HUD Housing Counselors Continue Assisting Negative Equity Homeowners

Housing counselors continue to assist negative equity homeowners who need help staying put in homes while working on initiative to assist those having trouble reentering the housing market because of foreclosure code wrongly applied to past mortgage credit

HUD approved housing counselors can still assist homeowners struggling to stay put in negative equity homes. But a new effort will check credit of those who have had a past short sale, modification, deed in lieu or excessive mortgage late’s where foreclosure code is applied and causes a mortgage denial for past homeowners eligible for a new mortgage.

Current funding still exists to help homeowners with negative equity who are struggling to stay in their home, but not for long. National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling funding will expire on September 30, 2017 so here’s a shout out to loan originators and realtors: Refer clients that you know are in need to HUD approved housing counselors that can be located in each state at HUD.gov.

As we turn the corner from the housing recession, problems continue to linger. In 2011, it was found that short sale credit was often coded as a foreclosure and is easily spotted where mortgage delinquency over 120 days occurs. In 2013, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida demanded that this problem be corrected and a workaround was done in the Fannie Mae automated system. But there was never a workaround done in the Freddie Mac system and due to the popularity of the Freddie Mac Home Possible program, past short-sellers with the foreclosure code issue are now being denied through the Freddie Mac Loan Product Advisor automated system. Further, all were stunned when an initiative started by the housing counseling industry for affected past short-sellers resulted in finding that the foreclosure code was also being applied to those with a modification and often a deed in lieu.

The root cause of this problem is not the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac automated underwriting systems. Recently, a past homeowner who did not have a short sale, modification or deed in lieu but did have excessive mortgage late’s before she sold her home applied for a car loan at a credit union. She was denied the loan because her past mortgage credit showed up as a foreclosure and the loan was never run through the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac automated systems.

The root of this problem appears to be that foreclosure code is applied to a mortgage when delinquency over 120 days occurs. The verbiage “settled for less than full balance” or that a loan is classified as a modification or deed in lieu does not appear to be superior to a payment history that is 120 days or more delinquent.

There is no specific credit code for a short sale or modification and there needs to be. And we need specific clarification to use credit code “89” for a completed deed in lieu. We need this now so that past homeowners who did the right thing and worked with their lender or a housing counselor to stay in their homes for as long as they could do not have their credit wrongly coded, causing future turmoil when they try to purchase a home again. We haven’t even scratched what this problem is doing to their other consumer credit.

Credit…. Having good credit…. Is what every American is taught about at an early age and what they strive for. Credit is what makes the economy run and better credit leads to better reward. It is frustrating that we are still dealing with a problem that the masses have known about for years, but that is adversely affecting the credit for millions and stalling many from reentering the housing market.

Last week, the offices of two Senators and three Congressman who get this problem were visited. The problem and a way that the housing counseling industry can help were shown to mortgage industry stakeholders at the HOPE NOW Fly-In. Presently, the housing counseling industry is fine tuning a process that will provide affected consumers with a correction to this problem…. before they purchase a home again. Our hope is to promote this service to loan originators and realtors and to have them refer potentially affected consumers to housing counselors who will take care of this problem before consumers purchase again. All of this is being done while we work on a bi-partisan effort with legislators to get a specific credit code for both short sales and modifications.

Stay tuned.


Housing Counselors Hone Skills for Service That Will Assist Those with Past Short Sale, Deed-in-Lieu or Modification Where Credit Shows Up as Foreclosure

By Pam Marron | National Mortgage Professional Magazine |July 2017

Step One… Loan Originators and Realtors need to ask ALL clients if they’ve had a short sale, Deed in Lieu (DIL) or loan modification in their past. If they have, run the loan through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated systems first to see if foreclosure credit, a “dispute” or incorrect “Date Reported” exists.

Step Two… spread the word that HUD approved housing counselors can assist these clients to correct (not temporarily hide) erroneous credit to get affected consumers “mortgage-ready” ahead of signing a contract.

 Many of nearly 3 million consumers with a past short sale, over 5 million who have had a loan modification and an unknown number with a past DIL need urgent attention to correct a credit error known about since 2011. Affected past homeowners are now eligible to purchase a home again but are being denied new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conventional financing where their credit for a short sale, deed-in-lieu or modification shows up as a foreclosure and results in a new loan denial.

The initial problem is when short sale, DIL and modification credit shows up as a foreclosure, often anticipated if past late mortgage payments went over 120 days.

When the affected consumer is told their credit wrongly shows up as a foreclosure, a “dispute” is placed on the account which simply hides the credit from the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated systems… and then must be deleted when the client applies for a new mortgage. (A new change to the Fannie Mae “dispute” policy will take effect on July 29, 2017.)

And, because the account was re-investigated after the short sale, DIL or modification closing date, the “Date Reported” becomes more current, causing the automated system to provide a denial because it appears that the required wait timeframe has not been met.

Loan originators often proceed with processing a new mortgage after checking the required wait timeframe against the closing date of the past short sale, DIL or modification. But sometime during the process or even as late as underwriting, the loan is run through either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac automated systems where the problem is first seen. Many lenders are unaware of the Fannie Mae workaround (there is no workaround for Freddie Mac!) and often tell blind-sided consumers to “go get your credit fixed and come back.” With the limited supply of housing inventory, sellers are reluctant to extend closing dates for additional time needed to investigate the credit error. Many homebuyers either lose the contract due to the delay to get this fixed or change their loan type to a higher interest rate portfolio loan or an FHA loan.

It makes sense to engage the housing counseling industry into a pre-purchase solution. Loan originators are driven by contract deadlines. Non-profit housing counseling agencies work with clients on the “heavy lifting” to get issues corrected. And HUD approved housing counselors were able to verify “Economic Events” for extenuating circumstances for the past FHA “Back to Work” program.

Leading this initiative is the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC.org), a non-profit organization with HUD approved housing counselors and credit counseling services. The organization is training and testing solutions to address known fixes, with an emphasis on assisting affected consumers before they even sign a contract. The goal is to alert the real estate and mortgage industries of this service to get potential affected clients “mortgage ready” before sending them back to the real estate and mortgage professionals.

Providing this individualized service to those with a past short sale, DIL or modification who want to purchase a home again is a tremendous relief to these consumers who don’t want to relive their past nightmare again.

This pre-purchase assistance needs to be promoted to affected consumers, the mortgage and real estate industries, loan processors and credit reporting agencies. Correcting issues can be as quickly as 1 day to 60 days.

This will be an up-front fee paid service from an individual housing counselor. Loan originators who wish to assist these clients can refer them to HUD approved housing counselors who have been trained on how to get these unique credit issues corrected once and for all. Then, when the client is deemed “mortgage ready”, they can come back to the loan originator who can provide a credit back towards mortgage closing costs when these folks are ready for a new mortgage.

Everyone benefits. Stay tuned.


Pre-purchase help coming from HUD approved housing counselors to assist clients who still have credit issues with a past short sale or modification

By Pamela Marron | National Mortgage Professional Magazine | May 2017

HUD approved housing counselors are being trained to provide assistance for clients who continue to have problems with short sale and modification credit that appears as a foreclosure. The goal is to correct problems prior to a new purchase.

A collaborative initiative has begun that connects loan originators who have clients with a past short sale or a modification with HUD approved housing counselors who can make sure that common credit issues are resolved before clients sign a home purchase agreement. The goal is to provide correction to a continued problem of foreclosure credit code that incorrectly shows up on short sale and modification credit and often results in a loan denial and loss of contract. Worse yet, a foreclosure coding delays a new conventional mortgage for seven years rather than the four year wait required after a short sale. And recently, it has been found that modification credit is being affected with the same foreclosure code.

