Archive for October, 2008

FAQ on Buying Short-Sales or Pre-Foreclosure Properties

“Short sales” and “foreclosures” are words synonymous with real estate nowadays. Below are answers to frequently-asked questions about short sales and foreclosure to help you find out if a short sale is right for you when considering a home purchase.

1. What is a short sale?

A home labeled as a “short sale” indicates the current homeowners owe more on their mortgage than what the home is worth. The difference between the two is called a “short.” The short is a debt forgiven by the bank in a successful short sale.

2. When does a short sale occur?

A short sale can be initiated by the homeowner anytime he or she foresees a hardship in paying the mortgage. This may occur prior to or during missed payments. After three months of missed payments, the lender sends a notice of trustee sale to the homeowner detailing the date his/her property will be sold in a public auction. If the property does not sell in the auction, the lender takes back the property. At this point the home is called “REO” — Real Estate Owned or bank-owned property.

3. Where can you find the best foreclosure deals?

There are three ways you can purchase a property in foreclosure. First is the pre-foreclosure or short sale. Second is a government-held public auction and third is the REO stage.

Depending on your expertise and your goals, any phase can offer a rewarding deal for you.

In a short sale, the buyer negotiates with the seller and the bank, although all negotiations are lender-approved. Short sale homes typically need some work and may sometimes appear neglected. Responses to offers may take a few days to up to three months, depending on bank policies and previous paperwork done on the property. A short sale may be for you if you have time to wait on the response and the money to make any repairs.

A public auction might be for you, if you are confident in how the bidding process works. However, you may have to bid on a property “blindly,” because many homes in a government auction are not available for showing unless they are marketed publicly prior to the bidding.

Finally, REO properties can be marketed, among other ways, via a private auction or through the MLS. The bank or listing agent typically may have cleaned and retouched the home to make it look appealing.

There are many REOs that are being sold for 10- to 20-percent below comparable homes. Banks are not in the business of selling homes. The sooner they get the homes off their books, the less costs they incur. For this reason, banks may be open to negotiate on price. REO homes are sold as-is, without repairs and without any disclosure of the condition of the property. When buying a home in foreclosure, the standing policy is BUYER BEWARE!

4. Are all short sales successful?

No. The lender may decline a request for a short sale by the homeowner for several reasons, including:

  • The lender determines that the homeowner is not facing a true hardship and can continue making mortgage payments; or
  • The lender believes it will profit more if the home is sold as an REO than as a short sale.
  • A common issue among Realtors listing a short sale is trying to hold on to the buyer who made an offer. Because of the length of time it takes for a response from lenders, it is common for buyers to walk away from an offer to look for another home.

5. Where do I find out about short sales or foreclosure homes in my neighborhood?

Realtors have access to a list of short sales and REOs marketed via MLS. You may also look online for websites such as Realtytrac.com to get a list.. This website offers a free trial but charges a monthly fee to continue using it. You may also visit your county office to see a list of foreclosures in the area you are interested in,. or visit infoclosure.com to subscribe to an. up-to-date list of foreclosures. This website also offers free courses on short sales, auction process and foreclosures.

If you are thinking of taking advantage of the buying opportunities in the current market, try seeking the expertise and experience of a trusted and knowledgeable Realtor. He or she will simplify the process for you and direct you to the best deals in the areas you are considering.

For more information, contact Maria Hass at (480) 650-0075 or email Mariahass@realtyexecutives.com. You may visit her website at http://www.MariaRealEstate.com


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October 30, 2008 at 2:16 pm Leave a comment

Is Race a Factor in the Upcoming November 4 Election?

I was watching CNN late last night. Anderson Cooper’s popular news program reported what people think about race as a factor in the Nov. 4 election.

Seven out of 10 Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday said the race of the candidates will not be a factor in their vote for president this year.

That 70 percent figure is up 9 points from July, when the same question was asked. Only 5 percent of those polled said race will be the single most important factor in their choice for president, with 11 percent saying it’s one of several important factors, and 13 percent indicating race will be a minor factor in their vote.

Honestly, I am so tired of the media reporting about race as an issue in any decision that anyone makes in this nation. I have never heard so much discussion about a person’s skin color being seen as an influencing factor of his worth — even worse, as a determining factor of how a person would act in the future.

It is time for America to wake up to become a color-free society. By that I mean, people should be looked upon based on their character, experience and knowledge and not judged by the color of their skin.

It is time for politicians to refrain from legislating policies that differentiate people by their ethnic diversity. Honoring diversity in large proportion is also promoting segregation between races.

It is time for the media to educate its viewers, listeners and readership that people’s perception of others should be based on the content of their soul and not the color of their skin.

To move us forward as a nation, let us look at the common features that unite us and bind us together and not dwell on things that differentiate us. As human beings, we all long to be loved; we all long to be respected; we all want a safe place to live. We wish for a clean environment and to be assured of our nation’s security. These aspirations and desires should be the driving force that should move us ahead as one nation.

October 26, 2008 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

Buying Another Home Before Foreclosure – Can it Happen?


I received a call from a homeowner who wanted to keep his house, if he could get the bank to modify his loan. During the course of our conversation, he asked if it would be okay for him to buy another home at a much better price, while his credit is still good, and prior to being foreclosed on.

