New Streamlined Short Sale Process Announced Could Help Palm Beach County Homeowners

by Rodney Forbes on December 7, 2009

Here is the latest news from the Treasury Department regarding streamlined procedures for homeowners in distress, whether it be a loan modification or a short sale.

Separately on Monday, Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) kicked off a program intended to help convert as many of the 375,000 borrowers who have received trial loan modifications into permanent ones (see story).

In order to “hold (loan) servicers accountable for their commitment to the program,” they will be required to submit schedules for making a decision on each HAMP-eligible loan. Servicers failing to meet performance obligations under a servicer participation agreement may be subject to monetary penalties and sanctions, the Treasury Department said in announcing that initiative.

The initiative also offers new Web tools for borrowers, including links to all of the required documents and an income verification checklist to help borrowers request a modification in four easy steps.

Some economists and housing analysts have warned that lenders’ foreclosure prevention efforts aren’t keeping pace with deteriorating loan performance.

An industry coalition of mortgage servicers and investors, HOPE NOW, says its members have provided 2.1 million loan workouts in the first eight months of 2009. While nearly half of homeowners entering the foreclosure process in in 2007 ended up losing their homes, only about one in three do today, the group said.

But the number of homes in foreclosure or headed there continues to grow. A record 14.1 percent of homes with mortgages were at least one payment behind or in foreclosure at the end of September, according to the latest numbers from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Nearly one in 10 loans outstanding on one- to four-unit residential properties — a seasonally adjusted 9.64 percent — were delinquent, up from 9.24 percent at the end of June and 6.99 percent a year ago.

Another 4.47 percent of outstanding loans were in the foreclosure process, up from 4.3 percent at the end of June and 2.97 percent a year ago.

MBA Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann said delinquencies and foreclosures continue to rise despite the recession having ended in mid-summer, “because mortgages are paid with paychecks, not percentage-point increases in (gross domestic product),” and unemployment remains high.

Over the last year, the ranks of the unemployed have increased by about 5.5 million people, Brinkmann said, increasing the number of seriously delinquent loans by almost 2 million.

Prime, fixed-rate loans accounted for the largest share of foreclosures starts and were the biggest driver of the increase in foreclosures, Brinkmann said. One in three foreclosures started in the third quarter were on prime fixed-rate loans, and those loans accounted for 44 percent of the quarterly increase in foreclosures, he said.

The foreclosure numbers for prime fixed-rate loans will get worse, he said, because they also represent most of the recent increase in loans 90 days or more past due, but not yet in foreclosure.

Click here to see how Forbes Realty of South Florida can sell your home quickly and at no cost to you if you’re in a distress situation.

More than 4 million loans were in foreclosure at the end of September or “seriously delinquent” — more than 90 days past due, the MBA said. That’s slightly more than the total number of homes currently on the market, although there’s some overlap between the numbers.

Brinkmann said he expects delinquency and foreclosure rates will continue to worsen before they improve. It’s unlikely the economy will begin adding jobs until sometime next year, he said, and then only at a very slow pace.

When the economy does begin to add more jobs, those jobs probably won’t be in regions of the country with the biggest excess housing inventory and the highest delinquency rates, Brinkmann said.


The south Florida real estate market has been one of the hardest hit during the real estate downturn. If you’re upside down on your home, behind on payments or have experienced other hardship, don’t let your home go to foreclosure. There are many alternatives available to you at Forbes Realty of South Florida.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Palm Beach County area, specifically Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach, please visit my Forbes Realty website. For frequently updated information on foreclosures, short sales, real estate news and market conditions visit my South Florida Real Estate Report blog. There are many free reports as well as free access to MLS listed properties. You can also call 561-337-4810.

Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc. Rodney has co-authored the book “Should I Short Sale My Home?”. Get your FREE copy at

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