Top 3 Short Sale Myths
You have to miss payments before your bank will consider you for a short sale:
This is totally false; banks are willing to consider any home that is worth less than the current owner owes the bank for a short sale. You can continue to make payments and this will preserve your credit score.
You have to wait 3 years to purchase a home after a short sale:
This is also not true. If you are relocating and have not missed any payments within a 12 month timeframe of your short sale you qualify to purchase a home. This is for those people who have to relocate out of the area due to unforeseen circumstances. This is not to be used in order to sell your current home and simply move to another home due to the current economic crisis.
Banks will come after you for the balance of the money owed after a short sale:
No way, no how! In California if a bank agrees to a short sale there cannot be any further recourse. You will never have collection efforts on behalf of the bank nor can they request contribution from the seller in order to short sell your home. In some cases the Federal government will even pay a homeowner current residing in the home to be short sold up to $3000 in order to assist them with the moving expenses.
If you are questioning whether a short sale is right for you, consider calling a real estate agent that specializes in short sales. The number of short sale agents are increasing rapidly and the banks are becoming much faster with their response times. In most cases a short sale is the right answer if you are in a home that is worth less than what you owe and you cannot afford the payments. Short sales will offer piece of mind, financial assistance, and an opportunity to begin fresh in a new market if performed correctly.
Debt Ceiling and Real Estate
Welcome Back First Time Homebuyer’s!!
This edition will be covering the U.S. debt ceiling (U.S. borrowing more money to pay their bills) and how it affects real estate. I will approach this from both sides of the argument and also give advice on how to play the market while waiting for both parties to agree on our fate.
Opposed to Raising the Debt Ceiling
What will happen if our government decides not to raise the debt ceiling? Well, the first fear for homebuyer’s is that inevitably that means that the U.S. will not be able to pay their foreign debt for the first time ever. It would be the equivalent of a home owner not paying their mortgage payment. The U.S. would now have bad credit and wouldn’t be able to borrow money from investors or foreign countries to take care of issues here in the United States. If this should occur the rating companies, which are like Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian for individuals, will drop the United States credit rating making the cost to borrow money sky rocket. Subsequently interest rates for buying homes would also increase dramatically, making homes which are typically within the average income earners grasp completely out of reach.
Those for Raising the Debt Ceiling
The United States over the last 3 decades have borrowed trillions of dollars from various sources and have not been able to balance the budget recently. Many U.S. citizens feel that we have to take a stand somewhere due to the irresponsible actions for our governing body. Raising the debt ceiling will also contribute to inflation (When you can purchase less at the store with the same dollar) which most American’s are opposed to. With a weak dollar all American’s will spend more at gas pumps and at grocery stores making it even tougher to recover from an already sluggish economy.
What Do I Think We Should Do?
In my opinion we need some very serious reform in the direction of balancing the budget. We as American citizens in order to protect the ability to own a home should urge our congressmen and congresswomen to work together on providing all proposals online so we can have some transparency. I would love to see what they are proposing and be able to have intelligent group discussions to understand what is best for the American people. Overall the source of the issue is misappropriation of funds so we need more checks and balances across the government body. This way we can have a transparent plan and the American people can hold everyone accountable for their promises. Seems so simple and I believe that is what democracy is all about.
How to Play the Market
If you believe our government will be able to resolve the debt ceiling issue before we default on any payments then you should do the following:
- Find a Home that you really like on a local MLS or just click “find a home” in this sentence to begin searching
- Contact an agent so they can take you to the home you are interested in buying so you are sure or simply click “Contact a real estate agent” in this sentence and send a request.
- Let your agent know you are looking to lock your interest rate in as soon as possible so that you can take advantage of the currently oober low interest rates
If you think the U.S. will not be able to cover its debts then:
- Find a Home that you really like on a local MLS or just click “find a home” in this sentence to begin searching
- Contact an agent so they can take you to the home you are interested in buying so you are sure or simply click “Contact a real estate agent” in this sentence and send a request.
- Let your agent know you would like to line up a few homes which you would like to get into contract with a 45+ day escrow in order to allow for you to be able to back out of the offer without recourse if the debt ceiling causes a catastrophic affect across the economy. This way you are safe and you can lock in an even lower price point and maybe even catch the interest rates before they begin climbing.
Armed with this knowledge, get out there and start House Hunting!