 

Over 1 million past short-sellers are now beyond the four year time frame and are eligible to purchase a home again. Another 950,000 will become eligible over the next three years. For those with modifications, no wait timeframe is required and over 1 million have been put in place from March 2009 to March 2017.

 

Correcting continued credit issues ahead of signing a contract for eligible past short-sellers is the focus of a small group of loan originators and housing counselors who are preparing this initiative. “Too many times, past short-sellers are told within the processing time and during a live contract that their short sale shows up as a foreclosure, and that they need to go get it fixed and come back.” states loan originator Pam Marron. “A service is needed for affected clients to get this credit issue permanently resolved ahead of time so that these clients are mortgage – ready.”

 

Fannie Mae developed a workaround in August 2014 but not all lenders know about it. There is no workaround in Freddie Mac. And though both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac note there may be exceptions when inaccurate credit exists, lenders are reluctant to address this.

 

Marron cites that additional credit issues commonly grow out of the inaccurate foreclosure code for most of these clients when they either attempt to remedy the problem themselves or go to credit repair companies. A “dispute”, the most common fix, temporarily masks the short sale credit and appears to work when credit scores go up. However, when the consumer applies for a mortgage, either the underwriter, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac automated system findings require that the dispute be taken off. The result is that credit scores plummet, a conventional mortgage denial is received and a delay to fix often occurs and can be a serious problem if a contract deadline is looming. If the consumer is in a contract, the quickest remedy is a Rapid Rescore that must be paid for by the lender. Often, the resulting credit scores are lower and the consequence is a higher interest rate.

 

A second problem is a more recent “date reported” when the short sale credit is reopened in order to get it corrected. The more recent date reported often falls within the four year wait timeframe causing the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated systems to issue a denial due to the wait timeframe not being met.

 

Marron thinks this service coming from third party HUD approved housing counselors is a perfect fit. “Loan originators are driven by contract deadlines. Housing counselors are not.”

 

Solutions for correcting the credit issues discussed are already available but assisting those who have had a past short sale or modification is the best way to find more ways for correction. Ms. Marron and Jim McMahan, a loan originator in Georgia, will begin taking calls for consumers with a past short sale or a modification this month. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC.org) will start this effort and utilize HUD approved housing counselors to work with affected consumers to ensure the credit issues of a past short sale will not hamper their ability to get a new conventional mortgage.

 

There will be a fee for the one on one counseling and a credit towards closing costs on a home purchase can be provided. Contact Pam Marron at 727-375-8986 or email pam.m.marron@gmail.com or Jim McMahan at 404-808-0945 or email jim@mcmahanmortgage.com.

 

Stay tuned.


Drill Down on Short Sale and Modification Credit

By Pam Marron | National Mortgage Professional Magazine | April 2017

Recently, a joint effort of the mortgage and the housing counseling industries to remedy continued credit problems of past short sellers who continue to receive a foreclosure credit code on their past short sale credit was investigated. While reviewing data, it was learned that this same credit code problem also affects consumers who have had a modification. The foreclosure code problem seems to be present when mortgage lates go past 120 days, a trait present in many short sales and modifications. But we were stunned when the foreclosure credit code also showed up on a consumer who had excessive mortgage lates… but no short sale, foreclosure or modification.

To prove the data found, nine cases including short sales, a modification, a Deed in Lieu and one where none of these existed were set up in the same format. A tri-merged credit report was pulled for each and a visual of the problem credit trade line was provided as well as a snapshot of the individual bureau repositories of Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

Fannie Mae

All cases were run through the Fannie Mae Desktop Originator (DO) automated underwriting system (AUS) with the tri-merged credit report. A visual of the findings for an approval or declination and what the blended tri-merged credit in Fannie Mae looks like was provided.

The Fannie Mae workaround was used for loans that received a Desktop Originator Refer with Caution and it worked… even on the modification.

There is no workaround for Freddie Mac.

Freddie Mac

For Freddie Mac, cases were run through the Loan Prospector Advisor (LPA) first with the lender tri-merged credit report. Then, the case was run again using the credit in-file option allowed internally through Freddie Mac’s LPA. A snapshot of Freddie Mac’s tri-merged credit and the separate credit in-files was included.

Here is what was found in Freddie Mac:

  • There is no variation for foreclosure verbiage. Either “13. Recent foreclosure/signif derog appears on credit report” appears in findings, or it does not.

Other remarks are often included:

  • “64. Crdt rpt w/recent mtg delinq or review mtg credit history”
  • “YW. The Borrower has had a foreclosure within the last seven years. The mortgage file must also contain evidence of the completion of the foreclosure.”

Number of consumers at risk

Thanks to RealtyTrac (now ATTOM Data Solutions), it was learned that there were 1,978,754 short sales and deeds in lieu completed from 1/1/2010 through 12/31/2016.

The wait timeframe after a short sale or deed-in-lieu is 4 years, rather than the 7 year wait timeframe after a foreclosure.

Thus, as of Dec. 31, 2016, 1,032,211 of those with a past short sale or deed-in-lieu are past the 4 year wait timeframe and are now eligible to re-enter the housing market. Any of these clients and additionally those who had a modification or who had mortgage lates past 120 days will most likely encounter a new mortgage denial for a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac conventional mortgage.

We haven’t even looked at the number of modifications affected yet.

How Problem Continues

A conventional mortgage denial occurs when the automated underwriting system reads credit code of a past short sale as a foreclosure. When the lender calls Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, support tells the lender that the information is coming from one or more of the bureaus (TransUnion, Experian or Equifax). Ultimately, the consumer is told they must get the credit fixed with the bureau(s) where the foreclosure code is coming from, though Fannie Mae has a workaround for this problem.

The borrower tries to get this fixed by placing a “dispute” on the account. The “dispute” hides the actual credit from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated systems and must be lifted from the credit when the consumer applies for a new mortgage. When the dispute is lifted, the problem credit comes back and most often credit scores plummet. This results in a higher rate for the consumer and the lender must pay for a Rapid Rescore, the quickest way for consumers to get a credit score change. This is a big problem when found during a contract with a deadline. Lenders that end up paying for the Rapid Rescore often do not want to assist consumers where this problem is anticipated due to the cost the lender must incur.

Another problem is the “Date Reported”, or a more recent change to an account than the initial occurrence date. The more recent date often exempts a past short seller from a new conventional mortgage when it falls within the minimum required wait timeframe. This date cannot be changed per credit reporting agencies.

Stay tuned.


HUD Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee (HCFAC) to host panel entitled “Challenges in Credit Reporting Post-Crisis: An Opportunity for Housing Counselors”

As a member of the HCFAC committee which is comprised of three representatives each from the mortgage, real estate and housing counseling industries as well as three consumer advocates, I am learning more about a great resource – HUD approved counseling agencies. Panels were planned for March 14 at HUD to show different ways that HUD approved housing counselors can assist not only consumers, but also mortgage and real estate professionals. (The meeting was cancelled due to a major snowstorm and will be held at a later date.)

For years, we have grappled with a credit problem where past short-sellers who attempt to get approved for a conventional Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage are turned down because their short sale is credit coded as a foreclosure. This problem is commonly found during the mortgage process of a live contract where a deadline must be met. Often, options to get this corrected quickly are expensive or result in the borrower resorting to an FHA mortgage or a non-QM portfolio loan at a higher interest rate.

When this problem was discussed with colleagues in the housing counseling industry, it became evident that this is where a solution to this problem for all parties might be. Why? Loan originators are trained to meet contract dates and get data needed to ensure an approval. Housing counselors are trained to analyze and prepare clients for homeownership.

