Sunday, July 29, 2012

Two Hundred and Seventeen Thousand Dollar Principal Reduction

Below is an excerpt from a letter that one of my clients received this week after reading one of my blog posts and contacting their bank:

We are pleased to inform you that you are approved to start a Trial Period Plan for the new modification program recently introduced as a result of the US Department of Justice and State Attorneys General global settlement with major mortgage services, including Bank of America, N.A. This modification program includes significant principal reduction and an affordable monthly payment.

If you complete this Trial Period Plan by making all payments as outlined below, any past due late fees will be waived, interest and advances that we paid on your behalf will be added to your principal balance, and your loan will be brought up to date. We will then permanently reduce your principal balance by the amount of $217,709.41.*In addition, we will reduce your interest rate to 3.63%

This client had tried several loan modifications, then we initiated a Short-Sale, THEN, I read about Bank of America offering tremendous principal reductions to certain homeowners. The information said that the bank had to contact you, but my client contacted them directly and, 3 months later, received the news.

They had been so frustrated, were ready to just give up. Their income, like many others, had been hit hard with the economy and they had a medical issue as well. Good people, in a bad situation. Oh, and the trial period? Three months, only three months!

My local rep at Bank of America had this to say:

Happening more and more – but only with bank held loans…

So, while it may not happen for you, it just quite possibly could! Keep plugging away. If you are struggling, and many still are, don't give up! Especially if you have a bank held loan by one of the Robo-Signing Settlement big ones!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Buyers Be Sure to Find A Qualified Realtor ~ Even at an Open House

Yes, the market appears to be I don't need to write about that today! 

Just a little education for a new buyer today. How do you get a good Realtor? Get a referral from a trusted source. But if you can't get a referral, and you meet one at an open house, how do you know if they are one of the good ones? Most buyers that attend open houses already have an agent in mind, but for those of you that don't, consider these reasons to make sure you are getting a good Realtor working for you!

1) Will they help you understand the home buying process?
2) Will they point out defects in the property that you don't notice?
3) Will they open your eyes to other search areas?
4) Will they refer you to better service providers?
5) Will they negotiate the terms of the contract better than another?
6) Can they complete the home search process for your timeline?
7) Can they help you find a better interest rate/loan product?

All of these are important factors for a buyer completing one of the largest purchases in their life. Make sure you are working with a Realtor that can provide all of this. Make sure they have the experience and knowledge to find you the best home for you and your family.

It's an important decision, not to be taken lightly, due your due diligence in finding the right agent ~ 
just as I,  your Realtor, do mine in finding the right home.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Technology and Your Real Estate Agent

Years ago I took a course that gave me the designation of e-Pro. Meant that I was as up to date as possible regarding technology and Real Estate.

Needless to say, technology is ever changing, and as an e-Pro Realtor, I keep up with it. Make sure your agent does too.

1) Smart Phone ~ oh, yes, we all have an Android or I-Phone, they are very smart.
2) Supra Key ~ of course, all agents (well, the ones that pay their MLS fees) have the key to open up those electronic boxes.
3) Laptop ~ if you want to lug it around, feel free.

and, therefore, the newest important technology device:

4) The Tablet ~ Android version or I-Pad. I love my Samsung Tablet!

Just got back from an inspection and was able to use it for reviewing a loan document....on a nice 10" screen instead of on our Smart phone....or the dreaded heavy laptop.

I can give it to my buyers to use the GPS while driving, so I don't take my eyes off the road and they can familiarize themselves even more with the surrounding neighborhood. They can Google the local school district for a particular property (Note, I said they can check the school). We can check the MLS instantaneously for the house we drive by to check status and price. Mortgage calculations are super easy to read on the Ap I downloaded. We can re-fresh ourselves on the interior/exterior photos of one while we are already looking at another. Again, all on that nice 10" screen.

Their kids can check their Facebook page....gotta keep those kids entertained while driving! And, you can find out what's around that's kid friendly too. Yes, just like your smart phone.....but bigger and better!

The best thing is the touch-screen signing. That's why I truly bought it for my clients. I can write up a contract while we are still looking at the house ~ sorta like in the olden days on paper ~ on my Tablet and have them sign right on the screen with the stylus I hand them. Every single document that we would have to write on paper or go to my office and generate from the computer onto paper, we can do from the Tablet.

When I meet with sellers, I can keep the documents started in my sellers on-line file, then complete and have them touch sign the tablet. Usually once we've agreed to a list price.

It's cost effective, it's efficient, it's environmentally friendly. I'll be implementing it more and more as I use it. Any suggestions that you have for what you'd like your Realtor to have at your fingertips while buying or selling a home, let me know. Needless to say, "Let me download that Ap!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Getting A Loan May Be Getting a Smidgen Easier....Maybe

I love reading about Real Estate, love catching tid-bits of info from all the sites I keep track of. And, I like to hear what N.A.R.'s chief economist has to say too. When I hear good things, I share. Well, I share bad as well. But, today is good.

