. They are working some insane hours in Sacramento.

  910. Deeon 15 May 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Our buyer backed out claiming first cold feet when it comes to the HAP timeline, then officially “inspection” issues. Nevertheless, we are moving forward, the roof was replaced and we have an open house tomorrow. We are praying and hoping for another buyer soon. According to Ms. Williams our HAP application is #6 on her desk. I hope we are able to keep our place in line…….

  911. Colleenon 17 May 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Dee,

    From what I was told from Mike at HAP-Sacramento, if you lose a buyer while waiting for your HAP paperwork, you do not lose your spot in line, you just need to secure a new buyer. (This was probably two months ago though.)

  912. Shaneon 17 May 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Colleen,

    I heard the opposite. Once you lose your buyer, you have XX amount of days to find a new buyer. If you can not find another one, you have to start from scratch. This is what Savannah told us when we voiced our concern that we were going to lose our buyer is we didn’t close soon. Of course, we were dealing with a different HAP office. Maybe Sacramento is different.

    Good luck finding that next buyer, Dee.

  913. Denise Korpinenon 18 May 2010 at 4:17 am

    Dee- I don’t think losing the buyer will affect your “place in line”. Sounds like Cheryl has pretty much already verified eligibility and the receipts. That is the main hurdle in augmentation. The price the buyer pays affects the check sent- which was not processed yet. Cheryl will just set your file aside until you let her know you have a new buyer and send a new estimated HUD1 for her to work from. If you get a new buyer at similar price and terms fairly quickly, it is a small bump in the road.

    By my experience recently, in either case (Augmentation or Acquisition), any delay in close is more highly affected by the start and end of the new buyer’s contingencies and loan processing than anything at HAP. Closing with 4 HAP clients in the next 10 days. All acquisitions. One delayed by Buyer’s lender (HAP check in 10 days early for Wounded Warrior). Other 3 HAP checks in 2-3 weeks earlier than expected and moving closings as far forward as buyer’s lender will allow.

    The Buyer contract, disclosures, Proforma Title, etc., are not required in augmentation as the home doesn’t transfer to the government then to the buyer. They are required for acquisition. A buyer drop out in acquisition technically costs a beneficiary “position in line” because the paperwork almost completely changes and has to be resubmitted with new buyer name (not simply a new HUD1).

  914. Jenniferon 19 May 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I would just like to say thanks to everyone for their posts. We just closed on an acquisition last week and it was worth the wait (we are the buyers). This site really helped us gain perspective and know what to expect next when we weren’t getting much communication from the seller. Thanks!

  915. Meredithon 20 May 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I called HAP a week or so ago,( we sent our package and had received the acknowledgment letter) to ask them about pricing etc. We were told that the area we live in hasn’t lost 10% value so we probably would not qualify.

    Yesterday my realtor did a realtor tour with several realtors of different houses on the market in the area, the feedback we received was that for the market, we were way over priced at 298K Comparables were going for 240k to 260k plus 5-10K in concessions, which puts us losing way more then 10% since we bought. Will that justification be enough to get us approved? Also how does the whole concessions thing work with the HAP program? In over 3 months we have had 2 people look at the house. Can we drastically drop the price to 260K or do we have to slowly do it by dropping the price 5K every week or two? Also has anyone done the lease with the option to buy using this program? If so how did that work?

    Thanks for any insight you can provide. Feel free to email me direct at
    meronh12@msn.com

  916. Charleson 20 May 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Denise – Your advise on appealing the PFMV is correct. I appealed with a simple one page letter and Sacramento replied back in less than a week that they have no authority to rule on the appeal and are now forwarding my appeal up the chain. I’ve already sold for a loss, so my claim is relatively simple. I’ll continue to hope for the best for everyone.

  917. Marielon 21 May 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Hi All!
    This website has been a great resource!!

    Does anyone know if there a set guideline on when the seller is approved and eligible for (I believe Aquisition) on when they need to find a buyer?

    If seller gets approved, how long do they have to find a buyer? Is there a timeline, like say within 60 days or 30 days or is it whenever they can?

    Or is it, for the seller to get approved, do they need to have a contract in place,( ie buyer is already qualified)

    Thanks!

  918. Pamon 23 May 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Does anyone know if there is an appeal process for the requirements? We purchased in June 2007 and our market has declined roughly 48% since. We put a fair amount down to afford the payments. We PCS this summer and I was going to submit a package and then rent my home out while waiting on a change or appeal.

  919. Denise Korpinenon 24 May 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Pam- why would you need an appeal? Are you over the cap for area?

    Mariel- The best way between two points is a straight line. Best recommendation, providing you appear qualified for HAP based on 6 general criteria (PCS transfer/medical need, orders date, purchase date, primary residence, loss of 10% or more, and no previous benefits), learn what you can about the program from this blog. Put the house up for sale and get an offer at a fair market value. You will likely be within criteria if you use a Realtor who knows the local market. Make everything “contingent upon Seller obtaining HAP benefits and terms approval”. The exact terminology is up to local contracting guidelines as deemed appropriate by the broker representing you- my legal disclaimer as I am not your Realtor…smile. You don’t get much action out of any HAP District on anything unless they have a fully executed purchase contract. Until you have a buyer, they do little to nothing except tell you if you are missing a checklist item from the application packet.

    I give referrals to Realtors in all areas if needed and explain the process to the “newbies”. If you need a personal question answered feel free to google me. I want to be sure my extended family is covered.

  920. Ronon 24 May 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Wondering if there is anyone who has gone through the Augmentation process that had equity in their home.

    Here is my situation.

    Apr 06 purchased home for 335K put a LARGE sum of money down.

    Got orders for Sep 06. So we only got to live in the home for 4 months.

    Have been renting it out in hopes to get orders back and retire their.

    Just got orders somewhere else so we put the house on the market 2 months ago. Listed at 255K. Just dropped to 240K and realtor thinks we still need to go much lower.

    We’re just starting the HAP application since it appears we should qualify for the aquisition program. I just want to know if I’m correct in thinking that we should qualify and also if I’m understanding the acquisition process correctly.

    Say we sell for 220k, we owe less then that but purchased for 335k. They will reimburse up to 90% of the purchase price. So say 300k (rounding figures) After we (if we can find a seller) sell and close on our own, if we are approved by HAP they will reimburse me the difference from 220k to the 90% purchase value of 300k plus realtor fees and closing cost? I’m still out 35K but at this point since we won’t be retiring there I just want it gone. So I can buy at my next duty station. Is there anything I’m missing? Is there anything that would make me not qualify?

    thanks

  921. Denise Korpinenon 25 May 2010 at 12:50 am

    BUYER LOANS- I just want to caution you all as sellers…I have found by experience it is best if your buyer uses a larger corporation like Wells Fargo or Bank of America for their loan. A lot of the smaller lenders are having issues at the last minute approving the HAP contracts. They are also getting hung up on the idea that HAP sales are “flipping”. The government is not making any money, which is the whole premise of invoking the anti-flip rule. The government is exempt from these rules. Yet, loan underwriters are causing delays based on this premise. I never thought I would see the day where my seller had the HAP funds to close, but then buyer could not get loan documents. However, I have seen that day twice in the last two weeks! One resolved and one still to go…

  922. Denise Korpinenon 26 May 2010 at 11:12 am

    Ron- In your post you used Augmentation first, and then Acquisition somewhat interchangeably. You are applying to AUGMENT not Acquire. There is a big difference in the paperwork and process. You are correct in assuming the 10% a done deal. You want to get a current fair market value offer from a qualified buyer on the property. If you have not already submitted your application with all the items on the checklist, you can just send it all with the offer. Your agent needs to get a title report and an estimated HUD1 for you based on sale price. Send it all together. They will send the benefits to the close table and you should, providing your scenario is accurate, get some money back after close. It should take HAP 45-60 days from submittal of complete package- depending on your transfer date and subject to accuracy of information you have provided for the application. Also dependent upon that buyer staying the course.

  923. Karenon 26 May 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Any idea why the process takes so long? We are dual military, forced to PCS to 2 different duty locations, two kids in tow, and already out of the house we are selling. Unfortunatelty, we are now paying the mortgage on the home we are selling, and two sets of temporary lodging fees since we had to report to our new duty stations before closing. We are going through the sell process now, contract was ratified 12 April and sent to HAP immediately, and we are on our 2nd Benefits specialist. Today we were told that we can’t close as stated earlier on 24 June. I don’t know if we will be able to keep our buyers until July. I don’t know that I can afford to pay a mortgage and temporary lodging expenses for another month!! What is the deal with the checks not being available the last week of the month? We were told today that funds would be “set-aside” to close our home. Title work takes 2 weeks to receive, and other paperwork takes days to execute. Can anyone shed some light on the process?