The credit code problem specific to short sales is not a singular issue. It starts with the realization that the short sale code is showing up as a foreclosure – something not visible until it is seen in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated underwriting systems. This doesn’t mean Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are to blame for this problem – it’s just where it is first seen.

Unfortunately, for many affected past short-sellers they learn of this problem on their first attempt to get a new conventional mortgage when they are eligible again four years after the short sale. But too often, lenders don’t run these clients through the automated underwriting system upfront which would allow the lender to know there’s a problem right away. And consumers don’t always let the lender know they had a past short sale.

Note to all loan originators: ask your clients if they had a short sale up front! If they did, run them through your automated system immediately!

Calls for help often come in when the loan is in crisis. Lenders are instructed on how to do the Fannie Mae Desktop workaround, but if the lender is primarily a Freddie Mac lender, there is no workaround. And because of slight differences in the popular Fannie Mae Home Ready program and the Freddie Mac Home Possible loan, calls for help are increasing for how to fix this problem in Freddie Mac.

If past short-sellers know of the problematic credit code issue, they or a credit repair company attempt to get it corrected. The most common fix is to dispute the account. However, the dispute does nothing but hide the credit, offering a temporary fix that appears to work when credit scores increase. However, when the affected consumer applies for a new mortgage the dispute must be taken off of the credit. The previous credit code problem returns, credit scores plummet and if the consumer is in a contract, there is only one quick way to remedy the problem and that is with a Rapid Rescore. Per FCRA regulations, the lender must pay for the Rapid Rescore.

Another problem that occurs is that because of the dispute, the “date reported” becomes more recent then the short sale closing date because of the new investigation. This date can’t be changed per credit reporting agencies and the automated systems can deny a past short seller if this date is within the four year wait limit.

No lenders in the U.S. will do a manual underwrite to circumvent the problem, though both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have written criteria that allows for a manual underwrite.

Last week, it was found that the same credit code problem appears to also affect those who had a modification and are over 120 days delinquent.

It is a hunch that going over 120 days delinquent may be the key because an approval of a new loan was received for a consumer who was less than 120 days late on their mortgage prior to the short sale. Nonetheless, we are close to getting this resolved…. And the housing counseling industry will be involved in assisting in a permanent correction of this problem.


How Loan Professionals can Correct a known Short Sale credit coded as a Foreclosure

Loan originators are unaware that there are two solutions that can work when short sale credit is erroneously coded as a foreclosure and results in an automated denial. One solution is a workaround in Fannie Mae. (There is no workaround for Freddie Mac.) The second solution is to “Submit a Complaint” on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website.

Fannie Mae workaround

https://www.fanniemae.com/content/release_notes/du-do-release-notes-08162014.pdf

Loan professionals need to know specific directions on how to use the Fannie Mae DO/DU automated underwriting system (AUS) workaround when a Refer/Caution is received and the denial is due to a short sale coded as a foreclosure.

Loan originators, upon receiving Refer/Caution:

  • Within (1)Fannie Mae DO or DU automated underwriting system, go into (2)Edit Loan: then (3)Full 1003 and then (4)Declarations, then (5)c. In dropdown box, change to (6)Yes.
  •  Click on (7)Explanation button at bottom right.  For(9), either:

On (8) Declarations Explanation page:

  •  If strictly trying to correct a FORECLOSURE code noted on findings for a short sale, enter on line c.: Confirmed CR FC Incorrect
  • If “Extenuating Circumstances” and are trying to get DU/Fannie Mae approval at 2 years after short sale, enter on line c.: Confirmed CR FC EC

Submit a COMPLAINT at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

When you find out that your short sale was coded as a foreclosure, one option to correct this is to Submit a Complaint to the CFPB. Let the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau know that your short sale is being coded as a foreclosure on the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac automated underwriting system.

Take these steps:

  • Before you finish, attach short sale approval letter(s) from your lender and your closing statement (HUD-1) showing the loan closed with you as the seller, not the lender as the seller.
  • You will receive an answer back from the CFPB within 15 days so keep an eye out for their email.

 

Next month: How Housing Counseling Agencies can help your clients prepare for home ownership….


Loan Originators: Be aware of “disputes” on credit reports and automated underwriting findings. Also on short sales, check “Date Reported”.

 Do it before a contract is signed.

By Pam Marron, Jan 9, 2017 for National Mortgage Professional Magazine

Frustrated consumers looking for solutions to correct erroneous information on their credit report often turn to credit repair companies or their mortgage lender for help. A dispute is the 1st method tried but this “fix” is temporary. A requirement to delete the dispute and rerun the automated submission is usually brought to the attention of loan originators who are unaware of the existence of the dispute or where to find it… often weeks before a closing date.

When an account is put into a dispute, that credit is temporarily hidden from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and USDA automated underwriting systems (AUS), allowing a false AUS approval. But direction from AUS findings or a mortgage underwriter alerts us that the dispute needs to be deleted from the credit report and that the AUS must be run again. If the credit in dispute is adverse credit, the credit score goes down when the dispute is lifted and an AUS approval commonly changes to a “Refer” or “Caution”, or a loan denial.

Deleting a dispute is not a one step solution. The borrower can do the “fix” if they have 45 to 60 days to do so. But often, due to impending contract deadlines, the only option is a Rapid Rescore which can delete the dispute within 2 to 5 days. However, this is a costly remedy. Further, under FCRA guidelines, the borrower cannot pay for this Rapid Rescore cost and the loan originator or lender must pay.

There are four things a loan originator can do upfront.

  1. Disputes: check the entire credit report whether a mortgage, credit card or loan, for any dispute verbiage. Common dispute statements:
    1. DISPUTE RESOLVED – CONSUMER DISAGREES (disputes the dispute!)
    2. CONSUMER DISPUTES THIS ACCOUNT INFORMATION
    3. ACCOUNT INFORMATION DISPUTED BY CONSUMER

Go into each of the three repositories (Experian, Equifax, Trans Union) on the borrower’s credit and check which ones have dispute verbiage. These are the disputes that must be deleted. Zero balance accounts normally do not apply, but check with your lender.

If you have at least 45 days, retrieve the generic dispute form from your credit reporting agency and have your borrower follow explicit direction from your credit reporting agency on how the dispute can be deleted.

If you don’t have this time, retrieve the Rapid Rescore form from your lender and find out what is needed to delete the dispute.

  1. Run automated Fannie Mae Desktop Originator(DO)/Underwriter(DU) or Freddie Mac Loan Prospector Advisor(LPA) and USDA Government Underwriting System (GUS) upfront. Usually dispute messages are within the findings stating “there appears to be a dispute on the credit report” and direction appears for what needs to be done.
  1. Submit a Complaint to the CFPB for Short Sale Credit Code Correction

What has worked is to “Submit a Complaint” for a mortgage at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/. (Visual instruction and what to attach is located at  http://housingcrisisstories.com/submit-a-complaint-cfpb/.) This is not a dispute but a request for correction to the credit.

Why this is different:

Short sale credit is often coded as a foreclosure when the late payments (still) required to get a short sale approved exceeds 120 days. Often, past short sellers have already had an experience where it was learned that their short sale was coded as a foreclosure. Many have gone to a credit repair company or have attempted a correction themselves to get the erroneous credit code changed. A placed dispute temporarily hides the credit but does not correct the code.

  1. Check “Date Reported” on credit report. Make sure the date is the same as the short sale closing date on the HUD-1 closing statement. If the borrower has previously contacted the short sale lender upon learning that their short sale was coded as a foreclosure, that new date which may also include a dispute of the account becomes the “Date Reported”, or a more recent date then the short sale closing date. If the new “Date Reported” is within four years, the wait timeframe required for a new conventional Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage, this will result in a loan denial in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac AUS’s. If this occurs, you will need to find a conventional lender that will do a manual underwrite.