Not So Short Sale
Short Sales are anything but short
Those of you who are in the process of short selling or buying a short sale know by now or will soon find out a short sale is anything but short. I have heard stories ranging from real estate agents working on transaction for 2 years and beyond and they were still waiting on bank approval. The question I have is what solution are the banks offering to expedite this process and what can sellers do to be prepared to deal with the timeframes associated with the not so short, short sale?
Tip #1 for those of you interested in a short sale of your home:
Be Patient! These transactions as previously noted can take quite a bit of time. During these times to relieve your stress call the bank and authorize your real estate agent to take on all phone calls including the calls for collection. The bank will continue collection efforts even when the short sale is approved. The bank will still also move forward with foreclosure efforts if payment isn’t made. In most cases the bank will extend foreclosure sale dates if the home is in contract for a short sale. Remember again be patient.
Tip #2 for Seller’s:
Do not panic! It is important that you are working with an experienced agent that knows what to do and knows the laws regarding the short sale of a property. At times you will receive letters that will seem very alarming, be sure to send those letters to your agent and ask for their advice before making any decisions. It is imperative to take the time to analyze the situation before making any decisions.
Before short selling your home check with a licensed tax professional to understand what recourse can be taken by the bank upon the foreclosure or the pre-foreclosure sale of your home. In some states banks can lien personal property or even garnish wages. Only a tax professional will be able to assist you with the proper advice on whether you fit into the category of someone protected from recourse and someone who is not.
In summary, when looking to short sale your home there are many benefits but in order to get through the sale of the property and keep your sanity it is important that you, the seller, are delegating all of the tasks on to the professionals to keep the lender off your back initially and after the sale is completed.
Rebuilding After Foreclosure
1 in 5 American’s have faced foreclosure or are soon to face foreclosure from the time period of June 2006 to today Jun 14th 2011. This figure is astonishing; as a country we have not seen levels this high since the great depression in the 1940’s. Which prompts the question, since 20% of our population will face foreclosure, How do we as American’s bounce back from a foreclosure? This article will cover the basics of how to rebuild credit quickly and securely, timeframes in which to expect the changes to take place, disbarring foreclosure myths, and tips to speed up the process of buying back into the slumping housing market.
Rebuilding credit after foreclosure can tend to be very frustrating and intimidating feat. 42% of those who face foreclosure never apply for credit again after the incident. Most of these consumers site they are either afraid of having a large debt again or they were told they wouldn’t be able to apply for any credit for at least 7 years. Consider this first myth disbarred; you can apply for credit cards and secured credit lines and be approved for them in 6 months from the time your foreclosure is finalized. In order to get your credit and financial life back on path after a foreclosure your first step must be to get down to the bank in which you are placing your current paychecks and ask about secured credit cards. If your bank does not offer a secured card go to any of the large institutional banks or search online for banks that issue these types of cards and visit a local branch to open a secured credit card. To obtain this card you will need:
1. A deposit in cash, usually a minimum of $300, which will be returned when you close out the card as long as you have made on time payments.
2. 2 forms of Identification
You will want to open as many as many as 5 secured cards and a minimum of 3 secured credit cards in order to boost your credit score. If you manage to stay clean and make the payments on time, within 1 year you will receive credit card offers that will not require a deposit. At this time you should apply/accept 3 credit card offers that do not require a deposit and close the secured cards in order to take advantage of the better interest rates of the new cards and to get your deposit money back. Once you are approved for these new credit accounts your credit score should have risen to above the acceptable score to begin applying for financial aid for school, purchasing a vehicle, and many other various types of loans, but not good enough to buy a home again as yet.
Now that you have rebuilt your credit to a level acceptable to make most purchases let’s take some time to learn the steps needed to be able to get back into the housing market. Currently the Federal Government is providing a loan that requires a borrower to have a 640 fico score, which you will already have by now, and to be cleared from foreclosure for at least 3 years. Notice that I said 3 years not 7 years, which is the amount of years the foreclosure will appear on your credit profile. Since the peak of foreclosure started in 2006 that means there are a lot of American’s that are no longer being held by the bounds of their foreclosure. For those of you who have had a recent foreclosure in the last 3 years you will need to wait out the storm. While waiting here are some items you will want to have prepared so that you are ready to buy when the time comes.
1. You will need to be sure to have at least 3.5% of the purchase price of the home saved for at least 2 months to qualify for an FHA loan. Gift money from direct relatives will also suffice.
