SHORT SALE BUTTON

There are many factors that go into determining if a short sale is right for you. A short sale occurs when your lender agrees to; 1) allow you to sell your home for less than what is owed and 2) accept that reduced amount as pay-off on your loan, releasing you from any further obligation.

So here are some questions to consider if you are thinking about a short sale:

Are you upside down? Do you owe more than your house is worth?
Despite the fact that there have been significant increases in home values throughout much of the country over the last year, most people who purchased a home between 2005 and mid 2007 have yet to regain the equity they thought they had acquired. To determine fair market value of your home, consult a Realtor. Do not rely on online value estimators as they can be terribly inaccurate.

Are you struggling to make your payments? If keeping your home is creating a financial hardship, and the market in your area is relatively soft, continuing to make payments on negative equity may not be a sound financial decision.

Have you been unable to obtain a loan modification? While most lenders are reluctant to reduce the principal amount that you owe, a loan modification is an option you should explore with your lender before considering a short sale.

Will you qualify? Increasingly, lenders are allowing short sales due to negative equity, but for the most part, borrowers must demonstrate a financial hardship and an inability to continue to make payments.

What are your housing plans for the future? If you are hoping to buy again, a short sale is far less damaging to your credit than a foreclosure. Many lenders will now approve a loan in as little as 1 – 2 years following a short sale.

There are some additional benefits to a short sale including the fact that the lender will generally pay all commissions and closing costs, and unlike a foreclosure, a short sale does not have as negative an impact on your credit score. Before considering whether a short sale is right for you, it is advisable to consult an attorney and your accountant.

For a confidential consultation, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. I have successfully closed many short sales throughout San Diego County and would be happy to provide references.

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Despite the fact that home prices are on the rise, there are still thousands of people in San Diego County who owe more than their home is worth and are struggling to pay their mortgage. Have you fallen behind on your payments? Have you been unable to work out a loan modification? Just don’t know what to do?

I wrote a free guide book entitled, “What to Do When You Can’t Pay Your Mortgage” to help answer some of your questions and explore your options. Just go to http://cantpaymymortgagehelp.com to request your free, no-obligation copy.

For many, selling their home in a short sale has been a solution that immediately put an end to the harassing phone calls and sleepless nights. Did you know…?

Relocation Allowance: Though a relocation allowance cannot be guaranteed, it is not uncommon for the seller to be paid $2,000 – 3,000 by the lender at the close of escrow to help with the costs of moving. It all depends on who the investor is on the loan.

No Deficiency Judgment: In California it is against the law for a bank to file a deficiency judgment against you after a short sale when the loan was a first mortgage on a property from 1-4 units.

No Cost to the Seller: In a traditional equity sale, the seller usually pays the real estate commissions to the listing and buyer’s agent, along with his/her share of the closing costs. In a short sale, the bank pays all of those costs.

Here are comments from a few of my clients about their short sale experience:

“Marti was able to quickly secure a qualified buyer for our home and smoothly handled all of the negotiation with our bank. It was a huge relief to be out from under a mortgage we could no longer afford.” Megan M.

“Our situation with both a first and second mortgage and different lenders was very stressful, and I was leery of doing a short sale… I had heard so many horror stories. But Marti patiently walked us through the process and thoroughly explained every step along the way. Despite a reluctant 2nd lien holder, Marti was able to negotiate the sale and get it done.” Amber B.

“My only regret is that we waited so long to list our home for sale. I would highly recommend Marti to anyone faced with a mortgage they just can’t pay.” Lane M.

If you can’t pay your mortgage, please don’t ignore the problem. It is okay to ask for help and advice. Just remember that time is of the essence. Acting early allows you to make the decision that is best for you. Wait too long and your choices disappear. Get your free booklet today or call me at 619-846-9249 for your confidential consultation.

Ever wonder why it was so difficult for people to get permanent loan modifications a couple of years ago? Maybe it’s because some employees were allegedly paid to make sure they were denied, at least at one bank.

According to a June 14 Bloomberg.com article, Bank of America provided employees with incentives including cash bonuses and gift cards for meeting quotas linked to sending homes into foreclosure. The allegations were revealed by past employees as part of a lawsuit filed against the banking giant earlier this month by homeowners who were denied modifications. Many who were denied loan modifications eventually lost their homes to foreclosure.

