As far as I know there isn’t a formal buyer’s guide for the Department of Defense HAP program. Recent conversations with a couple of other agents in the Northern Virginia area revealed that other agents do have a different approach to writing an offer for their buyers on a home being sold with HAP benefits than I do.
However that being said here are the basics of what a buyer can expect.
HAP isn’t signing your contract. The owner of the property will negotiate the terms and conditions that are acceptable to them just as in regular seller would. They do have guidelines from HAP regarding selling their home at Fair Market Value (FMV) and there is a limit on the amount of closing cost assistance that HAP will help agree to pay for the buyer. The sellers usual and customary closing costs are covered.
The sellers lender is not involved in approving the sale.
HAP will be the final determinate of your closing date. Do not expect to close in less than 60 days. Put a closing date in your contract but either an addendum or in Paragraph 34 of your contract should include language showing you agree to a potential longer settlement due to HAP processing.
EMD is deposited upon contract ratification by the seller.
Contingencies are removed according to the dates outlined in the contract NOT after HAP provides the seller the updated letter approving their application. Here is the reason why this makes sense. If you have a home inspection and there are issues you may be negotiating either a credit or repairs. The owner needs to be able to take care of those repairs right away. They could be packing to move and once they are gone getting any repairs done is going to be difficult.
Having the appraisal completed is key. If there is an issue with the appraisal and the sales price needs to be adjusted HAP has to rework the benefits for the seller. If you wait and benefits have been calculated it may delay the process to have them recalculated.
Removing your financial contingency is important as well. The seller needs to know you are fully qualified to move forward with your part of the transaction. HAP will ask for an updated letter or verification of your financing when the file is moved to benefits.
Meanwhile while you are working through your part of the transaction behind the scenes work is going on at HAP. The file is being reviewed to make sure all of the required documents are in place. The price you offered for the home is going through an internal appraisal process to make sure it meets the FMV standard.
Then the title work is ordered to make sure the owner can convey clear and marketable title to you. At this point generally about 30 days into the process the seller is given an updated letter from HAP stating they are fully approved for the program and the file moves to the benefits department.
Once the file moves to benefits there are other requirements however for the purpose of this post we will stop here.
Again this is how I’ve worked with buyers and buyer’s agents with the HAP listings I’ve handled. It has been 100% successful with both parties to the contract and has never causes any issues with the Realty Specialists at HAP.
If you live in the Northern Virginia area and are eligible for the DoD HAP program give me a call at 703-346-2213. Let my success with getting HAP deals to closing work for you.
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Military Relocation Specialist serving military families relocating to and from the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir, Quantico MCB and all of the Military District of Washington installations.
Licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia