Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Help For Renters Living in Foreclosed Homes

Thank goodness! After making several posts about the renters caught in the foreclosure nightmare, I got great news today from Fannie Mae. The following article was on the Florida Association of Realtors site. I think they're on the right track and I will keep an eye on how things develop. If you're a renter living in a home that has been foreclosed on, Hang on! Help is on the way.

Check this out:


NEW YORK – Dec. 16, 2008 – Fannie Mae said Monday it’s finalizing a plan to help renters stay in their homes even if their landlord enters foreclosure.

The mortgage giant said it’s working on a national policy to allow renters living in foreclosed properties - and who can make their rental payments - to sign new leases with Fannie while the property is up for sale or get cash to help move into a new home.

Last month, Fannie and sibling company Freddie Mac suspended foreclosure sales on occupied single-family homes and evictions from those properties through the holidays until Jan. 9, 2009. Fannie said these actions helped an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 families to remain in their homes.

The company said the new renter policy will go in effect before Jan. 9.

Last week, New Haven Legal Assistance Association Inc. in Connecticut, which represents several tenants facing eviction on properties held by Fannie Mae, raised the concerns about renter evictions and discussed the situation with Fannie on Friday.

“Fannie Mae had the tendency to empty these properties with no attempt before or after the foreclosure to contact these tenants,” said Amy Marx, an attorney at the legal aid group. “A lot of these renters are low-income and an eviction wreaks havoc on their lives due to moving costs and the lack of affordable housing.”

Despite the suspension on foreclosure sales and evictions, some Fannie evictions were still going forward, Marx said. Fannie said Monday it contacted its lawyer and broker network to halt those evictions.

Fannie and sibling company Freddie Mac own or guarantee about half of the $11.5 trillion in U.S. outstanding home loan debt. The government seized control of the pair in September.

Company spokesman Brad German said Monday that Freddie Mac also aims to have a similar plan in place by early January.

“Clearly, renters are caught in the crossfire,” German said. “The goal is to provide them some stability and not evict them as a result of another’s foreclosure.”

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jacksonville REO Market

For those of you that might now know what REO stands for, it's Real Estate Owned. It is a line item on a banks books that is a BAD thing for the bank. They aren't in the business of OWNING homes, they are in the business of LENDING MONEY. An REO property is a bad thing for the bank but a good thing for a home buyer! I like dealing with REO properties a LOT more than short sales! The preliminary work has all been done. The foreclosure is over, the negotiations are over, there are no "people" involved (as in home owners) and it's just a "business deal". The emotions are gone, the sadness is gone and it just comes down to the calculator! I like that! I get caught up in all of my short sales. I tend to take on the worries of my sellers. I want so desperately to help them, and more often than not, I can't. The lenders just take too long to decide on whether or not they'll take offers. The process takes so long, the home usually ends up in foreclosure. It's sad. It shouldn't be this way. The preforeclosure and short sale process is the modern day "Katrina" of our banking system. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY'RE DOING! I get so discouraged and disheartened when I try dealing with these lenders. It's a mess. No one seems to be in charge and quite frankly, I don't think they really care. Buying a REO property on the other hand, is a cut and dried process. I make an offer for my client, I usually hear back in a day or so and boom(!) we either have a deal or we start a counter offer game. It's actually fun! It's all about the numbers--not the people. I like that........I'm surprised I feel that way! I got into Real Estate to help people. I think all of the negative experiences with short sales have turned me off that market! I like working with my investors for a lot of reasons. Number one, they're all so nice. Number two, they're such good business people. Number three, they're fun to be around and reason number four: they actually enjoy what they're doing! One reason they enjoy what they're doing is because the end result is a nice home for someone to rent at a REASONABLE RATE, or they end up with a re-habbed house that they can sell at a REASONABLE PRICE. As one of my favorite investors always says, "it's win--win--win for everyone involved". I like dealing with people that care about others. I guess I like dealing with REO's because, like in the beginning of my career, I'm still helping people...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Foreclosure Rates Continue to Rise

There are currently 3000 preforeclosure homes on the market in Jacksonville. If they aren't in full blown foreclosure proceedings, they're definitely in deep trouble. Most are in some stage of the foreclosure process, lots are short sales. In troubled times like these, it's time for the buyers to come out of hiding! Interest rates fell again Friday to below 6%! Now is the time to get into the market! Whether you're a first time buyer or an investor--the time is right. Inventory remains extremely high (which means lots of homes to pick from) and now interest rates are low so it's the "perfect storm" for buyers. I can even tell you about a way to get up to $35,000 in buyers assistance for first time buyers! Yep. You read that right. I can get you up to $35,000 to help get the price down, pay closing costs, do repairs, or whatever it takes to get you into that first home! Call me today and I will put you in touch with the lender that will guide you through the simple process of taking advantage of these funds. Don't wait! Buy today.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Home Sales Up in Jacksonville-Foreclosure driven

Homes sales have been quite brisk the past 30 days! Unfortunately more than half of those sales have been preforeclosures and short sales. The market is clearly price driven. The investors have come back out and first time buyers are finding deals galore! It's a great time to be a buyer in Jacksonville! Unfortunately, those that aren't in a short sale situation, those trying to get a fair price for thier homes, these are not such good times. If the seller is trying to compete with these foreclosed homes, good luck! The price of the short sale homes are usually 20% or more below the other homes in the neighborhood, naturally pulling the value of the homes in the entire area down with it. This is a tough time to try and sell a house at full value!

