Successful Short Sales: It All Starts with the Seller, by Gee Dunsten, Rismedia.com


RISMEDIA, Monday, February 13, 2012— Last month, I outlined the reasons why you should get back on the short sales bandwagon if you’ve fallen off. In the current market, more and more lenders are coming around to the realization that short sales are a favorable option after all and, therefore, are processing and closing short sales at a much faster pace.

That said, there are critical steps that must be taken throughout the short sale process.

First and foremost, make sure the home seller is truly eligible for a short sale. A credible, documented financial hardship resulting from a loss of employment, divorce, major medical crisis, death, etc., must exist. This financial hardship needs to be proven with proper documentation as well as detailed financial statements, paystubs, bank statements and tax returns.

To properly identify and qualify a potential short sale client, conduct a thorough interview right up front—and be sure to leave no stone unturned. This will prevent you from futilely pursuing a short sale with the lender. I use the following Short Sale Seller Questionnaire with my clients:

1. Is your property currently on the market? Is it listed with an agent?
2. Is this your primary residence?
3. When was the property purchased?
4. What was the original purchase price?
5. Who holds the mortgage?
6. What kind of loan do you have?
7. Do you have any other liens against your property?
8. Who is on the title (or deed) for the property?
9. Who is on the mortgage?
10. Do you have mortgage insurance?
11. Are you current with your payments? If not, how far in arrears are you?
12. How much do you owe?
13. Why do you need/want to sell?
14. What caused you or will be causing you to miss your mortgage payment obligation?
15. Do you have funds in accounts that could be used to satisfy the deficiency?
16. Are you currently living in the property? If not, is the property being maintained?
17. How soon do you need to move?
18. Are you up to date on your condo or HOA payments (where applicable)?
19. Do you owe any back taxes?
20. Are you considering filing for bankruptcy protection?
21. Are you currently pursuing a loan modification with your lender?
22. Who is occupying the property?
23. Do you hold or are you subject to any type of security clearance related to your job?
24. What are your plans after you sell?
25. Are you looking to receive any money from the sale of your home?
26. How much income are you currently making from all sources?
27. Do you anticipate any income change in the not-too-distant future?
28. Do you have a pen and a piece of paper to make a couple of notes?

Emphasize that inaccurate or missing information will potentially delay or completely thwart the short sale process. Next month, we’ll take a close look at working with lenders to secure a short sale.

George “Gee” Dunsten, president of Gee Dunsten Seminars, Inc., has been a real estate agent and broker/owner for almost 40 years. Dunsten has been a senior instructor with the Council of Residential Specialists for more than 20 years. To reach Gee, please email, gee@gee-dunsten.com. For an extended version of this article, please visit www.rismedia.com.

 

 

Advertisements

Appraisal Fraud in Clackamas, Oregon? , by Brett Reichel, Brettreichel.com


Wowza…..pretty bold headline, isn’t it?

How can that claim be made or the question raised?

First – a quick note on technicalities on appraisals – Comparable Sales are compared to the Subject property to try to lead the appraiser to a supportable “opinion of value”.   Differences in properties are accounted for by “adjustments” to the comparable sale, which then leads to an “adjusted value” of the comparable.  The adjustments are supposed to equalize differences in properties.  Adjustments are supposed to be supported through market analysis, specifically “matched pair analysis“.

A simplified example of a “matched pair analysis” would be two houses that are identical in every way, with the exception of one of them having a fireplace.  House A, without the fireplace sells for $100,000, and House B, with the fireplace sells for $101,000.  What’s the value of the fireplace?  Since the houses are identical in every way, the value of the fireplace is clearly $1,000.  In that market area, in that price range, fireplaces are worth $1,000 and until proven differently, the appraiser is justified in adjusting comparable sales $1,000 for fireplaces (having them or not having them).

One of the things we’ve seen adjustments for lately, is the adjustment in “time”.  This adjustment is made for changes in the market between when a comparable sale is sold and when your subject sold.  If the market is dropping, then the adjustment to the comparable would be downward, and in a rising market, upward.

As you might suspect, appraisers have been making this adjustment…..a lot….lately.  The problem is, they have been skipping the “matched pair analysis” process and just using median prices to justify the adjustment.  This is NOT acceptable appraisal practice.  But, if it’s become the norm, if it’s become acceptable, it should apply when median prices escalate.

