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I Can’t Pay My Mortgage and I Don’t Know What To Do :-/

In Distressed Sales, fannie mae, FHA, First Time Sellers, florida, forclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure moratorium, foreclosure prevention scam, Freddie Mac, government, HAFA, HAMP, home sellers, homeowner, HomePath, HomeSteps, HUD, Industry trends, IRS, Market Report, miami beach, Miami-Dade County, modification, mortgage, NAR, National, option-arm, real estate, REO, scams, Sellers, Short Sales, South Beach, Tax Matters, Trends, Wenceslao on December 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm

About 75% of folk who lose their home to foreclosure, do so because they either do not seek help, or they get the wrong kind of help.

I am often asked legal questions to which I must invariably reply…I am not an attorney. The best I can do is speak from personal experience and remind them that it is imperative to seek competent and relevant legal and tax advise from active professionals.

In real estate for example, not all real estate agents are even Realtors.  Realtors are agents who as members of the National Association of Realtors(c) (NAR), they must adhere to NAR’s strict Code of Ethics. In addition, many are no longer in the business full-time nor are they truly keeping up with all the industry changes.

Homeoners looking to sell must always seek the assistance of full-time professionals. When in distress, they must take extra precautions in order to avoid falling victims of scams and even, downright fraud.

Below are some of the most common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about foreclosure avoidance.  If you have further questions not addressed below, or would like additional information and resources, feel free to Contact Us.

Do I qualify for a short sale?

The qualifications for a short sale include any or all of the following:

  1. Financial Hardship – There is a situation causing you to have trouble affording your mortgage.
  2. Monthly Income Shortfall – In other words: “You have more month than money.” A lender will want to see that you cannot afford, or soon will not be able to afford your mortgage.
  3. Insolvency – The lender will want to see that you do not have significant liquid assets that would allow you to pay down your mortgage.

What is a mortgage modification?

A mortgage modification is a process through which your mortgage lender changes any or all of the following:

  • Your interest rate
  • Your principal balance (through a reduction)
  • Your loan terms (example: from an adjustable to a fixed rate)

This process can allow borrowers to stay in their property when they can no longer afford their current mortgage payments.

Why would a lender modify my mortgage?

Lenders have realized that in some cases it is better for them to work with current borrowers to lower payments or possibly improve terms in order to keep homeowners in their properties. The average foreclosure can cost a lender from 35-50% of the value of a property, so keeping borrowers in their homes is a good option for everyone.

What do I need to qualify for a mortgage modification?

According to the Making Home Affordable Web site (www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov), you will need the following information for your lender to consider a modification:

  • Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement
  • Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on the house
  • Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards
  • Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans and car loans
  • Your most recent income tax return
  • Information about your savings and other assets
  • Information about the monthly gross (before tax) income of your household, including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources

If applicable, it may also be helpful to have a letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to reduce or expenses to increase (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.)

How do I qualify for a mortgage modification?

The first call you make should be to your lender, have the information above ready to discuss with them and call your customer service line to ask them what options you have available. If the person you speak with does not understand what you are asking, you can ask to be referred to one of the following departments (different lenders have different names for these departments):

Prior to contacting your mortgage lender you can quickly complete an eligibility test atwww.MakingHomeAffordable.gov. This test will let you know if you are eligible for a modification through the government-sponsored Home Affordability and Stability Program (HASP). For a list of mortgage lenders and servicers, visit www.HopeNow.com.

What if I don’t qualify for a mortgage modification, can’t afford my home, and owe more than it’s worth?

You are not alone and foreclosure is not the only option. If your mortgage lender or servicer will not work with you to reduce your payment, you may want to consider a short sale. Agents like me, with the Certified Distressed Property Expert® Designation, have undergone extensive training in how to process and negotiate short sales. A short sale allows you to sell your home for less than what you owe and avoid foreclosure. Speak to your market expert to see if you may qualify.

What is a Home Affordable Refinance?

If Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owns your mortgage, you may be eligible for a Home Affordable Refinance. This will allow you to refinance your home and often lower your payments.

What are the qualifications for a Home Affordable Refinance?

