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Time is Running Out for Tampa Bay Home & Condo Owners in Mortgage Trouble

Homeowners in mortgage trouble are running out of time to avoid foreclosure and take advantage of opportunities to eliminate deficiencies, get relocation assistance up to $45,000 and/or eliminate taxes on the forgiven debt.


Foreclosures slowed dramatically after the November 2010 ’robo-signing’ bank scandal.  But in 2012, several of the larger lenders worked out a settlement with the federal government and, as a result, foreclosure filings in Florida are increasing.  Because of this, many homeowners who have gotten used to staying in their properties for years after no longer paying on their mortgage may find that they will now have to take action.
Foreclosure filings in Florida increased by 53% from 2011 to 2012 and the average time to foreclose decreased in both the 3rd and 4th quarters of last year.  Due to this and other factors, Florida had the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for 2012 and the largest percentage of the national foreclosure inventory of any state at 20%.  (Statistical information from RealtyTrac.)
In an attempt to avoid negative effects on the recovering housing market, many lenders plus Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now attempting to prevent as many foreclosures as possible. They are working to help homeowners who can’t afford their mortgage payment with alternatives to foreclosure and as a result there has been an increase in loan modifications and short sales being done as opposed to foreclosures.
The Department of Treasury also recently extended the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, or HAFA,  for another year through the end of 2013 in its supplemental directive 12-07. The program provides options for homeowners who owe more on their home than the property is worth and are in danger of foreclosure, primarily through short sales and deed-in-lieu.
Originally created in 2009, the HAFA program provides incentives for eligible homeowners including $3,000 in relocation assistance to help homeowners move on from a difficult financial situation with some money in their pocket.  There are also programs through some of the major lenders that will provide eligible homeowners up to $45,000 in relocation assistance.
“For distressed homeowners, the HAFA program provides options that homeowners did not have early in the foreclosure crisis,” says Ron Nedd, a Realtor® with Charles Rutenberg Realty. “It also helps protect these homeowners and make sure that the short sale process is as easy as possible.”
A short sale occurs when the bank agrees to let the homeowner sell the property for less than is owed on the mortgage. In many cases, this is the best option for the bank and the homeowners. HAFA creates guidelines which banks and servicers must adhere to in order to execute a short sale.
Another advantage for eligible homeowners completing an approved short sale is The Mortgage Debt Relief Act which excuses eligible homeowners from paying taxes on forgiven mortgage debt.  This law was set to expire at the end of 2012 but was extended by Congress through December 31, 2013.
However, with HAFA and the Mortgage Debt Relief Act both set to expire at the end of 2013, homeowners will need to act in a timely manner as the eligibility for both of these include a deadline of completing an approved short sale by no later than 12/31/13.
As a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), Ron Nedd is specially trained to help homeowners who find themselves facing foreclosure. “It is important to me that homeowners know that they have options,” Nedd said. “Many times, people threatened with foreclosure believe there is nothing they can do. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Ron has developed a free report with more information on the HAFA program and the options available to homeowners facing foreclosure. The report, entitled, “Struggling to Make Your Mortgage? Uncle Sam May Pay You to Sell Your House!,” is accessible from his website,

About Ron Nedd

Ron Nedd has been a licensed Florida Realtor since January 2004 and with Charles Rutenberg Realty since June of 2004.  In addition to his CDPE designation, he is also an Accredited Buyers Representative which is a special designation for qualified Buyers Agents presented by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council which is part of the National Association of Realtors.

For more information about the CDPE designation, visit .


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