  924. Denise Korpinenon 27 May 2010 at 1:05 pm

    You have to keep in mind your benefits processor likely has about 40 files. Each one wanting the same thing you do! It is very stressful. They all take something we all value a lot- TIME.

    You and your family are important. It is just that your situation is not so different from everyone else trying to get their property closed. Each situation has some unique qualities of its own, but we are all trying to reach the same end result. Many people paying for housing in two or more locations for YEARS before this program even came out. Savings sucked dry, credit cards maxed- all while trying to be responsible for debts they committed to. It will get done if you are qualified for benefits. Just stay with it and do what you have to for your family.

  925. Christineon 27 May 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to give everyone hope who was initially denied HAP benefits due thier home exceeding the PFMV cap. We bought our home in Feb of 2006 for 530K in the tampa area. We put 200k down, so our loan was much lower than the loan limits. We were denied HAP in Feb of 2010 and put in an appeal immediately. Since we were very happy with the contract price, we decided to take a chance on the appeal and went ahead with the sale. We closed March 31st. The appeal sat in Savannah for 2 months and only after contacting Deanna Buchner myself did the appeal get pushed forward. Happily our appeal was granted about 3 weeks ago (beginning of May). We are now awaiting final processing, which is taking forever, inpart I believe to the huge volume of applications in Savannah. We are patiently waiting and hoping that our final benefit comes soon as we are PCSing in a few days. Those of you in similar situations push to have your appeal sent up to DC, but know that it is not a quick process. I think waiting is inevitable, unfortunately! For us it has been almost 4 months and still no check, but definite progress.

  926. Markon 27 May 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Christine,
    It is great to see someone make it through the appeal process! We are in a similar situation. We bought our house in Albuquerque in June of 2006 for $453K, with a mortgage of $320K. Had to PCS Jan of 2009 and sold the house for $375K as we left. We were initially denied HAP due to the 10% county depreciation requirement by the Fort Worth District. We were later contacted and told this did not apply anymore. We were then hit with the PFMV restriction a month later into the process. After reading this blog, I was able to contact Deana Buchner and she told us to appeal back in April. I contacted the Fort Worth District and had some initial push back on appealing. Part of this was due to a new staff being hired. During the weekly conference call that the Fort Worth District participates in, they finally got guidance to process appeals for the PFMV. Another gotcha was were never told in writing that we didn’t qualify due to PFMV. Two weeks later we received the letter and we immediately appealed. The appeal is being processed, but it is extremely slow. The best advice I can give is to be persistent. All of the staff I have dealt with have been nice and courteous and want to help out, but better communication and final guidance from the top would help out.

  927. Denise Korpinenon 28 May 2010 at 12:42 am

    Karen- I don’t recall seeing your scenario before. I am going to guess you are Acquiring. The funds are set aside pretty early in the process- after contract and estimated HUD1 are in. But that has very little to do with when funds/checks are ordered to be sent to escrow. That will only happen when all necessary documents are in. “Title” paperwork doesn’t really take 2 weeks to receive- not sure what is meant by that- may just be terminology. But you are looking at close to two weeks as the signatures on government contracts and deeds make the rounds to get all the original signatures across the chain. Treasury Dept doesn’t really accept new check orders at the end of the month because they are closing the month. They do process and send orders they received earlier (1st 3 weeks of month). Like everything else, there is big volume and they have to stop doing several things other things to focus on balancing. Turn time on checks from order to arrival at close table is usually 10 days- but that is concurrent with the days the deeds and contracts are moving around (at least in Sacramento). If you knew what HAP was still missing to be able to issue you contracts you’d know better why and where you stand. On the other hand, it could strictly be the volume of files your processor has with prior RNT dates to yours. Hoping your buyer was not a 1st timer counting on the tax credit if they push you to July and they stick with you.

  928. Meredithon 28 May 2010 at 11:29 am

    Denise,

    Sorry, I meant Augmentation through out. I just dropped the price to 240K about 2 weeks ago and still no offers or much interest. I sent in the application this week and am hoping to at least hear back that they received it by next week. Will probably drop the price another 20K in the next week or 2. My realtor doesn’t need to get that title report and HUD1 until after I find a buyer correct? I guess I’ll just keep lowering the price until I get an offer, unfortunately even though the neighborhood is a new development less then 5 years old with all the foreclosures etc it’s really hurting us. Lots of homes are empty and not being taken care of so prospective buyers are being turned off because of that.

  929. Denise Korpinenon 28 May 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Meredith- Preliminary Title report can be sent now as it will likely not change (except if taxes are due/paid). HAP wants to see nothing against house except your mortgages.

    Do you know your HAP Automated Value? If not- email me your address. That will help you know if you are marketing properly for program guidelines.

  930. Denise Korpinenon 28 May 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Latest word on RULEs- nothing yet. Not even sure if it has finally made it to OMB. However, I was told that HAP officials are trying to get a policy letter to approve (with certain benefit limitations) properties over PFMV cap for area at District level, instead of continuing to send case by case to D.C.

  931. Oliviaon 30 May 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Christine, thanks for giving those of us over the purchase price limits some hope. Yours is the first successful appeal on the price limit that I have heard about.

    My property is currently on the market, but no offers thus far. It was rented, but now it has been sitting empty since the end of March, so we’re really feeling the strain financially. My realtor doesn’t want to list it for rent while we are trying to sell it under HAP because she thinks it will sell this summer (she’s never done a HAP sale before either).

    However, even if we were to get an offer, we are anticipating a long road to closing. We are still paying the mortgage and related expenses on this place in excess of $3,500 of month! If we weren’t shelling out all of this money to try to preserve our excellent credit, we, like non-HAP short sellers, wouldn’t care if the place sat around empty. But, this is a huge drain on our bank account every month.

    As for a regular short sale, we have not lived in this home for at least 2 out of the last 5 years, so my understanding is that we would be taxed on the amount forgiven under the short sale (which would be a lot as our area dropped over 50% in value), unless there is a military exemption on this pirmary residence rule under the tax code. Does anyone know if there is such a military exemption on the primary residence rule that might apply? If we can’t get relief under HAP, we will probably have to suck it up and take the credit hit by doing a short sale.

    Also, Denise, thanks so much for all of your information and advice!

  932. Denise Korpinenon 30 May 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Olivia- Forwarded your tax question to the MCRD San Diego tax guru. I’m not a tax specialist and Mr. Mike can usually give chapter and verse for just about anything tax wise.

    Listing wise- I don’t know where exactly your home is located but it is not that important. Even in areas where the values have dropped substantially and market times are really long, agents can usually (no guarantees) get offers at a price that HAP will accept within 60 days. It requires a LOT of documentation on price reductions and activity if sale price drops over 10% below HAP AV. I have made lots of comments previously on pricing strategies if you go back a ways in the blog. Generally, a price reduction about every two weeks does the trick.

  933. Pamon 02 Jun 2010 at 1:26 am

    Denise- We would need an appeal for the date of purchase. To my understanding, you need to have purchased by July 2006, we purchased June 2007. Our purchase price was $349 which I think is below the cap for NV. We are thinking of renting it out due to the amount of money we put down when we bought it.

  934. Denise Korpinenon 02 Jun 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Pam- Change of purchase date requires an amendment by Congress to the law. Unfortunately, it is not a “simple” rule waiver by OSD. Someone would need to coordinate mobilization of the masses to hotly pursue their Reps for support. It took 9 months for program insiders to get them to “fix” the tax issue- make benefit it tax free like it was previously. I wish there were better news on that subject.

    I am in the middle of mobilizing support in the California Legislature to make California compliant with the tax free status of HAP benefits. I confirmed with multiple FTB sources that CA Legislation only made state federally compliant for tax laws in effect through January 2009. Since the Expanded HAP rule was made in February 2009, it is not in compliance. HAP benefits for those under the old program (pre 2005) are CA tax free. It doesn’t matter what state someone “claims residency in” for tax purposes. The property was owned in this state and subject to tax law conformity, or lack thereof. Some say members will have to wait till April 2011 to see if it gets done in “one big conformity law”. I don’t think it appropriate to make beneficiaries sweat it till then!

  935. VINNYNYon 03 Jun 2010 at 8:45 am

    Olivia:

    I’m no tax attorney, but I’m 95% certain that President Bush made short sale forgiveness of debt tax-free for military members in 2008. Unless that’s been changed in all the tinkering the current administration has engaged in…

  936. Meredithon 03 Jun 2010 at 10:20 am

    Denise,

    I sent you an email yesterday. Let me know if you didn’t get it.