If you're a buyer that's been sitting on the fence, it's time to JUMP! Interest rates are still low--inventories are HIGH--foreclosures are at an all time high! What in the world are you waiting for?? Let's go find your dream home. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

List Em and Leave Em

In the spirit of Halloween...

This is a post worth repeating:

I continually hear people say that their realtor bugged them for weeks to get them to list their house with them. They finally agreed to list it and they never saw the realtor again!! I'm not exaggerating! Check out this story....

New example of a “list em and leave em” real estate company

Wednesday, May 02, 2007JANESVILLE, Wis. — A couple checking out a house for sale were shocked to discover the 55-year-old homeowner dead in her bed. Authorities said foul play was not suspected. Real estate agent Linda Chabucos-Galow stood in the dining room while Justin and Colleen McKeen walked through a house Monday night. Before long, she heard Colleen McKeen scream."I thought, 'What's wrong?' Maybe it was a dead mouse or something," Chabucos-Galow said.But then she peered into the bedroom and saw the body of Linda L. O'Leary.

An autopsy determined O'Leary had been dead for two to three weeks, Rock County Coroner Jenifer Keach said Wednesday. The cause of death remained under investigation, but the woman appeared to have died of natural causes and no foul play was suspected, Keach said.

Gale Kent, the Coldwell Banker First United Realty agent who listed the house, said it was for sale "for a while."Chabucos-Galow said she had noticed a faint odor but thought it was from the mess in the house or the countertop full of dishes.After seeing the body, she said she told the couple: "'We need to leave. This is not right. We need to get out of here.'

"I rest my case! If you want to list your house with someone that will communicate with you---give me a call! I look forward to hearing from you.

What about the tenants??

I've been hit in the face with the harsh reality of what really happens when an investor faces foreclosure on the home(s)he/she bought as rental homes. I've had the unpleasant task of informing renters that the home they're living in is in foreclosure. This is really a bad situation. The renters have been paying their rent on time and have a lease that is good through next year. Unfortunately, they will have to move right away if the home is foreclosed on. They are caught up in the housing nightmare that is engulfing our market. They are the innocent bystanders that are going to suffer through no fault of their own. At least my tenants know!! I have been hearing way too many stories about tenants having Sheriff's officers show up at their door telling them to GET OUT. It's gotten so bad, several cities have begun to refuse to evict these tenants without prior notice. SOMETHING must be done on a national level to ensure that these tenants have ample time to find a new place to live. I'm thinking that if a home is foreclosed on and the property is rented, the tenants should get 60 days to move out. Is this being unreasonable? I don't think so.

I am anxious to see how this all plays out. It's a MESS!

If you're facing a possible foreclosure on your home--CALL ME! Let's see if we can sell it as a short sale.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Facing a Foreclosure in Jacksonville?

Times are tough for a lot of people today. The stock market continues to drop, consumer confidence in the Feds continues to drop, food prices continue to rise, gas prices are high and it just costs a LOT of money to survive today! Are you afraid you might be forced to miss a house payment? Have you missed one (or two or three)? Right now, right this minute, CALL YOUR LENDER. If your interest rate is above 7% please consider refinancing your home. If your credit is less than perfect, ask your lender about a FHA loan. The latest bailout package has help for you in it! I think it may be December before they are able to see exactly what that help will be. I think that you should contact your lender right now, today. They know that they are going to have to help you in some way, shape or form. They will work with you.

Please don't lose your home due to inaction. Call your lender. Try to work something out with them today.

If you're at your wits end and feel like you need to sell your home. Call me. Let's see what we can do for you.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Jacksonville Short Sales

The developments in the finance and mortgage world come as no real surprise to those of us in the trenches. Currently there are 15,000 homes on the market in Jacksonville and of those, 20% are distressed sells. I define a distress sell as either a preforeclosure, short sale, or REO property. A REO property is owned by the bank and has already had all foreclosure proceedings completed. There are 2604 condos listed in MLS and 13% of those are distressed properties. It didn't take an MBA from Harvard to know that something had to give. When buyers can't get financing--Realtors are out of business. When lenders require a credit score of 720 and at least 20% down--Realtors are out of business. When homes drop by 15-20% in value in 6 months--Realtors are out of business.

I now have 5 short sale listings. They are located all over town! I think that this is why I really got into Real Estate. I am trying to help alleviate the pain and pressure that a homeowner suffers through when upside down on their mortgage. Once a seller lists their house with me, I take over the role of negotiator with the lender. I speak on their behalf and determine the rules of the game with that particular lender. They're all different and each case is different. They take every home on a case by case basis. Once I list the home, pretty much all communicaton is through me. This eases the burden on the homeowner. That's what being a Realtor really is all about: helping you solve a problem! Put me to work for you today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Price Is King When Selling Your Home

Wow! This is a powerful post and I thought it was worth sharing.

Original Post
Via Danilo Bogdanovic-Real Estate Consultant -Loudoun and Fairfax County:

Not all sellers understand that their asking price is the ultimate determination of whether they will sell their property or not. Not only does the asking price affect if you'll sell, but when and for how much. The longer it takes you to get to the correct fair market value asking price, the greater your Days On Market are and the more of a negative stigma buyers will have of your property. This can translate into lower offers and ultimately, a lower selling price.

Sure, how well your agent markets the property matters. But even the best agent in the world can't fool today's buyer and a good buyer's agent. Today's buyer has access to way too much information and data to overpay for a property. And a good buyer's agent will provide comps and their personal expertise to even the most uniformed buyer so that they don't make a bad decision and overpay for a property.

