Bank to pay homeowners up to $30,000 to sell
Bank of America has expanded a Florida pilot program to the rest of the nation, offering 'relocation incentives' to underwater homeowners to leave the property.
Bank of America is offering homeowners up to $30,000 to sell their homes in a short sale.
The nationwide program, announced this week, is the expansion of a pilot program that started in Florida last year. That program offered homeowners $5,000 to $20,000, with the average payout being $12,000.
The new program offers homeowners $2,500 to $30,000 in "relocation assistance."
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To be eligible for the new program, homeowners must owe more than their property is worth — the reason they would do a short sale as opposed to a regular sale — plus their loan must be owned and serviced by Bank of America.
The amount of the payment is at the discretion of the bank. A Bank of America news release says it will be "determined on a case-by-case basis using a calculation that includes the value of the home, amount owed and other considerations."
To get the payments, homeowners must initiate the sale by the end of 2012 and close by Sept. 26, 2013. In addition, the homeowner is required to work with the bank to set a preapproved sale price before the home is listed for sale. However, homeowners currently in the short-sale process may be eligible for the payments. Information for homeowners is here.
Other lenders also have offered homeowners financial incentives to complete short sales, which they find cheaper and easier to manage than foreclosures. Plus, the home is usually left in better shape and the process is more orderly. But the incentive payments have not been common up to now.
As the number of short sales grows, such payments may become more common.
The federal Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program offers homeowners $3,000 in relocation incentives to do a short sale.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.