  937. Denise Korpinenon 04 Jun 2010 at 3:22 am

    Meredith- got it. Sending AV. Buyer’s silly underwriter trying to treat HAP as a “flip” has been monopolizing substantial time for two weeks now.

  938. Oliviaon 06 Jun 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Denise, thanks for forwarding my tax question to your tax guru. I look forward to hearing his response.

    VINNYNY, I’ve tried to search the answer to this question on the internet, but everything I found states that the home must be your primary residence for the tax exemption on shortsale forgiveness to apply (i.e., as defined by living there as primary residence at least 2 out of the last 5 years, which we did not do), and I could not find any evidence of a military exemption to that rule. It would seem that such an exemption would exist, but I just haven’t been able to find it.

  939. Meredithon 07 Jun 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Denise,

    THANK YOU! I have to say that you deserve an award for all the help you’ve been providing to everyone here!

    Anyone have experience with if purchase of home was outside of the July 1 2006 requirement? I know someone that went to contract the 26th of July, trying to find out if this date is going to ever be adjusted or if they should submit app and appeal.

    Thanks!!!

  940. Meredithon 07 Jun 2010 at 5:01 pm

    VINNYNY and Denise,

    Not sure if this will help but this is info about the 2007 The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation

    http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=179414,00.html

    I didn’t read the whole thing over yet.

  941. Meredithon 07 Jun 2010 at 5:08 pm

    VINNNY and Denise,

    This might help too.

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p3.pdf

  942. VINNYNYon 09 Jun 2010 at 7:47 pm

    My third short sale attempt fell through today. Wells Fargo and FHLMC have no desire whatsoever to protect the taxpayers! They’d rather wait to foreclose and lose $100K than lose $15K today. I guess that’s how it goes when you’re playing with somebody else’s money!

  943. Kathyon 14 Jun 2010 at 1:52 am

    Great info here!

    We purchased a home in Maryland Feb ’05 for $365k. One year later it was worth $450k and we refinanced (stupidly…worst mistake we ever made..EVER).

    The new loan is a 5 yr ARM. We had a 30 year fixed but the lower payments on the ARM looked attractive and we felt safe with the value of the house being so high. June ’06 we had less than a month’s notice to PCS. We found renters and have had tenants in it ever since.

    The principal of the loan has grown (3 payment options each month, we make the lowest one…some interest gets tacked onto the loan each month). It is now $417k. Houses in the area are selling for $335k-$360k. The ARM balloon payment will be due next April. We can’t put new renters in this summer as there is no way we can afford that payment in April. The company refuses to modify the loan. We can’t sell it for what the loan is worth. Are we eligible for HAP? I’ve been told that HAP would only look at the original loan amount, however that doesn’t sound logical.

    Are we eligible and if so, can someone draw me a picture of what we would get in the end if we were able to sell this house and take advantage of HAP?

  944. Denise Korpinenon 15 Jun 2010 at 4:14 am

    CREDITS UNDER ATTACK!!!!!
    Extended Family- on Monday there is to be a meeting in D.C. HAPLand to review the status of covering “credits” to buyers in Government Acquisitions. As I understand it, any acquisitions scheduled to close or where checks were about to be issued are “on hold” until this meeting takes place. “To allow or not to allow CREDITS”, that will be the question?

    Credits have always been an uphill battle with Augmentations as well. There needs to be equality in this program and HAP needs to be functional within the current real estate environment.

    The elimination of seller credits is tantamount to HAP suicide. As many of us know, many a sale (in any market- not just HAP) will never be completed if credits to the buyers are not allowed. Closings with VA and FHA buyers just will not be accomplished without some credits. As larger down payments are also needed currently to even qualify for a loan, the pool of potential buyers continues to shrink. The timeframes to close some of these transactions is already enough of a deterrent to buyers. We also know that any delay at this point in time, with Federal 1st Time Buyer tax credits expiring June 30th, is going to cause some very long in coming sales to cancel if action is not taken quickly.

    I strongly encourage you to write a brief and pointed note in support of credits to buyers being allowed as part of the HAP benefit. Forward it up the HAP chain of command as you deem fit- quickly.

  945. Denise Korpinenon 15 Jun 2010 at 4:38 am

    Kathy- You have a couple dynamics that make the picture very fuzzy!
    1st- to qualify for HAP your area must have lost 10% in value from your original purchase price…translated, your property must be worth less than $328,500 ($365-10%) in current market value to a buyer.
    Next- Did you 100% finance the $365k when you originally purchased? Yes, HAP begins its calculations from your original purchase price, but a lot also depends how much of your own money you have into the property.
    You refinanced, but was it to $450k? What did you do with any of the cash you took out?
    Interpretation of what you said- you are making the “negative amortization” payment on a pay option ARM? Sounds like your principle balance is $417k, but do you know what the additional balance on the interest is? That would need to be paid by you or forgiven by lender as well.
    Just too much missing from your equation to say if you may be qualified.

  946. Annie Gon 15 Jun 2010 at 11:58 am

    I am still very confused. JUST when I think I got it down, I realize that I DON’T!! Does anyone know what method is used for CFMV? We had a contract to purchase in Dec 05 and closed July 06, so we are good in that, however I am not sure about the values in our county. We purchased our home for 408k in 06, and owe 393K. Our county appraisals fell 60K this year alone and the different sites online have us all over the map. I looked us up on RealQuest, but that appraisal has us at 400K, based on a county appraisal last year of 387K. Other sites have us between 360K-366K. Which one will be used??? Any thoughts? Also, we have not had a house sell for 400K in over a year. Homes ON our street are selling for about 30% less than they did last year.

  947. Denise Korpinenon 15 Jun 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Vinnyny- Sorry to hear.

    TAXES- (Olivia)- I am still a little challenged by the answers I seem to be getting on the basic question of:
    If a service member purchases a home and is unable to live in it for 2 of 5 years (or extended 10 year period) for IRS definitional purposes as primary residence (then sells) – is there a clear cut exception?

    Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003 Public Law 108-121, section 101 (117 Stat. 1335) (MFTRA). Has information about a qualifying principal residence. Most of it appears to apply to a sheltering gain and extending from 5 years to 10 based on deployments, not shortening the minimum 2 year residency period if deployed or ordered to move, or dealing with substantial losses. The Mortgage and Debt Relief Act of 2007 also seems consistent with the 2 of last 5 years comments. Mr. Mike, sent a copy of p.4705 from the IRS. This brochure talks a lot about debt forgiveness. It still does not specifically answer on military shorter residency exceptions!
    I am NOT a tax professional and do not presume to give advice on taxes. Always consult your tax professional. From a layperson perspective, there appear to be numerous references throughout tax code to exceptions for a shorter than two year period based on “an event that the taxpayer could not reasonably have anticipated” before purchasing and occupying the residence. I am sure IRS has seen plenty of debate over if military PCS orders could have been “reasonably anticipated”. I couldn’t find anywhere IRS directly says if PCS orders are exception.

    Common sense would say that if you are military, you buy a property, you get permanently transferred away (more than 50 miles) before you live in the property any combination of two years- there should be an exclusion. Especially if the property in question is the only one you owned for at least 2 years (if you rented due to PCS). Although I love the USA and we proudly serve, I would not promote the idea that many of our tax laws follow common sense. If anyone has true IRS chapter and verse to cover the shorter than 2 year period for military personnel to claim personal residence exclusion, we’d all love to have it in the back pocket.

  948. Dani Echolson 16 Jun 2010 at 11:44 am

    I just talked to my realtor. My waterfront house, in the Keys, listed at under appraised value, has not had any offers because of this ^*(^&%^$%$# oil spill. He said buyers are backing out and holding off and cancelling contracts until they see what happens. I’m ready to start screaming.

    Meanwhile we transfer in 2 weeks. Is anyone aware of any programs to help out people in our position? To stay eligible for HAP we need to keep current on our payments, but we can’t keep up on a $3700/month mortgage for more than a few more months.

    I’d appreciate any thoughts –

    Dani

  949. Oliviaon 16 Jun 2010 at 11:30 pm

    VINNYNY – I’m sorry to hear that you are getting the shaft from the banks.

    Denise – Thanks for your efforts on trying to figure out whether there is a military exemption on the two-year minimum residency requirement. Our accountant hasn’t been able to find an answer to this question thus far.

    Dani – I’m sorry to hear that the oil spill has affected your home sale — like the real estate bust and recession weren’t enough to contend with. However, you raised an issue that I need clarification on — must the military member really stay current on their mortgage payments to be HAP eligible? I haven’t seen such a requirement anywhere. Denise, do you know of such a requirement? I thought folks who did short sales or foreclosures were still eligible for HAP benefits.

    I ask this question because we are currently over the HAP purchase price limit and are contemplating a non-HAP short sale as our Plan B if HAP doesn’t pan out for us (or takes way too long). My understanding is that our bank will not even discuss a short sale with us until we fall behind on our payments for at least a few months. Plus, if we have to do a short sale and our credit is therefore trashed anyway, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to continue forking over $3,500 per month on this property.

    Thanks all!

  950. Denise Korpinenon 17 Jun 2010 at 4:41 am

    All- No matter what, you have to make an informed decision about what works best for your family. You also need to keep your command in the loop. This should help to limit any effects of financial status on security clearance and promotions. I would never presume to advise anyone to stop making payments (due to potential legal implications). Although it is true, many banks will tell you they will not consider short sale unless you are late 2-3 months. Every situation is different as is each person’s emotional and financial tolerance for all the variables. You have to make the final call as you have to live with the consequences.

    Yes, there is a statement in HAP guidelines that says you should be current on mortgage to be eligible. I had a HAP client we submitted HAP and short sale for back in April 2009. They paid their mortgage until July when they transferred and lost the 2nd income- to keep in line with HAP rules. Extended credit card cash advance to the limit. Tried to stick to their commitments financially, but their bank was not going to approve short sale without them being late. HAP was still having issues authorizing any payments at all. Short sold on Nov 5th, same day Congress made HAP benefit tax free so HAP could finally pay out. They were relieved that they short sold as things played out- the earliest HAP Sacramento would have closed them was Feb 2010- best case scenario under Acquisition. Because all their mortgage debt was “forgiven” and written off by the bank- not one dime is paid by HAP. They had financed 100% at purchase. Again, I say, not one dime, unless HAP changes a rule somewhere down the road. Note, I am constantly hoping for this. We had hoped that HAP would go back to an original benefit that reimbursed property related expenses for the time period from HAP application to sale of property. Then they could at least pay off the credit card advances. No dice to date.

    To bring up to date between Nov 2009 and present- many people who are not current on mortgages are getting HAP benefits. It usually requires negotiations with the bank to forgive the unpaid interest, late fees and penalties in exchange for HAP providing as much payoff as beneficiary is eligible for. I have heard that if you are in this situation, you could also try to get lender to forgive 10% of your principle balance and be qualified to Augment, instead of Acquiring. I have not had anyone I needed to go this route to date. It has been known to take half the time to get the funds from HAP to Augment. Doesn’t change the fact that you will take hits to credit in the meantime and then have a partial short sale. HAP was supposed to help avoid that. Also keep in mind (as above scenario) most of the time if you short sell or foreclose- you get no HAP benefit because the debt is written off by your bank. If your lender requires you to sign a note and make payments as debt is not completely forgiven, you may still be eligible for HAP to help with that.

  951. Denise Korpinenon 17 Jun 2010 at 5:06 am

    Annie- Generally, you can prove out the validity of the lower sale price by progressive price drops justified by lack of activity until you finally get an offer. HAP also has a second system they can check if RealQuest seems way off line with a CMA (done by local professional agent). HAP doesn’t do this often- they prefer to RealQuest. I requested this recently on a listing where less 10% from AV still wasn’t in line with current market. It helped a lot.

  952. Adnilon 17 Jun 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Here is some good news for those who need stuck with FMV cap.
    My appeal was granted yesterday and it tooks 10 weeks. It was approved at the DEP Under SECoDEC level.
    While waiting, I did a private sale in order not to loose the buyer and thier lender.
    Hope this gives some hope if you have not yet file an appeal.

    Adnil

  953. VINNYNYon 17 Jun 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Dani:

    This oil spill may be the best thing that could have happened. It’s inevitable that the government will float a plan to help those affected by the spill. They’ll use BP money to buy people’s houses or compensate for lost value. It’s just a matter of time…

  954. VINNYNYon 19 Jun 2010 at 9:31 am

    Denise:

    I’m trying to take myself out of the short sale category. If I can buy off my second mortgage (purchase money 2nd) for something less than what I owe and get them to release the lien before I sell the house via private sale, would it still be considered a short sale by HAP because some of the debt was forgiven?

    I don’t want to lay out the cash to buy out the 2nd if HAP would still treat it as a short sale because I understand that HAP will only pay the banks, not the owner, in a short sale scenario (in complete violation of the intent of HAP). I would also have to overcome the PFMV cap issue ($550K versus $417).

  955. DJinFLon 26 Jun 2010 at 2:23 pm

    PMFV Limit – We rec’d a phone call stating our appeal was approved on 17 Jun at the Dep Undersecretary of Defense level, as well. Nothing in writing, yet. We submitted an appeal in late Feb with a contingent contract (the buyer was lost later). Our new case worker says it takes a week or two to transfer our file and another 90 days for the acquisition (w/o additional claims). Our application has been bouncing around HAP offices since we put our house on the market back in May 2009. We have a buyer hanging on since 18 Apr and have been working a short sale, simultaneously.
    Short Sale – Since Apr, we’ve had 4 different negotiators on our 1st loan. On our 2d loan, the negotiator says we’ll walk away with an unsecured loan for any difference we don’t pay off (up to $65K). The contract price is 75% of the remainder of the 1st mortgage, after closing costs. 2d loan says they’ll release the lien if they get 10%. 1st loan continues to process even though we are current on payments (to stay HAP eligible). Our hardship letter emphasizes my wife losing her job (and soon unemployment) and another PCS overseas this summer. It also references a rental with a lot more equity with the same lender that is losing money (that we can’t refinance). At first, we were afraid the short sale would be approved before HAP responded to our appeal, forcing us to go with the less desirable short sale.
    Oil spill – Our realtor says the spill is causing people to back out of contracts here, too and the VA is cutting appraisal prices(we are 3 miles from a beach where every beachfront home has been submerged three times by hurricanes since 2004 and now has oil on it).

  956. Oliviaon 28 Jun 2010 at 1:41 am

    DJinFL, thanks for the helpful info.

    We have a purchase contract on our property and just sent our HAP application in. We are above the PMFV and will need to appeal. We thought we had a 6-month renter to get us through the appeal process with HAP while we continued to make our mortgage payments, but, unfortunately, they moved on to something else because this whole HAP thing apparently freaked them out.

    We are contemplating not paying our mortgage starting in July because we are rapidly running out of money and depleting what little savings we have while this place sits empty for months on end. Based on what I’ve read thus far, it sounds like it will take at least 4 months to get through the appeal process and another 3-4 months to get through the acquisition process once the appeal is granted (of course, this doesn’t include the initial time period to get denied in the first place before the appeal process even begins). My realtor seems to think we can close in 60 days, but I’ve been trying to tell her that it will be much longer than that because of the appeal. (Of course, the final rules increasing the price limits could come out any day now.)

    Where exactly does it say that we must be current on our mortgage payments to qualify for HAP? I’ve been looking, but haven’t come across it, yet. We need to stop the bleeding ASAP before we end up in even more financial turmoil (we have $165,000 of our own cash into this place that is long since gone as it is). We also need to start the short sale process in case HAP doesn’t pan out, and I’ve been told that most lenders won’t consider a short sale until you fall behind on your payments (I can’t get an answer from my lender on this issue).

    It sounds like I should submit the short sale paperwork ASAP, but, I, too, am concerned that it could be approved before we receive the final word from HAP. Clearly, receiving the HAP benefits would be a God send and well worth waiting for (too much is at stake to not even try to appeal). If I am understanding things correctly, if we go through with the short sale, we would get nothing from HAP, even if our appeal were subsequently granted. Is this correct? What if we got behind on the payments in preparation for a short sale and then brought them current if we got HAP approval on our sale? Is that sufficient to qualify for HAP? I really want to cut my losses on this place and stop throwing good money after bad. If I am going to end up will bad credit by doing a short sale, then it seems like I better be preserving my savings as much as possible now since my chances of getting credit in the next few years would be extremely limited. Yes?

    Thanks for bearing with me on this long, drawn out comment…

  957. Oliviaon 28 Jun 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Ironically, our purchase offer is $165,000 less than the principal amount of our loan and we have $165,000 of our money into the property. So, in addition to damaging our credit, we stand to lose about as much as money as the bank on a short sale.

  958. DJinFLon 28 Jun 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Olivia,

    I guess the HAP rule states “For permanently reassigned
    member of the Armed Forces, all payments on an eligible mortgage must be current as of the report-not-later-than date.”