Hunting for solutions on this now. “The valuable role that housing counselors can play in helping consumers with credit” coming soon. Stay tuned.


Erroneous Foreclosure Code still results in Loan Denial for Past Short Sellers in Freddie Mac Loan Prospector(LP) for Conventional Loans

Loan originator is asking your assistance to share LP conventional mortgage “Caution” files of past short sellers that have passed the 4-year mark.

By Pam Marron   July 28, 2016
In August of 2014, Fannie Mae successfully implemented an automated system workaround that enabled lenders to correct conventional loan Refer/Ineligible findings when past short sale credit shows up as a foreclosure in the Desktop Underwriter or Originator. Freddie Mac’s Loan Prospector automated underwriting system never implemented a correction, and past short sale credit still results in a Loan Prospector “Caution”, or loan denial, for those trying to obtain a new conventional mortgage after a shortsale. The problem does not occur for government FHA and VA loans. Freddie Mac’s Caution findings commonly lists in the reasons for denial under Credit Risk Comments: “13. Recent foreclosure/signif derog appears on credit report”.
A Freddie Mac “Caution” denial requires a manual underwrite to overcome this error.  Lenders that will do a manual underwrite on either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae conventional loan files are rare to find. The good news is that the credit repository(s) reporting the foreclosure is now able to be found and seen in raw data through credit reporting agencies.
This would not be of such great concern if the mortgage industry was not approaching the rollout of the new “Trended Credit Data” that will work with the Fannie Desktop automated system in Version 10.0 set to be implemented on September 24, 2016.
If there are any glitches in the DU 10.0 format, lenders will likely put their loans through the Freddie Mac Loan Prospector automated underwriting system. Because a work around was never implemented for Freddie Mac, past short sellers eligible for a new mortgage will receive an automated “Caution”, or a denial for a new mortgage.
When the problem of the “Caution” in Freddie Mac’s automated system is brought up, the response from Freddie Mac has been that their system has been corrected and problems are with individual files. This article was written to alert Freddie Mac that as more past short sellers become eligible to purchase a home again, we as lenders are experiencing the problem of the “Caution” denial of new conventional mortgages on all files that are conventional, and more often.
This is what we are finding. All files currently being entered into Loan Prospector for a conventional mortgage purchase where a past short sale exists in credit are receiving a “Caution”, even when the past short sale is past the four-year mark, the wait time required after a short sale for a new Freddie Mac conventional mortgage.
A few lenders have stated they have received an “Accept” for a past short seller on a conventional mortgage, but we have found that only loans submitted for an FHA or VA loan appear to receive an “Accept”. This is believed to be due to the fact that Total Scorecard, an additional credit mechanism found in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allows the loan to receive an Approve or Accept respectively through both systems but verification of the short sale account must be backed up with documentation proving a short sale rather than a foreclosure. Additionally, it was checked to see if the problem was due to specific credit reporting agencies. Thus far, multiple credit agency reports for the same borrower have resulted in the same denial.
Unfortunately, Freddie Mac Loan Prospector does not designate which account it is classified as a foreclosure. However, the repository(s) that reports the short sale as a foreclosure can be visually found in raw data of the three repositories, Experian, Trans Union and Equifax in the credit report. Lenders who want to specifically see this to distinguish the problem need to make sure they contact their credit reporting agency and ask for the MOP (method of payment) and a horizontal payment history grid to be available on their report. A screen shot of raw data may ultimately be needed if where the foreclosure code exists is not evident on the visual credit report.
Because of the concern that mortgage traffic will increase in Freddie Mac Loan Prospector if a problem arises in Version 10.0 of the Fannie Mae Desktop Underwriter with the introduction of Trended Data Credit, we are proactively and respectfully bringing this known problem of short sale credit that shows up as a foreclosure on conventional loans only again to Freddie Mac’s attention. If you are a loan originator or lender that encounters a “Caution” denial in the Freddie Mac Loan Prospector automated underwriting system for past short sellers trying to obtain a conventional mortgage, please contact Pam Marron at 727-375-8986 or email pam.m.marron@gmail.com.
To best prepare, make sure that you run past short seller files through both Fannie Mae Desktop Underwriter/Originator and Freddie Mac’s Loan Prospector automated underwriting systems upfront. Don’t wait until the final submission to underwriting.
Stay tuned!


The Problem with Credit Report Disputes

By Pam Marron

Written for National Mortgage Professional Magazine, September 26, 2016

Many past short-sellers attempting to purchase a home are told that their short sale credit shows up as a foreclosure in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated underwriting systems. Many of these affected consumers then dispute this credit or employ a credit repair company to do so. Thus, it is not uncommon to see a credit dispute on past short sale credit.

The problem with credit disputes is that they are often a temporary fix. When a credit account is disputed, the creditor is given a 30-day timeframe to respond to the dispute. If the creditor does not respond, the disputed information is taken off the credit. However, the comment “account in dispute” appears on that credit line. Dispute comments make the affected account invisible to both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated underwriting systems (AUS) causing the findings to be inaccurate. This is why underwriters require that dispute comments must be deleted from the credit report before an accurate response can be provided through the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac automated underwriting systems.

When the dispute is lifted, the past negative credit appears again.

Your borrower can request that the dispute is deleted from their account themselves but the timeframe to get this done start to finish can take up to 50 days. Often, there is a signed purchase contract that is time sensitive. Instead of having the luxury of time, a costly Rapid Rescore must be done to get the dispute comments deleted quickly. And loan originators, YOU must pay for this Rapid Rescore.

It gets worse. On a Rapid Rescore, deleting dispute comments from a negative credit account usually results in a lower credit score.

If There is Time for Borrower to Handle Deleting Dispute Comments Directly with Creditor and Credit Bureaus

  1. Loan Originators: Check every credit report for dispute comments prior to application. If dispute comments exist, start working to delete these remarks immediately and allow for a closing date that gives enough time.
  2. Make sure your borrower has the name and account number of the disputed account creditor. Have the borrower contact the creditor directly to request deletion of dispute remarks. Depending on the dispute comments, deletion can take 24 hours to 30 days.
  3. Make sure that your borrower states and puts in writing if necessary that no other parties can provide a new dispute notice.
  4. Have your borrower contact the creditor 5 days later to insure the dispute has been taken off and have them retrieve a letter with contact information for verification purposes.
    • This letter can be used to send to the credit bureau to order a *Rapid Rescore, where corrected information is merged into a new credit report at a cost and produced within 2-5 days. The timeframe of getting this correction on a new credit report without using Rapid Rescore is 30-45 days after the creditor initiates the deletion.
  5. Once the creditor has confirmed that the dispute comments have been removed, have your borrower contact the live agent at the Dispute Department for each of the 3 credit bureaus and ask them to remove the dispute comments. Ask each credit bureau if a request to delete a dispute must be requested in writing or if this can be done over the phone. (This can vary depending on the status of the dispute.) If a letter is needed, the borrower will have retrieved this from the creditor.
    • TransUnion: 800-916-8800
    • Experian: 800-493-1058
    • Equifax: 877-322-8228
  6. Pull a new credit report 35 days after the borrower has requested that the dispute comments be deleted by the creditor. If dispute comments still show up, wait another 10 days and repull credit.
  7. When the new credit report with deleted dispute comment comes in, check the credit score, make sure the loan still fits within program guidelines and run through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac automated underwriting system.

Retrieving the Credit Report with a 2-5 Day *Rapid Rescore Through a Credit Reporting Agency

A new credit report can commonly be updated in 2-5 business days using *Rapid Rescore. You, the loan originator will have to pay for this.

