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RISMEDIA, May 4, 2010—The California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.) recently launched a program for real estate professionals to become Certified HAFA Specialists in California. The program was created in conjunction with AssetPlanUSA, a nationwide foreclosure alternatives solution provider and Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) specialist.

“California was one of the states hardest hit by the housing downturn, and much remains to be done to help families in distress either keep their home or help them through the foreclosure process,” said C.A.R. President Steve Goddard. “This certification program will clearly identify real estate professionals who have chosen to specialize in HAFA, arguably the most important short sale program in the nation.”

Short sales, the primary foreclosure alternative offered under HAFA, have become an increasingly important part of the California real estate market in recent years. In these transactions, borrowers are allowed to sell their home for less than the full amount due on their loan.

“We strongly support the Treasury Department’s efforts to assist families through the short sale process,” Goddard said. “We’re committed to helping the HAFA program be successful in California.”

“HAFA is the first program to set much needed nationwide standards for how short sale transactions should be conducted,” said Ray Mathoda, chief executive officer of AssetPlanUSA. “While the number of short sales has increased in the last two to three years, both in California and nationwide, a large percentage of transactions currently fail to be completed prior to foreclosure. The HAFA program should increase the volume and success rates of short sales and will set an important precedent for the market: Lenders should forgive the deficiency for borrowers who are forced to short sell due to documented financial hardship.”

“In many instances, a short sale may be the best way for a family to stabilize their finances and get back on their feet without going through the costly and unpleasant foreclosure process,” Goddard said.

More than 100 servicers accounting for more than 90% of U.S. home loans serviced are signed up for the HAFA program, which is expected by many to be the largest short sale program in the nation.

The Certified HAFA Specialist program is a two- to three-hour Internet-based webinar teaching real estate professionals about HAFA, who it affects, and how it works.

For more information, visit