According to the resources released by the government, following are a list of qualifications:

  • You are the owner occupant of a one- to four-unit home
  • The loan on your property is owned or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (see Useful Links)
  • At the time you apply, you are current on your mortgage payments (you haven’t been more than 30 days late on your mortgage payment in the last 12 months, or if you have had the loan for less than 12 months, you have never missed a payment)
  • You believe that the amount you owe on your first mortgage is about the same or slightly less than the current value of your house
  • You have income sufficient to support the new mortgage payments, and the refinance improves the long-term affordability or stability of your loan

Courtesy:  ©2009 Distressed Property Institute, LLC. | All Rights Reserved

The Distressed Property Institute LLC is behind the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation that over 29,000 professionals now hold.

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Downturn Makes Rent-to-Own More Appealing

In credit, Home Buyer, home sellers, Industry trends, Lease-Option, Leasing, mortgage, NAR, National, real estate, Sellers, Trends on December 16, 2010 at 8:51 am

December 9, 2010: Downturn Makes Rent-to-Own More Appealing
As the housing downturn continues, rent-to-own contracts are becoming increasingly popular.

Rent-to-own allows buyers time to see if they like the property and time to repair their finances and get a mortgage.

Fritzi Barbour, an associate with Coldwell Banker Caine in Greenville, S.C., says many practitioners are unwilling to recommend a lease-to-own arrangement.

The negatives from a buyer’s standpoint: less flexibility than a rental situation without the permanence of owning and the potential loss of a hefty down payment if the deal doesn’t close.

The down side from the seller’s vantage point: the possibility that the buyers will be unwilling or unable to buy and their presence make a purchase by someone else unlikely. Also, the seller doesn’t get the money right away, nor is there real closure to the deal.

Source: the Wall Street Journal, Sarah Max (12/02/2010)

[Editor’s note: NAR last year hosted a how-to webinar on lease-to-own. The recorded version is available for free access.]

Open Letter to Obama and Congress

In bank-owned properties, Buyers, credit, Distressed Sales, First Time Sellers, First-Time Buyer, florida, forclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure moratorium, government, Home Buyer, home sellers, homeowner, Industry trends, Investing, Investor, IRS, lenders, Loan Program, Market Report, miami, miami beach, Miami-Dade County, mortgage, NAR, National, new rules, Obama, real estate, REO, Sellers, Short Sales, South Beach, Wenceslao on October 15, 2010 at 11:08 am

With our economy draging (in spite of the recession being over according to “experts”), it is more important than ever to find common ground, leave politics aside, get comfortable, get friendly and come together to find answers, compromises and solutions.

The recent foreclosure fiasco is absolutely appalling. The government and oversight entities, failed; banks and investment houses, failed; borrowers failed and everyone in between, failed; while those who were never even interested and stayed in the sidelines,  are all paying for it.

Some title insurers are already issuing statements refusing to insure recently litigated foreclosure properties.

If we want to see this country come out of the ashes and be the beacon of financial opportunity for everyone again, we need to start coming up with ways to incentivise certain bahaviour and dis-incentivise other.

For instance…for prices to begin to stabilize, even increase, real estate needs to improve. For this to happen, we all agree that jobs must improve.

Looking at the stabilization of real estate, there are certain actions that can be taken with government policy/legislation that will motivate lenders to act in a way that will, in my view, improve market conditions.

The now on-going foreclosure fiasco, has investors/first-time buyers in the sidelines or competing for less properties. An unintended consequence of this may be that prices may begin to rise as buyers/investors compete over remaining inventories, raising the bottom to new highs during this period.

Temporarily, this may also drive investors across the proverbial fence if they insist in avoiding Short Sales and feel that they don’t want to compete at higher prices for the REO inventory now in play.

The higher prices go, the more diluted their returns can be if they feel that the increases are still unsustainable until the employment/ tax situation is sorted.

Lenders must be given a choice to either continue to pay more attention to the REO area of their business, rather than to actually begin to pay attention to short sales and to divert attention and resources that lead to the settlement and conclusion of these, less costly deals.

To continue to ignore this cheaper, friendlier and still competitive alternative that helps save money in legal and other REO related expenses and legal responsibilities and liabilities, while helping to stabilize neighborhoods further, would be a shame.

Worst still…for the government to continue to incentivise rather than dis-incentivise lenders to take the REO route with pain – pleasure oriented programs that help lenders “choose” to continue rather than to abandon the REO alternative (unless absolutely necessary), in favor of the short sale route, would be aweful.

