Friday, September 30, 2011

Conforming Loan Limit Reduced

We heard it was it's here. The conforming loan limit has dropped by $100,000.00! That means anyone borrowing more than that will pay a higher interest rate on a portion of their loan, as of October 1st.

Okay, so big deal you're thinking? It truly is. Anytime money becomes more expensive it bumps some people out of the buying market. And, we need as many people able to buy as possible now.

The interest rates are ridiculously low now, although they have been bouncing around the last week or so. The inventory is still out there. High enough to find something. And, yes, we still have a ton of short-sales, but they are moving along much quicker than a couple of years ago.

First time buyers are in their new place.....just about 4 months. A short-sale seller.......closing escrow in a little over 3 months from listing date.

As long as the agent is doing what they are supposed to be doing, it does move along. Under price? Problem. Can't get in? Problem. List it right, allow them to see it, follow the process, be diligent.

And, buyers, get pre-approved now. But, if you're looking for a larger loan.....better double check with your favorite lender to see if your rates are changing as of tomorrow.......

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Should You Buy Investment Property?

I'm reading on Sunday morning before it's time to head out to meet clients. This morning an article about investing caught my eye so, of course, I share some highlights and a link to the full article.

Most important is that someone who is considering becoming a landlord needs to be very aware of the expenses associated with rental property. It's not just a 'watch the money come in' scenario.

I was a landlord years ago, hated it. But, it did help with my income taxes, so for 8 years we tolerated it. But, the stress of owning something so far away was challenging so we let it go. Now, I wish I still had it.

Recently, I became a landlord again. Felt that for my retirement, Real Estate was a good investment. But, fortunately for me, I knew what kinds of pits I'd possibly fall into. What types of costs I may entail. How a tenant may react. So, I was ready.

The old adage that plan on having the unit rented 11 out of 12 months I believe still holds true. Also, if you are purchasing a new property to turn into rental income, you have to determine ALL costs associated with the purchase and what your continued costs will be to make certain that the investment will be, at least somewhat, profitable for you.

Renters like nice places too. Hi-end rentals should be expected to be kept very well maintained. And, there will be expenses associated with that maintenance. There will be tenants that seemed good, and turn into a horror. Move swiftly on your actions to remedy a bad tenant. Be certain to follow all the laws when writing your lease agreement. Keep money aside for repairs and move-out costs as well.

In this year, 2011, I believe the most important thing to note about becoming an investor/landlord, is that, right now, there are a mother-load of tenants out there. True, their credit isn't the best, by far, but there are a lot of prospective tenants out there. Now, fast-forward a few years when people are buying again that lost their homes.....hmmm.....there will be many vacant investment properties. Some will get sold, some will go vacant.....and many will have to reduce their rates to get those few tenants into their property.

Make sure you can afford it.

Just like stocks/bonds, Real Estate is an investment for the long-run. Yes, some do make money flipping houses, but that's not a regular scenario. Long term investment in stocks/bonds and Real Estate....that's the ticket.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Obama's Broad Refinancing

I know, I know, there's a lot of Obama bashing that goes on, but he has a point with his Thursday pledge.

If every mortgage holder, every bank, every financial institution that doesn't want to process anymore short-sales, doesn't want to take back, via foreclosure, any more homes.....and really doesn't want to process any more loan modifications.....if they would just drop every home owner that is over 4.5 % in their interest, maybe just 1 point? And, people that are in an adjustable, if they fixed their rate to current rates.....or slowed the rate of increase to 1/2 % vs. 1 % per period....wouldn't that keep more people in their homes?

And, keeping more people in their homes....will help end this vicious cycle that we are in?

Just my thoughts. I'm not an economist. Don't know how this would effect the rest of the population, just seems to me it would be a quick, simple solution.

Why can't we just cut everyone a break? And, stop defaults of any kind. Quickie article link below:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Loan Modifications Should Be Getting Easier

I read the below article just a bit ago. Two great sites to help home-owners obtain a modification on their loan.

Note, specifically, you do not need to pay someone to do the process for you and they may not be looking out for your best interests...only their paycheck.

Take a few minutes to read the article, I did. It's worth it.


Helping Homeowners Get Lower Mortgage Payments
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

With unemployment rates remaining at high levels and foreclosures continuing to be a prominent problem nationwide, real estate analysts have suggested that borrowers should consider a loan modification to prevent them from losing their property.

Tools have been created that help streamline the loan modification process to assist distressed homeowners receive quicker approval from a servicer regarding reducing their monthly mortgage payments.

Hope Now Alliance has developed a web-based tool called Hope Loanport that is used by HUD certified counselors and state housing financing agencies on behalf of homeowners to submit their application to a servicer.
Since Q1 2010 when the porthole had six servicers in nine metropolitan cities registered to use the product, there are currently 14 servicers using the solution nationwide. This number represents over 80% of all loans serviced throughout the country, said Larry Gilmore, president and CEO of Hope Loanport.

