Wednesday, December 28, 2011

CareerBuilders Report Says More Jobs

I know I harped on this before and posted a link to this blog on Facebook, but here again, it would appear that there will be improvement on the job front. Particularly in the western part of the US.

That's the article I read on Housing Wire this morning. Simple information, big results. Let's face it, the more people making more money the more our economy can work towards a recovery. And, as I'm a Realtor, that means more people can keep their homes, hopefully, or buy new ones.

It's a good thing people, see the positive, don't waste your energy on the negative. 

We're getting through this block wall and moving toward something that will make life head back to normalcy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Want To Buy A Foreclosure At Auction You Say??

I've had several clients attempt to buy a house at auction. It's a scary thing I hear. You have to have lots of cash. You're bidding against other people who have done this many times. You can't inspect the properties. You may have a cloud on Title when it closes.

Sounds like many scary things to me!

But, a few things to help you if you consider this route courtesy of House Logic:

Solutions to 6 common foreclosure auction challenges

1. Challenge: Getting reliable information about foreclosure sales. Many companies charge fees to send you lists of foreclosures that may not be current, or sell expensive foreclosure-buying “systems” that promise to teach you how to make millions in real estate.

Solution: Most foreclosure sales are still announced in local newspapers. And you can get accurate information about buying foreclosures from reliable book publishers:

2. Challenge: You can’t get inside the property before the auction to inspect it for structural problems and repairs. Many foreclosure auction properties are in bad shape because the owners couldn’t afford the upkeep. And sometimes angry home owners purposely damage the property to punish the foreclosing lender.

Solution: Walk around the home to check its exterior condition. If it’s vacant, look through the windows. Ask the neighbors what they know about the property. If it was a rental, check the inspection records on file with the local government.
    You can safely assume there’s something wrong with any house sold at a foreclosure auction, so cover yourself by bidding no more than 70% of the home’s market value.

    3. Challenge: You need to figure out the market value of the house to prepare your bid. Some foreclosure auction announcements include information about the size of the original mortgage. That’s not how much the house is worth or even what the owners owe now. If the current owners bought at the top of the market, their mortgage may be more than the home is worth in today’s market and they could owe even more if there’s a second mortgage on the house.

    Solution: Commission your real estate agent to do a broker’s price opinion (BPO) on the home you want to bid on. The BPO will show you comparable sales, telling you what similar, nearby homes that weren’t foreclosure sales have recently sold for.
      Bid well below those comparable sales to leave yourself room to pay for repairs and unexpected problems. Ask the agency that runs the auction how to find winning bid amounts from recent auctions. Use that information to guide your current bid, too. A look at local tax and assessment records will tell you more about previous and current auction properties, like square footage and lot size.

      4. Challenge: You don’t know if there are liens on the home. Some auctions don’t give you clean title to the property, meaning liens from the federal government or other entities may not be removed during the foreclosure auction process. You’d have to pay off those liens if you won the property. 

      Solution: Focus your efforts on two or three homes in desirable locations. To find out about any liens, pay a real estate attorney to run a title search on each property and issue a commitment to insure the title after purchase. Ask how the policy treats liens filed between the time of the search and the time you close.
        A less-expensive option: Hire an independent title search professional called an abstracter or an online company. Both search options should be under $200, title insurance costs vary by state.

        5. Challenge: You have to pay cash and pay it quickly. Most auctions require bidders to come up with the full purchase price in cash within 30 days.

        Solution: Don’t count on getting a mortgage that fast. Look for other sources of cash that make financial sense for you.
        • Tap retirement accounts, provided it makes sense for you from a tax perspective.
        • Work with other investors to fund a partnership to invest in foreclosed homes.

        6. Challenge: You’re in love with a house that you’re aware is headed to foreclosure, but you’re afraid to bid on it at the foreclosure auction because you know nothing about the process.

        Solution #1: Contact the owners and offer to purchase the home as a short sale. That’s where the bank agrees to let the owners sell for less than what they owe on the mortgage.
        Solution #2: You may be able to buy the house after the foreclosure sale. Foreclosure sales are run by a government agency (often the sheriff), which collects the money from the highest bidder and gives it to the bank to pay off the mortgage.

        Monday, December 19, 2011

        ~ Mortgage Rate Information ~

        Record Low Rates Continue BUT!! Govt Looking to Increase Fannie/Freddie Fees! Apply Now
        Mortgage Rates start the week nice and low!

        *Congress/Senate Budget Deal includes Fannie Mae fee hike! :)

        *These fee hikes are expected to cost average borrower $17 per month.

        Equal Housing Lender. Licensed by California Dept. of Real Estate.
        Mortgage Interest Rates*
        Rates as of Monday, 19th December, 2011:
         TermConformingAPRPayment per
        JumboAPRPayment per
        30-Yr. fixed3603.875%4.19%$4.704.25%4.44%$4.92
        15-Yr. fixed1803.25%3.59%$7.033.75%4.02%$7.27
        7-Yr. fixed ARM3603.25%3.51%$4.353.875%3.61%$4.70
        5-Yr. fixed ARM3602.875%3.59%$4.153.25%3.66%$4.35
        VA 30 Fixed3604.0%4.31%$4.774.5%4.79%$5.07
        FHA 30 Fixed3604.0%5.19%$4.774.5%5.47%$5.07
        20 yr fixed rate 417,0002403.75%4.21%$5.934.625%4.98%$6.39
        10 yr fixed rate 417,0001203.25%3.61%$9.774%4.54%$10.12

        Saturday, December 17, 2011

        Poop or Get off the Pot ~ AKA, Do You Really Want To Buy A Home?