Just a moment ago I read what he posted about a new thing the Federal Reserve is considering....sounds good, sounds like a plan.....but they are just thinking about it at this moment.

The Fed will permit banks to borrow from the Fed at even lower interest rates, but on the condition that the borrowed money must be lent out to main street (rather than being used to buy Treasury bonds for example).

It may not be perfect, and it may not help everyone. But, for those that have been denied, if the banks can borrow money for less, charge a little bit more due to the risk factor, we just may be able to get more people into homes. The sooner we get the housing market recovered, the sooner the economy will recover.

If the consideration turns into reality, Yay!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Funny Story of the Week

I just thought I'd share this story. In the attempt to help other people understand when they have to let their ego take a back seat.

You hire an agent, you ask them to represent one of the most challenging housing situations in your entire life. One you've never done before, but the agent has done more than they can count on their fingers and toes....many more.

You hire the strongest agent you know, the one that you are supremely confident can get the job done. In a way that will work out best for your needs. In a timely manner, and a 'protect your family' manner.

Then, something steps up....and gets in the way.....and you can't move forward.

 The infamous ego.

So you hire the next best thing, an agent you can walk all over. I'm sure most of you realize how this will pan out.

I've worked with many an ego in my day as a Santa Clarita Realtor, and many that are extremely strong. The  strong egos that are also the smartest? The ones that know when it's time to let the agent do their job and let their egos enjoy a little ride in the back least this one time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New California Foreclosure Law Signed

Well, it's official. California has signed a bill that will definitely not allow dual tracking. Attempting to do a loan mod and Lo & Behold, you get foreclosed on? Can't happen with this new law.

When the measures go into effect next year, California will be the first state to prohibit lenders from "dual tracking," the practice of negotiating with clients to modify a mortgage so that payments become more affordable while simultaneously pursuing foreclosure. In such cases, homeowners can wind up being evicted even though they had been working with the bank to modify their loans.

The new laws also ban so-called robo-signing, the improper or faulty processing of foreclosure documents, and would allow state agencies and private citizens to sue financial institutions, under limited conditions, for economic compensation and for additional civil damages of up to $50,000 if lenders willfully, intentionally or recklessly violate the law. No lawsuit could go forward if the bank or servicer first fixes the problem with documentation or procedures, according to the bills.

Here's to hoping this eliminates the problem rather than creating new ways to sue banks!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Piggy-Backing on The Buy After SS/Foreclosure Info

Woke up this morning thinking about my weekend work schedule, the Santa Clarita Concerts In The Park evening today, and probably something many others have been thinking about as well......

How coincidentally it may work out that just when the home-owners that have Short-Sold their home or been Foreclosed upon will be able to buy again...AND, is that when the, albeit diminishing, majority of the infamous 'Shadow Inventory' will be released?

I'm pretty sure that interest rates will be higher, home values will be higher, and then the inventory will be more readily available. AND, more home buyers will be on the home search.

A lot of the original Short-Sellers took an extremely long time to get the deal done. A larger hit on their FICO scoring for certain. But, now, with the expeditiousness (well, sort of) of SS, the dings are lessened. The repurchasing can happen quicker. So, all those old timer SS-ers are probably about in the same boat now as the newer ones...and, they've had longer to save for a conventional down payment. Hopefully.

Just some thoughts bouncing around this morning. I do think our market is turning, in my locale, Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valley's, but I also think that there has been a lot of strategic work at the mortgage institutions to re-coup their 'losses'.

So, this is my piggy back post ~ and for you ladies thinking about 'Magic Mike' ~

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

When Can You Buy After Short-Sale or Foreclosure?

The below information is courtesy of Mike Meena, president of Augusta Financial:

We have all heard that interest rates are low and it is a great time to purchase a property or refinance your existing home.  I also know that we all know of people that either short sold their home or let their home go in foreclosure, and I get the question every day of when they can purchase again. 

Below are the normal timelines after one of the above events:

Conventional – The current rule allows a person to purchase a house with 20% down 2 years after a short sale and 4 years after a foreclosure.  If you want conventional financing with less than 20% down, then you would need to wait 7 years.

FHA – The current rule for a person buying a home with 3.5% down would be 3 years for a short sale or 3 years from the foreclosure date. 

VA  If you have VA eligibility then you could purchase after 2 years with no money down. 

There are exceptions to all of the rules, but these are good guidelines for you to follow.  Every deal is unique and of course you would need good credit and enough income to qualify for what you are purchasing. 

Please let me know if you have any questions on purchasing, refinancing, investing or just real estate in general. 

Have a great 4th and I will look forward to hearing from you soon.