Leadership, starts with our government and the policies they create on behalf of and to help the citizens they represent. If the policies implemented create an environment where sellers can get their property sold with dignity, while keeping a gleam of hope for some future chance of home ownership again, then we are helping multiply the blessings in the future.

Otherwise, foreclosed home owners loose their chance of buying again while required to answer whether they’ve ever had a property foreclosed on or gave it back to the bank in lieu of.  Lenders in the future will be reluctant to lend to these folks.

To create policy that “overlooks” the foreclosure / character side of the mortgage application process in the future as a patch to address the needs of these borrowers 10 years from now, will be in that future, a hindrance to good lending practices. Instead, those borrowers should be allowed to sell with dignity today so they can perhaps buy again tomorrow.

Diverting resources and creating policy that “encourages” lenders to make a deal in a short sale rather than foreclose, will help stabilize prices, will help buyers get into good properties, and will help those outgoing homeowners get their act together so they can consider buying again in 3 to 5 years.

In the meantime, investors will consider buying short sales (once expediently processed), so they can enjoy rental income and then sell to future home owners when things improve, or continue to repair and resell to end-users and other investors as they have. Again, only if they can avoid the pain of the current short sale process.

I’m not coming up with anything that hasn’t been thought of. However, it is time for simple, sensible leadership, NOW.

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OPINIONS WELCOMED

Redesigned Realtor.com launched

In NAR, real estate on October 13, 2010 at 11:01 am

CAMPBELL, Calif. – Sept. 29, 2010 – Move Inc. today launched a redesigned Realtor.com website. Move provides the day-to-day technical support for Realtor.com, which is owned by the National Association of Realtors®.

The redesigned Realtor.com, according to Move, is backed by new technology that integrates multiple search capabilities to help consumers find their property faster and connect more easily with local real estate experts.

“A primary objective for the redesign was to create a search experience that places more information in the hands of both Realtors and consumers, supported by technology that enables Move to make fluid platform innovations,” says Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Move, Inc. “The new site also empowers real estate professionals to be clearly positioned as local experts in a manner that keeps them central to real estate transactions.”

According to Berkowitz, a visitor can now find active listings, new construction, rentals and off-market (recently sold) properties using a single search on the Realtor.com home page. Buyers and real estate professionals can now find active listings alongside sales and tax history from sold listings, and other relevant property data that reflects local market trends.

“Streamlining the search experience … vastly improves the speed at which data is surfaced in a more organized fashion,” Berkowitz says.

Another new feature is the Spotlight module – a content-driven widget continuously updated with market insights, information and real estate technologies developed by Move that enhance the search experience. Through the Spotlight module, buyers and sellers can also quickly access Realtor.com’s free home valuation service for information about local market conditions and, in the process, recognize the value of working with a Realtor.

Property listings on the new Realtor.com now organize information so prospective buyers can better evaluate, compare and locate properties of interest. As part of the redesign, the listing detail pages provide a categorized, at-a-glance summary of each property listing that better displays price and lot size, the number and types of rooms, the interior and exterior features, and more. The new listing detail pages also provide the most recent property details updated directly from Move’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) partners, as well as the number of days each property has been displayed on the site. When available, the property’s sales and tax history is provided along with standard information such as school ratings, property information, virtual tours and the agent’s other listings.

A new map experience includes the same integrated experience with separate icons for sale, off-market or sold properties. The interactive maps, generated by Microsoft’s Bing Maps, provide driving directions, estimated values of neighboring properties, median income, nearby listings and nearby points of interest, such as hospitals, police and fire stations, places of worship, libraries, restaurants, post offices and more. A new “Nearby Schools” section displays public and private schools, and school ratings.

“The integration of Move’s proprietary technology with these new design changes creates an exciting opportunity for today’s buyers to expand their expectations of how to search for a home on Realtor.com, what to expect as they explore neighborhoods and local market trends, and how to find the right real estate professional,” says Errol Samuelson, president of Realtor.com.

“In addition, Move’s commitment to keep real estate professionals central to the transaction is reaffirmed on the new ‘Find Realtors’ landing page,” Samuelson explains. “By combining features from ‘See My Listings’ into this new experience … we believe real estate professionals will receive greater exposure of their brands and client listings.”

