Department Of Defense HAP Program-What Should A Buyer Expect?


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.


                                   Real People*Real Lives*Real Estate

If you are interested in learning more about the Northern Virginia Real Estate market including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William Counties give Cindy Jones and Integrity Real Estate Group a call at 703-346-2213.

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. 

Military Relocation Professional

Check out www.varealestatetalk.com and www.cjrealtygroup.com for more information.

Integrity Real Estate Group
Real People*Real Life*Real Estate

Licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia



Comment balloon 10 commentsCindy Jones • June 28 2010 09:22AM


Cindy, thaanks for sharing the info and video about HAP.  Best Regards,

Posted by Edward & Celia Maddox, EXPERIENCE & INTEGRITY - WE TAKE THE HIGH ROAD (The Celtic Connection Realty) almost 9 years ago

Cindy, you sure are an expert in this area...great info once again!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) almost 9 years ago

Cindy:  You are such a good teach on the HAP program. Love the video of the letter.  That buyer is absolutely correct.  This blog is very useful to potential buyers of property with Seller's participating in the HAP program. 

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) almost 9 years ago

Edward and Celia-I'm glad to share my experience with HAP with any agent who needs assistance.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) almost 9 years ago

Kristin-thanks.  It has been a pleasure working with so many great military families this year.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) almost 9 years ago

Chris Ann-thought I would do something different.  Same old blogs get a bit boring, at least I think so.  Two calls today for listings for HAP homes.  Have two already to go live in the MLS after the 4th of July.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) almost 9 years ago

Cindy - Thanks for paying it forward and sharing this information.  I am starting to get more military calls (close, close proximity to the Pentagon) and the more I know the better I can serve my clients.


Posted by Michael Bergin, Northern Virginia Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - ABR - SRES ) almost 9 years ago

Michael-if you get a HAP seller and need any assistance let me know.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) almost 9 years ago
I'm surprised there isn't a formal buyer's guide for a government program. Usually government guides have the most pages.
Posted by Not a real person almost 9 years ago

Russell-surprisingly there are no guides for buyers.  Most agents wing it.  Since I've had the good fortunate to work with a large number of listings I've developed my own guide.  It seems to have worked fairly well.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) almost 9 years ago

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