Some Great Information I received for Veteran Borrowers

Veterans Benefits Administration Circular 26-11-1
Department of Veterans Affairs January 6, 2011
Washington, DC 20420
1. Purpose. This circular provides authority and instructions for mortgage servicers to pay
relocation assistance to borrowers participating in two different loss mitigation options: (1) a
deed-in-lieu of foreclosure (DIL); or (2) a short sale with VA compromise claim.
2. Background. VA has a longstanding policy of encouraging servicers to work with veteran
borrowers to explore all reasonable options to help them retain their homes, or when that is not
feasible, to mitigate losses by pursuing alternatives to foreclosure. For over 15 years, VA has
paid incentives to servicers successfully completing alternatives to foreclosure, and beginning in
2008, VA started paying incentives to servicers for successful repayment plans, forbearance
agreements, and loan modifications. Recently, other incentives have been developed in the
mortgage servicing industry to help encourage participation by homeowners in completing loss
mitigation options. Last year, as part of the President’s Making Homes Affordable program, the
Treasury Department announced the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA)
program that provides an incentive to a borrower relocating as a result of a short sale or DIL.
The incentive provides funds for a homeowner experiencing financial difficulties to more easily
identify and move to suitable housing. In the case of a DIL, it also expedites preparation of the
former home for resale because the borrower will be able to move out faster and will leave the
home in better condition in return for the assistance.
3. VA Relocation Assistance. Effective immediately, VA is authorizing servicers to advance
$1,500 in relocation assistance to borrower occupants who complete a short sale with a VA
compromise claim or who execute a DIL. VA will treat this as a reimbursable expense that may
be included as a part of the eligible indebtedness on the basic claim event in VALERI; it will not
be considered as proceeds to the owner from a short sale of the property, which is prohibited.
The amount of the indebtedness reimbursable on a claim after crediting it with the net value of
the property (or the short sale proceeds, if larger) is limited to the maximum guaranty on the loan
plus the cost of liquidation appraisal(s). The servicer must waive any amount on the loan not
covered by the sum of the VA guaranty claim amount and the greater of the net value or sale
4. Procedures. VA regulations require all servicers to establish a system for servicing
delinquent loans which ensures that prompt action is taken to collect amounts due, to minimize
the number of loans in a default status, and to pursue alternatives to foreclosure (Title 38, Code
of Federal Regulations, section 36.4350(f)). VA requires that servicers first consider home
retention alternatives pursuant to VA Circular 26-10-6, “REVISED VA MAKING HOME
AFFORDABLE PROGRAM,” and then foreclosure alternatives. Servicers may process VA
DILs and short sales in the same manner as today; however, servicers may find it beneficial to
replicate a number of the HAFA provisions that exceed VA’s procedures. This could include
suspension of foreclosure action while reviewing cases for DILs or short sales, and especially
while waiting a reasonable period for return of completed documentation on cases that appear to
offer substantial savings by avoiding foreclosure. 2
Circular 26-11-1 January 6, 2011
5. Documentation. VA expects servicers to proactively notify eligible borrowers of the
availability of foreclosure alternatives, and to encourage completion of a short sale or DIL by
providing the homeowner a written agreement describing the requirements for receipt of a
relocation incentive. In the case of a DIL, the agreement must specify that the property will be
unencumbered by other liens or restrictions on title, it will be kept in good and safe condition,
and it will be left ready for sale in “broom clean” condition (i.e., clear of all personal belongings
and reasonably clean) upon the homeowner’s departure.
6. Payments. In a short sale transaction, the servicer must instruct the settlement agent to pay
the borrower from sale proceeds at the same time that all other payments, including the payoff to
the servicer, are disbursed by the settlement agent. The amount paid to the borrower must appear
on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. On a DIL with a formal closing, the relocation assistance
of $1,500 must be shown on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, and it must be paid to the
borrower if the property is vacant and has been inspected by the servicer’s agent; otherwise, the
servicer must mail a check to the borrower within 5 business days of vacancy and delivery of
keys to the servicer or the servicer’s agent. If there is no formal closing, then the servicer must
mail a check to the borrower within 5 business days from the later of the borrower’s execution of
the deed or the borrower’s vacancy and delivery of keys to the servicer or servicer’s agent.
7. Benefits of Relocation Assistance to Servicers and Veterans. Relocation assistance can
provide necessary funds to conduct a move or pay for lodging for borrowers who are faced with
the imminent loss of their home. For servicers, the transfer of ownership via DIL or short sale is
typically shorter than a foreclosure time period, and the property is left in better condition via
DIL, which preserves the condition and value of the property by minimizing the time it is vacant
and subject to vandalism and deterioration. In addition, these options generally provide a
substantially better outcome than a foreclosure sale for borrowers, investors, and communities.
8. Questions. If you are a veteran with questions about your loan, please call our toll-free
number, (877) 827-3702, to reach the nearest trained VA Loan Technician who can counsel you
about your situation. Any veterans or servicemembers who feel they may be facing
homelessness as a result of losing their home can call (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) or go to to receive immediate VA assistance.
9. Rescission: This circular is rescinded January 1, 2014.
By Direction of the Under Secretary for Benefits
Richard Fyne, Acting Director
Loan Guaranty Service
Distribution: CO: RPC 2024
SS (26A1) FLD: VBAFS, 1 each (Reproduce and distribute based on RPC 2024)

Do I qualify for HAFA? Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative


You may be eligible for HAFA if you meet all of the following criteria:

Loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
You live in the home or have lived there within the last 12 months.
You have a documented financial hardship.
You have not purchased a new house within the last 12 months.
Your first mortgage is less than $729,750.
You obtained your mortgage on or before January 1, 2009.
You must not have been convicted within the last 10 years of felony larceny, theft, fraud, forgery, money laundering or tax evasion in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction.

HAFA offers benefits that make the transition as favorable as possible:

You can get free advice from HUD-approved housing counselors and licensed real estate professionals.
Unlike conventional short sales, a HAFA short sale completely releases you from your mortgage debt after selling the property. This means you will no longer be responsible for the amount that falls “short” of the amount you still owe. The deficiency is guaranteed to be waived by the servicer.
In a HAFA short sale, your mortgage company works with you to determine an acceptable sale price.
HAFA has a less negative effect on your credit score than foreclosure or conventional short sales.
When you close, HAFA provides $3,000 in relocation assistance.

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