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Sunday, September 30, 2012

How to Start a Bidding War

How to Start a Bidding War
Consider these techniques to generate viable offers and start a bidding war on your properties:
Develop a Solid Market Strategy for Each Property: Identify the target market for each property and create

Monday, September 24, 2012

FHFA Expanding Short Sale Eligibility

REALTORS® Applaud FHFA for Expanding Short Sale Eligibility to Help More Struggling Homeowners
 The National Association of REALTORS® applauds the Federal Housing Finance Agency for working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to issue new guidelines that expand eligibility criteria and streamline the short sale process.
The new guidelines would offer a more streamlined short sale approach for homeowners most in need, as well as enable lenders to quickly and easily qualify certain homeowners for a short sale who are current on their mortgage payments, yet suffer from specific hardships such as job relocation, increase in housing expenses, unemployment and disability.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Protecting Military Servicemembers From Foreclosure Law

Protecting Military Servicemembers From Foreclosure:

Starting January 1, 2013, the existing California protection for a servicemember against foreclosure by a mortgage lender during the period of military service or within three months thereafter, has been extended to nine months thereafter. Exceptions apply to sales made by agreement or court order. This law applies to mortgage loans originated before a servicemember’s period of military service for which the servicemember is still obligated. The nine-month period mirrors the foreclosure protection under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. However, President Obama recently signed into law the federal Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act which extends, from February 2, 2013 to December 31, 2014, the foreclosure protection to one year after the period of active duty. Source: AB 2475 and H.R. 1627.

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Almost half of borrowers under 40 remain underwater

Almost half of borrowers under 40 remain underwater

Negative equity declined in the second quarter, with 30.9 percent of U.S. homeowners with mortgages – or 15.3 million – underwater, according to the second quarter Zillow Negative Equity Report. That was down from 31.4 percent of homeowners with mortgages, or 15.7 million, underwater in the first quarter.
The total amount of negative equity in the country declined by $42 billion in the second quarter to $1.15 trillion.
Among age groups, young people are more affected by negative equity than other groups, with nearly half (48 percent) of all borrowers under the age of 40 underwater. However, younger borrowers are less likely than older populations to be delinquent on their mortgages. Underwater borrowers between the ages of 20 and 24 are the least likely to be delinquent, with 5.9 percent more than 90 days late, compared with a 9.2-percent delinquency rate for all underwater borrowers.
Of the 30 largest markets tracked by Zillow, negative equity fell the most from the first to the second quarter in the Phoenix metro (from 55.5 percent to 51.6 percent) and the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale metro (from 46.4 percent to 43.7 percent). The Las Vegas metro continues to see the highest negative equity rate, with 68.5 percent of borrowers underwater. That was down from 71 percent in the first quarter.

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fast Facts about our local housing data

Fast Facts

Calif. median home price: July 2012: $333,860 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. highest median home price by region/county July 2012: Marin, $845,860 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. lowest median home price by region/county July 2012: Tehama, $95,000 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. Pending Home Sales Index: July 2012: 116.1, down 4.2 percent from June's 121.2
Calif. Traditional Housing Affordability Index: Second quarter 2012: 51 percent (Source: C.A.R.)

Mortgage rates: Week ending 8/23/2012 30-yr. fixed: 3.66% fees/points: 0.7% 15-yr. fixed: 2.89 fees/points: 0.7% 1-yr. adjustable: 2.66% Fees/points: 0.4% (Source: Freddie Mac)

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

Monday, September 10, 2012

Home prices rose in second quarter

Home prices rose in second quarter

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices shows that all three headline composites ended the second quarter of 2012 with positive annual growth rates for the first time since the summer of 2010. The national composite was up 6.9 percent compared with the first quarter of 2012.
Month-over-month, average home prices in the 10-City Composite were up 2.2 percent and in the 20-City Composite were up 2.3 percent compared with May. For the second consecutive month, all 20 cities and both Composites recorded positive monthly gains. Eighteen of the 20 MSAs and both Composites posted better annual returns in June as compared with May 2012.