If you're wondering how much of an effect getting the asking price right has on if and when your property sells, consider this...

I took a look at the last 30 properties (not including foreclosure/REO or short-sale properties) that have sold (gone under contract) in Loudoun County. Here's what I found:

These properties went under contract in an average of 25.4 days of their last price change/adjustment
Some of these properties had been on the market for months, but once they adjusted their price to or below the correct current market value, they sold in less than a month
Some of these properties went under contract in as little as 4 days and had multiple offers
Some of the properties that sold were at the $700K mark and a few were over $800K so even the properties in the upper price brackets are selling quickly when priced correctly
No matter how well known your agent is, how good your marketing plan is or how many open houses you hold, it comes down to price.

It takes a good and gutsy agent to be honest and share with you your property's real and accurate market value - no matter how much lower it is than you thought. It's then up to you to listen to them, review the comps and data (aka CMA) and be objective with yourself and the situation. Once you do that and then list your property at a price that reflects today's fair market value and market conditions, you will actually sell it.

This post has really hit the nail on the head. If you're thinking of selling your home, please take Via's advice.

Jacksonville Beach and Tropical Storm Fay

The Beaches area continues to feel the wrath of Tropical Storm Fay. It's not like she's in a big hurry to get out of here or anything. Quite the contrary! Like a guest that's over stayed their welcome, it's past time for Fay to go. She has been lurking off of the coast of Northeast Florida for two days. When she finally headed West today, she brought buckets of rain with her. Along with the buckets of rain, she brought 40 mph winds with gusts up to 55 mph. It's been a rough afternoon here at the Beach. The damage so far is minimal. There have been numerous reports of flooded streets and a few trees down, but all in all, we've been lucky. We've been spared any real serious damage. Property damage is very low considering how bad it could have been... I wish the story ended here.

Jacksonville Beach rarely has to worry about tropical systems. When we do, we take it pretty serious. Unfortunately, one person lost their life in Neptune Beach today. Three swimmers from Indiana decided to go swimming in the ocean when the waves were at their worst. One died and one is in critical condition after being rescued by Fire and Rescue. It's so sad. Anyone that took one look at the 13+ foot waves and felt the power of the wind would know not to venture in. I feel so bad for the families of the person that died and for the others involved. It's a sad side bar to what should have been a story about the fury of Mother Nature and how well prepared we were.

We live in Paradise for the most part; friendly people, great restaurants, fun festivals, great shopping and of course, beautiful beaches. Every once in a while we're reminded of the power of these tropical systems.

Please don't take any chances when one of these systems comes through our area.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My short sale blew up!

We almost made it! We were so close and 6 months into it, but we couldn't take it anymore! We finally had to give up. We found a house 3 days later, made an offer, they countered, we accepted and we were off to the races! We are going to close August 18th. So, this process, from initial offer to closing will take exactly 19 days. Can you believe it? We waited 95 days for a response from the lender on our first offer on the short sale. They countered and we waited 60 days to hear about that. Then we ran into MAJOR issues with the Home Inspection and the VA wouldn't appraise it high enough. Our deal finally sputtered to a stop 6 long months into it. I took another class on short sales and the consensus was that a short sale averages 5-7 months from initial offer to closing. Unfortunately, most short sales never make it to closing at all. Before the process can be finalized, the home goes into foreclosure, or the buyers give up and move on to a property that's not a short sale.

Short sales are a challenge, but I think they are here to stay! I have 2 listed but no buyer-side deals pending now.

I think that maybe I will have to pass on the next one! The stress, patience and energy required is just more than I can handle! :) I had a wonderful buyer that hung in there a very long time. I don't know if I could be that lucky again.

A short sale is manageable if you can communicate with the lender. That's the key. That's the magic key! It's so hard to get to the right person, but when you do, the process can move forward faster.

Good luck with your short sale adventures. I'd love to hear either your horror story or your fairy tale, happy ending.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Who Will the New FHA Relief Bill Help?

The Senate passed the new housing rescue bill today and President Bush is expected to sign it in just hours. The bill goes into effect October 1st.

Who's eligible to participate?
Qualified borrowers must live in their homes and have loans that were issued between January 2005 and June 2007. Additionally, they must be spending at least 31% of their gross monthly income on mortgage debt to be eligible for the program.

They can be up to date on their existing mortgage or in default, but either way borrowers must prove that they will not be able to keep paying their existing mortgage - and attest that they are not deliberately defaulting just to obtain lower payments.

Before homeowners can get FHA-backed mortgages, they must first retire any other debt on the home, such as a home equity loan or line of credit. Borrowers are not permitted to take out another home equity loan for at least five years, unless it's to pay for necessary upkeep on the home.

To get a new home equity loan, borrowers will need approval from the FHA, and total debt cannot exceed 95% of the home's appraised value at the time.

If you sell or refinance your home within one year of using the FHA restructured mortgage programs, you will have to give FHA 100% of the profit. The amount goes down every year with the final amount being 50%.

Use this program wisely. More to come........

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Short Sale Update

Can you believe we are STILL trying to negotiate a deal with the loss mitigator?? We have been working on this for FOUR MONTHS! Now, we found out that the house has to have a NEW ROOF ($6500)!! OMG. What next? We are still trying to negotiate a lower price, to cover the cost of the roof replacement! You know what the lender is saying: AS-IS...You are buying the property AS-IS. We can't even get financing without a roof! Good luck to us. I'm not so confident that we can make it happen. I'll keep you posted...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Update on my Short Sale Deal

I promised you I'd give you a heads up when we finally heard from the lender about our short sale offer. WE FINALLY RECEIVED A COUNTER OFFER from the lender this week! We immediately countered and hopefully they'll take our offer. The listing agent warned me that it might be 2+ weeks before we hear from the lender again! We rec'd a response/counter offer from the lender on day 70. If we hear back from them in 2 weeks, that will mean that it's been 90 days to get acceptance of our offer! TEXT BOOK SHORT SALE! Unfortunately, it will probably be 30 days after that before we close!