The new ‘Find Realtors’ Profile pages are free to agents and brokers, and empower them to share their professional information, details on their company, information on the areas they serve, specializations, current listings, links to their company website, open houses, contact information, headshot photo, and more with prospective clients. A new field allows users and offices to include links to Facebook Fan Pages, Twitter and other social networking sites.

© 2010 Florida Realtors®

MILITARY: NAR’s HouseLogic Launces effort to help You

In Buyers, events, Facebook, First Time Sellers, First-Time Buyer, florida, government, Home Buyer, Industry trends, miami, miami beach, Miami-Dade County, Military, NAR, National, real estate, South Beach, Wenceslao on October 12, 2010 at 4:48 pm

NAR’s HouseLogic launches to help military families WASHINGTON – Oct. 12, 2010 – The National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) HouseLogic launched Operation Home Relief, a Facebook campaign to increase awareness, rally support and raise funds for USA Cares, a nonprofit organization that provides counseling and financial foreclosure assistance to post-9/11 active duty U.S. military service personnel, veterans and their families.

HouseLogic – a free, comprehensive consumer website about all aspects of homeownership – will donate $1 to USA Cares every time someone “likes” the Operation Home Relief Cause page on Facebook and will match individual donations made to the cause, up to $20,000.

“HouseLogic’s Operation Home Relief aims to help sustain homeownership for military families who have already given so much to support our country, and we hope others will join together with us to support this worthy cause,” says NAR President Vicki Cox Golder.

HouseLogic’s Foreclosure Guide highlights personal stories and offers information and tips to help homeowners facing foreclosure make smart, proactive decisions about what steps to take, where to find help and the alternatives to foreclosure. The guide also includes ideas for how others can get involved to combat foreclosures in their community.

“U.S. military service members bravely face danger around the world every day on behalf of all Americans. Yet, some military service members and their families also face financial dangers and hardships at home,” says William H. Nelson, executive director, USA Cares. “USA Cares’ sole mission is to help these service members and their families in their time of financial need. To that end, we’re excited to have the support of HouseLogic and the National Association of Realtors. Their new Facebook Causes campaign highlights the work USA Cares is doing, reminding Americans of the many challenges faced by U.S. military service members and their families, and generates support via Facebook for the help that we’re offering every day.”

For more information on sustaining homeownership, and many other housing topics, visit HouseLogic at www.houselogic.com.

Reprinted by Permission: © 2010 Florida Realtors®

A Short Sale Approval in 45 Days? Maybe. If Bill gets passed.

In Distressed Sales, foreclosure, government, Industry trends, lenders, NAR, new rules, real estate, Sellers, Short Sales, Trends on September 17, 2010 at 12:39 pm

NAR: Bill could speed up short sales WASHINGTON – Sept. 17, 2010 – Homeowners underwater on their mortgage may find relief through a bill strongly supported by the National Association of Realtors®. The bill, if passed by Congress and signed by President Obama, would force lenders to respond to a short sale request within 45 days.

The legislation, H.R. 6133, “Prompt Decision for Qualification of Short Sale Act of 2010,” was filed yesterday in Congress by U.S. Reps. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.).

“The short sale, which requires lender approval, is an important instrument for homeowners who owe more than their home is worth,” says NAR President Vicki Cox Golder. “While the lending community has worked to improve the size and training of their short sales staffs, they still have a long way to go on improving response times. As the leading advocate for homeownership issues, NAR believes that quicker attention to the short sales process is vital to help homeowners … as well as the nation’s economy.”

The number of potential short sale properties is rising across the country. According to NAR data, in the second quarter of 2010, four states have a significant share of properties with short-sale potential: Florida has 27 percent, Nevada 32 percent, California 28 percent, and Arizona 24 percent.

“Unfortunately, homeowners who need to execute a short sale are severely hampered because lenders (loan servicers) are unable to decide whether to approve a short sale within a reasonable amount of time,” Golder said. “Potential homebuyers are walking away from purchasing short sale property because the lender has taken many months and still not responded to their request for an approval of a proposed short sale price. Many consumers have mentioned that the delay in short sale price approval exceeds 90 days, and in many cases never arrives.”

Golder says she commends Reps. Andrews and Rooney for their efforts on the bill and urges Congress to pass the bill quickly.

Reprinted by Permission: © 2010 Florida Realtors®

A sweeping change to affect home ownership is being considered

In government, homeowner, Industry trends, IRS, NAR, new rules, real estate, tax credit, tax deductions, Tax Matters, Trends on September 17, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Value of homeownership under fire WASHINGTON – Sept. 17, 2010 – Some people blame the recession on real estate problems, and are even suggesting ways to devalue homeownership and encourage rentals.

