FHA “Short Refi” To The Rescue?

FHA “Short Refi” To The Rescue?

On March 26, 2010 the Department of Housing and Urban Development along with the Treasury Department, in all their infinite wisdom, announced a new FHA refinance plan.  The goal of this plan was to help homeowners who are current on their payments but owe more than their house is worth – in a nutshell, they’re upside-down.

What? But how is that possible? One of the major components of doing a refinance is the appraisal. Without the appraisal proving the home’s worth, there IS no refinance. FHA is telling us they will take a $150,000 loan on a home that is worth $120,000, owned by an individual who is current on his or her payments, and put them into a new FHA loan for only $120,000. But what happens to that $30,000? Where does it go?

The catch – and it’s a very big catch – is that the current lender must agree to forgive at least 10% of the principal balance. What lender would do that? Why would they ever agree to this on a loan that is current? It just doesn’t make sense to me, how about to you? Actually, it apparently doesn’t make sense to HUD either. HUD is the department that insurances FHA loans and this new program they created is not available to FHA borrowers. So HUD is essentially saying “it’s OK for other lenders to reduce the principal balance to do this refi, but we won’t do it for our own loans”. Wow!

Which is why I believe it will fail. The thought process behind the plan was well-intentioned; they were trying to help borrowers stay in their houses while avoiding more foreclosures. The housing market is hemorrhaging money, and from their point of view, something had to be done, even if it’s not really feasible. Now, to be fair, there are incentives, I’m sure, to lenders who agree to this. But most will refuse. It’s letting go of hundreds of thousands of dollars without even a protest and with no financial hardship from the borrower. You and I both know that confrontation and collecting are second (if not first) nature to the banks, and they will not give up their money without a fight.

Thanks, but no thanks, HUD.

Interested in real solutions to your Michigan Foreclosure?  Call us for a cash offer and free short sale negotiation.

Melissa

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