Short sales are a great way to save money when you buy a house. But you have to understand that it might take MONTHS until you close. This all depends on how far along the process is when you find the house. If it's still early in the process--be prepared for a 3-5 month wait until closing.

The interest rates are creeping up at a pretty fast clip. Please don't continue to wait too long to find your dream home. The rates are expected to continue to rise steadily until September and then the Feds are expected to raise rates. This will probably cause a substantial rise almost over night in the mortgage rates. Don't hold out too long! Take advantage of the current rate today.

Call if I can help. (904) 241-2386

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jacksonville Beach Home You Must See!

Please take a moment to look at this fabulous tour of my favorite listing at the Beach. If you'd like more information, please give me a call.

Virtual Tour Jacksonville Beach Gem

Monday, June 2, 2008

Jacksonville Short Sale Update

For those of you that have wondered if it REALLY takes 90 to 120 days to close on a Short Sale, I'm here to tell you that it does!! At least that long! We put an offer on a property on April 3rd and here it is June 3rd (almost) and we have NOTHING from the lender! I have talked to the listing agent at least once a week since this game began and she is on the ball, but the lender isn't! They told her last week that they would look at the offers on this property on June 10th and try to have an answer by the end of June! agggggggghhhh. My poor buyer is about to blow a gasket! I warned him, but the reality is hard to accept. I never dreamed that it would REALLY take this long. Looks like this is going to be a "text book" short sale. 90 days until we find out if they accept our offer and then 30 days until we close. I'm not real crazy about these short sales. Patience never was my strong suit.

Can you get a good deal on a home that's a short sale? Absolutely. Does it really take 120 days? Absolutely. Buying a short sale is not for everyone. It's not for the faint of heart or anyone with patience or anger management issues.

If you think you're a candidate for a short sale deal, give me a call. I've been there and done that...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New FHA Loans not as great as they appear!

This article was written by Donna Robinson. I found it so informative that I wanted to share it. It's a real eye opener about how the proposed FHA Loan program will work. It's well worth the read!

Well, the new FHA expansion bill appears to be rocketing through
congress with virtually no opposition.

I got my email from NAR last week, (several times in fact) asking
me to make sure that I contacted my congressional representatives
to request passage of this bill.

NAHB is in strong support of the measure, saying that it will help
stablize the housing market. In fact, if you read the mainstream
media, you would get the impression that this bill has no
opposition anywhere. You may even think that this idea will be
beneficial for you if you are an agent or broker who is suffering
under the strain of the present slump in retail sales.

However, there is a HUGE downside to this bill. The problem is not
in wanting to help people and stabilize the largest single asset
class in America. That is a noble goal, but the means to achieve
the end simply do not add up.

In my opinion, and that of most other real estate market analysts, this expansion of FHA will not solve the subprime problem. It will simply move it from the banks and professional capital investors and instead place it squarely in the laps of the American taxpayers, as subprime lending practices move from the world of capital investors to the world of government guaranteed loans.

Most folks don't realize what "government guaranteed loans" actually are.

Under FHA the taxpayer actually guarantees the mortgage payoff.
When a home that has an FHA loan on it gets foreclosed on, the
lender does not lose their money, as happened with the recent
subprime losses that wiped out some investors and investment
companies. When an FHA loan gets foreclosed, the government
actually reimburses the lender for the balance of the mortgage
note. Meaning - the lender gets paid off by Uncle Sam and HUD
becomes the proud owner of a foreclosed home.

Ever wonder where all those HUD houses come from? They are homes
with government guaranteed loans that were foreclosed. Now Uncle
Sam is the proud owner. Problem is, Uncle Sam is using taxpayer
dollars to provide these guarantees. Then HUD tries to resell the
home and recover it's expenses. When HUD homes sell at a loss, it
is you and I that foot the bill. The real loser in this scenario is
the same hard working American taxpayer that the government claims to be helping.

Expanding FHA to allow for higher Loan To Value limits, "no
downpayment" loans, and adding easier condo financing is tantamount to moving subprime lending from the little known corners of capital investing, and secondary mortgage markets, into the living rooms and pocket books of middle America.

"No Downpayment" and "High LTV Loan Amounts" are considered
"subprime" for a reason. That reason is their tendency to produce
much higher default rates. Well duh...that is exactly what has
happened to subprime.

Higher default rates caused by relaxed lending standards
have nearly led to a world economic crisis.
It makes absolutely no sense to me to throw good money
after bad. Especially when the taxpayers are the ultimate source
for these loan guarantees.

Everyone in Washington wants to be seen as doing something to "fix"
this problem. "Broadening" and in effect lowering FHA's lending
standards will fix things alright. In my opinion, this idea is a
violation of every common sense rule for smart investing. I predict
that this program will only move FHA into the subprime lending
business, and set the US (and the US housing market) up for an even
bigger financial disaster in the future.

Below is a list of the highlights of the new FHA expansion act.
Where would the US economy be today if these items had already been
in place prior to 2005? What if they had been enacted prior to the
collapse of the current housing market? With condos overbuilt in
many cities, and home values falling like rocks, and a few million more
properties with no equity and 40 year payoffs, where the heck would
the US economy be right now?

