Archive for the ‘Short Sale’ Category

SANTA CLARA MARKET STABILITY

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Ohlone/Chynoweth–Almaden (VTA)

Ohlone/Chynoweth–Almaden (VTA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

For about 3 years we have suffered through the craziest Real Estate Market I have seen in the 25 years I been a Broker here in Silicon Valley. During much of this period properties would be Listed Wed, Open House Sat and Sun, offers accepted Tue/Wed and Sold by Thu, after an average of 24 offers (the record I know of  was 79 offers on a nice 3 bed, 2 bath in South San Jose). This drove prices up a a ridiculous rate.

This was the inevitable result of a wave of overseas investors stocking up on “Cheap” California Real Estate, a surge of well qualified 1st time buyers, and historically low interest rates.

This excess of Buyers (DEMAND) led to a shortage of properties for sale (SUPPLY)

There are 3 significant results of this great Sellers Market:

1. The virtual disappearance of SHORT SALES, and REO (Foreclosure) properties for sale. The rising prices have rescued many homeowners from the UPSIDE DOWN (Negative Equity) situation they had fallen into.

2. A restoration of the Laws of SUPPLY and DEMAND. Over the past 7 years many people were forced to postpone their retirements when most of their Home Equity vanished, and they had to hunker down till the market improved. The rising prices are  allowing them to restart their long term plans to retire and move out of the area.

3. A significant number of MOVE UP BUYERS who got stuck in small houses despite the arrival of small children are now able to get prices which allow them to move up to a more suitable house. They are selling to  buyers who are helped by the huge number of special FIRST TIME BUYER PROGRAMS now available from  City, County, State, and Federal sources. These are greatly enhanced by the fantastic interest rates.

Now here we are in early 2015 and things have returned to something close to normality with inventory for sale, and ready and qualified Buyers pretty much in balance in most of the valley. The exception to this is in those areas with the top rated schools where the boom times are still hot although on a lesser scale.

 

MORTGAGE DELINQUENCY RATE DROPS NEARLY 25% IN LAST YEAR

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Things really are getting better. English: Mortgage debt

The mortgage delinquency rate (the rate of borrowers 60 days or more delinquent on their mortgage) dropped 23.3 percent in the past year, ending the third quarter at 4.09 percent, down from a year earlier when the rate stood at 5.33 percent, according to data gathered from TransUnion’s proprietary Industry Insights Report. The mortgage delinquency rate also dropped on a quarterly basis, down 5.3 percent from 4.32 percent in the second quarter, the seventh straight quarterly decline.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia experienced a decline in their mortgage delinquency rate between third quarter 2012 and third quarter 2013. Five states – California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah – experienced declines of 30 percent or more in their mortgage delinquency rate. Three states – California, Florida, and Nevada – had double-digit percentage drops in the last quarter.

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THANKS TO BARBARA BOXER

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Barbara Boxer, United States Senator from Cali...

Barbara Boxer, United States Senator from California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As of Dec 1st both the IRS and Franchise Tax Board have put in writing that they no longer consider “Debt Forgiveness” resulting from a Short Sale to be taxable income under either State or Federal tax laws.

This removes a huge potential problem from anyone going through a short sale. Until now It has been common to receive a tax bill in the tens of thousands of dollars many months after the property has been sold.

Thanks are due to Barbara Boxer for her part in fighting this battle for us.

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PROBLEMS FOR THE 1st TIME BUYER

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Cover of "Buying a Home (Essential Financ...

Cover of Buying a Home (Essential Finance)

Real estate transactions place a particularly complex set of psychological and emotional stressors on buyers and sellers.  Clients are supposed to make wise financial decisions, find (but manage!) their emotional passion for a property, do diligent research, and handle an uncanny list of logistics – all at once.

This has been the case since the dawn of the real estate business. But the last decade has added two line items to this list of stressors that have sent some buyers and sellers over the edge – and pushed many others right to the (deal-breaking) brink:

The biggest recession in American history is one — this has ratcheted up buyers’ and sellers’ financial fears and the pressure to make smart, sustainable decisions.

