Shortsalenurse's HAFA Blog

June 23, 2009

A Little Empathy, Advertising for Short Sales

Marketing is part of what we do but is there any reason to lose compassion?  I am going to share this story because it is the right thing to do.  Today I went to a listing presentation and was complemented by the future seller of the property for being understanding. The marketing piece I sent was “ Short Sale Specific” but it did not announce that I discovered  he was in trouble with his own mortgage payments , let alone that his “Notice of Default had been filed by the lender.   As many of you know that is a required document to be filed with the County where you live.  This is how lenders, investors and Realtors come to learn about a client’s possible needs.

 

Instead I always ask if the person I am mailing to knows of anyone in trouble.  Why would I want anyone’s friends, parents, or children seeing that they have a problem and that they are doing the best they can do to handle.  If I don’t  address them specifically (by name)  in  my marketing  they have a plausible deniability.  I say let the people hold their pride, being late on your bills can be devastating to someone who has gone years with perfect credit, only to be swept up in this economic disaster.

 

Not everyone that gets a “Notice of Default” has the inability to make good on their debts.  This is one of the best reasons that President Obama’s “Foreclosure Alternative Plan” makes so much sense.  It encourages people to go try and work out the problem now before  it is to late to get any help.

 

I encourage my fellow professionals to consider who they are mailing official looking notices to and announcing that they are “IN DEFAULT”.   People will still do business with you if you don’t scare them.  In fact you may find that even more people will do business with you if your really looking out for them.

 

George Kenner is a licensed California Real Estate Broker with 19 years of industry experience.

 

June 18, 2009

Short Sales The Numbers Don’t Lie! But do they tell the whole story?

It is almost impossible to pick up a national newspaper and not real about the Real Estate Market.  The pace of foreclosures and the move to “Short Sales” seems to have changed the mantra of , “it started with Housing it will end with housing”.   If that comment had a truthful ring to it before,   it could be quite some time  before we really recover.

 

In many main stream media sources they are saying we are about 9 to 12 Percent of the mortgages in the United States are late in paying their bill and are prime to enter into foreclosure.  In the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, June 17, 2009 they published some other numbers,  in what is  almost a full page article, they write about the attempts banks are making to keep up with this problem.  Some of these numbers are very interesting.

 

They say approximately 4 million loans were delinquent in the first quarter of 2009.  Then they say that Chase has 3500 employees working on just loan modifications.  This number may be a reason to give a little thought to the size of the problem in relation to the number of people working on it.    The files that are being addressed by the lenders is like a mountain and the workers trained to do the work is tiny in relationship to the problem.

 

The problem is greater than the number of mortgages being written and just a fraction of the people who had any mortgage experience are working on it.  I expect that the scope of the problem and the ability to respond to it by the banks will encourage them to continue to look harder and harder at short sales. 

 

One interesting comment in the article is that the loan modification process is free.  They also speak of firms being criticized for cheating people who do not know they have a right to ask for the help for free.   This is a great feature of the President’s “Foreclosure Alternative Program” it is started with a look at a Loan Modification and then goes to Short Sale.   Learn about the Presidents Plan it could make a big difference in your future.

 

This article was written by George Kenner, a Ca. Broker with 19 years Real Estate Experience.  He will answer questions with a private response if written to him at http://www.shortsalenurse.com

June 17, 2009

Short Sale Referral Companies I don’t recommend using one. In fact I see them as worthless to the Public and Dangerous for Agents.

New industries pop up in times of need and some of them are not in the best interest of the “Public”.    Bulk consolidators of “Short Sales” is one of them.   I am contacted daily by outside firms to take referrals from them and pay a fee.   To me this is unacceptable and here is why.

 

One of the biggest reasons is I have no idea what they have promised the seller of the home.  I do not even know if they have advised the seller to contact an attorney or tax professional.   In theory I could even suffer at the hands of the Department of Real Estate for doing business with an unlicensed agent.  One company that contacted me was located in Texas and was using a Real Estate License out of Oregon.  They would never see the eyes of the seller,  all they would see is some dollars transferred into their account if I did my job correctly.