The mortgage servicers who are now utilizing Hope Loanport include JP Morgan Chase, Citi Mortgage, American Home Mortgage Servicing, SunTrust Mortgage, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Ocwen Loan Servicing, Saxon Mortgage Services, Bank of America, Bayview Loan Servicing, OneWest Bank, PNC Mortgage, GMAC, Nationstar and MetLife Home Loans.

In addition to these servicers, there are also 2,400 counselors from approximately 600 HUD certified organizations who can submit a loan modification case at any time through the web-based system. Financing agencies in ArizonaMarylandNorth Carolina and Ohio also are authorized to transmit completed applications through the
system to mortgage companies on behalf of at-risk homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

“The options we have for a borrower is a huge benefit because one of the biggest challenges during the loan modification process is the ability to communicate with a servicer,” Gilmore said. “With our system, there is ongoing communication and status updates between the borrower and our counselors and state agencies to inform the borrower about what is happening with their case.”

Gilmore said out of the 25,000 applications currently in the modification porthole, approximately 16,000 are pushed to servicers for them to make a decision. He said by using this system, the full modification process takes about 33 to 34 days. He added that not one document has ever been lost through the web-based system since its inception.

“Hope Loanport is being used primarily as a secure medium to provide a borrower with a standardized application and push this to an entity, whether it is state housing financing agency or an actual servicer, ensuring that no documents are lost and used to make the overall process more efficient,” Gilmore told this publication.

All applications on the porthole system are date stamped to track when the claim was formed, when servicers received the application and any problems that occurred during the process. This time tracking mechanism provides “more transparency to the application process so there is no confusion as to what is exactly needed to provide the servicer an actionable file to determine if the borrower qualifies for assistance or can receive a modification,” Gilmore said.

There is no fee for a borrower to submit a loan modification application to a servicer through this third party agent. A borrower can find the closest counselor or state agency near their home by visiting the Hope Loanport website.
Another free web-based loan modification tool that was recently launched to assist distressed homeowners is Modassist.
This tool allows a borrower to fill out modification documents in less than an hour and then submit the application to a loan specialist who will review the paperwork to make sure it is accurate. The specialist will also attach additional information to ensure the banks look at a fully completed claim so it can go straight to an underwriter for approval.

“Modassist will open the lines of communication between a borrower and a bank because the application was submitted to them with completed paperwork,” said Maz Badie, the creator of Modassist who has 14 years in the real estate industry focusing on foreclosure prevention. “Most of the times a package sent by a homeowner to a bank has incomplete paperwork, but that will not happen if a borrower uses Modassist.”

With Modassist, the entire modification process from when an application is completed by the borrower all the way through the bank responding to the claim takes about 30 days, Badie said.

“We want to work with the bank by keeping people in their homes and prevent foreclosures,” Badie said. “The process moves relatively quickly once it starts.”

Badie said the most important aspect for any borrower is to make sure the paperwork is 100% accurate before submitting it to a Modassist loan specialist. Any mistakes made in this process can “delay the loan modification and reduce your chances of approval,” he said.

Modassist will notify a borrower through e-mail when a completed packet is received. It will also follow up to confirm that a loan specialist has verified the application and processed the paperwork with the borrower's lender. The borrower will then obtain the bank's contact information, the date the application was first submitted and a log to keep track of statuses throughout the modification process.

Badie said Modassist's loan specialists have helped thousands of homeowners through this process and they want to continue assisting homeowners who are currently facing economic hardships.

“The market was initially flooded with modification scams and now it has become so regulated that no professional wants to do them anymore. In several cases, the party working on modifying the loan only cared about modifying the loan to any rate and payment, as long as they get their compensation for doing the work; that is a big problem,” Badie said. “The calculations need to be correct so the struggling homeowner can get an affordable rate and payment, ensuring that they won't default again on their mortgage six months down the road.”

Is YOUR bank on that list?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sheesh, What A Mess! Move Forward Already!

Everything I am reading today has a 'He-Said, She-Said' feel about it.

Government Bail-outs. What agency is suing what bank. What bank is being blamed for this or that mess. What people are complaining about regarding HAMP, Loan-Mods, HAFA, Short-Sales.


People, it is what it is! Move forward, the blame game isn't going to help. Take whatever steps we have to get through this. But, keep moving forward!!

Okay, I'm done......swear......

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Santa Clarita Home Sales, Etc.

I feel like I could just copy and paste my last post about SCV stats....but that would be cheating....even though it's practically the same.  Same is good, right? Well, sorta.

Last 30 days activity:

SS - 500
REO - 167

SS - 194
REO - 102

SS - 336
REO - 32

SS - 78
REO - 71

So, there you have it. Same ole', same ole'. No better, but no worse.

Onward and Forward!