2. You will need to have been working for no less than 2 years in succession and have filed taxes for 2 years in succession
3. Have 2 forms of government issued identification
4. Have an accepted contract for a home that you wish to purchase. (Contact a real estate professional to assist with this)
For those of you who have foreclosed in 2008 or before, consider yourself eligible to buy in the most affordable real estate market we have seen since the 1940’s. If you factor in inflation (Increase in cost for common goods like gas), interest rates (the amount of interest paid for the money you will borrow to buy your home), and the price of the actual home you are looking to purchase you will see that if you bought the same home you foreclosed on a few years ago you would be paying close to half of what you did to buy the same in during the real estate boom. There are money studies that also show that the cost of renting today is increasing making renting a home, in some cases, more expensive than owning the same home. Economist all agree that the market cannot sustain these low levels if the economy is going to strive therefore they are projecting an increase in interest rates and home prices over the next 3-5 years. As American’s begin to learn more and become more comfortable with buying back into this marketplace the housing inventory will begin to decrease and the home prices will definitely begin to rise. It is not a matter of if it will happen, simply a matter of when it will happen. You don’t want to be left on the sideline renting especially if your cost is to rent is higher to rent the current home you are living in than to own the same home.
In closing, I would like to encourage all of the readers of this blog to pass this information on to friends and family members alike. This is a powerful message because it is imperative to the fabric of America to get the housing market back to its feet and to get back to owning our homes, not renting. For every 2 homes bought it creates 1 job and provides a stable housing situation to the home owner. This is a total win-win, let’s keep the fight against foreclosure marching forward and as fellow American’s let’s not allow the singular act of foreclosure keep us back from achieving our American Dreams. There is immediate life after foreclosure, with a plan to achieve there is nothing that can hold you back.
Happy house hunting!
The American Dream is Still Alive!
Good Afternoon Future Homeowners,
Today I would like to share a personal experience about a client that bought their first home late last week. This buyer first visited my office late June of last year when his mother had recently lost her battle with cancer. He was driving by the new home subdivision that I was representing on a cloudy Thursday evening. This client walked into our subdivision and told me “I am not sure what I need to do to buy a home but it’s my time”. His desire and determination to succeed would show and prove this statement was not only true but profound. In early March the gentleman came back to the subdivision and had saved $8,000 by working 60 hour work weeks and conserving his funds. He also enrolled in a financial awareness program which aided him in increasing his fico score 60 points while working those long hours. When the gentleman returned to me he was ready to buy. He presented me with the home he wanted, the price he wanted to pay, and the time in which he wanted to occupy the home. We were able to negotiate a great deal and move him in within 60 days of the time we met for the 2nd time. He is now paying less than what he was paying in rent and is the proud owner of a 4 bedroom home in Sacramento.
What I have learned from this experience is that the American Dream is still alive and well. We as American’s just have stopped pressing as hard to achieve these dreams. Future home owners, do not be afraid of the road less traveled, just be prepared. The gentleman is 26 years of age and recently lost his mother before deciding he was going to change his financial situation. My question to all of you is simple, what will it take to make you decide to make the change from renting to owning?
Buyer’s Guide 101
5 Steps to Being Prepared for Shopping for a Home
So you think you are ready to buy a home?
Stop! Before you go any further down that thought trail, visit your local bank or contact a licensed loan officer to get:
Step 1: Pre-approved
What is a pre-approval you may ask? A pre-approval is an analysis of your credit, finances, and assets, which ultimately will tell you your purchasing power. For more information about pre-approvals click the link below:
Step 2: Know what area you would like to live in and why.
The most important factors to most families in today’s age are:
Relationship to work (Gas prices are pretty high and increasing)
School districts (Proximity to good schools for your children are imperative for most parents)
Amenities (Being close to your favorite market, park, or recreational activities can increase your quality of life exponentially)
For detailed reporting of your area simply visit the site below and select a valued Realtor:
Step 3: Know the Difference between your wants and needs
We all want a mansion, palm trees, and an infinity pool on a 15 acre plot in Beverly Hills for $1,200 a month but let’s face the facts. If it’s too good to be true, then it’s probably a want not a need. Here are some typical needs for Sacramento buyers in this market.
If you are unable to climb stairs you will probably want to get a single story home or a home with a bedroom downstairs
If you don’t have a green thumb, you don’t need a large backyard. Look for low maintenance homes or condos.
If you have kids, be aware that the schools in the direct area are the schools they will attend.
The number of bedrooms should reflect the amount of people that will be sleeping in those bedrooms.
Overall, be aware of your budget and lifestyle before looking for the largest home or yard. You may live to regret those decisions. Remember in real estate bigger is not always better. Location, Location, Location.