Apparently employees in the loss mitigation department were instructed to delay review, ask homeowners for items they already had in the file, and do whatever was necessary to deny permanent loan modifications. Former B of A loan servicing specialist Theresa Terrlonge said that they received restaurant gift cards and cash rewards for denying loan modifications. “I witnessed employees and managers falsify information in the systems of record, and remove documents from the homeowners’ files to make the account appear ineligible for loan modification,” said Terrelonge.

But the big rewards came for actually pushing a borrower into foreclosure. According to Simone Gordon, a loss-mitigation representative who left the company in 2012, specialists who put 10 borrowers into foreclosure, including those in a trial modification, received a $500 bonus. Bank of America insists that the allegations are inaccurate and will file an opposition to the motion to make this a class action case.

Unfortunately, I’m not terribly surprised by these allegations and find it difficult to believe that B of A was the only bank involved in this type of behavior. It’s no wonder that there have been so few successful loan modifications; the very people charged with creating positive outcomes were apparently paid to do otherwise.

Can’t Pay Your Mortgage?

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If you find yourself waking up at 2 a.m., wondering how you’re going to pay your mortgage, you’re not alone.  Since the start of the Great Recession, thousands of people who never thought they’d be worried about money are struggling every month just to stay afloat.  Or, perhaps your home is now worth far less than what you owe and you wonder if it makes sense to continue to pay on negative equity.

Everyone’s situation is unique, and I certainly don’t profess to have all of the answers, but over the last four years I’ve been able to help many people find a solution to their mortgage woes.  I am not an accountant or a lawyer, so I certainly encourage you to consult the appropriate professional for answers to your specific questions.

I have written a short guide book that I would like to offer to you free of charge, with no obligation.  The guide book is designed to provide you with an overview of your different options so that you are in a better position to make the decision that’s right for you.  It begins with a one-page overview, followed by more in-depth discussion of the various options.  Click here to request your free guide, “What to Do When You Can’t Pay Your Mortgage”.

If you can’t pay your mortgage please don’t ignore the problem.   Chances are you won’t win the lottery, and your financial troubles are real.  As soon as you are 30 days late on your payment, the lender’s clock starts ticking.  There is help and you have several options.  Start by reviewing all of the information found at www.makinghomeaffordable.gov and call 888-995-HOPE (4673) to speak with a HUD approved housing counselor.  It is okay to ask for help and advice.  Just remember that time is of the essence.  Acting early allows you to make the decision that is best for you.  Wait too long and your choices disappear.

My real estate practice is in San Diego County.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me at 619-846-9249 if I can be of service to you.

What to Do When You Can’t Pay Your Mortgage

A couple of days ago one of my favorite loan officers shared some information about a problem facing many would-be buyers who are trying to get approved for an FHA mortgage after a short sale.  Here’s a couple of surprising things I learned that could squelch some dreams.

Most of us probably know that FHA requires a 3 year wait from the date of the short sale, (conventional 4 years), but here is the kicker:  Did you know that for DU underwriting it is actually 3 years from the reported date?  That means that if the 1st or 2nd lien holder didn’t report the account as closed until 10 months after the close of escrow, a buyer would not qualify until 3 years and 10 months after closing!

And it’s not just short sales.   FHA looks at a short sale, deed-in-lieu, foreclosure, and loan modification, (YES, even a loan mod) as the same derogatory event, and as noted above they require a 3 year wait from the reported date.  Approval for an FHA loan is normally based on running the application through the Desktop Underwriter (DU) automated underwriting program.  The DU program reads the dates entered on the credit report so if that is incorrectly reported, the loan will be denied.  In the case of a short sale, it might be helpful to find a lender who agrees to manually underwrite the loan so that the correct dates are used.

Besides the date, the other item that could trip up a buyer is how the old mortgage debt is reported.  If the account is reported as closed, but still shows the amount not paid off in the short sale as a balance on the account, the reported balance will probably disqualify them in DU by calculating a payment and inaccurately increasing their debt-to-income ratio.