  1. Each credit reporting agency (CRA) has a link to 1) TransUnion, 2) Equifax and 3) Experian for each account on the credit report that allows you to see “which bureau” specifically has the dispute comment noted.
  2. Complete the generic form for your CRA to order the deletion of dispute remarks for only those bureaus that show the dispute through a *Rapid Rescore for each borrower connected to the dispute account and who is on the new mortgage.
  3. When the new credit report is done, follow step 7 above.

Erroneous Foreclosure Code Still Results in Loan Denial for Past Short Sellers in Freddie Mac Loan Prospector(LP) for Conventional Loans

Loan originator is asking your assistance to share LP conventional mortgage “Caution” files of past short sellers that have passed the 4-year mark.

In August of 2014, Fannie Mae successfully implemented an automated system workaround that enabled lenders to correct conventional loan Refer/Ineligible findings when past short sale credit shows up as a foreclosure in the Desktop Underwriter or Originator. Freddie Mac’s Loan Prospector automated underwriting system never implemented a correction, and past short sale credit still results in a Loan Prospector “Caution”, or loan denial, for those trying to obtain a new conventional mortgage after a shortsale. The problem does not occur for government FHA and VA loans. Freddie Mac’s Caution findings commonly lists in the reasons for denial under Credit Risk Comments: “13. Recent foreclosure/signif derog appears on credit report”.

A Freddie Mac “Caution” denial requires a manual underwrite to overcome this error.  Lenders that will do a manual underwrite on either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae conventional loan files are rare to find. The good news is that the credit repository(s) reporting the foreclosure is now able to be found and seen in raw data through credit reporting agencies.

This would not be of such great concern if the mortgage industry was not approaching the rollout of the new “Trended Credit Data” that will work with the Fannie Desktop automated system in Version 10.0 set to be implemented on September 24, 2016.

If there are any glitches in the DU 10.0 format, lenders will likely put their loans through the Freddie Mac Loan Prospector automated underwriting system. Because a work around was never implemented for Freddie Mac, past short sellers eligible for a new mortgage will receive an automated “Caution”, or a denial for a new mortgage.

When the problem of the “Caution” in Freddie Mac’s automated system is brought up, the response from Freddie Mac has been that their system has been corrected and problems are with individual files. This article was written to alert Freddie Mac that as more past short sellers become eligible to purchase a home again, we as lenders are experiencing the problem of the “Caution” denial of new conventional mortgages on all files that are conventional, and more often.

This is what we are finding. All files currently being entered into Loan Prospector for a conventional mortgage purchase where a past short sale exists in credit are receiving a “Caution”, even when the past short sale is past the four-year mark, the wait time required after a short sale for a new Freddie Mac conventional mortgage.

A few lenders have stated they have received an “Accept” for a past short seller on a conventional mortgage, but we have found that only loans submitted for an FHA or VA loan appear to receive an “Accept”. This is believed to be due to the fact that Total Scorecard, an additional credit mechanism found in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allows the loan to receive an Approve or Accept respectively through both systems but verification of the short sale account must be backed up with documentation proving a short sale rather than a foreclosure.

Additionally, it was checked to see if the problem was due to specific credit reporting agencies. Thus far, multiple credit agency reports for the same borrower have resulted in the same denial.

Unfortunately, Freddie Mac Loan Prospector does not designate which account it is classified as a foreclosure. However, the repository(s) that reports the short sale as a foreclosure can be visually found in raw data of the three repositories, Experian, Trans Union and Equifax in the credit report. Lenders who want to specifically see this to distinguish the problem need to make sure they contact their credit reporting agency and ask for the MOP (method of payment) and a horizontal payment history grid to be available on their report. A screen shot of raw data may ultimately be needed if where the foreclosure code exists is not evident on the visual credit report.

Because of the concern that mortgage traffic will increase in Freddie Mac Loan Prospector if a problem arises in Version 10.0 of the Fannie Mae Desktop Underwriter with the introduction of Trended Data Credit, we are proactively and respectfully bringing this known problem of short sale credit that shows up as a foreclosure on conventional loans only again to Freddie Mac’s attention. If you are a loan originator or lender that encounters a “Caution” denial in the Freddie Mac Loan Prospector automated underwriting system for past short sellers trying to obtain a conventional mortgage, please contact Pam Marron at 727-375-8986 or email pam.m.marron@gmail.com.

To best prepare, make sure that you run past short seller files through both Fannie Mae Desktop Underwriter/Originator and Freddie Mac’s Loan Prospector automated underwriting systems upfront. Don’t wait until the final submission to underwriting.

Stay tuned.


Credit is Central to WHY Help Network Started

History: WHY Help Network Started

The housing recession since 2007 has resulted in real estate and mortgage problems never experienced before in U.S. history. One of those newer problems was a massive number of short sales, where homes are sold for less than the mortgage balance on the loan.

In order to short sale, a common practice of nearly every lender in the U.S. was to require that the distressed homeowner go delinquent on their mortgage before the short sale approval could be given. The short sale process was lengthy and the required delinquency almost always exceeded 4 months. After 120 days of mortgage delinquency, a foreclosure code was placed on the credit of unsuspecting short sellers. The foreclosure code was not apparent to those of us in the mortgage industry until years later when the past short seller, eligible for a new conventional mortgage, received a “Refer with Caution” denial for a new loan. Lender underwriters unaware of the erroneous credit code would tell past short sellers to go back to their short sale lender and get the problem fixed. The short sale lenders would claim they had coded the short sale correctly, and point to credit reporting agencies to make the fix. The credit reporting agencies, now seeing this problem throughout the U.S., started drilling down to where the problem was in the code. This is when it was discovered that there was multiple credit code being used for a short sale, but borrowed from the Metro 2 foreclosure code. Additionally, foreclosure payment history codes of “8”(repossession) and “9”(collection) were adding to the mix. And when fixes were applied, “dates reported” were pulling forward, suggesting the credit problem was more recent than the short sale closing.

Why was this a problem for the mortgage and housing industry? A foreclosure code meant a 7 year wait to get a new mortgage, rather than the 2 year wait after a short sale in effect at the time. At that point, there were over 9 million past short sellers. That equated to over 16% of total U.S. mortgages! The slowdown of the housing comeback was critical, and stalling the reentry of 9 million past homeowners back into the housing market would affect the housing market. It was imperative for this problem to be solved.

The road to a solution started with a loan officer in Florida and a credit reporting agency, Acranet Credit, in California. The loan officer saw the seller credit was being coded as a foreclosure over and over again in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated systems and went to Acranet credit reporting agency. The Acranet credit manager was a board member of the National Consumer Reporting Association (NCRAinc.org) and brought the problem to the NCRA. The Florida loan officer attended the 2012 NCRA Conference with proof and met a representative with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at the conference.

In April of 2013, the Florida Loan officer and the executive director of the NCRA went to Washington, D.C. and, thanks to U.S Congressman Gus Bilirakis’s office, met with staff of the Senate Banking and Finance Committee. On this first meeting, multiple problems were presented and it was quickly determined that pinpointing the critical credit code problem was paramount. Offices of representatives for “Hardest Hit” states, where it was thought that the credit code problem would be most apparent, were visited. The offices of the U.S. Treasury, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson’s (D-FL) office were also visited.

U.S. Senator Nelson’s office took a special interest in this problem along with the CFPB. Senator Nelson is from Florida, a state that was 3rd from the top where housing had been hit hardest. In 2012, Florida’s average of homes sold as short sales was tipping 30%, and 48% of homes owned in the state had negative equity. This problem threatened a real housing recovery for Florida.