Step 4: Bring Decision Makers Along for the Ride
Now that you are finally ready to venture out and view potential homes, be careful who you seek advice from. Remember you will be the one living in the home and making the payments. Also remember that cosmetic items such as paint, carpet, appliances, and fixtures are generally very easy to change out and add some of your own unique style to your home.
Be sure to bring all the decision making parties to the home to make a sound decision.
Bring all parties that will be investing or partnering in the purchase of the home.
Never forget to bring your real estate agent to the homes you are interested in buying. They are an invaluable resource when viewing homes.
Step 5: Be Patient
By this time you should be ready to write offers. Remember to be patient especially when working with foreclosed homes and short sales. Timeframes can vary from as short as 30 days and as long as a couple of years.
Short sales are the most difficult and time consuming transactions in today’s market. If you are viewing short sales be sure you do not have a firm move out date. More than likely your transaction will take longer than you expect.
Foreclosed Homes are the second most difficult type of transaction and typically need work before moving into these homes. Bring your elbow grease, gloves, and a hammer because in most cases you will need one. It also helps to have a handy significant other.
Traditional Sales are far and few between in this market but are the easiest transactions to complete. You typically will spend 30 days or less in contract before receiving the keys to your new home. If at all possible aim for traditional sales if you are looking to move quickly or relocating.
In closing, buying a home is a major commitment. It is normally a 30+ year commitment and you should be sure to spend the proper time researching your real estate agent and loan officer. They professional help you receive during your home search will make the difference between you buying lemon or buying a diamond.
Walking Away, Sacramento Foreclosures
Thinking of walking away from your home?
Millions of American’s are faced with the sad reality that they can no longer afford their home. Which leads me to the question in this article, how does walking away from your home affect your credit and financial future? What will you qualify for and when will you be able to buy a home again? Will you be able to finance a car, recreational vehicle, or even get a credit card? Those questions and many more will be answered in this article.
Let’s start by speaking about foreclosure in general. Foreclosure is when a homeowner is forced to give their home back to the bank in which they borrowed the money to finance the home. The laws for foreclosure are governed by the state municipalities so we will not spend a lot of time discussing the laws because they vary state to state. I encourage anyone looking to walk away from their home to first speak to a professional about what recourse the bank may have in a case where the debt was not paid in full. The process of foreclosure typically begins after 90 days of non-payment; again this can begin sooner or later depending on your local law. During this period of non-payment the bank will be reporting the payment late to the major credit bureaus. The bank will continue to report the property late every 30 days until the home is taken back or the payment is made current. After the 90 days has surpassed the banks normally issue Notice of Default which notifies the general public and the homeowner that the loan is now at a stage where the bank is allowed to take the home from the homeowner. The last step for the bank is to finalize all of the legal paperwork to evict the non-paying homeowner from the home. Eviction from the home can take as little as 1 day and as long a many years depending on the specific situation.
How does this affect your credit? The bank will report every 30 days that the payment was not made on your home mortgage. Every derogatory mark on your credit will appear on your credit report and lower your score further and further each and every 30 day interval. Items that are reported negative within 12 months affect your credit far more than items that are reported more than 3 years to date. Therefore because the derogatory marks are made until the home is ultimately taken some 90-150 days from the date you missed your first payment your credit score will go from excellent to poor very quickly and continue to decline until the issue is resolved. With this process having the potential to drag out for years you will be credit deficient for as long as the process takes to resolve, placing your financial life on hold. You will not be able to obtain credit for vehicles, business loans, credit cards, etc. ultimately diminishing your quality of life.
What happens after the home is taken by the bank? After the home is taken by the bank you will have to go through a rebuilding cycle. You will not be allowed to finance another home for at least 3 years. In extreme cases it can take even longer depending on the lending guidelines at the time in which you are applying. You will be subject to higher interest rates for all borrowed money transactions and you more than likely will only be allowed to get a secured credit card. A secured credit card is a card in which you will provide cash deposit to the issuer of the card in order to have a limit of credit. If the amount allowed on credit is not paid back to the issuer by the contracted dates the issuer will take the amount deposited as collateral due to the non-payment of the borrower. Typically the lender will only allow the credit limit to match the amount of the deposit. After walking away from the home it will also be more difficult to find housing due to a poor credit rating. Most landlord’s are not willing to rent to a recently foreclosed upon tenant.