Advice from my loan officer:  Following a short sale, borrowers should check their credit report from all 3 reporting agencies about 6-8 weeks after closing.  If the sale is not reported, and/or it does not show a zero balance they should contact their previous lender to get it corrected. Then, get a DU or manual underwriting approval well before shopping for a home.  It may mean the difference between buying again in 3 years versus facing an unanticipated and disappointing wait!

 

 

 

For most of the 22 million homeowners who owe an average of $40,000 – $65,000 more than their home is worth, the recent $25 billion dollar settlement with the banks will bring no relief. According to Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate’s housing subcommittee, “When you owe more than your house is worth, relief can be hard to come by.”   Among borrowers whose homes have dropped in value through no fault of their own, many choose to simply walk away, which according to Menendez, “Only exacerbates the problem.”

Menendez has introduced a bill that provides an interesting twist on the idea of principal reduction.  The Preserving American Homeownership Act would encourage lenders to write down principal balances by allowing them to share in the home’s appreciation at a later date.  The principal balance would be written down in increments over a three year period to 95% of the current value, so long as the homeowner remains current on their payments.

In exchange for the write-down, the lender would receive a fixed percentage of any future appreciation when the home is either sold or re-financed.  That share could not exceed 50%.  So if a principal balance was reduced by 25%, the bank would receive 25% of any future appreciation.

The Act would apply to primary residences only, but any homeowner could apply.  Borrowers who are in default or even in foreclosure could qualify, but would be required to make their reduced mortgage payment on time in order to remain in the program.

The article in DSNews where I read about the bill did not indicate if the Act would apply to all types of loans or whether or not the modified loans would be re-written at today’s lower interest rates. Presuming so, this Act could provide enough incentive to many underwater homeowners to persuade them to stay in their home versus initiating a strategic default.

As a fan of principal reduction, I like this idea as it seems to be a win-win situation for both homeowners and the banks.  Banks don’t take as big a hit as they would with a short sale or foreclosure, and the write-down is taken over a three year period, AND homeowners get to keep their homes with reduced payments and principal.  Even the opponents of principal reduction might find something to like about this plan!

If you owe more than your home is worth, and are having difficulty making your payments, you may be a good candidate for a loan modification or a short sale.  The important thing to realize is that this problem won’t go away on its own and the sooner you attempt to deal with it, the better your opportunity for a positive outcome.

However, before you pick-up the phone to call your lender, be prepared!  The person on the other end of the call is going to do a phone interview during which they will ask very detailed questions about your income and expenses.   In order to be ready you will need the following items:

  • A completed financial worksheet which outlines ALL of your income and monthly expenses. Make sure that the income you state matches the deposits to your bank accounts!
  • Last 2 months pay stubs or year-to-date profit and loss statement if self-employed.
  • 2 most recent bank statements for all accounts
  • Hardship letter
  • Last 2 years federal tax returns

This initial interview is a sort of triage, where they try to determine, what program, (if any), might work for your situation.  The more information you have available, the quicker you will be able to move to the next step.  Even if the interview doesn’t include questions related to your tax returns, these are the items they will want you to send to them so it’s best to gather everything before you get started.  When you do send or fax, make sure that your name, phone number, email and loan number are on a cover sheet with a list of the items included.  For the initial packet of information it may be best to send with a delivery confirmation so that you have proof of mailing and delivery.

Your hardship letter should clearly explain why you can no longer afford your mortgage payments.  You obviously could afford them at the time the loan was originated, what happened to change that?  Job loss?  Death of a spouse? Divorce?  This should be a heart-felt letter addressed To Whom It May Concern and be no longer than a couple of paragraphs.  Just state the facts.  It is helpful to write the letter before you call so that you have an answer ready when the interviewer asks.

On this initial interview, and all subsequent phone conversations keep a log, noting the date, time, who you spoke with and the key points of your conversation.  Always ask about the time frame for the next steps and be prepared to follow-up!  Never assume that something is happening….chances are good that your paperwork may become lost, so be ready to re-send it.  And if you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere, ask to speak to a supervisor.  But remember that the folks working in the loan workout department are probably over-worked, and a nice comment and a polite “thank you” will make the process less stressful for everyone involved. 

Best of luck! Don’t hesitate to call or email with any questions. I also have a great Excel Financial Worksheet that I’m happy to share.  Just send me a request to marti@kilby.com.