On May 7, 2013, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson required that the CFPB and the FTC get a solution to the credit code problem within 90 days. There was much talk about a “specific, universal short sale credit code” just like there was for a foreclosure or repossession, or judgment.

In June 2013, the Florida loan Officer, the NCRA executive director and 30 NCRA board members met in Washington, D.C. again and met with CFPB Director Richard Cordray and 4 CFPB directors.

Later that afternoon, the Florida loan officer and the Acranet credit agency manager met again with the CFPB and were stunned to learn that, though affected consumers were consistently stating they were told by their short sale lender that a delinquency of their mortgage was a requirement to get the short sale approved, in fact the lenders were telling another story…. that underwater homeowners were ceasing to make payments, waiting to be served foreclosure by their short sale lender.

To hear this was shocking. All of the press seemed to be about strategic defaulters, who are able to make mortgage payments but chose not to. Yet, we were finding little evidence of underwater homeowners who wanted to stop paying their mortgage. Instead, homeowners who called for help were bewildered that they had to destroy their credit to exit an underwater home. They wanted to make their payments but were told no help was available until they went delinquent!

While in Washington, D.C., it was also learned that the credit code change all of us were fighting for would not happen. Instead, lenders would be allowed to make a change in the Fannie Mae system when the erroneous foreclosure code showed up on past short seller credit. This would take effect on Nov. 16, 2013.

The Nov. 16, 2013 change did not work…. but 2 fixes found by accident were working! The CFPB Complaint Letter worked the most and seemed to trigger an immediate “change” in the credit that resulted in an “Approve” upon a new credit pull and resubmission to Fannie Mae. The same change occurred if a Lender Letter could be obtained from the lender stating the loan closed as a short sale and not as a foreclosure. The critical key here was that lenders were able to make a change of the code internally.

And, on August 16, 2014, Fannie Mae again made a change to their automated systems Desktop Underwriter/Originator that finally allowed lenders to go into the system and make a change when a foreclosure showed up on credit code for a past short seller.

So WHY Help Network?

Because so many lenders, loan originators, credit reporting agencies and governmental agencies are now aware of the credit code problem of past short sellers, it was decided to switch gears. Instead of using efforts to find more solutions (though this is an ongoing process!), emphasis is now on the network of help available to past short sellers.

The Help Network is a growing resource center that includes lenders, loan officers, realtors, credit reporting agencies, HUD Approved Counseling Agencies and governmental agencies and representative offices that are aware of this problem and can help.

And if you are not sure who can help in your state, email Pam Marron at pmarron@tampabay.rr.com and ask for help with resources.

 

 


Back from the Housing Brink

Back from the Brink logo

 

 

Sponsored by the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals, a member of the Pinellas Realtor Affiliate Business Partners Program

 

“Back from the Housing Brink” defines 3 different client types that have developed from the housing crisis and where opportunity exists for loan originators and realtors to assist these clients.

GulfCoast Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals wishes to thank the Pinellas REALTOR Organization for joining with us to support this program!


Pro member

nonPro member

 

Special Guest Daren Blomquist, Vice President of RealtyTrac

RT.Daren lg
Status of Distressed Homeowners and Boomerang Buyers
  • Defined, statistics, where these homeowners are at and where they are moving to in the U.S. and specifically Florida.
Assist 7.1 million Distressed Homeowners (still in underwater homes) to stay put
  • PURE HARP refinancing, shorter term
  • Hardest Hit Funds available for principal reduction through Florida
Assist 7.3 million Boomerang Buyers (had past short sale or foreclosure) eligible to re-enter housing market over next 8 years
  • wait timeframes for all mortgage types
  • Shorter wait time frame underwriting criteria for FHA “Back to Work” and conventional mortgage “Extenuating Circumstances”
Assist real estate agents to sell damaged housing by providing repair list with costs and renovation loan financing at listing upfront
  • Retrieve “feasibility report” commonly done by FHA Inspectors and useful to attract buyers and for mortgage financing. Report cost: $200-$250.
  • Provide financing option upfront for either FHA 203K (owner occupied loan) or conventional Homestyle renovation loan (owner occupied, 2nd home, investor)

Challenge to mortgage and real estate industries:
Need for refinance option of non-Fannie Mae, non-Freddie Mac 1st mortgage and 2nd mortgages and HELOCS for 7.1 million homeowners still underwater! Only option currently is modification that requires delinquency.

Realtor/Loan Originator resources:
  • Specialized lists from RealtyTrac
  • Free promotion of industry professionals who would like to assist these clients at HELP Network on *HousingCrisisStories.com

*HousingCrisisStories.com is set up to provide buyer and loan originator assistance to prepare cases for underwriting FHA “Back To Work” and where “Extenuating Circumstances” may exist for a conventional mortgage. Lenders who provide FHA Back to Work, allow Extenuating Circumstances and provide pure HARP 2 will be promoted.

Homebuyers/Homeowners resources:
  • Downpayment assistance: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus counties, state of Florida
  • “Fix It” programs for those with no equity: Pasco County
  • Student Loan consolidation/refinance program

 


USDA Wait Timeframe

There are no extenuating circumstances available for USDA loans and a short term.

USDA Chapter 10: Credit Analysis 7 CFR 3555.151 Effective 9/1/2014 https://usdalinc.sc.egov.usda.gov/docs/rd/sfh/3555/ByIndividualChapter/Chapter10_Credit_Analysis_DRAFT.pdf

Evaluating Credit Involving Short Sales (Pg 10-24)

  • A short sale is considered a pre-foreclosure activity or event.
  • An applicant is ineligible for a mortgage loan if they pursued a short sale agreement on their principal residence to take advantage of declining market conditions and purchases at a reduced price a similar or superior property within a reasonable commuting distance.
  • If an applicant was current at the time of short sale, they may be eligible for a new mortgage loan. The prior mortgage payment history must reflect all mortgage payments due were made on time for the 12 month period preceding the short sale and all installment debt payments for the same period were also made within the month due.
  • An applicant in default on their mortgage at the time of the short sale (or preforeclosure sale) is not eligible for a new mortgage loan for three years from the date of pre-foreclosure sale.

 

Indicators of unacceptable credit: (Pg 10-9)

  • Foreclosure within 3 years:

o Including pre-foreclosure activity, such as a pre-foreclosure sale or short sale in the previous 3 years;

  • Bankruptcy within 3 years:

o Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharged in the previous 3 years;

o Chapter 13 bankruptcy that has yet to complete repayment or has completed payment in the most recent 12 months;

  • Late mortgage payments if any mortgage trade line during the most recent 12 months shows 1 or more late payments of greater than 30 days.

FHA: Economic Events

FHA is allowing for the consideration of borrowers who have experienced an Economic Event and can document that:

  • certain credit impairments were the result of a Loss of Employment or a significant loss of Household Income beyond the borrower’s control;
  • the borrower has demonstrated full recovery from the event; and,
  • the borrower has completed housing counseling.

Definitions: An Economic Event is any occurrence beyond the borrower’s control that results in Loss of Employment, Loss of Income, or a combination of both, which causes a reduction in the borrower’s Household Income of twenty (20) percent or more for a period of at least six (6) months.

Please read the FHA Back to Work – Extenuating Circumstances Mortgagee Letter 2013-26 dated August 15, 2013 for all criteria that allows exception for a new FHA mortgage as soon as one year after a short sale, foreclosure or bankruptcy, within the three year required wait period of FHA.


Past Short Sales Are Like a Bad Divorce

Helping Borrowers with Extenuating Circumstances Through the Mortgage Process

By Pam Marron April 1, 2015

Explaining a past short sale is a harder task than most think, and it re-opens a period of time that many who have had the experience don’t want to go through again. Loan originators should not be surprised when past short sellers show anger, reluctance and may even opt out of re-purchasing a home upon learning what they must do.