        Not to often I get a buyer in my car, write an offer, get it accepted, and the buyer changes his mind. Some I would say are due to buyers remorse. Jumping in too quickly. Something better comes up the next day. Things like that.

        Then you get a buyer that you wonder if their motivation is really there. Are they happy renting, lining the landlords pockets? Or, are they really desiring home ownership?

        I make sure they are qualified. I make sure they see everything possible in their price range. I make sure I educate them on the HOA fees, Mello-Roos taxes. Everything that may tack on their monthly housing expense. I ASK them to make their list of wants/needs/wishes.....sometimes I get it too late, or it needs major adjusting. 

        I can't control their dreams though. That's the hardest part. And, softly popping the dream bubble is the hardest thing I have to do. But, we gotta do it now and again. 

        That beautiful 3 + 2 priced at 175 when it should be 245? Really, don't count on it. That lovely house that should be 650 and is listed at 580?  Standard Sale....hmmm.....too good to be true, maybe?  Or, as another article I read today reminds me....the one that seems right on, pictures look great....but we can't get in to view? Don't hold your breath.

        Keep moving forward.  Some clients have tight parameters and I value them. They understand that we can find something that fits and is in their price range, just we have to be patient. But, the ones that think they should get champagne home on light beer budget? Not gonna happen. 

        So, it is, unfortunately, my job to burst that champagne bubble and pour the best light beer I can find.....that they can afford. Or, I have to ~ and quickly ~ determine if they really, truly, want to buy a home or keep getting the renters credit on their tax return.

        Friday, December 9, 2011

        2012 and 2013 Just May Bring More REO Inventory

        So, we're happy that Hope Now has been able to get a million loan mods done. We're happy that the jobless rate is decreasing. We're happy that the interest rates are still ridiculously low....


        "There is also a potential risk that banks tighten lending standards even further if the European debt crisis deepens," JPMorgan Securities analysts said. "While housing inventory dipped further, there is evidence that this temporary downward trend is about to change direction. Liquidations are expected to pick-up next year and peak in 2013."

        I take the bad with the good, but I focus on the good! And, I've been saying for quite some time that until we get through all the REO's (bank owned properties) we won't start to see any appreciation in home values. So, if the Chase analyst is anywhere near correct, that could really help get some values moving in an upward trend.

        I'm thinking we are close to the bottom people.

        Wednesday, December 7, 2011

        Are We Recovering? Not Quite Yet ~ But I Read The Signs!

        Two articles read this afternoon state that jobless rates are improving, mortgage delinquencies are reducing, and that although we may not be in a recovery, not yet, that we are certainly ending the 'recession'.

        I've been working on keeping my glass 1/2 full, rather than 1/2 empty for the last few years. These economic woes have affected everyone. And, my clients and family have been more positive than negative for certain. You'd almost have to be, right? At least make a valiant effort!

        "California may finally have turned the corner into recovery, with the job market slated for slow but steady growth over the next two years, according to a report released today by UCLA's Anderson Forecast."

        "Mortgage delinquency rates — the ratio of borrowers 60 or more days behind on their payments — will likely tick up to about 6 percent through the first three months of 2012, TransUnion said in its annual delinquency forecast issued Wednesday.~ But by the end of next year, it could drop to 5 percent, TransUnion said. That's well off the peak of 6.89 percent seen in the fourth quarter of 2009."

        These are good notes from the two reads of today. Baby steps. Considering houses are still selling, many people still have jobs, and goodness, our health? Consider, it could be a lot worse....and we aren't standing in bread lines.

        Monday, December 5, 2011

        Current Mortgage Rates

        Mortgage Interest Rates*
        Rates as of Monday, 5th December, 2011:
         TermConformingAPRPayment per
        JumboAPRPayment per
        30-Yr. fixed3604.125%4.35%$4.854.375%4.59%$4.99
        15-Yr. fixed1803.5%3.79%$7.153.875%4.19%$7.33
        7-Yr. fixed ARM3603.25%3.51%$4.353.875%3.61%$4.70
        5-Yr. fixed ARM3602.875%3.59%$4.153.25%3.66%$4.35
        VA 30 Fixed3604.25%4.51%$4.924.5%4.79%$5.07
        FHA 30 Fixed3604.25%5.19%$4.924.5%5.47%$5.07
        20 yr fixed rate 417,0002403.75%4.21%$5.934.625%4.98%$6.39
        10 yr fixed rate 417,0001203.25%3.61%$9.774%4.54%$10.12

        Saturday, December 3, 2011

        Investors Buying More Than Owner Occupied

        Not sure exactly how I feel about it, but it's not a surprise that investors are increasing in the number of homes purchased over people that buy to live in them.

        I feel that too many people are still mildly afraid about buying a home right now. Afraid of values, volatility, security. All good things. But, when the investor is picking up the majority of homes, that should certainly be telling the skittish 'would-be owner-occupied' buyers that they should go ahead and buy too!

        The article that prompted it says one really good thing, well what I thought was important.

        "Nonprofits and trade groups are stressing the importance of documenting any partnership with an investor to make sure these neighborhoods are maintained and begin recovery after the REO is sold. Most want documentation to ensure investors with poor management histories do not have access to bulk transactions."

        So, if investors are buying, and we're trying to make sure they care about neighborhoods, I suppose that is better than just letting properties sit vacant. But, I'd certainly rather see home owners buying and enjoying the rewards of home ownership instead.