Saturday, January 28, 2012

We've Been Taking It For Granted !

The debt forgiveness act is due to expire at the end of 2012...that's really important to remember. We've been able to help many homeowners with short-sales and there hasn't been the problem with paying capital gains taxes on the shorted amount.

Lest you forget, if you owe 500, short-sell your house for 400, there is a 'capital gain' in the tax-mans' eyes of 100k. As of now, the income tax on that gain has been waived. Unless that law is extended, we would have to pay the taxes on that 100k gain.

I'm not trying to scare someone into putting their home on the market, but it is definitely something to consider. Whether your home is foreclosed upon or sold in a short pay-off capital gains taxes are of this moment.

Read the full article if you wish here:

This is scheduled to change at the New Years Bell Dropping of 2013!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

They Hold About 60 - 70% of Mortgages

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae either hold or cover about 60 - 70 % of all mortgages. Not mine, but a lot! They have a forbearance program for those who are unemployed....for a period of time.

Here's the article if you want to read the whole thing:  Fannie and Freddie Forbearance

The basics of it are that you can suspend your monthly mortgage payment, or reduce it, if you have a job loss. Obviously you still owe it and when you are working again a re-payment plan is worked out. But, if you or your spouse are jobless for a few months, this could help a lot. Rather than feeling like you may lose your home, you know that there is a possibility that you can just skip a payment or reduce a payment and not get trapped in the foreclosure system.

The most important thing is if you are in a jobless position that you speak with your lender right away. Don't wait til you are behind. Talk to them about this program. If your loan is backed by one of the big dogs, it just may keep you in your home instead of scouring the ads for rentals.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just A Reminder About Scams

First article read this morning makes me post this little tid-bit. I've touched on this before, but I would like to remind everyone that there are certainly ambulance chasers out there in the loan modification world!

Make sure you verify, if you decide to try and work with a company that states they can help you, that they are not just interested in a quick buck but do have a proven track record.

C.A.R. has this great link which leads you to more help in the verification process:

Although it is time consuming,  I have been told by successful loan-moders that YOU can do exactly what these companies are offering to do.

Just my 'Mother Hen' attitude kicking in......

Monday, January 16, 2012

Housing Is "Poised For Better Days"

Nice, well part of it at least, article in L.A.Times today. Talking about foreclosures, housing recovery, employment ~ oh, wait, that's what they are always talking about!

But I like this thought from Celia Chen, a housing economist at Moody's Analytics : She believes housing is "poised for better days" after the backlog of foreclosures is cleared away. She said housing is now undervalued, with prices compared to incomes well below the average over the last 20 to 30 years.

The next statement: California home prices probably will track the national trend and hit bottom during the middle of this year, she said. However, prices will probably recover at a slower pace than much of the country because housing and unemployment problems run so deep in the Golden State.

And this, I agree with this as wellHowever, analysts also said they expect housing in California to stabilize more quickly than in many states. The reason: a speedy foreclosure process that normally takes place without court action and is one of the most streamlined in the nation.

Thanks goodness we are a non-judicial foreclosure state! And, if we can get some more employment (of which I read another article that 2 of the 10 cities with best increased employment were in this Golden State) we are on the right road to those better days!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 12, 2012 Santa Clarita Market Stats

Finished working the phones so wanted to pop these numbers out there for my buyers and sellers knowledge.

ACTIVE : 1024 Total
Of that number:
Short-Sales - 464
REO's - 160

Of that number:
Short-Sales - 473
REO's 123

Of that number:
Short-Sales - 100
REO's - 81

Still holding. A little lower numbers most probably due to the holidays!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One Person's Idea of REO's in 2012

~ I received the below article in an e-mail from one of my associates that does a lot of REO listings ~ The comment in Italics is what I've been saying alllllll along!


Where is REO Market Heading in 2012?

In the rollercoaster world of bank owned properties, now might be the time when the ride starts to take a drastic turn. Many analysts projected 2011 as the year when the backlog of foreclosure cases would hit the market, but this did not occur, leading to a lot of speculation about the future of these properties heading into 2012.

Ivan Choi, senior vice president of Austin, Texas-based Matt Martin Real Estate Management, said the REO industry will continue to struggle in 2012 similarly to last year because lawsuits, legal actions by state attorney generals and the aftereffects of the robo-signing scandal are still hitting lender-servicers.