The advent of the internet is the other — now that every bit of market data and advice is literally at hand, real estate consumers can overwhelm themselves and fall prey to “analysis paralysis” in the effort to get informed.

Client mindsets, unmanaged, kill deals. And you can’t manage what you don’t first understand. Even worse than glitching up your close rate, some of these anxieties can actually cause panic, paralysis and poor decisions. Let’s take a little trip inside the minds of our post-recession, constantly-connected home buyers and sellers, to get a better understanding for their freak-out moments and sticking points.

Neurosis #1: Interest Rate Fixation.

The buyer and refi-er with interest-rate fixation checks interest rates online all day, every day. They hang on Bernanke’s every word – and text or call you immediately after his every press conference to see what you think about it. They notice rates rise and fall by .375% one week, and have done the amortization math to reveal that this difference would save them $2,750 over their 30 year loan.  As a result, interest rate fixated buyers and home owners often freeze up when it’s time to lock rates, hesitating out of the hope/fear that rates will decline, even by a smidgen, tomorrow.

As with most human neuroses, interest rate fixation starts from a good place: the desire to be a smart, informed, wise money manager and real estate decision-maker. But it can spiral to a place where it borders on delusional. Something about the ease of access and constant information about every moment’s variation in interest rates makes mortgage borrowers perceive that they have more control over the precise timing of their rate lock and their transaction than they actually do.

How you can help

If you have someone with interest rate fixation on your hands, it might help to keep them mindful of the overall goal of buying the right home at an affordable price and terms, or saving money and paying their home off early, via their refinance.  Explain that they should be aggressive about moving their house hunt and refinance forward. But also inform them that their contingency and underwriting timelines have more impact on the timing nuances that dictate their precise interest rate than obsessively watching CNBC ever will.

Neurosis #2: House-Stalking Syndrome.

Your house stalkers are those buyers who are constantly asking you about homes that are not on the market, having seen a late-night infomercial that urged them to write letters to owners asking them to sell – and finance – their homes.  These are also the buyers who see a ‘Coming Soon’ sign go up on the most luxurious home in town and start checking online, calling the listing agent and emailing you 5 times a day to know the moment it comes on the market. Then, when it is listed at a price far beyond their means, they go to the Open House, put in a lowball offer (with a picture of their Yorkie) and go into mourning when the place sells for hundreds of thousands more than they could every have paid.

Believe it or not, these are the most benign symptoms of house stalking syndrome. I’ve heard of house stalking buyers who track the sellers down on Facebook, knock on their doors, and even attempt to sabotage their open houses. But by and large, house-stalkers reserve their fixation for late-night internet research into a property’s permit history, floorplans, owners and neighbors, estimated value, days on market and listing agent history.

How you can help

Historically, house stalkers were seeking to be the first to hear of a price reduction.  But on today’s seller’s market, house stalkers are often legitimate buyers driven slightly nuts by the prospect of getting outbid (again).

To minimize this mania, it’s essential for you, the agent, to be the calming presence in a crazy market.  Create a sensible house hunting plan and strategy, encourage them to view homes priced low enough that they can compete and stay within budget, and brief them up front about how many offers buyers normally are having to make before snapping up their ultimate home.

Neurosis #3: Home Voyeurism, aka Looky-Loo Syndrome, aka Property Peeping Tom Tendencies.

Home voyeurs are related to the aforementioned home-stalkers, with one big difference: they have no interest in actually buying a home!  Hence, these Property Peeping Tom’s can be the bane of an agent’s existence, because their phone calls, emails and texts place a real drain on the time you could be spending with serious clients.

As long as there have been open houses, there have been looky loos. But the advent of the internet has exacerbated their symptoms and encouraged their bad behavior by rendering so much more information about properties and the people involved with them publicly available.

How you can help

The toughest type of Property Peeping Tom to deal with are those friends and relatives who beg you to use your real estate agent superpowers to constantly pull comps, get insider information or even provide access to listed homes for what you know will turn out to be no good reason. One word: “no”.  Wait – one more word: “boundaries”

Neurosis #4: Décor Expectations Disorder.

