Archive for March, 2010

FIVE MISTAKES IN SELECTING A SHORT SALE NEGOTIATOR

Here are five things homeowners considering a short sale of their home should be wary of when selecting a Realtor or agent:

1. PART-TIME REALTORS – It is difficult to negotiate a short sale if your Realtor does not work during the day when lenders are in business. Part-time Realtors provide part-time service, which can result in lengthy delays in the progress of your short sale.

2. HIGH THIRD PARTY NEGOTIATION FEES – Beware of Realtors who hire third party negotiators who charge high fees to negotiate the short sales. These fees could decrease the net gain to the seller’s lender, resulting in the lender declining what seems like a good short sale offer. Always find out from the Realtor if he or she is negotiating the short sale, or is hiring someone else. If so, ask how much the negotiation fees will be and who will pay for it. Some third party negotiators charge the buyer for their fees — in most cases buyers do not want to pay for this fee, and may eventually walk away or refrain from making an offer.

3. PROGRESS UPDATES – It is important for every seller of a short sale home to get regular updates, weekly if possible, regarding the progress of the transaction. Be concerned if the negotiation company does not consent to a regular report on your short sale. Chances are, your short sale will drag on and on as the negotiator has an unlimited schedule to complete your short sale.

4. UNLICENSED AGENTS – In the business of real estate, there is a distinction between a Realtor and an agent. A Realtor is licensed. This means that the real estate professional is a member of the national, state and local real estate boards and is governed by those boards’ code of ethics and standards of practice. Membership fees for these real estate boards run about $500 annually. An agent, on the other hand, may not have membership on these boards and is therefore not governed by any real estate standards of practice nor affected by any potential sanctions. He or she may also be less aware of changes in the industry.

5. DOUBLE ESCROW — Beware of Realtors who partner with investors to buy your home for an incredibly low price and then resell the house for a higher price to an “end buyer” prior to closing. This is a form of lender fraud and a criminal offense.

Before proceeding with your short sale agreement, be sure to read the “Short Sale Seller Advisory.” This is a comprehensive document recently released by the Arizona Department of Real Estate to inform consumers of the consequences of short sales and other loan workout options. It also provides valuable resources and links important to anyone who is upside down on their mortgage and doesn’t know what to do next.

Click on this link to view the “Short Sale Seller Advisory”: http://www.aaronline.com/documents/ssseller_advisory.pdf.

March 26, 2010 at 5:03 pm 8 comments

NEW SHORT SALE PROGRAM HELPS SELLERS

Starting April 5, 2010, the new rules of the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program will govern many short sales. The new rules’ intent is to expedite the short sale process and avoid foreclosures to achieve a quicker housing recovery.
Currently, many short sales are taking up to a year to negotiate, a timeframe that often results in the buyer or seller walking away from the deal and the house getting foreclosed on.
Under the HAFA rules created by the government, the borrower receives pre-approved short sale terms prior to putting the home on the market.
To be eligible for HAFA, the lenders voluntarily participate in the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). This covers about 89 percent of mortgage debt outstanding in the country. HAFA homeowners should apply for a loan modification first with HAMP or miss payments during the HAMP trial period.
Other HAFA program requirements include;
1. Property must be principal residence.
2. Mortgage loan originated before Jan. 1, 2009.
3. Mortgage is owned and guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
4. Borrower is delinquent or default is foreseeable.
5. Homeowner demonstrates hardship.
6. Borrower’s total monthly housing payment exceeds 31 percent of gross income.
7. Unpaid principal does not exceed $729,750.
This program provides hope for homeowners who are facing foreclosure. If the rules of HAFA make sense to the lenders and are executed efficiently, it will open an avenue for a quicker housing recovery, which is as we know is long overdue. For more information on HAFA, click on: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/real-estate/hafa-short-sale-rules-may-help-sellers-1.aspx