One suggestion: Nix the federal IRS tax break on mortgage interest.

The National Association of Realtors® established a webpage that responds to negative attacks in the media. Background material is on realtor.org (http://go-to.realtor.org/r/18QPH7/FDBUK/JVSQE/OK1Q6/9IO4L/HQ/h).

In a webinar scheduled for Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. – Standing Up for Homeownership: Know the Facts – NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun and independent policy analyst Howard Glaser will explain what the media is saying, and try to separate the myths from the facts. The webinar will last one hour.

Reprinted by Permission: © 2010 Florida Realtors®

Florida News in Contrast to National News From NAR

In bank-owned properties, Buyers, closing, Distressed Sales, fannie mae, FAR, FHA, First-Time Buyer, florida, forclosure, foreclosure, government, HAFA, HAMP, Home Buyer, home sellers, HUD, Industry trends, Interest Rates, lenders, Market Report, miami, miami beach, mortgage, NAR, real estate, Sellers, Short Sales on August 24, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Florida’s existing condo sales rise in July

ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 24, 2010 – Sales of existing condominiums in Florida rose 11 percent in July, with a total of 5,557 condos sold statewide compared to 4,991 units sold in July 2009, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

Eleven of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported higher existing condo sales in July, according to Florida Realtors. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $87,200; in July 2009 it was $108,500 for a 20 percent decrease. The national median existing condo price was $181,300 in June, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

Meanwhile, in the year-to-year comparison for existing home sales, a total of 13,589 single-family existing homes sold statewide last month compared to 15,762 homes sold in July 2009 for a decrease of 14 percent. Florida’s median existing-home sales price in July was $138,000; a year earlier, it was $147,600 for a decrease of 7 percent. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

“The homebuyer tax credit expiration added a double dip to what has already been a harrowing ride in the Florida housing market,” said Dr. Sean Snaith, director for the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness. “As we move past this second dip, which is evident in the July data, the continued recovery of the state’s housing market will be contingent upon the improvement of the fundamental underpinnings of the housing sector.

“A healthy housing market depends upon a healthy Florida economy, and in particular, an improving labor market,” Snaith added. “Job growth and a declining unemployment rate will help sales continue to grow while at the same time reducing the number of foreclosures in Florida.”

2010 Florida Realtors President Wendell Davis, a broker with Watson Realty Corp. in Jacksonville, noted that the Gulf oil spill, along with uncertainty over its impact, has affected the state’s housing market.

“Along with many local businesses in the Florida Panhandle and in other Gulf Coast states, real estate has experienced significant economic harm following the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and oil spill,” Davis said. “The announcement that a special allocation from the BP Oil Spill Fund is now available to help the claims of real estate professionals’ – Realtors and licensees – over loss of income or sales due to the Gulf oil spill is a positive action that will help bolster the state’s fragile economy recovery.”

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in June 2010 was $184,200, up 1.3 percent from a year earlier, according to NAR. In Massachusetts, the statewide median resales price was $331,150 in June; in California, it was $311,950; in Maryland, it was $265,268; and in New York, it was $220,750.

More jobs continue to be key to the housing sector’s recovery, according to NAR’s latest industry outlook. “There could be a couple of additional months of slow home-sales activity before picking up later in the year, provided the job market continues to improve,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.56 percent in July, down from the 5.22 percent averaged in July 2009, according to Freddie Mac. Florida Realtors’ sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Reprinted by Permission: © 2010 Florida Realtors®

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Remember: All real estate is local.  Even within a county, neighborhoods and large condominium buildings (each considered a neighborhood in itself), can offer very different perspective to market conditions. The information is only reliable to the extent that it addresses your needs. Make sure you are working with a professional who can address all your concerns whether you are buying, selling or investing.