    For our circumstance, we wanted to preserve our credit until HAP responded to the appeal or the final rule was published changing the PMFV cap. I got rid of my cell phone and sublet a room in an apartment during my last assignment with a mattress on the floor and a computer on a desk while my family stayed in the house at my last duty station. So, far we are keeping above water since our adjustable mortgage rates are extremely low–but, those days will end sometime. Our realtor says the short sale is also about a 6-month process from contract submission.

    We were just told today our case moved from the appraisal department to benefits where they will officially respond to our appeal and eligiblity.

  959. Oliviaon 28 Jun 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks for pointing me to the relevant language, DJinFL! My husband’s report-not-later than date was last September and we’ve been current on our payments thus far (with the help of rental income which dried up in March). Based on this language, however, it appears that stopping mortgage payments at this point should not affect our HAP eligibility.

    We would like to preserve our credit, too, but before we drain our bank account completely we need more confirmation that HAP will work out for us. On this blog, I’ve read about other folks getting declined HAP benefits for reasons other than the PMFV cap, so I don’t want to assume that will be our only issue.

  960. Denise Korpinenon 29 Jun 2010 at 2:06 am

    Vinnyny- Did you ever actually decide which property it worked best for and submit a HAP application? If so, with perseverance, you could get it all to a benefits processor desk so they push the PFMV appeal and could give you a general idea what you are looking at.

    All- I have touched on this a few times in the blogs above. On short selling and “partial short sales”… you automatically throw yourself into a “Private sale/Augmentation” category in most cases. That would mean you become responsible for first 10% of PFMV (instead of possibly being eligible for 100% mortgage payoff in Acquisition). HAP responsible for up to 90% PFMV (of qualified property benefit). If you negotiate partial forgiveness and carry a note back- the remaining note may be HAP eligible. Originally, any “debt forgiveness” by your lender DID NOT count towards the 10% contribution. Although, more recently, some have negotiated 10% or more worth of PFMV debt forgiveness with their lender and then lender accepts balance of HAP benefit as payoff. Thus lien is released with HAP paying the negotiated balance at close table. You take a credit hit for having been late and partial short payoff (sometimes HAP benefits rep can get lender to drop this part- no promises). At least it stops the required payments/liability on the property and you can try to work out the credit issues in time. It is something to consult your financial/tax advisor about. It requires good understanding of the program to make it work. Make sure your command is kept informed of your financial status no matter what.

    In most cases (unless you are with Wachovia) it takes as long to short sell as it would to acquire. How much it hurts the credit to short sell depends how many payments you go behind. In general, you can go late on payments and still get HAP benefits but it will require you catching up at the close table, or negotiating the late monies and fees to be forgiven by your lender. In other words, you add one more complication to an already tenuous situation.

  961. VINNYNYon 29 Jun 2010 at 10:52 am

    Denise:

    I’ve had packages built for both of my houses for over a year, but have not submitted either because they exceed the PFMV cap.

    My VA house is rented for only $1000 less than the monthly payment and that house still has reasonable value (about $130K less than I have invested). Assuming I could get the PFMV cap waived, I could still get aboutr $80K back from HAP.

    The AZ house is listed at a loss of $200K (plus closing costs, etc). Our third attempt at a short sale fell through last week and I’m actually thinking about moving my family back in and taking a remote assignment for a year. Selling it via short sale would net me zero money back and my credit would still be a mess. So, I’m not sure there’s any value in using HAP benefit here. Unless, I can buy off the 2nd and have it treated as a private sale by HAP–then I’d recover almost twice what I could get on the VA house.

    I could see myself moving back into either house when I retire in 3 years (sooner if I get SERBed next year). If we move back into the AZ house, I may be able to get some sort of work out in place–I could easily afford the house if I actually lived there…

  962. Ronon 29 Jun 2010 at 3:35 pm

    We finally got an offer and contract on our house. Sent it to the HAP office. Just got an email stating the sales price has been approved but is now being sent to Acquistion and Benefits to see what benefits I qualify for? What does that mean? We are using augmentation since we have a HUGE amount of equity in the home. We paid 335K our mortgage balance is 180K we put A LOT down. The contract is for 200K plus 3% closing costs. I was under the impression they reimbursed us for 90% of our purchase price so for the sake of the story 300k. I know since it’s augmentation we do the sale on our own and will eventually get reimbursed down the road, so am I wrong in assuming that eventually I will get reimbursed the difference between 200K plus 3% CC etc? Now I’m nervous thinking we’ll get nothing and all our money we saved will go down the tubes! I’ve come to terms with losing the 35K but to lose more will be financially devasting. Anyone had experience with this?

  963. Oliviaon 02 Jul 2010 at 9:46 pm

    The HAP folks received our package on Monday via FedEx. How long does it usually take to get a response from them acknowledging their receipt of our package and assigning us a case number? Should I be following up with them on Tuesday or is it too soon to expect to hear anything from them? Thanks.

  964. Karenon 05 Jul 2010 at 5:23 am

    Hello it has been awhile since I checked back on the site to see how things are going. Great to still see my Realtor Angel hard at work for you. We are currently in the Middle East but I wanted to see what was going on in the HAPless world since I was gone.

    Olivia, I would give it a week at least and then contact them. They are still so overwhelmed that you have to give them some leway. Of course, don’t drop the ball since it is your money that is at stake.

    As to not paying your mortgage just remember that come closing you will have to be current on the mortgage, taxes and insurance before you can close. As Denise said though, there are ways around it come closing.

    Denise hello there!!! I think you still owe me my Starbucks!!!! Hope all is going well with you and the family. We are quite hot here at 117 degrees but we are HAPfree. Give me an email lady. I miss our talks.

    Karen

  965. Karenon 05 Jul 2010 at 6:29 am

    http://www.defense.gov/recovery/plans_reports/2010/pdfs/DoD%20HAP%20Program%20Plan%20Update_FINAL_062110.pdf

    Cut and paste this site and you will get the most up to date information on what is going on with HAP (JUNE 2010) , what moneys have been given out, what each year is projected to receive and who is in charge.

    It shows you their goals for 2010-2012 and how many servicemen and civilians they expect to help. It also shows that because this is a DOD program and in accordance with DOD directive 4165.50 The Under Secretary of Defense of Aquisition, Technology and Logistics has overall responsibility for the HAP program. Our currnet USC is Ashton B Carter. Perhaps contacting his office might work for some of you.

    http://www.gao.gov/decisions/majrule/d10422r.htm

    Another interesting item I found is concerning the interim rule.

  966. Oliviaon 05 Jul 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks for your response, Karen. We received a letter from with our case number over the weekend.

  967. Deeon 08 Jul 2010 at 9:40 am

    Hello everyone just wanted to check-in and give you all a quick update. Our PCS move from WA to GA went smoothly; we got an offer (second offer since our first one fell through) on our house while in transition and finally closed on July 6th. The buyers had a VA loan and our closing was delayed several times, which is typical from what I have read on this site.

    We have submitted all documentation to HAP, Ms. Cheryl Williams in Sacramento has been wonderful in following up with us via phone calls and emails. She has accepted documentation from us via us mail, scanned copies via email, and faxes. She has been very accommodating and I am thankful she is so patient.

    We forwarded the final HUD-1 and Warranty Deed to HAP yesterday. Ms. Williams spoke to my husband and told him she needs a Recorded Grant Deed and a Deed of Reconveyance to finalize our packet and send it to resolution. I am still trying to figure out whom to request these from as our lender and Escrow Company won’t.

    Anyway, Ms. Williams warns it will be another 3-6 months before we receive HAP funds because they are currently working the 2008-2009 PCS dates.

    I will update again when we have new info. Thank you all for the advice and information provided thus far.

    -Dee

    At this poing we figure the hard part, closing, is over.

  968. Chrison 14 Jul 2010 at 10:00 am

    This whole process is killing me! I put in an appeal 20 April through the Savannah office…bought at $424,000 (over the $417,000 limit). I have a contract on my house contingent on HAP approval, so they are currently renting it until we close.

    The Savannah office does not return calls so we researched phone numbers posted previously in this blog. My realtor got a hold of someone in DC.

    My realtor told the man that we sent an appeal through in April and the guy said it may be too soon to know anything but decided to look in the “database” to see where our appeal was. He was surprised to see that it was at the Deputy Undersecretary’s Office. He said we should hear from someone at HAP in one to two weeks.

    He then proceeded to say that no appeals for HAP limits have been denied…they have all been approved.