The only reason we survived the current storm is the fact that the
Federal Reserve injected money into the system to help keep it
afloat. We came very close to a 1929 style crisis. It was narrowly
averted. The average taxpayer does not realize that next time, it
will be their money that will be paying back these loans. It really
makes me wonder what our government leaders are thinking...no wait I know what they are thinking..."get me re-elected", that's what they are thinking.

Meanwhile, next time you pass a HUD house, or show one to a
prospective buyer, take pride in knowing that you own a small piece
of it. And now, you'll get the chance to buy even more...say,
doesn't that make us all real estate moguls? I'll bet you didn't
even know you owned so many houses already! If you are a working
taxpayer in America you can start bragging about your extensive
real estate portfolio.

FHA Expansion Act Includes The Following Items:

1- There won't be a minimum 3% down payment which
means you need less cash at closing.

2- New 40-year loans will lower your monthly payment.

3- The FHA loan amounts can be higher which
means more homes would qualify for financing.

4- Condos will be more easily insured with an FHA loan.

5- You don't have to have perfect credit.

6- More seniors will be able to get reverse mortgages.

None of the measures being added to the expansion act has any basis
in common sense financial principles. Only a return to solid
fundamental financial principles will save our housing market and
stabilize it over the long run.

We have to realize that there are no quick fixes for poor financial
management. It's high time that our leaders realized that you cannot
solve financial problems by creating more debt.

You may disguise the problem, but you won't get
rid of it. But this time, they have me really worried. This bill is
cleverly disguised as help for homeowners, but in reality it is you
and I who are behind the mask.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Jacksonville Real Estate Market

The market continues to chug along. The majority of the homes being sold right now are short sales and/or foreclosures. I am personally working with 3 right now. I am beginning to believe that the instructors in the classes I attended on Short Sales were right!! It is really taking a long time to get the lenders to even acknowledge that they received our offer!! We submitted it 3 weeks ago and so far the listing agent hasn't been able to get us any information. We have requested a reply from the lender or we are walking. Our offer expiration date was last week and my client (thankfully) didn't submit a binder fee with the offer. We were to process the binder fee within 3 days of acceptance of the offer. I am so GLAD we didn't throw any money on the table! If we don't hear something in the next couple of days, we are going to start looking for another home. We really, really like this house, but we can't wait forEVER! I'll let you know how it all plays out.

It continues to be a buyers market. Credit is getting tighter though, so please don't wait too long to buy your dream home! Lenders are making it harder to get approved for a loan. I have several EXCELLENT lenders that will work with you to get the very best mortgage possible. Call me today.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Jacksonville Short Sale Market Update

I can't believe it! In less than 24 hours I sold one short sale home and listed another one! I learned enough in my seminars to make them both happen fairly smoothly. Just in case, I brought in a back up agent to watch my back and to help me with the bank negotiations. I think that after submitting our offer on a cute house in the West Beaches area, it's time to "hurry up and wait!!" I've been warned that sometimes it takes 3-6 months to close on a short sale! I think this one just might happen faster. I hope to get a response to our offer in less than 2 weeks. If our offer wasn't enough, then I hope to have the opportunity to go back to my clients lender and get more money!! I don't know if that will fly or not. I feel like our offer was fair. My client really likes the house and I went by and met one of the neighbors over the weekend. They would love to have my client as a neighbor!! I hope it all works out.

In a perfect world, here's the way it will play out. The lender will review our offer, compare it to the amount owed on the loan. Decide whether or not they want to keep paying the interest and insurance and other fees on the house, or do they want to cut their losses and take our offer. I'm thinking they'll choose the latter. The house needs a roof, there are NO appliances in the house, so it needs a dishwasher, range, microwave and a refrigerator. I don't think the bank wants to fool with all of that. I'm hoping they'll just cut their losses and run...with us!

My seller is in a real bind. This is a text book short sale. My seller just got overextended and now the payments can't be paid. So, tomorrow, the negotiations will begin. The house is fabulous. It's in Neptune Beach and it's East of A1A. A real cream puff. Now, I'll be sitting on the OTHER side of the fence! I'll be getting beat up by a buyer!! That's okay. This house needs to be sold ASAP. I think the lender will entertain offers for sure. We'll see how it all plays out....

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Good news for Sellers

I think the buyers have come out of hibernation! My listing on Ashglen Dr North has been shown non-stop! Not only that, but the official numbers were released by the National Association of Realtors today and they were good. The number of homes on the market has dropped (less competition) and the number of sold homes was up. Finally! For the past 6 months sells have steadily dropped. Maybe this is the beginning of the end of the housing slump. Inventory numbers are better too. It now takes 9 months to sell a listing, I know that sounds awful, but it's a 3% improvement over January. I'll keep you posted...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jacksonville, FL PreForeclosed Homes

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that nearly 3 million homeowners were behind on their mortgages at the end of last year. An additional 1-million-plus borrowers were at risk of imminent foreclosure. Wow! As if that's not bad enough, a lot of the borrowers are finding out that they're so upset down, they just mail in the keys! Don't leave your house without a fight! The lenders can't help you, they can't work with you, they can't do a thing except foreclose if you mail in your keys and walk away from your house. Do NOT use this crazy option if you're upside down. Lenders are working harder to help you keep your home. FHA has programs to help with the ARM loans out there right now. The lenders are working with home owners after recieving pressure from the Feds to help them. Hundreds of thousands of distressed homeowners are reaching out for help. The Homeownership Preservation Foundation, part of the Hope Now Alliance, fields more than 4,000 calls daily to its toll-free hotline (888-995-HOPE).