 

Also I do not know if they offered to direct you to other avenues of assistance.  I feel a professional and moral obligation to see if there is a way to save your home.  That is why I like the President’s Program.   The flow chart of that program is LOAN MODIFICATION then Short Sale then Deed in Lieu..   Again if a home owner can get a loan modified,  I consider it a victory for every Realtor.  Realtors are an important part of every community and we want a return to a normal market and we want our neighbors to stay where they are if that is possible.

 

I see no reason for anyone to pay thousands of dollars to someone who is only involved in your transaction from the standpoint of setting up an internet site making a phone call and sending you to the professional that can and will truly help you.

 

So if your called by someone from outside of your community or you find an Internet site that is making claims to good to be true.  Look at it with caution.   If your selecting a Realtor why not give a few a call.  Trust that gut feeling, you will know if you have the right person there to help you.

 

George Kenner is the author of this article.  He is a Broker Associate for Prudential California Realty in La Mesa, Ca.   His Real Estate experience  includes approximately 10 years working as a Mortgage Loan Officer in a Federal Saving Bank.  He is happy to answer questions in private that are sent to his e mail at http://www.shortsalenurse.com.

June 16, 2009

The California Foreclosure Moratorium, 90 more days, Really? I want the Federal Plan!

In February of 2009 as part of the California budget package, California State Senator Ellen Corbett a Democrat from San Leandon with good intentions added a 90 day foreclosure moratorium to the bill.  This will effect owner occupied mortgages that went in place from January 2003 and January 2008.

I have read this information and it seems like there is lots of wiggle room in the bill that makes it so the lender can ignore the intent of the law if they wish.  All they need to do is prove that they have a “Loan Modification Program” in place.

As a Realtor my job is to aid people buy and sell property.  When I look at the new California Moratorium and try and reconcile it with President Obama’s “Foreclosure Alternative Program” I see a possible avenue of communication to demonstrate to the lender a Short Sale with Marketing time is the correct way forward.  After all the Presidents Plan has incentives that the California Plan does not. I guess the simple approach here is most of my client’s would find the Federal Plan more to their liking, so way not request the Federal Plan.  The Federal Plan came out after the California Plan did.

No one and I mean no one benefits from empty properties, swimming pools turning green and angry homeowners taking their frustration out on the property. Calm heads need to prevail, good can be found in almost everything.  This is a time when  someone (a Realtor) aware of the entire picture needs to be consulted.  I hope Californians quickly come to know about the Presidents plan and  focus on getting relief under that program.

I have talked to lenders who are so busy trying to do things the old way they do not even know of the incentives the President has offered to the lenders to attempt a “Short Sale”.  Again I will say talk to a Realtor, ask me for a referral to someone if your out of the San Diego County Area.  But above all else stay calm, your family and loved ones are counting on your sound judgment.

The author of this article is George Kenner, he is a Broker Associate with 19 years of Real Estate Experience in Southern California.  You can contact him at Short Sale Nurse. Com    George believes that it is not the books in the Library but what you do with all the information.

Short sales should only have speed bumps, not land mines!

Today I got a written request for information from someone out side of the San Diego area at Short Sale Nurse dot com.   I am going to respond here on the blog so others get to see the question and answer also.

Here is the question.  If I am buying a condo in a short sale what do I need to watch out for?   Here is what I had to say.   (This is not a complete list and you should consult with your Realtor in your situation but this is what I believe to be important.)

In most cases buying a condo is the same as buying a single family residence.  One part of the process that is very important is gathering together all of the information relative to expenses to transfer title.  The listing Realtor will normally gather this information together and give it to the lender who is going to approve the short sale.  This is done on a form called the HUD 1. (estimated closing statement)

It lists all the fees related to the sale including but not limited to the payoff of the loans, liens, taxes and closing costs like escrow title and Realtor commissions.  The lenders want these to be as accurate as possible.  They are using this as a tool to determine a sale price and if the offer being made is a good one.

One fee that I have seen over looked during the process is the Home Owners Association fee.  Many times the seller has not paid those fees for a year or more and the fee is due to the Association.  Sometimes penalties are due for a lack of payment.  Getting a demand for these fees are important.  Some Home Owners Associations also have upfront fees to provide this demand.  Sometimes the cost (fee) to prepare the statement is in the hundreds of dollars.  I saw one case where the late HOA dues were over 5 thousand dollars, this was to big an figure for the lender to overcome based upon the offer that was made.

