Under the CARES Act, approximately 7.2 million homeowners took advantage of forbearance plans since the start of the pandemic. Almost a year and a half later, 1.75 million homeowners remain in forbearance. As the program winds down and foreclosure moratoria expire, servicers are committed to helping homeowners navigate through the mortgage reinstatement process to successfully exit forbearance and avoid foreclosure.
Servicers have been busy shifting resources and portfolio tracking based on recent HUD and CFPB loss mitigation safeguards and foreclosure exclusions. As servicers do this, they’re also educating homeowners on their options and raising awareness on the value an equity sale can offer. If a homeowner is unable to reinstate or maintain their modified mortgage payments, this becomes a key tool to avoid foreclosure. After careful review, if reinstatement is not an option, online auctions play a critical role in loss mitigation and helping homeowners complete a graceful exit from forbearance. Here’s how it can be a win-win for both homeowners and servicers.
Navigating Loss Mitigation and Servicer Capacity
Many Americans continue to experience financial hardships as a result of COVID-19. At the same time, historically low interest rates and strong demand for housing continue to drive significant origination and refinancing activity. As a result, servicers are seeking partners with solutions that address capacity issues in key segments of the default servicing waterfall. Especially as many homeowners are approaching the end of their forbearance agreement and face a time sensitive decision regarding mortgage retention eligibility.
Today, servicers are engaging partners who offer various solutions to help alleviate potential capacity issues. For Xome®, this means partnering with servicers to support the entire property lifecycle and helping them manage loss mitigation or disposition, both of which are time-intensive and complex processes. By providing detailed property information at the asset level, servicers can better manage potential losses and gain greater visibility into their portfolio. In turn, servicers are better able to help homeowners understand their options, which may include selling their homes to avoid foreclosure and protect their equity.
Online Auction: A Win-Win for Homeowners and Servicers
Auction, historically considered a last resort if a traditional strategy was unsuccessful, has become much more widely adopted and is increasingly seen as a welcome addition to a servicer’s toolkit. Whether homeowners want to take advantage of their home’s current market price or are ineligible for mortgage reinstatement options, an auction is a transparent and excellent way to buy and sell real estate. One clear advantage is that homeowners can see and compare all buyer offers in real-time during live auction events via Xome’s online auction platform. This is ideal for any situation, but even more so for the time-sensitive nature of an expiring forbearance plan or pending foreclosure action.
Another factor to consider is the homeowner’s equity position. If a homeowner has at least 10% equity, they will likely be able to satisfy their mortgage obligation in full with the sale proceeds. An online auction can help ensure that homeowners are maximizing equity and not settling for less than full market value, while also benefitting from multiple buyers competing and ultimately selling to the highest bidder.
For servicers, auction provides another way to help homeowners more effectively, while also helping optimize their operational efficiencies as people exit forbearance at scale within a short timeframe. Solutions like the Xome® Xpert Seller program are designed to function as an intermediary between homeowners and servicers. Xome helps servicers connect homeowners with real estate professionals and works closely with them to market and sell their homes, freeing up time for servicers to focus on home retention efforts for other homeowners.
At the end of the day, a foreclosure sale should be the last option. For homeowners, it can be stressful, intimidating, and confusing to understand how to navigate next steps. What’s most important is to ensure that homeowners are fully educated and they understand all of their options before their forbearance ends or prior to foreclosure action. Considering auction as a marketing strategy and leveraging technology solutions like Xome’s Xpert Seller allows homeowners to take advantage of cost savings, protect their equity, and experience a smooth and easy transition to their next chapter.