Before you give up and mail your keys to your lender and move out--call me. I'll be happy to tell you what your house value might be based on recent sells and overall market activity. Don't give up yet! I'll try to help.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Jacksonville Realtor On Active Rain

You can find great local Jacksonville, Florida real estate information on Localism.com Ronda Densford, REALTOR is a proud member of the ActiveRain Real Estate Network, a free online community to help real estate professionals grow their business.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Jacksonville PreForeclosures

I have been trying to research the subject of foreclosures in the Jacksonville area. It's really sad. Depending on exactly what search criteria I use, the average number is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1300 homes. This does not include Condos. There are approximately 100 of those. These homes are either in some stage of preforeclosure, have already been foreclosed on and are now owned by the lender, or they are currently offered on the market as a short sale. I think that the community of Realtors needs to figure out how we can HELP these people that still have a chance to keep their homes. There are a whole lot more people that are just one late payment away from getting into arrears on their home loan. These are the folks we need to concentrate our energy on. There is hope! If you are in trouble, please read the following tips taken straight from the HUD web site. This will keep you out of trouble!
If you are unable to make your mortgage payment:
1. Don't ignore the problem.The further behind you become, the harder it will be to reinstate your loan and the more likely that you will lose your house.

2. Contact your lender as soon as you realize that you have a problem.Lenders do not want your house. They have options to help borrowers through difficult financial times.

3. Open and respond to all mail from your lender.The first notices you receive will offer good information about foreclosure prevention options that can help you weather financial problems. Later mail may include important notice of pending legal action. Your failure to open the mail will not be an excuse in foreclosure court.

4. Know your mortgage rights.Find your loan documents and read them so you know what your lender may do if you can't make your payments. Learn about the foreclosure laws and timeframes in your state (as every state is different) by contacting the State Government Housing Office.

5. Understand foreclosure prevention options.Valuable information about foreclosure prevention (also called loss mitigation) options can be found on the internet at www.fha.gov/foreclosure/index.cfm

6. Contact a HUD-approved housing counselor.The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds free or very low cost housing counseling nationwide. Housing counselors can help you understand the law and your options, organize your finances and represent you in negotiations with your lender if you need this assistance. Find a HUD-approved housing counselor near you or call (800) 569-4287 or TTY (800) 877-8339.

7. Prioritize your spending.After healthcare, keeping your house should be your first priority. Review your finances and see where you can cut spending in order to make your mortgage payment. Look for optional expenses-cable TV, memberships, entertainment-that you can eliminate. Delay payments on credit cards and other "unsecured" debt until you have paid your mortgage.

8. Use your assets. Do you have assets-a second car, jewelry, a whole life insurance policy-that you can sell for cash to help reinstate your loan? Can anyone in your household get an extra job to bring in additional income? Even if these efforts don't significantly increase your available cash or your income, they demonstrate to your lender that you are willing to make sacrifices to keep your home.

9. Avoid foreclosure prevention companies. You don't need to pay fees for foreclosure prevention help-use that money to pay the mortgage instead. Many for-profit companies will contact you promising to negotiate with your lender. While these may be legitimate businesses, they will charge you a hefty fee (often two or three month's mortgage payment) for information and services your lender or a HUD approved housing counselor will provide free if you contact them.

10. Don't lose your house to foreclosure recovery scams!If any firm claims they can stop your foreclosure immediately if you sign a document appointing them to act on your behalf, you may well be signing over the title to your property and becoming a renter in your own home! Never sign a legal document without reading and understanding all the terms and getting professional advice from an attorney, a trusted real estate professional, or a HUD approved housing counselor.

Please! Do NOT let your situation get worse! I don't want to sell your house if there is ANY way you can keep it. I could care less about listing your house if it doesn't HAVE to be put on the market. Please exhaust all means of relief before you give up. I will help if I can.

Friday, February 29, 2008

What is a Short Sale???

Here is the "official definition" of a short sale

Qualifications for a Short Sale

Before you eagerly climb aboard the short sale bandwagon, consider the following to determine whether you may qualify for a short sale. If you cannot answer yes to all four requirements, you may not qualify for a short sale.

The Home's Market Value Has Dropped.

Comparable sales must show that the home is worth less than the balance due the lender. This unpaid balance may include a prepayment penalty. Have your Realtor do a CMA or BPO on the house to be sure. A Realtor will do a CMA for free. Some lenders might require a appraisal.

The Mortgage is in Default.

A lender will not consider a short sale if the payments are current. As long as the lender is receiving timely payments, the lender is satisfied. You should probably be 60-90 days late on the mortgage payments. Please contact your lender direct to see if they will work with you to get the payments current. Some are being more helpful than others. Some may take a partial payment or even forgive a payment to help you. Call yours TODAY if you're late. Don't bury your head in the sand!

The Seller Has Fallen on Hard Times.

The seller must submit a letter of hardship that explains why the seller can not pay the difference due upon sale, including why the seller has stopped making the monthly payments. This letter should give details about the sellers situation. Maybe you've had medical issues? Maybe a divorce is in the works? Tell your lender your situation!!