Part of the problem is that guidelines, especially those surrounding explanation of extenuating circumstance, are vague. And detail needed is not always easily accessible. Quietly, more than one lender has told me that documentation received is not enough to prove extenuating circumstances, which results in a new mortgage denial for those who may be eligible to re-enter the housing market. Though lenders offer the FHA “Back to Work” program, a low percentage of these loans have been approved.

Extracting and clearly defining the detail of extenuating circumstances to show how past sellers ended up with a short sale or foreclosure falls upon loan originators. So, what is the extra work and detail needed for these loans?

At HousingCrisisStories.com,  there are 3 worksheets for the borrower and loan originator to prepare a case for an underwriter.

  1. Borrower Makes Case:  extensive list of questions for the borrower to detail. Items needed are included on this list.
  2. LO: Economic Event Worksheet:  loan originator uses “Borrower Makes Case” and provided documentation to complete.
  3. LO: Reduced Income and Increased Debt Table: made to show percentage of reduced income for FHA Back to Work and increased expenses needed for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and USDA(medical). Also, lower table shows how “Un-anticipated Additional Debt” can be substantial, showing the REAL hardship.

Loan Originators

  1. Be attentive to your borrowers’ entire story. Question needed details.
  2. Be prepared to document income 1 year prior to the event and over multiple years. Many affected saw trouble coming and tried to prepare. However, the process of going through a short sale or foreclosure with a lender is often drawn out and some take years. During this time, assets are depleted, income fluctuates and credit becomes worse.
  3. Do not be surprised when the borrower is reluctant to detail this timeframe. Many try to forget, and having to dig up paperwork or discuss the event again can be highly emotional.
  4. Loan originators must go the extra mile to prove all remedies tried. WHY? Even when jobs were lost or incomes reduced, when rental income did not cover the mortgage payment on an underwater property, when divorce or a death occurred, a great majority of these homeowners whittled away at savings and retirement funds trying to stay afloat. For many, there is often a final problem  after the economic event where there was no choice left but to sell the home.
  5. It is very common to see an alarmingly high BACK debt to income (DTI) ratio (Reduced Income and Increased Debt Table) even when the mortgage payment is made. This worksheet is intended to show that reduction in income is not always the primary reason to sell.
  6. On short sales, retrieve the HUD-1, the final lender short sale approval letter on 1st and 2nd mortgages and proof of the wire sent from the closing of the property. Why? It is common for the date of payoff on a credit report to be a different date than the actual closing date.
  7. Borrowers that had a deficiency payment may have a “Satisfaction of Mortgage” that shows a release of lien/mortgage but “does not constitute a satisfaction of debt”, so check documents received.  Retrieve the letter to the borrower stating when the deficiency is satisfied the 1099 that often states “forgiveness of debt”. (Documents noted above can be retrieved from the title company noted on the HUD-1 or listing agent.)
  8. Preferably, run file through Fannie Mae’s automated system upfront, which specifies which account and what date causes a Refer. If the short sale shows up as a foreclosure or findings note an incorrect  disbursement, contact your [1]credit reporting agency to correct the date and repository comment.
  9. For an FHA mortgage, make sure the homeowner goes to a HUD Approved counselor at least 30 days before a contract is written or an application taken.

Bonus: the gratitude of these clients will remind you of why you are in the mortgage business.

Pam Marron (NMLS#246438) is senior loan originator with Innovative Mortgage Services Inc. (NMLS#250769) in Tampa Bay, Florida. She may be reached by phone at (727) 375-8986 or e-mail  pmarron@tampabay.rr.com. Websites: HousingCrisisStories.com, CloseWithPam.com, 8Problems.com.

[1] National Consumer Reporting Association (NCRAinc.org) is aware of the erroneous foreclosure code on short sale credit and error in dates. Go to http://www.ncrainc.org/mortgage-credit-reporting-referral-network-by-state.html to find credit reporting agencies in your state.

 


Loan Originators: “DIG” and Document

Document-icon

Boomerang Buyers, (those who have had a past short sale or foreclosure) are coming back into the housing market and loan originators who assist these folks with a new mortgage are going to need to hone up on research skills.

Even though there had to be a valid hardship to get be approved for the actual short sale, the hardship and circumstances surrounding a short sale will be looked upon differently when applying for a new mortgage afterwards. Those who have been in the mortgage industry for any length of time probably remember the days of the RMCR where supplements needed to be added to correct credit errors. Today, lightning speed for credit reports done in seconds is required by the industry. But with the unprecedented events that have occurred in the last 7-8 years, the need for loan originators to slow down and “get the story and credit” right is more important now than ever before.

Lenders are starting to see an increase of mortgage files for boomerang buyers, but they caution us that loan originators need to thoroughly review documents to make sure that what is necessary to approve these clients is there upon submission. United Mortgage Corp. Sales Director Jason Frangoulis states, “it’s got to make sense. Hardship had to be apparent and it’s got to be documented.” And even though more lenders are underwriting those with a short sale or foreclosure in the past, these same lenders are reluctant to promote this as a service. “Some of the files we are getting are sloppy and not well documented. We look like the bad guy when we have to turn down one of these loans because it was not well put together,” claims an anonymous lender.

So we decided that www.HousingCrisisStories.com has to be more than just a place where Boomerang Buyers and Distressed Homeowners get assistance. We also need to assist loan originators with what  documentation is needed. Letters of explanation need to be backed up with any matching documentation available, and credit MUST be correctly represented on the mortgage credit report. Yes, you may need credit supplements for accurate dates and you might have to submit to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac’s automated system more than once. Your borrower may need to go back to the short sale lender for missing documentation. There is no doubt this is not an easy job.

If it doesn’t make sense to you, it won’t to an underwriter. DIG DEEP. Get the details. Ask questions. Let there be no doubt your client had a hardship. And in the end, if the story does not make sense and can’t be proven, give your client future options.

The hope is that the Help Network on HousingCrisisStories.com can grow with industry professionals that learn how to assist the 7.3 million projected consumers who will be eligible to  re-enter the housing market within the next 8 years.


NREP: What has credit got to do with Boomerang Buyers? EVERYTHING!

National Real Estate Post explains credit scores and 7.3 million Boomerang Buyers who may be getting back into housing.
2/4/2015: http://thenationalrealestatepost.com/…


FORECLOSURE code did not affect FHA or VA

The FORECLOSURE code did not affect FHA or VA loans due to the Total Scorecard secondary automated underwriting system that runs parallel to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated system. Total Scorecard allows an approval but designates there may a property in foreclosure and requires that this be checked in underwriting.


Short Seller Credit Rebounds – Automated Error Confusion Persists

Short Seller credit is often surprisingly good, in spite of late payments required by their lender for the short sale. Loan files were acceptable for a new loan per Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac guidelines; yet both automated underwriting systems were turning past short sellers down and showing the short sale as a FORECLOSURE! And, there was a reluctance to downgrade the credit from a FORECLOSURE, even with proof in hand!


Confusion about Short Sale: LENDERS require delinquency, but CREDIT IS IMPORTANT to homeowners!

“One time life event mortgage defaulters are vastly different than chronic mortgage defaulters,” states the May, 2011 Financial Summit/TransUnion/Life after Foreclosure and Hidden Opportunities article.  

Judgment en-masse… how could people undergoing such hardship  have credit that seemed to be intact? And if credit was intact, these homeowners must really be strategic defaulters.

The reality was that short sale lender policy required mortgage delinquency in order to get short sale approval… then… and most still require delinquency now. And homeowners were wiping themselves out financially and feeling humiliated that they had not seen this coming. 