Reality TV, real estate shows and design magazines have created some pretty unrealistic expectations about what the interior of a home should look like on any given day. While the average human being isn’t put off by some unopened mail in the basket or a pair of sneakers in the hallway, those with Décor Expectations Disorder are shocked and outraged by even the slightest signs of real life inside the homes they view. They are aghast when every pillow isn’t fluffed and completely incensed by out-of-date appliances.  No window valances? Quelle horreur.

How you can help

Truth is, the ante has certainly been upped. Buyers at all price points do have the right to expect listings to be clean and prepared for sale – and listing agents must know that homes which don’t measure up will not command top dollar. If your buyer client has Décor Expectations Disorder, remind them that the perfectly staged homes tend to get more offers and sell for more, so that a poorly prepared property might present a good opportunity for them.  Encourage them to visualize the place in the pristine condition they’ll keep it, if and when they end up owning the place.

And take every opportunity to remind your home sellers that the competition is fierce. In fact, remind them that they are not just competing against nearby listings, but also against the standard of cleaniness and decor that buyers see in the media. Encourage them to be vigilant about keeping their home pristine and clutter-free while it’s listed and being shown. Stagers, housekeepers and storage units are property preparation investments that can have pay off big, at closing.

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SMART FHA CHANGE

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A great deal has been writen in the past few weeks about the MAJOR good news from FHA. It’s all useful to the professionals but let me try to take out the fluff and show just the bones.

As of August 8th, 2013, people who recently lost their homes due to temorary hardship in any of the following ways have a good chance of qualifying for a new FHA loan:

0. Foreclosure.

o. Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.

o. Short Sale.

o. Bankruptcy (ch 7 and 13).

If you think you might qualify under the new guidelines talk to a Loan Agent who has strong FHA background. Understand that not all of them have strong FHA experience.

Logo of the Federal Housing Administration.

Logo of the Federal Housing Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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SHORT SALES-THE END??

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Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For about 2 years now my market (Silicon Valley) has seen a steady increase in sales prices. This is finally causing changes in Banks approach to Short Sales.

I just had my 1st experience where a Bank (BofA) cancelled a previously approved short sale when they realized that the current value of the property is now higher than the amount of the loan.

They have now re-started the Foreclosure process where they can expect to get all of their money back and not have to take a loss after all.

This also gives the owner/borrower the opportunity to minimize the Credit hit by selling the property before the foreclosure completes, and maybe even get a little money back themselves.

I firmly believe that the age of the Short Sale Specialist is coming to it’s end and all those useless seminars will disappear with them.

However, there

Bank

Bank (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

for the home owner who is falling behind  if the Banks begin to think it might be smarter to foreclose and lose a lot less than previously, rather than expend time and effort trying to keep the afloat.

The next 6 month will be very interesting.

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THE DIGNITY MORTGAGE

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About 6 years ago the greedy incompetent Banks managed to effectively take mortgages back to the Dark Ages. Since then the idea of having mortgages designed in the interest of the Borrower has been totally abolished.

Now at last we are hearing stirrings of intelligent ideas coming from the industry.

BEFORE READING THE REST OF THIS ARTTICLE PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS “SUB PRIME MORTGAGES”. THERE ARE ONLY “SUB PRIME BORROWERS”.

Housing advocates are pushing for a new type of loan, called the “Dignity Mortgage,” They are approaching bankers and federal regulators proposing this.

The Dignity Mortgage would be geared to applicants who have rebuilt their finances since losing their homes and or jobs during the past 5-6 years, but who have been able to get steady employment and repaired their credit scores since then.

Despite this it is very difficult to get a regular mortgage from the standard lenders at this time says Faith Bautista, who heads the National Asian American Coalition.

The Dignity Mortgage would target Borrowers who had a good credit history prior to the collapse, and have been able to save at least a 10% down payment since then.

Since it would be a higher risk loan, it would come with a higher rate for a higher risk. For example, borrowers would pay 1.25 percentage points above more creditworthy borrowers (e.g. 4.75 percent if more A+ borrowers were paying 3.5 percent), the Los Angeles Times reports.

However, if borrowers made timely payments for five years, the deal could greatly improve.

