Following is a summary of the HAP program, specifically for PCS applicants:
1. Qualifications include: PCSing more than 50 miles, having purchased your home or entered into a contract to purchase prior to July 1, 2006, you lived there and it was your primary residence, and your orders were between February 1 2006 through September 30, 2010.
2. Your home must have declined at least 10% in value. (That should not be in problem in the Southern California market).
3. First priority HAP PCS assistance is given to applicants with the MOST COMPLETE PACKAGE.
4. HAP benefits are based on the amount you originally purchased the property plus capital improvements (prior fair market value PFMV verified by your settlement statement). The full amount of your negative value will not be reimbursed.
5. The government will provide benefits within two to four months of receiving your application. They are working on staffing to improve the turnaround time.
6. The site states that no specific dollar amounts of loss reimbursement are addressed and HAP advises you to contact your local district CoE office. However, elsewhere on its site, HAP mentions that up to 90% of your purchase price minus your sale price plus closing costs may be your benefit. You may even be eligible for 95% in some cases, per HAP. This reimbursement is for what is called “Private Sale”,which is a HAP payment to you after you sell your property yourself. For a “Government Acquisition or Augmented Sale”, HAP normally will cover your enitre mortgage balance if it is greater than the sale price if you meet the other criteria.
7. The government claims they will make up “liabilities” to service members from a foreclosure, but not past due payments or junior liens you obtained after buying the property.
8. Some of your closing costs will be paid for, including title services and Realtor fees. HAP cares that these are common fees for your marketplace, and do not exceed 10% of your purchase price.
9. The government recommends you use a Realtor to sell your home and states that using a Realtor will may increase your chances of finding a buyer.
10. You should try to market your home for at least 120 days, but the main consideration is if the offer on your home is “fair market value”.
11. Your benefits will NOT be taxable as income to you.
12. Per the Realtor Guide , you or your Realtor must maintain records of price changes, showings, offers, etc to demonstrate that the house was not sold at too low a price. The CoE office will obtain an appraisal to verify the price was within market range.
13. There are maximum price range limits for assistance. In Riverside county the purchase price limit for benefits is $500,000. If you paid more for your home originally, you will not be eligible for HAP benefits at this time. This requirement may be changed in the near future.
As soon as you know you will have orders from your base, apply for assistance immediately.
Analysis and questions to follow. I would like to hear from you, our local servicemembers.
Read more from HAP here.