When I am listing a property I do all I can to minimize surprises like this. Many distressed homeowners don’t have the money to pay to the Home Owners Associations and it is better to prepare for this than let it become a transaction killer.  I will try and work with the HOA to get this fee deferred until closing but it does not always work.

Many of the Homeowners Associations in San Diego will work with us on this issue but the fee structure is set in the HOA rules. 

Please visit us at Short Sale Nurse dot Com to see more about short sales and how we work as a team to aid our community through these difficult economic times.  We try an answer all the questions that are asked of us.

June 15, 2009

HOW TO SELECT A SHORT SALE REALTOR

Being faced with selecting a professional in a less that positive situation can be stressful.  I strongly suggest that you consider several things, with “RESPECT” for your difficult situation being  the most important.  Leaving a home is never an easy thing and someone sensitive to your situation can make all the difference in the world.

 

In years past I had a friend who went thought some hard times that were not of his making.  He struggled as hard as he could to keep his home but he lost it in foreclosure.  He was not only able to get back on his feet he was able to buy a better home than the one he had  just a few years later. 

 

Today in this down economic cycle he is doing fine.  No one should judge you a failure in these hard times,  transitions happen in life there can be no highs with out the lows to compare them to.  Our human feeling for one another build hope and lead us to succeed once again.   I guess what I am trying to say is find someone with true compassion for your situation and it will be easier.

 

Communication is  important in a  short sale transaction,  there is an additional branch of communication so to speak, normally the bank is not involved,  but in a “Short Sale” the bank is very involved.  For that reason I would strongly suggest that if possible you find a Realtor with prior banking experience.  This is not mandatory but it is a real good idea.  Bankers use a special “Jargon”  they have their own language and they will test you to see if your up to speed.  If the Realtor you like does not have this experience I say go with your intuitive feelings, your gut will not lie to you.

 

In the market today you will find Realtors form teams to support each other.  The demands on a good agent can remove any private or family life and that is not good for the agent or the client.  If your going with a team, look at who the leader of the team is.  Ask about the team leaders level of professional experience,  that can be a good guide.  I for one am always happy to talk to or meet with a client if I could be called upon to help.

 

This is the same thing that is frequently done for me when I am talking to lender clients.  It is not unusual for the Corporate Vice President of our national company to come to a lender meeting with me.  This instills confidence and provides a link in the case of an emergency situation.  No one in real estate is better than the support that is provided to them. More frequently than not information about both the Realtor and his support staff can be found on their web sites. 

 

 

Know who to call if you have a problem.  Even thou I am a Broker with 19 years of experience I still tell my clients that there is someone else they can talk to if there is a communication problem.

 

Be cautious of anyone that is more focused on claiming they are an expert or specialist Chest pounding about how good they are and how worthless their competition is  will not help anyone.  Look for the person that has an understanding of your situation and takes the time to listen to you and your concerns.  No two short sales are the same, you want an expert,  an expert who will listen to you and try to accommodate your needs.

June 14, 2009

How to treat our Clients

I was recently asked by a fellow agent how to approach a client who has had a “notice of default” file against their home as the first step of foreclosures. There was not a nano second that passed in my thought process until my one word answer was formulated, the word was respect. Approach your clients with respect.

Our unemployment rate in California is at or approaching 10 percent, in many communities . There are rumors and threats that even our State Employees are at risk of losing their jobs. Teachers, fire fighters and other public employees are worried. The point here is that good people who want to work and pay their bills on time, just can not do it in this economy. Think of those in the automotive business, that have been down sized or removed. These were hard working people that kept our communities moving.

My peers and I are exposed daily to just this type of situation. It is not unusual to hear a story where someone has not made their house payment for several months and then finally the “Notice of Default” arrives and they are informed of the legal rights and the terms in the “Trust Deed” that allow for foreclosure.

The good news is our demands to our Government are being listened to at least in some regards. They are trying to slow the process of a falling economy. There efforts coupled with industry will pull us out of this spiraling whirlpool into a depression.