    So, bottom line, it is a LONG process, there is a tracking process at OSD, and it seems that all appeals are being accepted (for purchase limits). There is always a first for everything, so I pray that mine won’t be the first “denied” appeal.

    I hope this helps some of you. As far as the phone number that my realtor called…go to the “Find on this Page” tool (should be in the upper right-hand corner on Internet Explorer and search “202″ which is DC’s Area Code.

  969. Chrison 14 Jul 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Update to my above post…posted 4 hours ago. Just got a call from HAP and my appeal was approved. So, the “one to two weeks” was really one day!!!

  970. Denise Korpinenon 22 Jul 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Buyer costs: Crisis intervention mode…to stay positive, this issue is being worked! But the scary truth is that Federal Attorneys have once again come back saying they believe HAP paying any BUYER closing costs under this program is illegal according to the legislation. Sacramento put an immediate stop to all sales about to close to rescind approval of costs credits. Said Military sellers will need to renegotiate with buyers or cover credits if they are due to close soon. Then fight it to try to get approval and reimbursed if it changes back again. As of yesterday, Texas and Georgia were continuing to process payments with costs credits in favor of the military beneficiary and take their chances there will be some heat. Not sure how long it will stay that way. I will keep you all updated as I hear more.

  971. DJinBEon 24 Jul 2010 at 12:21 pm

    After nearly 14 months, we are on our way to close with HAP augmentation on 13 August and reuniting our family again. We forewent the acquisition for augmentation just to get past this sooner. We were surprised that the proprated property taxes at closing are not included as part of the reimburable closing closts by HAP. Is that consistent with what other folks have experienced?

  972. Lauraon 25 Jul 2010 at 8:48 am

    I have some good news and a question. The good news is that we are another success story of getting our appeal approved for having bought over the cap. We sent our appeal package in mid-April and received the approval in mid-June so it did take the full 60 days. We also received an all cash offer on our home with a buyer who wants to close quickly! We are thrilled to say the least.

    Now to the question. I recall Denise saying on this site months ago that there is no longer any reason to do a private sale – that augmentation is better. All our paperwork is into HAP and our processor has been wonderful about letting us know that our sale price is fine (within acceptable limits) and that all of our upgrades are legal and have the required receipts and proofs of payment. We were getting ready for final review and HAP cutting checks when she called to say that because we have enough equity in our house to cover all closing costs (we have lost alot but we also put a huge downpayment down), we fall under private sale. She said we didn’t need HAP at the closing table because we have enough equity. The process for private sale is that we close (lose our $200,000) and then wait 4-6 weeks for the Deed of Reconveyance to get filed. HAP can then order our check (which gets made out to us instead of the escrow company). I realize we don’t NEED HAP funds to close, but I’m much more comfortable having everything finalized at closing. Although we have been told numerous times now that we qualify and everything is in order, it is tough to swallow this huge loss and then take it on faith that we will get our check 6-8 weeks later. Has anyone else been through this? Should I have any concern? Is there any way for HAP to come to the closing with funds even if we don’t need those funds to close?
    I appreciate anyone’s insight on our situation.

  973. Erikaon 26 Jul 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Has anybody appealed the 2006 cutoff?? I see that loan limited are being appealed and people are winning. We can prove that our area and house have lost over 25% since we bought in 2007. So, we are considering appealing the July 2006 cutoff. Any info would help!!

  974. Denise Korpinenon 28 Jul 2010 at 3:10 am

    Laura- I said that you should have no need of private sale at this point because it should only take 45 to 60 days MAX to get an Augmentation check sent to escrow. It should take even less if your appeal is already approved, that processor already has your file, has approved all your receipts, and is in direct contact with you. The only benefit to private sale vice Augmentation for you would be to close in less time than 45 days with an ALL CASH offer. If you buyer were getting a loan, it would take 45 to 60 days anyway. It’s your call. Most people with any equity to close have found that if you are kind to the processor, yet leave them under the pressure that you do want the money sent to escrow for close…it appears to make them a little more obligated to move it along. There are no guarantees.

  975. Denise Korpinenon 28 Jul 2010 at 3:24 am

    Erika- You can appeal the 2006 cutoff. The bad news is it will not do you any good at this very moment. That is because it is “The Law”- determined by Congress. Thus, Congress has to change it, or give discretion to the Secretary of Defense to do so. House Bill HR.5136 & 675 on pages 336-337, has a provision to change the law on start and end dates to SecDef discretion. SecDef could then change dates if it appears to be a need based on applications and there is still money available in the pot. That is why it is important people apply and send an appeal anyway- to generate the recorded need. It is also important that you let your Senators and House Reps know you want support for that part of the bill. You should also tell them you want them to support S.3454 & 2851, pgs 613-618, which adds more money to the pot, and would stop costly “ACQUISITIONS” altogether. Everything would then be an “Augmentation” at close table without government taking title. HAPland would be a far HAPpier place!

  976. Denise Korpinenon 28 Jul 2010 at 3:49 am

    Dee/Laura- Dee’s case is a perfect example of what I mean when I say if you close private sale it may take you longer to get the money. The thing here to be real blunt is- you had means to stop your own bleeding. Many people have no way to do that. Thus there are more processors pushing Augmentations with complete paperwork through than there are processing Reimbursements. Amazingly, the Augmentation documentation is easier to come by.

    Dee- You should be able to get a copy of the recorded deeds of reconveyance emailed in less than an hour from the escrow/title company. They are just being lame if they don’t help you with it. If not, get someone to go straight to the County Recorder’s office for you and ask for it. Don’t let them accept no for an answer. Otherwise it will take Recorder many weeks to send deed to you. Thus part of why Ms. Williams projects such a long time for reimbursement…in addition to workload at Sacramento being intense.

    FYI- on the HAP Application Checklist it says what documents you need for a Private Sale Reimbursement. Put anything you have not already sent together in a FedEx envelope with name at the upper right corner of each page inside. Send it to Ms. Williams’ attention. She is good to go and it sounds as though she already has your file. If her workload allows and it is all there, she will get a check ordered pretty soon from receipt of documents. Realizing that from check order, turn times are 10-15 days back to the District from Millington Treasury. There is only so much under a processor’s control. My bet, if you do as I just suggested, you would have a check in about 40 days from the time you send it in. No promises- but worth the try.

  977. Denise Korpinenon 28 Jul 2010 at 3:58 am

    DJ- In HAPland, Sellers always have to pay prorated property taxes, mortgage interest and HOAs if there is one for their property through the day they close. HAP generally only covers what we would call “non-recurring costs”- the things that are charged one time in relation to the transfer of the property Examples would be: Escrow, Title, City transfer tax, and loan demand fees.

  978. Denise Korpinenon 28 Jul 2010 at 4:10 am

    Ron- you have the grasp pretty well. Sounds like you are in line to go to a processor’s desk. It usually takes few weeks to get there. Then they start processing. How long it takes to get money depends how many files they have and how complete yours is. Like Dee, if you close and go for reimbursement, you will need a copy of the RECORDED deed. It is often a long process to get this. If you Augment at time of close, you do not need this, but it may take a little longer to be able to close due to turn times for HAP check processing.

    Olivia- Sounds like you are also in line for your file to go to someone’s desk. It usually takes a few weeks to hear more from this point. You get put in order by benefit type and report no later than date. A complete file based on the Application Checklist will speed your processing along.

  979. Denise Korpinenon 28 Jul 2010 at 5:28 am

    VINNYNY- made any decisions and submitted one of those packages yet? Sounds like a tough decision to me. But if AZ lender is not going to let you short sale, and you are behind which puts restrictions on HAP benefits…the rules may be making the choice for you. Doesn’t really sound like the lender is pushing the foreclosure timeline strictly with you.

    I don’t envy you that decision. Actually, if I was you, I would send them BOTH in with a letter of explanation and ask for a benefits processor to help analyze it.

  980. VINNYNYon 28 Jul 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Denise: I haven’t submitted either package yet because the Savannah office told me that submitting two packages would cause problems. They told me that I could only have one application in the system. I’m making a last ditch effort to get out of the AZ house without it being a true “short sale”. I made a settlement offer to the secondary lender and I’m waiting to hear back. If they accept my offer I’ll submit my application on the AZ house and try to sell it quickly. Of course, I still don’t know if HAP will pay me or try to pay the lenders first. I haven’t gotten a straight answer from any of the processors but I guess they don’t owe me any answers because I don’t have a package submitted.