Luck, Is When Preparation Meets Opportunity

Miami-Dade: Distressed Property Sales Outpace Non-Distressed Sales | Real Estate News – August, 2010

In bank-owned properties, Buyers, closing, credit, Distressed Sales, fannie mae, FAR, FHA, First-Time Buyer, florida, Florida Legislature, forclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure prevention scam, government, home sellers, HomePath, HUD, Industry trends, Kiyosaki, lenders, Market Report, miami, miami beach, modification, mortgage, NAR, real estate, REO, Sellers, Short Sales, Trends on August 13, 2010 at 5:11 pm

County Sales and Statistics

Year over Year, inventory of all for sale properties between July, 2010 and July, 2009, saw an overall drop of 14.6% from 28,059 units in 7/09 to 23,976 in 7/10.

Sold properties also saw a drop from 1,870 in 7/09 to 1,698 in 7/10, or a 9.2% drop in closed transactions, while Pending Sales (properties under contract), saw a surge of 16.1% from 2,635 in 7/09 to 3,058 in 7/10.

The bleakest sector can be seen, when one looks at Non-Distressed sales activity and compares it to sales of Short Sales (pre-foreclosures being sold for less than what’s owed), and REO sales (properties already repossessed or Real Estate Owned).

There was a drop in the inventory levels of non-distressed properties for sale of 28.9%, while closed sales in this category also saw a drop of 29% and pending sales dropped by 41.3%. The drop in inventory may be due to an increase in short sales, REO or sellers dropping out of the race, still unwilling to compete at today’s prices.

This is a clear indication that buyers (those who dictate where “the market” goes), continue to control this market and favor distressed sales and non-distressed properties, priced aggressively.

Some buyers may also be swayed away from pursuing distressed sales due to the time it takes to close (especially short sales), or the heavy competition and mostly cash buying requirements for pursuing REOs.

Non-Distressed sales often offer a ‘regular sale’ transaction feel without the stressors associated with the others, helping those in this market segment who are ready to make an aggressive deal.

In our segments below, it seems clear that the market segment exhibiting the most activity due to increased demand, is by far the distressed property segment. Short Sale property owners don’t normally care if the buyer requires financing or not (except in the condo market), and REOs are quite aggressively priced, making them very attractive.

REO Volume Sold

REO Activity

REO properties for sale were up 92.3% to 2,111 in July, 2010 signaling that lenders are taking back more inventory and finally assigning them to asset managers and Realtors to sell.

For a number of reasons, closed REO sales saw a 23.5% drop in transactions from 872 in 7/09 to 667 in 7/10.
This could be in great part because of lenders favoring cash offers over financed deals (which mostly affects properties needing a lot of work and condo units).

As cash buyers dry up and non-cash buyers (mostly FHA buyers and those seeking the now gone tax credit), retreat, sales in this segment will continue to be slow.

Also, lenders are unlikely to allow a buyer come in with a construction loan to buy a rehab property (such as with FHA’s 203k loan program). These specialized loans take longer to close and lenders shy away from accepting these offers.

They also shy away from accepting any type of financed offer for condo units because so many condominiums now do not meet Fannie, Freddie or FHA standards, that it is not possible to lend in a great many of them.

This makes attempting to buy an REO condo unit with financing, futile, leaving this segment of the available inventory almost strictly in the hands of cash investors to fight over. If they are not buying in bulk, then they must compete for these with higher bids.

Obviously, there is still a lot of interest in this segment as evidenced by the increase of 36.5% in pending REO transactions to 1,151 in 7/10 (from 843 in 7/09). Aggressive pricing is typically the reason interest continues to be high in spite of slower sales.

Lenders are not in the real estate business, they are in the lending business. They don’t care about roofs or toilets, except when used as a criteria for lending against a property (asset). You’d think they’d help facilitate these property sales. Instead, they are getting bit with additional city and/or condo fees and fines, while condo associations get tough on placing liens against their properties and demanding full payment of fees in arrears – all of which is slowing sales. Ask me how I know.

Short Sales’ Specifics

Short Sale Activity

It is imperative that you select trained professionals to help you avoid foreclosure. The damaging effects of doing nothing could cost you thousands in higher interest rates for all your credit needs for many years. In addition, the stigma of foreclosure plays a roll in credit issuing and perhaps even employment opportunities.

Lenders evaluate a candidate based on credit score, ability to repay and character. A foreclosure is likely to negatively impress your lender, be it for a car or even a cell phone and it is especially damaging if you ever decide to buy real estate again.

You see, there is that little question in the mortgage loan application where they ask if you’ve ever had a property taken back in foreclosure. Answering anything other than the truth, could potentially land you in jail for fraud.