“We may have a repeat of 2011 where we're in a little bit of a standstill where REO inventory that's actually offered for sale on the market is going to be relatively low compared to the overall number of foreclosure cases,” Choi told MREO. “This could be the year that the backlog of foreclosures comes into the market in the form of REO or short sales, but I don't believe there will be an influx of REO into the market in 2012.”
Choi noted that the foreclosure process is much more stringent now than it was last year or even five years ago, making it harder for a bank to issue a foreclosure against a distressed borrower. He said banks and servicers are “deliberately” moving slowly through the foreclosure process because they don't want to be blamed for any errors that might occur.

One way to possibly move the process along more quickly is for banks and servicers to mark down, from an accounting standpoint, the value of assets that they have in default, Choi said.

“There is no hammer in driving them to take a loss and put the property through the foreclosure process. Instead, they have leeway to hold it on the books because then they don't have to realize the actual value of that asset which would affect their accounting,” Choi told this publication.

Choi said a stabilized economy, and not mortgage servicers, would be the key to any improvement in the housing market. “The way to get out of this crisis is for unemployment to go down and the overall economy start to recover,” Choi said. “As long as the economy is healthy and people have jobs, which allows them to acquire mortgages and real estate in the first place, that will dramatically decrease the foreclosure problems we have today.”

I tend to agree.....thoughts?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Important Loan Cost Information Upcoming!

Mitchell MilatLoan Officer
Augusta Financial Mortgage
Phone: 661-810-3362
Fax: 661-260-2252
License: nmls#253456 dre# 00979304

Mortgage Rates and Fees likely to Rise Soon Due to Government Action :(

As part of the End of Year Budget Negotiations, the President, Senate, and Congress agreed to assess and increase fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help raise funds to fund the Government.  You might remember that there was a fierce battle over increasing taxes on Millionaires or on those earning over $250k per yr, which did not pass.

The Government elected to raise funding instead by assessing new fees on mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which makes up over 90% of the Conventional Market.  Unfortunately, homebuyers and homeowners are going to pay extra very soon.  Please see below release from Wells Fargo, and consider moving up the timing of your transaction to avoid the incremental additional cost of up to 80 basis points, which would equal  $200k loan x .80% = $1,600 fee increase  (Points, etc):

Conforming and Non-conforming prices will change based on recent Congressional action, worsening pricing
Conforming and Non-conforming prices will change based on recent Congressional action. 
  • Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are increasing their Guarantee Fee (GFee) effective with April “settlements,” which will worsen pricing.
  • In order for a loan to meet the April settlements, it must close by Feb. 29, 2012.
  • The GFee increase will worsen prices by up to 80 bps depending on note rate.
  • Wells Fargo Wholesale Lending is staggering the impacts of that increase by Rate Lock Period in an effort to offer lower rates to consumers in the market for as long as possible.
Below are the effective dates of the staggered plan:
  • January 11 – GFee increase will impact 45- and 60-day pricing. You must begin calling Priceline for Rate Lock Extensions rather than extending online for Conventional Conforming loans (extensions will not be available online for Conventional Conforming loans).
  • January 31 – GFee increase will impact 30-day pricing.
  • February 13 – GFee increase will impact 15-day pricing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thoughts For Early 2012

I've spent a good portion of today reading through other peoples thoughts, predictions, and data for what may go on in 2012.

I am glad that what I read is confirming what I believe as well.

"I tell people we're five years through a 10-year adjustment," he said. "Not until year 10 will we return to the traditional rate of housing starts." ~ from a Fannie Mae economist.

We are going to continue to see sales that are challenging, REO properties, Short-sales and fewer traditional sellers than the bank-involved ones. We should start to see a decrease in the shadow inventory as we continue to work on getting distressed properties sold via short-sales and we, as a whole community, work towards keeping people actually in their homes via some type of financial assistance.

Interest rates look as if they will continue to be the lowest I've ever seen since I started buying houses almost 30 years ago.

What does this mean for you? If you think you want to buy? Keep looking, the right home will come and it's a great time to find a home.  If you want to sell and you have zero equity,  Short-Sales are easier to navigate than just at the beginning of 2011. If you aren't quite sure what you want to do? Call me, I'm more than happy to chat with you about your personal situation and maybe give you some sound advice.

My favorite response from a call I made this week? To someone that I actually convinced to stay in their home versus making a commission? "Lauren, I am forever grateful for your advice."

Happy to oblige. I've been working pretty hard to get sales to pay bills. Just like your job! I do believe that we are seeing improvement. Most definitely. Not just in housing. Maybe I still have my rose colored glasses on, but again, as you know, I'd much rather see the good than the bad. Better for my health!

So, may you have the infamous Health, Wealth and Happiness in this year of 2012!