  981. Erikaon 30 Jul 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Denise- Thanks for the information!! We had our application all filled out and ready to go, when the HAP representative at Eglin AFB in Florida told us not to bother sending it in because we bought after July 2006. We know so many people in our exact situation that never submitted their applications. We have lost over 30% since we bought in 2007. We PCSed in September of 2009 and rented our home for $1000/month loss. We are going to submit an application on our own and appeal. Also, I will contact our Senators and House Reps!! Thanks

  982. Deeon 03 Aug 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Denise,

    Thank you for the input. I have sent every bit of paper along to HAP, all we are waiting for is deed. Accoriding to our escrow company they don’t provide it. Our lender has forwarded everything along to the county, but according to the county they have not yet received it so they can’t process a deed of reconveyance to forward along to us. So we wait…….

    I am very nervous about your recent post concerning the buyers closing cost not being covered by HAP. We paid 3% of buyers cost upon closing with the understanding that it would be a reimbursable expense; that 3% amounted to $8,500. To be honest, if we hadn’t done that we would have lost another buyer. We hoped we were making the right decision by closing and waiting for HAP reimbursement, since loosing one buyer, we didn’t want to jeoperdize loosing another. I see an appeal in our future if they don’t approve our reimbursement. I am just hoping to get things settled sooner than later!

  983. Oliviaon 03 Aug 2010 at 9:27 pm

    We found a cash buyer for our property, which has dropped at least 50% in value, and submitted a HAP application in June, even though we’re over the $417,000 limit for our county. We followed up with HAP periodically regarding the status of our application.

    We were initially told that no one had been assigned to our file, but the computer showed that we were “eligible” after a preliminary review of our application (which surprised us since we are over the PFMV limit). We received a call today from a HAP rep saying that we are not eligible after all because we are over the $417,000 limit and that our denial letter would be sent out very shortly. The HAP rep recommended that we appeal the denial when we receive their denial letter. She had no idea how long the appeal process would take, though.

    Has anyone seen a sample appeal on the PFMV issue? Is it just a one-page letter? I would appreciate any guidance anyone might have. My understanding is that no appeals on the PFMV have been denied to date. Thanks.

  984. Denise Korpinenon 04 Aug 2010 at 5:36 am

    VINNYNY- you sound like a pretty tough guy…but you need to not lie down and take some of these silly answers from HAP phone reps! If I did that, I would have 12 clients who still would not be closed. Is it your own best interest to have someone at HAP screen your applications for which route works best? Yes. Based on what you have HAPpening (or not), your whole financial future is in the balance. You have been in a position to file either one of these and get benefits for about four months (when they started slowly waiving PFMVs). But you still don’t have either app processing. You just have to smile through the phone as you express your predicament until you get someone who will help you deal with the matters at hand. FedEx both apps together with a note for a supervisor to call you to advise because it is complicated. You can email me on the backside or call if you want more ideas. A little too much to type here.

  985. Denise Korpinenon 04 Aug 2010 at 5:43 am

    Olivia- At this point in the program, your appeal letter doesn’t have to be too complex. You could just say you are aware final rule is projected to make “PFMV benefits cap $729,750. You would like to appeal the cap for your area on PFMV”. I also suggest you request “expedited processing” because your application was “misdirected” for a season of time in the system.

  986. DJon 04 Aug 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Hello all, I’ve posted a few comments months ago, but my situation has finally come to a conclusion. I was medically retired for combat injuries (Wounded Warrior) and I submitted by initial HAP application back in May with the final Warranty Deed arriving (to Sacramento) first week of July. I have not heard anything from HAP other than my application number. I have tried emailing the “Realty Specialist” that notified me of receipt of my application but he’s not replied to both emails. Does anyone have a contact in Sacramento that can at least tell me where my application is? Perhaps I need to simply sit back for a few more weeks and let the process work? Thank you for any help you guys can provide!

  987. Oliviaon 04 Aug 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Denise, thanks for the advice! We didn’t know whether we should get into a big discussion about why the $417,000 cap shouldn’t be applied in our case in the appeal letter.

    I told the first HAP rep that I spoke with at the Sacramento office that we were over the PFMV cap and wanted to receive our denial letter as soon as possible so that we could start the appeal process because we had a cash buyer that we didn’t want to lose. He told me that our file was in line for further processing instead of a denial because we were showing in the computer as “eligible” and that I would just have to wait until someone was assigned to our file. I had to keep calling back to try to get someone assigned to review our file and finally someone agreed to do it, which is when they finally noticed that we were over the limit. So, DJ, I would call HAP directly (my e-mails weren’t returned either) to find out where you are in the process and when someone will be assigned to your case.

  988. Markon 04 Aug 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Olivia,
    Here is a template for a memo if you need one. Our appeal is up at DASA and should be up at the USD offices next week. I used this format on official letterhead and signed it. I scanned the document and sent it up to our district office in Fort Worth. It seems to have worked well. I hope it helps.

    MEMORANDUM FOR: Real Estate Division, Your District Corps of Engineers

    FROM: rank XXX XXXXX, Branch of Service

    SUBJECT: Appeal to Prior Fair Market Value Restriction (PFMV) (Application No. XXXXXXXXXX)

    1. I would like to appeal the PFMV restricting the value of the original purchase price of our home in City, NM to not exceed Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae loan limits.

    2. In the Spring of 2006 we received orders to PCS from Base X, TX to Base Y, NM. We purchased the house on Street Address, City, NM in June, 2006 when base housing was not available at Base Y, for $453,812.99. The house was a modest home in a decent neighborhood. The market in City, NM was at a fever pitch, with limited time to find a home for our family. The Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae loan limits for the area are set at $417,000. Our mortgage was set at $320,000 (well under PFMV limits) after putting $132,812.99 of our own personal funds upfront. In the fall of 2008 we received orders to PCS back to Base X, TX following a shortage of pilots at Base X. We put the house up on the market in October of 2008 for $450,000. No offers were made until literally the day we had Base Y in the rear view mirror (had to stop and answer the call from the realtor) in January, 2009. We sold the house for $375,000, which was a demonstrated 17 percent loss in value.

    3. I understand that the final rules maybe coming out soon, but we have waited for 16 months for some form of relief. I request you remove the Prior Fair Market Value Restriction of $417,000 and complete the processing of my application. The attachment shows that the PFMV is the only delay in processing our application.

    4. Thank you for your time and consideration. There are many people thankful for your work and time spent trying to make the process work.

    //////////SIGNED//////////////////
    XXXXX, XXX rank, Branch of Service
    Office Symbol
    DSN Phone number
    Commercial: 123-456-7890
    Cell Phone: 123-456-7890

  989. Oliviaon 05 Aug 2010 at 12:40 am

    Thank you, Mark! Your template is very helpful!

  990. Denise Korpinenon 06 Aug 2010 at 1:17 am

    DJ! Marlene at HAP Sacramento now has all the Wounded Warriors! This is a recent change. Email me for email address and phone Denise@theREagent4me.com

    All- I recently gave a “Boots on the Ground” class on HAP for the San Diego Association of Realtors. Bart Wivell from HAP D.C. did the first hour with the Army Corps slides. He said VAST majority of files on benefits processors desks are missing something from agents, title or escrow companies. Status comprises 50% of all HAP files with offers in hand but not yet processed. Usually these are items that were requested but never received- even after 2-3 requests. For some crazy reason it seems many service providers are choosing to argue about why they can’t provide what is requested instead of just finding a way to get HAP the antique documents they need. This was also confirmed by a couple of HAP processors. Your Realtor needs to be after the service providers to return documents requested or you will suffer the financial consequences. I realize that many Agents have no idea WHAT HAP NEEDS. There is not a published list of items needed for Augmentations and Acquisitions from DoD. I keep a list. Things change too often, so I don’t publish it.

    Once you have been assigned a benefits processor- it should rarely take more than 3 months to close your transaction at this point in the program. If it does, someone dropped the ball! If you are not hearing from your service providers that they are hearing from HAP once you have a processor, you need to ask benefits processor who has not provided requested documents and hunt that document down for them. Each moment a HAP processor has to spend chasing a file item from an unresponsive agent, escrow or title person takes away time they could be processing check requests!

  991. Lisaon 06 Aug 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Hello everyone. This website has been sooo helpful but I was hoping to get an opinion on our situation. WE are due to PCS in October of this year. I contacted the Savannah office and they implied that it wouldnt really matter if I sent in our package now or after we closed because it would basically just “sit” there until we get a buyer anyways. Is this true or would it be better to send it in now? My in laws are willing to buy our home (they love it and would like a second home) for cash what we owe so that we could just close and then file for reimbursement later. We are unsure if we should go this route (it will be a slight burden on them) or just keep lowering our house price until we get a buyer and hope we can keep them on the hook long enough to close. The reason we are debating it is because it seems as though the reimburssements are taking much longer and are harder to get and we hate to put an undue burden on our inlaws. Issue is we can not afford the mortgage here and another home when we move. It seems like the process takes so long that we would lose buyers and go bankrupt before we could close on a home if we went that route. I hope I dont sound to uneducated but thoughts are appreciated!

