This has been a long time coming. On February 1st HUD will relax their rules and allow buyers to get an FHA loan on homes that are owned by the seller for less than 90 days – a move that will help expedite the rehabilitation and resale of foreclosure properties.

In English? After the "go-go" market of the mid 2000's and a ton of property "flipping", the government came out and said "you can't buy a home and flip it until you have owned it for 90 days." They call this "seasoning" and as is implied, it is designed to keep people from buying a home, inflating the price above market, then flipping it again.

After a long period of that rule in place, they've realized it is hampering the market.

"Property Flipping", or "Upside Down House?" (real estate humor!)

In a housing market where tighter lending requirements have made FHA financing the only option for some buyers, this 90-day policy has (1) kept some homebuyers from being able to purchase affordable homes and (2) prevented the quick resale of foreclosed properties, which affects the ability of communities to stabilize and rebuild.

If you are an Investor looking to flip homes: This change is great news because you can now go STRAIGHT to marketing the home in the MLS, etc immediately after purchasing rather than waiting 90 days.

If you are a Buyer looking for your next home: This change is great news because many of these investors put their homes back on the market at below-market prices to ensure a quick sale and naturally this will add to your options as a Buyer.

"FHA borrowers, because of the restrictions we are now lifting, have often been shut out from buying affordable properties," said FHA Commissioner David H. Stevens. "This action will enable our borrowers, especially first-time buyers, to take advantage of this opportunity."

To ensure FHA borrowers are protected from inflated prices, the policy has certain restrictions, including:

  • All transactions must be arms-length and there can be no identity of interest between the buyer and seller (i.e. their business partners, cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, etc.)
  • If the sales price of the property is 20 percent or more above the seller's acquisition cost, the lender must meet specific conditions for the waiver to apply. (referring to fact that an investor with buying power of CASH may buy a home for $180k at auction, then be able to sell in open "retail" market at $200k+)
  • The temporary waiver will be in effect for a period of one year, unless extended or withdrawn by the FHA.

It's easy to knock the government for being overly involved, but this is a well-placed effort on their part that should do much good for the market.

*Guest Blogger Chantry Abbott is Mortgage Professional with SGI Mortgage and knows his stuff! He is also skilled in handling reverse mortgages and loan modifications. He can be reached directly at chantabbott@gmail.com or 435-979-1775.