 The common thread in hundreds of cases we have worked on can prove that homeowners did everything that they could to stay afloat and hang on – until they could not any longer. Credit was of utmost importance to the overwhelming majority of the homeowners who were affected by short sale.


Short Sellers labeled as “Strategic Defaulters,” even though Lenders Required Default!

The second problem causing a backlash against short sellers is that the press was reporting that short sellers were “strategically defaulting,” or choosing not to make their payments even when possible, when reality was that SHORT SALE LENDERS REQUIRED MORTGAGE DELINQUENCY to approve a short sale. Homeowners allowed 3-way calls to confirm this was being told to them by their lenders… and the homeowners were telling the truth. Loss mitigation practices for most investors require mortgage delinquency for a short sale approval… to this day.


The Root of Problem: Lender required delinquency policy needs to be changed!

Loss mitigation practices for most investors require mortgage delinquency for a short sale approval in the first place and that policy continues today.

If underwater homeowners were given an option to stay current through the short sale process, lenders would receive a greater net amount for the property.

If given the option, homeowners would stay current to keep credit built over a lifetime intact, even with hardship.

That is how important credit is to these consumers. Credit is the benchmark for the mortgage industry. This policy is knowingly destroying consumer credit and needs to be changed!


Real Hardship: Be Grateful That You don’t Have It

By Pam Marron

Troubled by negative comments directed at Senators Warren, Menendez and Merkley about their questioning of Federal Housing Finance Agency director Mel Watts’ reluctance to allow principal reduction for underwater homeowners, I had to write.

Every discussion about how to help millions of homeowners that are STILL  underwater (in a negative equity position) starts like this: “If they hadn’t taken out a second mortgage to buy all of those toys” or “bought more house than they could afford”, they would not be in this position.

Here’s the reality of the majority of these cases. Divorce happened. Families grew or kids moved out, resulting in need of a move for growth or downsizing. Jobs were cut and folks had to move to regain employment, or couldn’t afford their existing mortgage with a new job obtained. All of these reasons are why folks have to move. But, when an underwater homeowner must move and a short sale is contemplated, there is harsh judgment for how they got underwater, even when the need for a move is from real hardship.

The problem worsens when lenders require mortgage delinquency first to approve the short sale. This is still required today and I have seen very few exceptions where short sellers were allowed to make payments to the closing date. Little attention is given to the lender servicing practice that requires the delinquency. Instead, loads of press has reported on the “strategic defaulters”, those who can make their mortgage payment but choose not to. There has been virtually no press that many so-called strategic defaulters weren’t making their payment because it was the only option they were given to get short sale approval and exit their home…. advice given to them by their lender.

I am a mortgage broker in Florida, where 28% of home mortgages are still underwater. Three years ago, the percentage was around 62%. My sites were set on helping folks back into the real estate market when they could re-enter. During these years, a pattern became evident. Underwater homeowners were being told by their lenders that the only way they could get approved for a short sale was to go delinquent. These homeowners were bewildered that their credit had to be stellar to get the mortgage initially, and now they were being told that to exit the home the credit had to be delinquent.

Not believing this, desperate homeowners allowed me to be on calls with their lender to confirm what they were telling me. It was clear, and with multiple lenders and homeowners. The requirement to be delinquent on mortgage payments in order to get short sale approval was told directly to affected consumers by their mortgage lenders, and on recorded calls.

The reality was that many underwater homeowners were willing to make mortgage payments during the short sale process, but mortgage lender servicing rules required these homeowners to be delinquent.

Underwater homeowners face a lose-lose proposition. If the homeowner must sell but does not have the funds to pay the difference needed between the mortgage balance and the lower house value, a short sale, foreclosure or renting out the home are their only options.

Loss on Three Options

1. Short sell: the homeowner works with the lender on a lengthy process that, to this day, requires delinquency of the mortgage. Hardship must be explained by the homeowner and acknowledgment is part of the approval process for the lender short sale. Credit is incorrectly coded as a foreclosure after 120 days of delinquency which results in a new mortgage denial years later when past short sellers are eligible for a new conventional loan. And, a foreclosure requires a 7 year wait rather than the 2 year wait after a short sale, per Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac [1]Seller Guides. And recently, we are seeing [2]Fannie Mae and [3]Freddie Mac coming back after past short sellers for deficiencies, per 9/24/2013 FHFA Recovery Reports.

2. Foreclosure:  the homeowner ceases to make payments or is turned down for a short sale. Credit is coded as a foreclosure which results in a 7 year wait for a new conventional mortgage.

3. Renting Out Underwater Home: many did this years ago when a move from the home had to be done. However, many who rented are now preparing for a short sale, financially wiped out after years of making up the difference between rent received and the mortgage payment.  Many tried this option hoping to eventually have enough equity to sell the home without a loss. However, the rate of appreciation has not happened quick enough, and those who are still trying to dig out of these properties often have little or no choice but to short sale.

And for those underwater homeowners trying to stay in their home, a refinance available called HARP 2.0 has had limited success because many lenders cap the amount of negative equity… for a program that has no cap on negative equity! And, if you have a conventional mortgage that is not owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, there is no refinance for you.

So how do you answer the common perception that “those who are underwater got there on their own accord” and “what will be done for all who are NOT underwater?”

Here’s the answers:

  • Be grateful that you are not in the shoes of those still underwater, that your credit is not wrecked, and that you can get on with your life.
  • U.S. Housing: Seriously work on and get implemented HARP 3.0, or an alternative refinance plan that allows unlimited loan to value (like it is supposed to!) for all conventional mortgages including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Give a pricing incentive to lenders who apply REAL written guidelines to these loans, instead of so many overlays and limits that fewer homeowners can get any benefit. This is not a handout. These are performing loans and banks will make a profit while building goodwill.
  • Don’t take advantage of these folks, who are either locked out or still having trouble getting a conforming mortgage, even though Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have specific rules that allow these mortgages. Non-QM mortgages at higher rates have come into the mortgage marketplace and qualified consumers must often settle for a higher rate with non-QM lenders even though they meet criteria for a new mortgage with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Pay attention to the credit of these consumers that is being destroyed! There seems to be little regard for credit that continues to be screwed up for folks who have gone through a short sale. Credit is the key to the growth of our country. New credit products promising better service continue to be pushed, while consumers with credit problems who have proof of the real credit have to pay enormous amounts of money just to get corrections.
  • Stop ignoring the underwater mortgage problem and judging those affected as “strategic defaulters en masse”. The majority of those affected are trying to get on with their lives and want to contribute. There will always be takers, but [4]reporting of strategic default has been over stated.
  • Ask these folks what REALLY happened, and you will hear unbelievable stories of hardship where great thought went into how to dig themselves out.
  • States that have Hardest Hit Funds available for underwater homeowners need to promote this.

For all homeowners who are not underwater, be damn glad you are not in their shoes.

 

 

[1] Requirements for an FHA, VA and USDA mortgage are different.
[2] FHFA Can Improve Its Oversight of Fannie Mae’s Recoveries from Borrowers Who Possess the Ability to Repay Deficiencies http://fhfaoig.gov/Content/Files/AUD-2013-011_0.pdf
[3] FHFA Can Improve Its Oversight of Freddie Mac’s Recoveries from Borrowers Who Possess the Ability to Repay Deficiencies  http://fhfaoig.gov/Content/Files/AUD-2013-011_0.pdf
[4] Unemployment, Negative Equity, and Strategic Default/Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta/August 2013 http://www.urban.org/events/upload/Gerardi-Kerkenhoff-Ohanian-Willen-Strategic-Default.pdf