To qualify under these new guidelines:
- The property must be the home owner’s principal residence.
- The home owner must be delinquent on the mortgage or close to defaulting.
- The loan must have been made before Jan. 1, 2009, and be for less than $729,750.
- The borrowers’ total monthly mortgage payment must exceed 31 percent of their before-tax income.
Borrowers who complete a short sale under the program must be "fully released" from future liability for the debt, according to the guidelines.