Let’s take a look at what he would need to do to qualify for both loans.

Aside from good credit, our caller has to prove that he has enough income to pay for two mortgages (the old house and the new house). He also has to put down at least a 20 percent deposit in order to buy a second home as an investment.

I have heard that some people who have been foreclosed on are using a family member or friend’s good credit and income to purchase a new home. If this is so, that family member or friend will take ultimate responsibility for paying the loan and his or her credit is in jeopardy if the true homeowner defaults on payments.

Before getting yourself into any of these housing transition strategies, consult a reputable and honest lender. What you don’t know may bite you later on and may cost you a lot of money, if you are found guilty of mortgage fraud.

The best advice I can give anyone is to live within your means. If you are looking to buy another home someday, now is the time to increase your income or spend less and save more money for your future down payment. The sooner you build up your reserves, the better position you will be in to take advantage of the incredible buys in today’s real estate market.

October 24, 2008 at 11:21 pm Leave a comment

Calling All Voters!

There was a low turnout of voters in last week’s September 2 election.  I’m proud to say that I was one of the few American citizens who exercised her right to vote.  Many did not even know there was an election going on.  Despite a busy schedule, I went to the polling place to vote to influence the future of our nation and the City of Chandler, where I am a resident.

I was particularly interested in influencing the outcome of the three open City Council positions for the City of Chandler.  There are six candidates for the positions.  I watched the six answer questions at an excellent open round table discussion hosted by the City and aired on Cable Channel 11.  Based on this telecast, I voted for Matt Orlando, Rick Heumann and Jack Sellers.  However, after the votes were tallied, all candidates where short of the required minimum of 50% vote, so the process will be repeated  in the Primary election in November 2008 — thanks to all of you who did not show up!

It is sad that many of our countrymen would rather attend a sports event and pay lots of money to do so than to visit a polling place to bring about change.  The future of our nation is in our hands.  And one person can make a difference!  Just as the once successful singer Michael Jackson said in his song: “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a CHANGE!”

Now is your chance to make a change — take the chance before it’s too late. On November 4, when you cast your vote, vote YES on Proposition 100 – “Protect Our Homes.” A YES vote means saying NO to establishing a real estate transfer tax in Arizona.

If you don’t show up to vote, be ready to pay a real estate transfer tax in the near future.

October 23, 2008 at 2:53 pm Leave a comment

New Plans for Downtown Chandler

By Maria Hass

Realtor

The City of Chandler, AZ, a vibrant and wonderful place I’ve called home for more than three years now, is a booming town nestled by the City of Tempe to the North, City of Mesa to the Northeast, the towns of Gilbert and Queen Creek to the East and Phoenix to the West. Chandler is named after Dr. Alexander John Chandler, a veterinary surgeon who in the 1890s bought 18,000 acres of farmland here. In 1912, he subdivided his land and created planned communities with spacious lots, wide streets and green fields.

In July 2007, city-data.com reported the City of Chandler’s population at just over 247,000 people, making it the fifth fastest-growing city in Arizona. This year, the City of Chandler was once again selected as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People by America’s Promise Alliance, a distinction the City has enjoyed for the third straight time since 2005.

What’s New for Downtown Chandler?

There are currently several areas for redevelopment in downtown Chandler. These includes the city hall, fire administration building, a new museum and the San Marcos Commons Luxury Townhomes. Renovations are under way for the city buildings while the San Marcos Commons luxury townhomes have sold 30 of their 79 units. The older neighborhoods surrounding downtown Chandler will be cleaned up to decrease crime rate and attract frequent visitors. Retail shops and businesses will benefit from large crowds drawn by weekly festivals and events scheduled in Downtown Chandler.

Executive director of the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership, Eileen Brill Wagner, hopes to provide a destination for locals and tourist of all ages to dine, play, relax and find entertainment and history in a friendly environment without having to drive far.

Below are some upcoming events being held in Downtown Chandler:

The Farmers Market in Dr. A.J. Chandler Park expanded beginning Thursday, October 9th. The farmers will be joined by other food vendors and more than a dozen crafts vendors every Thursday from 3 – 6 p.m.

Another exciting event is the El Dia de los Muertos which takes place on November 1 from Noon to 10 p.m. and will feature live music, vendors, arts, crafts and more.

The Raku Arts and Crafts Festival, a popular downtown event, moves into Dr. A.J. Chandler Park on Friday and Saturday, November 14 & 15. The event on Friday is from 4 – 10 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. The festival includes raku workshops, a Japanese tea ceremony and entertainment with raku pottery and crafts for sale.

The Chandler Center of the Arts located in Downtown Chandler is proud to have its own Chandler Symphony Orchestra. It has lined up a full year of concerts and shows by popular musicians and actors.

The San Marcos Golf Resort is Arizona’s first golf resort and is a historical landmark for the City. The historic charm it brings to Downtown Chandler will be preserved through generations even as the improvements and changes continue.

By revitalizing Downtown Chandler, the city will generate more revenue, strengthen a sense of pride in our community, increase the value of real estate and create a great investment in our economy.

Downtown Chandler is located at Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard.
For more information on Chandler events, call (480) 782-2771.

October 22, 2008 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment


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