“At that point, the extra money they had paid in interest would be used to reduce the mortgage balance, and their rate would be cut to whatever borrowers with sterling credit and 20 percent down payments were charged at the time the loan was made,” the Los Angeles Times reports in explaining the proposal.

Source: “New Type of Subprime Loan Pushed,” Los Angeles Times (Jan. 29, 2013)

Loan

Loan (Photo credit: Philip Taylor PT)

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OWNER TO RENTER

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AT LAST, SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE IN A BANK.

Pilot programs of this kind have been running successfully inside a number of Banks. If implemented more widely this strategy will make a huge positive impact on thousands of families.

CitiMortgage announced the launch of the Home Rental Program, a program designed to provide an alternative to foreclosure and allow eligible borrowers to stay in their homes.
The Home Rental Program will be managed by Carrington Capital Management, LLC and Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC. CitiMortgage and Carrington developed the program as a pilot.
Under the program, the eligible borrower transfers ownership of the property to a vehicle established by Carrington Capital and its joint venture partner, Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. A lease will then be established for the property at a manageable monthly payment.
Lease payments will be determined by local market rates but are expected to be lower than the borrower’s mortgage obligation. Carrington will work with borrowers to establish a length for each lease.
The program will be tested in six of the hardest-hit markets to evaluate its effectiveness: Arizona, California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, and Georgia. Carrington will contact homeowners who meet eligibility requirements.
In order to be eligible for the program, candidates must: Occupy the property; owe more than their home is worth; be delinquent for 120 days; and be unable or ineligible to receive an affordable loan modification while still having the resources to make monthly rent payments. In addition, candidates must have a loan in the pilot portfolio serviced by Carrington.
To implement the program, CitiMortgage has transferred the ownership of loans in its portfolio through the sale of $158 million in mortgages to the Carrington/Oaktree partnership.
“We’re looking forward to working on this important initiative with CitiMortgage and our partner, Oaktree Capital Management,” said Bruce Rose, founder and CEO of Carrington. “Offering alternatives for borrowers looking to stay in their homes and simultaneously relieving their distress is core to the operating principles of our firm and will help substantially in the overall housing market recovery.”

HARP – HAMP – HAFA etc

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For borrowers unable to afford their mortgage payment, listed below are the options you will need to consider in the following order… HARP is always your 1st Option

1.) HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) this allows you to convert to a low 30Y Fixed. You must have a Fannie or Freddie loan with good credit and be current on your payments.

2.) HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) this is where most of the borrowers will be; however not everyone will qualify. You will need to have a financial hardship and there are front and back end financial conditions that need to be met.

3.) HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative) If you were denied a loan modification and unable to afford your mortgage payments, then you may want to consider selling your property at a loss (Short Sale). Your lender would first need to agree to the short sale and the credit impact will be two years and is less damaging then a foreclosure.

4.) Deed in Lieu (DIL). This is where you give the property back to the lender by signing a Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure. This also avoids a Foreclosure. DIL is not possible if you have more than one loan i.e. 2nd mortgage or Home Equity Line of Credit as these stay in force and the 1st mortgage holder would have to accept responsibility for them.

5.) Foreclosure. People with excellent credit are now foreclosing on their properties by walking away from it. They believe the property will not go up in value and have suffered a substantial loss from it. Consequences apply as this will stay on your credit report for 7 years.

6.) Bankruptcy. Regardless if it’s a Chapter 7 or 13, it will stay on your credit report for 10 years.
With the new Bankruptcy ACT of 2005 it is now more difficult to file for Chapter 7 and most likely you will need to file a 13, which still requires you to pay back your debts.

FORECLOSURE/SHORT SALE TAX HELP

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In 2007. the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was passed, helping many underwater homeowners avoid taxes on the amount of debt that their lender forgives. Even though the homeowner doesn’t see any of the money from the short sale, the lender’s loss is considered the homeowner’s gain and the lender issues a 1099 reporting that amount as income.

That “income” would ordinarily be taxable, but the 2007 Act wiped out tax liability for many homeowners who short sale their homes between 2007 and 2012.

It is possible that Congress could move to extend the tax protection. However, those who are considering short sales may wish to be cautious and begin negotiating the process now. Listing the home, finding a buyer and negotiating with the short sale can take months.