  992. DJinBEon 07 Aug 2010 at 1:02 pm

    We are finally set to close next Friday with augmentation. This is a PMFV waiver-approved close and HAP is covering the loss up to 90% of the original cost and closing costs ($126.5K). We had much higher offers, but HAP could not approve our eligibility in time to keep those potential buyers. There wasn’t any discussion over the offer price (probably because of years on the market). Thanks to everyone on this site for keeping me informed as my application has been in since before this site started (I’ve PCSd twice now without my family). It will be nice to actually live with my family again (minus one who is off to college) as they join me overseas later this month. We are glad to get this behind us and I don’t think my wife will ever let us buy another house. Almost simultaneously, we also qualified for a short sale. But, we would have walked away with a $60K note on top of ruining our credit–so we are grateful for HAP.

  993. Oliviaon 08 Aug 2010 at 1:48 am

    Congrats, DJinBE! I’m sure you and your family can’t wait to be reunited! Thanks for sharing your experience on this board. We just received our denial letter due to the PFMV issue today and your story gives us a lot of hope while we begin the appeal process. We’re just hoping to hang on to our cash buyer while we navigate the appeal process.

  994. Markon 08 Aug 2010 at 10:43 pm

    I received a call Friday morning (6 Aug) from Nancy Orenstein in the Fort Worth District that are appeal was approved concerning our PFMV issues. Our check should be cut in the next ten days and will be Fedexed overnight. Nancy has been fantastic throughout the process and we would highly recommend you talk with her if you are in the Fort Worth District. The appeal was sent from the Fort Worth District on 24 Jun and took about a month and a half to get approved. The postings on this board have helped out incredibly and helped us keep the faith. We would not have appealed had we not heard Denise Korpinen and Deanna Buchner recommending to do it. Our paperwork odyssey with HAP started April 2009 and was an emotional roller coaster due to the implementation issues with the program, but it has been well worth the wait.

  995. Oliviaon 09 Aug 2010 at 2:38 am

    Mark, it’s great to hear that your appeal was granted – congrats! Our appeal letter is going out in the mail tomorrow (we followed your template). Thanks for sharing your story and appeal timeline. I noticed from our denial letter that an appeal can go up to five different decision-makers before a final decison is rendered.

  996. Danion 09 Aug 2010 at 12:38 pm

    We just received a lowball offer with a written-in part that they want the inspection period to begin after HAP approves the contract. I’ve emailed my HAP rep – Nancy Erler, and I’m waiting for a reply to see if this is OK.

    I also asked her if we could submit multiple offers to HAP. Not that we have multiple offers, but we keep getting super lowballs, which we aren’t taking because it would take the property off the market while we wait for HAP to let us know if they’re going to accept.

    By the way, I think it’s ridiculous that HAP won’t give us an acceptable sales price before we try marketing the house. We’re really flying blind here. We received an independent appraisal from a local appraiser, and it came in at $375K. Our offers have been $275K and $290K. Meanwhile, we’re paying $3700/month for a house we don’t live in, I’m unemployed, and we’re living off our credit cards.

    Does anyone have any experience or thoughts on either of these issues?

  997. Denise Korpinenon 10 Aug 2010 at 2:15 am

    DJ- status?

    Lisa- HAP will only begin to process an application within 90 days of RNLT. Sounds like you are almost in that window. My advice; get your application completed for AUGMENTATION at time of sale (NOT Private Sale). It works if you had at least 10% money into the house. It should only take HAP 45-60 days to get your check out to escrow if you send them complete application, purchase offer from your in laws, Title report, and estimated HUD1. If you are not working with an agent, I can see if I can locate you someone to help with the paperwork. It is not hard to Augment if someone involved knows what is needed.

    I strongly recommend AGAINST going it on your own with a Private Sale for reimbursement at this point in the program. You have to wait for the County to get around to sending out final copy of recorded deed. That takes several weeks. HAP wise- there are so many people who need money at time of closing. Plain truth…people who have already managed to close without help are waiting 90 plus days for reimbursement.

  998. Denise Korpinenon 10 Aug 2010 at 2:18 am

    Yeah Mark! So very HAPpy for you! Sorry, can’t help the pun. Glad to hear your good report. Spread the good word!

  999. Deeon 10 Aug 2010 at 9:52 am

    Hi everyone,

    Good and bad news. We finally got the deed of reconveyance faxed from the bank yesterday. We forwarded it to HAP via email immediately, and Mrs. Williams submitted a request for our check; hopefully in another 10 days we will have a check in hand.

    The bad news is the 3% buyers that we paid at closing will not be reimbursed. Sacramento HAP will no longer reimburse for closing cost, so we are out yet another $8,500.

    Denise – Have you heard anything new on this subject? Is this something we can dispute via an appeal? We contacted Sacramento HAP several times about this subject prior to signing a purchase and sale agreement and assured us it was reimbursable. Please advise, thank you.

    -Dee

  1000. Clay Hardmanon 10 Aug 2010 at 5:23 pm

    My wife and I are currently appealing our ineligibility due to the 50 mile rule. We transferred from Mayport to the Naval Air Station Jacksonville. The total distance is about 40 miles. Has anyone ever seen something like this get approved?

    Also, while in appeals I am considering a VA streamline refinance. Does that sound like a good idea?

    Thanks

  1001. Denise Korpinenon 13 Aug 2010 at 2:14 am

    CLOSING COSTS CREDITS & Sacramento:
    HAP closing costs are like a never ending battle! HAP fact- it is all about the Lead HAP Sacramento Attorney and her opinion HAP should NOT to pay them. She claims it is illegal according to the ARRA legislation. Long and short of it is- if your HAP check request includes “closing credits” the funds will not be authorized by legal at this time. This came down July 21st. HAP Sacramento was authorizing up to 3% generic closing costs credits until that day.

    HAP Sacramento will approve certain costs ITEM BY ITEM. You will want help from your Realtor and escrow officer to have this reflected properly on the HUD1 to receive HAP funds. Submit to HAP Benefits Processor for final review and confirmation.

    http://hapinformation.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/hap-sacramento-closing-costs-august-12/

  1002. Denise Korpinenon 13 Aug 2010 at 2:30 am

    Correction-try

    http://hapinformation.wordpress.com/category/hap-news-updates/

  1003. DJinBEon 16 Aug 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Friday the 13th was our lucky day. HAP close went fine (augmentation). Only hiccup was that because HAP will only deliver a US Treasury Check made out to the seller at the closing, we had to pay an extra five days of interest on our loans waiting for the check to clear. I think the closing attorney is glad its over–he had to produce 14 draft HUD-1s since June amidst switching from short-sale to HAP (after we rec’d our appeal approval). Our buyers patiently waited 4 months for their really good “as is” deal.

  1004. Oliviaon 17 Aug 2010 at 3:22 am

    DJinBE:

    Woohoo – this long ordeal is now FINALLY behind you and your family – AWESOME! It’s so nice to hear such a HAPpy ending!!

    We sent out our appeal letter regarding the PFMV issue to the Sacramento office last week so your story is very encouraging.

    Congrats again!!!

  1005. Denise Korpinenon 17 Aug 2010 at 3:35 am

    Yeah DJ! FYI- MOST “escrow” companies consider a US Treasury check good upon receipt. You were likely dealing with a different situation due to attorney closing. Also, in most of my HAP transactions I think we average 7 HUD1 estimates- given that HAP changes what it pays and the closing date changes for multitude of reasons. Do keep us posted on your next adventures…want to know all is well in PostHAPland!

    Just sending to escrow a property with an approved PFMV appeal. Appeal took from late April till late July to process. Ended up sending OSD comps to prove there was going to still be an allowable HAP benefit. It is going to be interesting to see how HAP factors all the dollars.

  1006. DJon 19 Aug 2010 at 8:56 am

    Denise, I’ve been in close contact with Marlene. She’s been a huge help. Thank you, thank you for the referral!

  1007. Markon 19 Aug 2010 at 10:39 pm

    We received our Treasury check on 18 Aug and the adventure is over! The whole odyssey with the HAP program lasted 16 months. We were in a unique situation in which we had already made a private sale before the HAP program existed. We fell within the date timelines set in the program, but initially didn’t meet the 10% county depreciation requirement. After this was sorted out, we didn’t meet th