In addition, some employers may not hire you or consider you for promotion. In the military and other high security clearance jobs – it may be cause for disciplinary action or loss of employment.

7 out of 10 people loose their home to foreclosure because they make no attempt to get help. Don’t let fear or shame stop you from getting help.

A short sale is when the lender accepts less than what they are owed and releases the lien against the property, allowing it to be sold at today’s price. It may be a solution for someone who is unable to make arrangements to pay back the lender for skipped payments and whose income situation disqualifies them for bankruptcy and/or a loan modification.

Many sellers even find this a more dignified way to end this situation. They often feel that they are in control and helping themselves limit the damage to their credit, while improving their chances of being able to buy again in two or three years when their circumstances get better.

In fact, the distressed property sector showing the most dramatic change in sales activity by far is the Short Sale sector where there was a 6.2% increase in inventory levels from 7,634 in 7/09 to 8,104 in 7/10. A much lower rate of increase than for the previously discussed sectors.

Additionally, this segment showed an amazing increase in closed Short Sale transactions of 415 in 7/10. Seemingly small but, in sharp contrast with the 131 Short Sales closed in July 2009 (or a 216.8% improvement year-over-year!), while Pending Short Sales also sharply increased 107.5% from 575 in 7/09 to 1,193 in 7/10.

Therefore, there is no reason why your property could not also be sold or under contract today, helping you avoid foreclosure. Others have…you can too.
Make your move…take control and contact a professional Realtor who specializes in this field right now.

Existing Florida Sales saw a boost in May

In Buyers, closing, FAR, First-Time Buyer, florida, foreclosure, Home Buyer, home sellers, HUD, Market Report, miami, miami beach, Military, mortgage, NAR, real estate, REO, Sellers, Short Sales, Trends on June 23, 2010 at 10:59 am

Florida’s existing home, condo sales rise in May

Related story

May shows continued strong pace for existing-home sales.

ORLANDO, Fla., June 22, 2010 – Sales of existing homes in Florida rose 18 percent in May, marking 21 months that sales activity has increased in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

A total of 16,745 single-family existing homes sold statewide last month compared to 14,172 homes sold in May 2009, according to Florida Realtors. The statewide existing-home median price of $140,400 in May was slightly higher – by $300 – than April’s statewide existing-home median price of $140,100. It marks the third month in a row that the statewide existing-home median price has increased over the previous month’s median.

Across the state, a variety of housing opportunities continues to be available at attractive prices while mortgage interest rates remain historically low, said 2010 Florida Realtors President Wendell Davis, a broker with Watson Realty Corp. in Jacksonville.

“Favorable conditions like this spark buyers’ interest,” Davis said. “However, like the rest of the world, Floridians are deeply concerned about the long-term ramifications of the April 20th explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which killed 11 people and triggered the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Seventeen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported higher existing home and existing condo sales in May. A majority of the state’s MSAs have reported increased sales for 23 consecutive months.

Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $140,400; a year ago, it was $143,800 for a decrease of 2 percent. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in April 2010 was $173,400, up 4.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median resales price was $306,230 in April; in Massachusetts, it was $295,000; in Maryland, it was $244,943; and in New York, it was $197,000.

According to NAR’s latest industry outlook, factors such as a return of buyer confidence, stabilizing home prices and an improving economy are supporting the market in the federal homebuyer tax credit’s wake. “The housing market has to get back on its own feet,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, “and now appears to be in a good position to return to sustainable levels even without government stimulus, provided the economy continues to add jobs.”

In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 6,779 units sold statewide last month compared to 4,845 units in May 2009 for an increase of 40 percent. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $98,700; in May 2009 it was $113,500 for a 13 percent decrease. The national median existing condo price was $171,000 in April, according to NAR.

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.89 percent in May, close to the 4.86 percent averaged during May 2009, according to Freddie Mac. Florida Realtors’ sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among the state’s larger markets, the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton MSA reported a total of 887 homes sold in May compared to 737 homes a year earlier for a 20 percent increase. The market’s existing home median sales price last month was $235,200; a year earlier it was $232,900 for an increase of 1 percent. A total of 877 condos sold in the MSA in May compared to 676 units sold in May 2009 for an increase of 30 percent. The existing condo median price last month was $99,600; a year earlier, it was $107,500 for a decrease of 7 percent.

Reprinted by permission: © 2010 Florida Realtors®

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