A few examples that do NOT constitute a hardship are:

Bad purchase decisions. OOps. I paid too much for this house! Not good enough...
Unhappy with the neighbors. Does their dog keep you up at night barking? Not good enough...
Buying another home. The lender will not care if you have decided the home is no longer suitable for you or your family. We found a real bargain in a brand new home that the builder was liquidating! Not good enough...
Pregnancy. Increasing the size of your family or starting a family is not considered a hardship. Enough said! Not good enough...
Moving into an apartment. If you decide to move out of your home, because you can't afford it, this is not a good reason to leave your home. This just doesn't qualify as a hardship...not good enough... I think you get the picture.

Examples of hardship are:

Unemployment Did you lose your job?
Divorce Enough said......
Medical emergency / sudden illness Do you have medical bills even though you have health insurance? Let your lender know.
Bankruptcy Enough said...
Death Did your spouse die? Let your lender know!

The Seller Has No Assets

The lender will want to see a copy of the seller's tax returns and / or a financial statement. If the lender discovers assets, the lender may not grant the short sale because the lender will feel that the seller has the ability to pay the shorted difference.

For example, if the seller has cash in a savings account, 401K, owns other real estate properties, stocks, bonds or IRA accounts, the lender will most likely determine that the seller has assets. The short sales that get accepted are those where the seller has no money or assets. In other words, they have NO OTHER OPTION but to sell the house at a loss.

I can't give you legal advice, unfortunately, I'm not an attorney. I strongly recommend that you speak to an attorney if you're considering selling your home as a short sale. If you can't afford an attorney, I have contact info for agencies that will advise you for free or reduced prices.

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a seminar offered by NEFAR on this issue. The class was taught by one of the best communicators I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. This was my second seminar that Ulrich Leinhase, GRI, has presented. He is the President and CEO of Real Estate Classes Florida. I tell people that he is the Guru of Real Estate Seminars. I learn more in his classes than in any others and appreciate NEFAR for offering his classes on a regular basis.

Please don't wait too long to get some input on this issue you're facing. The worst thing to do is not face it square on! A caring, knowledgable Realtor can help you get things started. Oftentimes, this does NOT lead to you selling your house!! The lenders may work with you. Call me today and let's see where things stand. I'll be happy to help in any way.

Short Sales in the Jacksonville, FL area

I attended a 3 hour seminar today about the Short Sales opportunities we now have in the Jackonville market. There are SO MANY of them on the market! I found out that not all "upside down" homes are true short sales. The criteria is very clear on what qualifies as a short sale. The seller must a) be insolvent with NO ASSETS (no IRA, no 401K, car paid for car, no boat NOTHING of value. b) must be behind on the payments (60-90 days) c) mortgage balance must be higher than actual market value d)Seller didn't cause the problem that caused the issue (medical bills, act of nature etc). Wow. That's not quite what I thought a short sale was. I thought if you were upside down, and you wanted the bank to take less than you owed; you were a short sale. Wrong. The guidelines are very clear.

Are you facing troubled times with your mortgage? There is help out there. I have contact numbers for several agencies that can help. Please call me before the situation gets any worse. The future effects on your credit report can be devastating.

I'll help if I can. I can't give you legal advice, unfortunately, I'm not an attorney. I strongly recommend that you speak to an attorney if you're considering selling your home as a short sale. If you can't afford an attorney, I have contact info for agencies that will advise you for free or reduced prices. Just call me or email me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Interest Rates are Rising Again

Once again, the interest rates have begun to creep back up. Now is the time to lock in your rate and BUY A HOUSE!

My seller at 12641 Ashglen Drive N is entertaining offers. This home is the least expensive home in the South Kernan Blvd area. Priced at $199,900.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Condo at The Palms at Marsh Landing

This condo is being sold for 219K. Fully furnished, right down to the linens! Even includes the washer and dryer. All furniture is included. This unit has a garage plus a reserved parking spot.

Motivated seller has already moved. Bring offers.

Community includes 2 pools, cabanna bar, business center, mini theater, total fitness center, tennis court, gated entry and more.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jacksonville Foreclosure Help

The problem of foreclosures and preforclosures is worse than I realized! I have heard a LOT about it on the news and I've read a lot about it in my Real Estate Forums, but until I did a home search the other day--I didn't realize just how serious the problem is in the Jacksonville area!

If you're facing the possibility of being foreclosed on, please don't stick your head in the sand!

What should you do if you can't pay your loan?

1. Call your lender immediately. The sooner you contact your lender (look for the toll-free number on your monthly statement), the more options will be available to you. Ask for the loan mitigation department.

2. Talk with a reputable credit counseling agency. You can call the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (toll-free 888-995-HOPE) or find a local HUD-approved counseling agency (toll-free 800-569-4287 on weekdays) or go to www.hud.gov.

3. Know your loan modification options. Depending on how quickly you call your lender, the following loan modification options may be available to you: forbearance (an agreement to temporarily let you pay less or nothing while you get back on your feet); reinstatement (pay the total amount you're behind in a lump sum by a certain date); repayment plans (you'll be given a fixed amount of time to repay the amount you're behind by combining a portion of what's past due with your current payment); and, loan modifications (a written agreement between you and the lender that permanently changes one or more of the original terms of your loan to make it more affordable, such as extending the loan term or lowering the interest rate).

If your financial circumstances have changed so much that you can no longer afford to keep your house, your mortgage company may offer you one of the following options to forestall the foreclosure process:

Loan assumption. Even if your mortgage isn't assumable, your lender may allow someone else to take over the payments and bring the loan current. This may allow you to sell your home.

Short sale. This option, which has been in the news lately, allows you to sell your house for less than the amount that is owed on the mortgage. Recent, but temporary, changes to the IRS tax code mean that the difference between what you owe and the amount you're selling for may no longer be taxable as income.

Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. You may be able to transfer title to your property to the mortgage company in exchange for the complete cancellation of your mortgage debt. In most cases, your lender will have required you to try to sell the house for 90 days before a deed-in-lieu will be considered.

If you feel like you are overwhelmed by all of this, at the very least, go to the HUD web site. Click here for the HUD site.

If you need some help, give me a call. I will take as much of the stress out of your situation as I can. Let me help.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Magnolia Properties

Once in a blue moon you come across a company that truly cares about their customers, employees, community and their reputations. When you find that company, you'd better latch onto it for dear life!!! Whether you're having your car repaired, your washer or dryer repaired, if you're buying a car, hiring a contractor, buying or selling a house, or having brain surgery!! When you find that one-in-a-million company--you better use them AND tell your friends about them! I've been looking for a company like that to hang my license with. I finally found it. If you want to deal with a company that has more integrity than any other brokerage I've ever dealt with, you've come to the right place. Magnolia Properties is a Southern Tradition. A tradition that consists of deep roots, deep conviction, compassion and empathy and a strong desire to make the world a better place...a true Southern Tradition.

We promise to NEVER list your house and leave you like the agent in this story. I'm so sorry to keep repeating it, but I can't help it!! This is the WORST story ever--if you're in the Real Estate business. The link

Call me today and put the entire Magnolia Properties team to work for you!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Jacksonville Beach Real Estate remains stalled

Interest rates are lower than they've been in AGES! There are (literally) thousands of homes to choose from. So where in the world are all the buyers?? I think I just answered my own question: they're out there in the world somewhere! For that very reason I have now expanded my horizons and have placed my listings on International Web Sites including Realtor.com International! Overseas investors are converging on Florida looking for a "deal". The Euro goes much further now and I think it's sort of been a "dream" of many foreigners to own part of America. I know of two little pieces of America they can get for a great price! Please read the following ads and give me a call.

请买我的房子。我并且有一公寓房待售-- 新建筑特价。

Achetez s'il vous plaît ma maison. J'ai aussi un immeuble en copropriété pour la vente - la nouvelle construction le prix spécial.

나의 집을 사십시요. 나는 또한 판매 -- 신축
특가를 위해 콘도가 있는다.

Παρακαλώ αγοράστε το σπίτι μου. Έχω επίσης ένα condo για την
πώληση -- ειδική τιμή νέας κατασκευής.

Venga godere la vista bella dell'Oceano Atlantico

For now I say Arrivederci! Αντίο! Adiós! Au revoir!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Excitement Building Over Vista Bella In Jacksonville Beach

With meetings lined up this week with investors and builders, the excitement continues to build! I spent 2 hours over at the Beach today just riding around checking out all of the existing Condos and Townhomes in South Jax Beach. I also spent some time looking at the proposed developments coming in. None compared to mine!! :) Seriously. With the amenities, location, size of the units, AND a roof top party deck, nobody can touch this! I just can't imagine any place else offering 10% down to hold your unit until ground breaking. That's just unheard of. So--you're watching the market? Fine! Put 10% down and KNOW that you've got yourself a GORGEOUS, hip and hap'nin townhome! Then, just sit back and watch it come back up! I think it bottomed out at Christmas. I look for prices to begin to creep back up this Spring. The preconstruction pricing on Vista Bella won't last for long! Come on board with us now and save yourself a load of money. We hope to start construction on some of the units this summer. Call me today and I'll tell you about the unheard of price we're charging for monthly association fees!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Vista Bella Jacksonville Beach, FL Townhomes

Private rooftop terraces with views of the Atlantic Ocean--
Outdoor living area with built-in summer kitchen and optional private Jacuzzi --
Atrium foyers that extend three floors upward --
Three stories and a private rooftop terrace/ party deck --
Large two-car garage with 520 square feet --
Private gated entrances --
Pneumatic, cylindrical glass elevators --
Optional third floor layout with larger kitchen area --
Private pool for Vista Bella’s 12 residences --
Granite countertops and ceramic tile --
Two large balconies on the second and third floors with views of the Atlantic Ocean--
Gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances--
Located one-half block from the Atlantic Ocean--
Within walking distance to entertainment, dining and retail establishments--
Blocks from the SeaWalk Pavilion, an outdoor amphitheatre that hosts festivals, and concerts --
Minutes away from the award-winning Ponte Vedra Inn & Spa, PGA Tour headquarters, TPC golf courses and Sawgrass Marriott Resort Hotel and Spa

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Jacksonville Real Estate in 08

I continue to be amazed at the drop in prices in the Jacksonville market! It's no wonder, with all of the negative press that we're exposed to every day! I think that the prices will bottom out the day the news outlets say they have bottomed out. Until then, there will be lots of "fence sitters" biding their time until they feel like the prices won't fall any more. It seems like there are lots of different predictions out there right now. I am hearing anything from mid 08 to early 09 before prices stabilize. Maybe if the Feds reduce the prime interest rate again soon, things will pick up. I am waiting to see how many new foreclosures there are in early 08. There are several million ARM's that are due to re-set in January...this should tell us a lot. Hopefully, there won't be too many more people walking away from their houses. It's just sickening to hear how much the monthly payments have gone up. It's no wonder they are in financial trouble.

Time will tell....

Until then, if you'd like to make an offer on any property in the Jax area, give me a call. Some buyers are motivated, and others aren't! Doesn't hurt to ask...

Happy New Year!!