March 26, 2010 at 11:02 am 2 comments

Ostrich Moneymaker

My family went to the 22nd Annual Ostrich Festival last weekend. There were thousands of people engaging in various activities including shopping, eating, strolling, watching the shows or getting onto the rides. We even saw a little girl who was about 6 years old get lost and reclaimed by her family.
The admission fee was $9.00 for adults and $7.00 for children 5 to 12. We got there just around 2 p.m. eager to witness the ostrich races. The seats were full and people were crowding all around the fence. There was no place to see the ostriches. Finally, I saw a picnic table to stand on. My two kids joined me and had a better view of the action. The ostrich race involved three Ostriches in a cage. A starting gate was opened and the ostriches ran amuck hitting the fence or going in any direction but the finish. That’s about it.
We headed for the food stands. My son ordered a $5.00 lemonade and my daughter had a fried tenderloin sandwich and bottled water for a whopping $9.00. That wasn’t enough to fill the tummy so, my son stood in line for almost 30 minutes for an ostrich burger, chips and drink for $8.00. We thought that was a better deal than the rest. Each one of us took a bite of the famous ostrich burger. It was good – the only thing is, with catsup, mustard, mayonnaise and relish, it was hard to distinguish much difference in the flavor compared to a regular burger.
Nevertheless, it was a different experience. After being Chandler residents for over five years, we finally took part in the biggest fund raising event for the city and saw a part of Tumbleweed Park we hadn’t seen before.

March 15, 2010 at 10:04 pm Leave a comment

Chandler Realtor Gives Back to Community

The 2nd Annual Springfield Lakes Neighborhood Garage Sale which I helped organized was a great success. Cars rolled by our neighborhood before 7 a.m. from bargain hunters out to get the best items at the best price. Over 30 homes participated in the annual event selling miscellaneous items to furnitures and appliances. There were many sales during the day and there was high traffic of cars and trucks going around the neighborhood.
Signs were posted in advance at major intersections and going into the neighborhood. Newspaper advertising at AZ Republic and San Tan News and garage sale signs were courtesy of http://www.MariaRealEstate.com At the end of the sale, Big Brother, Big Sister truck came by to pick up unsold items at the front yard of participating homes.
I am delighted to see the heavy turnout of buyers. The annual garage sale is my way of giving back to my neighborhood and promote a sense of unity in our community. Many neighbors appreciate the success of this event and would like to see it happen again next year.

March 11, 2010 at 11:08 pm Leave a comment

HANDLING BANK OF AMERICA SHORT SALES VIA EQUATOR SUCKS!

Dealing with Bank of America on short sales is such a pain in the you-know-what… even with the new Equator online system they recently contracted with to upload the short sale documents. Here are some reasons I’ve found out this Equator.com system is a major hassle to deal with:

1. There is NO online tutorial on the website to explain how this quirky, “geeky” system works. I called their short sale customer service and they forwarded me a thick manual to study — like I have the time to dig through all of that.

2. I logged in to Equator.com as an agent to initiate a short sale. That was fine. Next, I wanted to upload the seller’s financials and the offer, which is when things became difficult. So, I played with it. I was finally able to upload the seller financials and offer — or so I thought. I called customer service the next day, the representative said, “NO, all we have is your ‘Letter of Authorization.’” He told me that documents uploaded in the “Messages” category are not “valid” uploads. If that’s true, why did their system accept the documents without warning about any “invalid uploads”?

3. Oh, by the way, you’ll have to wait for Equator.com to send you “assigned tasks” to move forward with the short sale. If the system does not assign you to upload the offer, then you SHOULD NOT do it or you will have just wasted your time. You should never “get ahead of the system”!

4. Also by the way, your seller needs to also log in to the system and enter his or her financials and other information in Equator.com — something the website did not explain! To do this, your seller has to call 866-677-2516 or 866-880-1232 (the second number gives you less hold time) to get a password. The agent CANNOT upload any offers unless these tasks are done by the seller. Calling these numbers is a NECESSARY EVIL and getting your seller to learn how to upload the financials in the system is TWICE THE NECESSARY EVIL.

5. Well, I’m not all done entering the documents, I’m sure there are other hurdles and bumps along the way as we learn to deal with this USER-UNFRIENDLY Equator.com.

March 8, 2010 at 6:13 am 13 comments


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