The idea of short sales as presented by the Treasury I believe is a good idea. This Foreclosure Alternative Plan, allows for a smoother transition for families that can no longer meet the same level of financial obligation that they had previously. It treats people with more respect and understanding and in some cases my allow people another opportunity to catch up on their mortgage.

One or the reasons residential construction is down to the levels it is because it is less expensive to buy a home an existing home than it is to build new. As soon as the demand rises we will be back on the path to a more solid economy. Short Sales and Foreclosure will be a thing of the past. I will tell you this Real Estate Broker / Realtor is looking forward to the day that my clients more secure in their homes.

The answer to the question is still treat your clients with respect, aid them with their needs and point them in the direction that the best information points. Today without more changes in the law “Short Sale” looks like it could be the best direction.

Were is the Real Estate Market Going

We have all heard it said, “we never promised you a rose garden”.  Well who would have thought that real estate would fall in value in some areas by close to half its value.  The simple answer to that question is,  no one who was buying a home in the last 4 years.

 But the facts are the facts and values have fallen.  In some areas of the United States people are saying we are at the bottom of the market and prices are going up, as up is the only place price have  to go.  Others are losing their homes and looking a working on a “Short Sale” with their lender.

 The media announce with some frequency   stories of the shadow inventory of foreclosures that are sitting in the wings waiting to come to market.  What does this mean to all of us.  Well, I am hear to tell you that trying to predict the future is no easier now than it was for most home buyers  when they purchased at the peak of the market.

 I think the number one rule for all home buyers is to look at any purchase as their home not an investment.   A home is a place where you  are happy to lay your head on a pillow and go to sleep after a hard days work.  A home is a place where you take pride in bringing your friends and family. 

 It is true we have historically high foreclosure and default rates.   The Government has come up with plan after plan to try and slow this process.  I recently hear an economist  speak in San Diego to a large “Investment Club” and he said that these Government efforts to slow  foreclosures presents a difficult problem in tracking the problem from a historic standpoint.  The problem being this is all new and the plan may just be working.  There is however still no way to predict the outcome of the plans, just like it is impossible to read the future.

 President Obama’s Foreclosure Alternative Program may be some help as it attempts to save some homes in a loan modification program and still others may be aided by the Pre Approved Short Sales.   This Program may aid the bank avoid the properties being destroyed by angry homeowners that are losing their homes.

 In my opinion no one more than experienced Realtors would like to see the market stabilize.  We see the sadness in people’s eyes as they lose part of the “America Dream”.   But we are Americans,  we will come out of this and we will help our fellow man as we can.  Soon the anger will subside and we will be back at work, because we are Americans and we have seen worse things and overcome.  It is not part of our character to give up on anything.   Our homes are part of our dreams and we do not give up on our dreams.

June 13, 2009

The President’s New Short Sale Program

Not only are homeowners scrambling to figure out how to fix their financial position so is the Treasury and the FDIC. President Obama has announced a new program to help people in mortgage distress, it is called the “Foreclosure Alternative Program”. The entire details can be seen at the United States Treasury web site.

My summation of the program is that the President would like to see lenders attempt loan modifications and if that process fails to aid the homeowner short sell their home. To do this the lender or homeowner will select a local area short sale Realtor to assist in the process. It is my understanding some lenders will have preferred or approved Realtors who are experienced in the short sale process.

If this process “short sale process” fails the lender will take possession of the property under terms less forceful that a full foreclosure called a “deed in lieu”. In some case it even appears that the lender may provide funds to the homeowner to make arrangements to leave the property provided it is still in good condition.

This program on its face appears to be a good move in the right direction. It is relatively new and even some of the Real Estate community is not yet aware of it. Like all Government Programs it has the details to be worked out.

This will not change the advise that I give to my clients. That advise being consult with an attorney and a tax professional to see how a short sale could effect your own situation. This is the same advise the California Association of Realtors provides in their Short Sale form.

As a team we at shortsalenurse.com and Prudential California Realty work hard to stay on the cutting edge of how our San Diego County clients are effected by changes in the law. In the coming days as the Foreclosure Alternative Plan develops we will continue posting on this blog.

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