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

Friday, September 7, 2012

July Pending Home Sales highest level in over two years

July Pending Home Sales Rebound


 Pending home sales rose in July to the highest level in over two years and remain well above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 2.4 percent to 101.7 in July from 99.3 in June and is 12.4 percent above July 2011 when it was 90.5.
Existing-home sales are projected to rise 8 to 9 percent in 2012, followed by another 7 to 8 percent gain in 2013. Home prices are expected to increase 10 percent cumulatively over the next two years.

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Does HAMP Helped Distressed Homeowners?

Does HAMP Helped Distressed Homeowners?

'We Can't Help You'
He first applied for a mortgage modification under HAMP about a year ago. Wells Fargo told him that his household did not earn enough monthly income to qualify, he said, so Bob, who has six stents in his heart, got a part-time job as a crosswalk guard that he said paid $324 a month.
He then reapplied for a modification, but said he was confounded by the bank's response: "They said, 'Now you're making too much. We can't help you.'
"I could see why Jesse James robbed banks," said Bob, who finally stopped paying his mortgage two months ago and is now trying to sell his home in a short sale.
He is one of an estimated 2.8 million distressed borrowers who have been denied a permanent modification under HAMP, according to the Government Accountability Office. By many accounts, HAMP has not been adequately implemented by mortgage servicers.

The Bobs' story is a reflection of the still-marred HAMP application process more than three years after the program's inception -- both in the the way it's so far failed to help many homeowners like them and the way it's showing some improvement.
Overseen by the Treasury Department and funded by the Troubled Asset Relief Fund, HAMP was launched in 2009 to prove relief to a wide swath of homeowners facing foreclosure in the wake of the housing bust. The program is designed to lower monthly mortgage payments for distressed borrowers by either reducing interest rates, delaying payments, slashing loan balances or using some combination of the three.
The results of a ProPublica questionnaire in the summer of 2010 suggested that many distressed borrowers have had experiences similar to the Ugaros' in attempting to qualify for HAMP. Two-thirds of respondents to the questionnaire who indicated that they were denied HAMP modifications said that they were given "different or conflicting reasons" for why they didn't qualify.

A staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said widespread mishandling of applications has plagued HAMP since it's launch in spring 2009. While many HAMP denials are merited, many others are a result of mortgage servicers' mistakes, and those servicers aren't subject to fines for flouting HAMP guidelines, they said.
"Until people can protect themselves directly in real time, servicers are not going to follow the rules," and relief to homeowners will not flow as it should, they said.
Since the Obama administration introduced HAMP -- which had reduced monthly mortgage payments by a median amount of $534.98 as of April 2012 -- still only about 1 in 4 applicants have received a permanent modification.
According to the Government Accountability Office, 2.8 million have had their applications denied or their trial modification canceled. To date, a little more than 1 million have received a permanent modification -- but the program was aiming to have helped 3 to 4 times that.
Despite Rejections, Glimmers of Improvement Despite a record of bungling HAMP applications, servicers still appear to have made strides in implementing the program over the last two years. Ironically, the Bobs' experience points to some of them.
Bob, who worked at an Army hospital during the Vietnam War, said that he only had to wait eight weeks for written denials to his applications from Wells Fargo. That's a big improvement from ProPublica's finding that homeowners waited an average of 14 months to learn if they'd qualified for HAMP. (Two-thirds of those ultimately rejected said that they never received written denials, according to the ProPublica survey.) A servicer is required to send a rejected borrower a written denial under HAMP program guidelines.
The Treasury Department's most recent Making Home Affordable Program Performance report, released monthly, showed that servicers have, indeed, made progress in using HAMP, particularly in the area of income calculation.
For example, the Treasury found that more than 1 in 4 calculations of a borrower's income performed by Wells Fargo when evaluating HAMP applications was at least 5% off the mark in the first quarter of 2011. Now, just 1 in 50 are off by that much.
Wrongly Denied?
Could Bob have been mistakenly denied a HAMP modification? That's unclear. But the couple does appear to meet all the main eligibility requirements of HAMP.
Their home is their primary residence, their mortgage was originated before 2009 and they owe less than $729,750 on their mortgage. (They owe about $230,000.) Bob's layoff and heart disease diagnosis also qualifies as a hardship.
They seem to qualify for a HAMP modification financially, too. The Treasury's latest performance report said that the average household's median mortgage payment before receiving a permanent modification equaled 45.4% of the household's monthly income. When they applied, their  $2,400 monthly mortgage payment was between 50 and 60% of their $4,300 monthly household income.
If anything, they would appear to have not been making enough money to qualify, but they were told the opposite for their second denial -- that they made too much. That makes Wells Fargo's decision on their applications difficult to digest for the couple.
A Wells Fargo representative told  Real Estate that their income was, in fact, not a factor in denying them a modification, but didn't offer further explanation.
"We are attempting to reach them to discuss their current situation and will try to work with them on potential options for assistance," says a vice president of external communications at Wells Fargo.
Calculated income is just one factor included in a "net present value test," which can make or break a modification for HAMP applicants. The test evaluates whether or not a mortgage's investor -- which often is not actually the mortgage's servicer -- is likely to make more money through a loan modification. (Mortgage investors can include hedge funds, institutions, pension funds and mutual funds, among other entities.)
If the test determines that a modification will save an investor money, then it must perform the modification. Otherwise, a servicer may choose not to. A failure by lenders to either correctly enter or calculate the test numbers has resulted in a substantial number of improper HAMP denials, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the Government Accountability Office.
Little Recourse for Rejected Borrowers
People denied HAMP modifications can call 1-888-996-HOPE and ask to speak to "MHA Help," and "depending on the circumstances," this may require a servicer "to re-solicit or re-evaluate impacted borrowers," the Treasury Department told Real Estate.
But most said that only a small minority of aggrieved HAMP applicants know about the option and pursue it. We were told also said that even if the Treasury Department determines that a borrower was wrongly denied a modification, it has trouble holding a servicer's feet to the fire. It cannot impose fines on lenders for breaching HAMP guidelines.
What the Treasury can do is nudge lenders in the right direction by withholding or reducing financial incentives. It withheld nearly $200 million from Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, before releasing those funds as part of the "robo-signing" settlement. But that approach hasn't cut it.
"To date, enforcement by the Treasury of HAMP guidelines has been abysmal"
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau could potentially create rules and penalties that would impose more discipline on servicers, she said. In fact, the agency, which was created in 2011 as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, is in the process of crafting such rules right now.
A CFPB spokesperson told  Real Estate that the agency intends to enact a "means for a consumer to appeal denials for loan modifications programs."
But I wonder if such a rule will offer enough protection.
"The bottom line is, if those rules are not directly usable by the homeowner when they're in foreclosure, they will have limited value."

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Should I buy a New Home or Older Home?

The real estate market is full of a great variety of homes for potential buyers to choose from. One of the first decisions a potential buyer must consider is their preference for finding an existing home or building a new one. Keeping clarity in this situation means focusing your clients on their needs, budget and lifestyle. Consider the following:

Aggressive incentives are alluring. The common consumer urge to “never pass up a deal” can blur objective reasoning in this very important decision-making process. But, while many buyers would be good candidates for a brand new home, incentives are just gravy and shouldn’t be a major factor in weighing housing options. There can be more costs and stresses tied to acquiring a new home versus an existing one.
For example, a spike in driving can mean a drain on the wallet. Generally, existing homes are closer to town with better access to jobs, shopping and schools. New construction subdivisions tend to be on the outskirts of town, sometimes with very few of these necessities nearby.

Making a house a home. The feeling of a brand new house can be intoxicating. But once that feeling subsides and the new homeowner begins decorating, the need to start from scratch can be overwhelming. While interior design can be fun, it can turn expensive and stressful.
Buyers can often find an existing home to live in while accomplishing the decorating and/or remodeling changes. And many sellers have already neutralized and made the necessary repairs in order to sell more quickly.

Surprises on actual costs. Existing homes usually cost less per square foot due to escalating land costs in new subdivisions. New homes are often built in outlying areas where the municipalities need to charge higher taxes, as there are fewer families to pay for basic services. Additionally, newer homes are often subject to assessment fees for amenities the family may or may not use.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Owners in a new construction subdivision must be prepared for the daily noise and dust of construction crews, trucks, neighbors moving in, streets changing and traffic increasing.

Gary Tippner is Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified 
Relocation Specialist ~ Luxury Specialist ~ Investor Advisor

Call 1-877-311-GARY
"One Eight Seven Seven Three Eleven... Gary"

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