What are some better options? The option of modifying your loan, your current lender lowering your interest rate, is available to qualifying homeowners. The option of short selling your home before missing payments is also an option for a qualified homeowner. With any of these two options you will not have to wait to buy a home in the future in most cases. These options also have very little to no consequences to your credit, and have less recourse from the bank if any. Do not allow the stress of not being able to afford your mortgage lead you into making a poor decision. Sit down with a licensed real estate agent in your area and request that they review your current situation and discuss all the options available. You can also visit www.myurbanrealty.com and chat live with a foreclosure specialist!
Banked Owned homes get a lift
In an effort to reduce its inventory of foreclosed homes this summer, HomeSteps, the real estate sales unit of Freddie Mac, this week launched a nationwide promotion to lure potential buyers.
The HomeSteps Summer Sales Promotion is offering to cover up to 3.5 percent of a buyer’s closing costs and a $1,200 bonus to selling agents for initial offers received between May 16, 2011 and July 31 and when escrows close on or before September 30. This offer is good only for homes sold to buyers who plan to live in them.
Also a two-year limited home warranty that covers electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, heating and other major systems and appliances is available for some of Freddie Mac’s foreclosed homes. Buyers of Freddie Mac homes also in certain instances can obtain discounts of up to 30 percent on the purchase of appliances. For more details see www.HomeSteps.com/smartbuy. For HomeSteps Summer Sales Promotion details and conditions, visit http://www.HomeSteps.com.
FHA Financing for homes that need work
Check out this article from the New York Times
Financing foreclosed homes
Foreclosure properties, especially those with the water and power turned off, may not qualify for standard financing, but would-be owner-occupants may qualify for a federally insured 203(k) loan.
Making sense of the story
- Would-be owner-occupants who do not have enough money to purchase a foreclosure home using cash, may qualify for the federally insured 203(k) loan, which allows borrowers to roll projected rehab costs into the loan.
- According to one real estate expert, most foreclosure properties are sold as is, and, oftentimes, heat, plumbing, and electric are turned off, making it unlikely a lender will lend money on the home.
- To qualify for a 203(k) loan, buyers generally hire an independent consultant hired by the Federal Housing Administration to review contractor cost estimates and architectural plans for things like whether the work will bring the property up to minimum standards, while not going overboard on improvements.
- Buyers should be aware that not all foreclosure properties are eligible. For instance, a partially built house that has never had a certificate of occupancy requires a construction loan of the kind that a commercial developer would use.
- The interest rate on a 203(k) loan is approximately a quarter of a percentage point higher than on a standard FHA-insured loan, and a buyer also can expect to pay 1 or 2 points.
Also, as with other FHA-backed loans, down payments may be as low as 3.5 percent, and loan limits apply. Currently, most FHA loans are capped at $729,750.
New vs. Short Sale or Bank Owned
THE ADVANTAGES OF BUYING A NEW HOME
In this economic atmosphere, the prospects of getting a good deal may lure your clients toward buying a short sale or REO. But while up-front costs may seem lower on an REO or short-sale, buyers often end up paying in other ways. Here are five advantages of buying a new home to think about:
1. NO REPAIRS.
With a short sale or REO, the previous owner may have stopped maintaining their property. That means your client could end up with expensive repair bills. But new home purchases often include builder warranties for workmanship, materials, and structural problems to help protect your client against large out-of-pocket repair expenses.
2. NO SURPRISES.
With a new home, what you see is what you get. With an REO or short sale, what you might not see is what you get. New home purchases often come with many disclosures from the seller, though in reality, very little may actually need to be disclosed. For REO transactions, not only is the bank exempt from some of the disclosure requirements for sellers under California law, but the previous homeowner may be long gone.
3. GUARANTEED QUALITY.
New homes are usually built with modern conveniences and energy-efficient technology. They may also come with warranties for craftsmanship, appliances and more, to give the buyer peace of mind. Short sale and REO properties may not come with warranties or upgrades and may not be available for inspection prior to purchase, so your client could be in for some expensive surprises after purchase.
4. FRIENDLIER FINANCING
Homebuilders often have relationships with lenders that help buyers obtain financing for new homes with relative ease. For short sales and REOs, the property may have a lower price tag, but some buyers may run into difficulty getting financing.
5. SHORTER PURCHASE PROCESS.
Homebuilders usually have homes available for immediate occupancy or on a move-in schedule that’s convenient for your clients. Negotiating a short sale can take several months — and there’s no guarantee your client’s offer will be approved
Ask your agent about a new home today!!!