Thus the headline.  A recent market report indicates that median prices have been on a 90 day upswing in Clackamas, Oregon.  Have the appraisers reversed their course and adjusted upward for time?  No they haven’t.  Why?

Lender pressure is why.  The whole point of industry reform (HVCC and/or Dodd-Frank) was to eliminate lender pressure, but now the lenders have even greater methods of applying pressure with the new rules.  Really, the problem starts in two places, regulation and the GSE‘s.   The GSE’s are Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.  Their forms require the use of Median Prices.  Fannie/Freddie, Barney and Chris (a criminal “friend of Angelo”) are behind this lender fraud.  The rest of the market is captive and held to their criminal standards, including the poor appraiser.

Frankly, this only helps the banks, and it doesn’t do anything for the borrower, the seller.  It doesn’t help stabilize our markets or improve our economy.

What to do?  Well, don’t shoot the appraiser – he/she can’t do anything about what the lenders force them to do.  Complain to the lender, complain to your legislators, complain to regulators, call Elizabeth Warren, complain long, hard and loud….maybe if enough voices are heard we can get out from under the tyranny of the banks and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Median Price Fallacy, by Brett Reichel, Brettreichel.com


Every month or so, the news media generates articles based on the latest statistics from various multiple listing services. In those articles they relate how “Median Prices” have either fallen or increased. What’s that mean? Well, a median price is one where it’s the middle price of all the sales in an area. So, let’s say we have a small city called Brettville. In Brettville last month, there were 15 sales. One sale was at $200,000, 7 were above $200,000 and 7 were below $200,000. Then the middle price, or median price for Brettville last month was $200,000.

Market analysts watch median prices for changes, and use them as an indicator of market price changes. However, median prices are not a good and clear indicator of an individual houses value, despite what most appraisal reports say today. In fact, when an appraiser uses changes in median prices as a justification for time adjustments to value, it is inaccurate analysis.

What’s a time adjustment? An appraiser uses comparable sales (comps) to determine their opinion of value on the property they are appraising. The appraiser makes dollar value adjustments on these sales when they compare them to the subject property . A “comp” might be 200 square feet bigger than the subject so the appraiser would adjust for that difference. One thing appraisers do commonly in today’s market is adjust for the difference in time between when a “comp” sold and the date of the appraisal. If a market is appreciating or depreciating at 1% a month, the appraiser would make an adjustment to the value of the comp in comparison to the subject to compensate for the difference in time.

It’s inaccurate analysis to use median price to justify this time adjustment. Why? Because median price could be affected by more cheap houses selling in an area or more expensive houses selling in a neighborhood. It could have zero to do with any change in value.

Another factor that makes median prices not appropriate for time adjustments is that different market value ranges could have different changes in value. In some of the markets, larger, move up style homes are depreciating faster than starter homes. Why? Because there are more first time home buyers in the market than move up buyers.

If you are not happy with your appraisal, review it, and read the comments. If the appraiser justifies the time adjustment with median prices, and not a matched pair analysis, you have a faulty appraisal, and valid grounds for a complaint. Don’t expect your lender to do this, your loan officer doesn’t understand, and the underwriter probably doesn’t either. But the appraiser knows what they are doing. They used to laugh at Realtors for doing this in an appreciating market. Now they’ve jumped on that bandwagon, too.

For More of Brett’s writing. Go to http://brettreichel.com

Multnomahforeclosures.com: Updated Notice Of Default Lists and Books


Multnomahforeclosures.com was updated with the largest list of Notice Defaults to date. With Notice of Default records dating back over 2 years. Multnomahforeclosures.com documents the fall of the great real estate bust of the 21st centry. The lists are of the raw data taken from county records.

It is not a bad idea for investors and people that are seeking a home of their own to keep an eye on the Notice of Default lists. Many of the homes listed are on the market or will be.

All listings are in PDF and Excel Spread Sheet format.

Multnomah County Foreclosures

http://multnomahforeclosures.com

Borrowers Take Advantage of FHA-Refinance After Inability to Sell Homes, by Vanessa Rodriguez, Freerateupdate.com


August 31, 2010 (FreeRateUpdate.com) – Homeowners are finding it particularly difficult these days to sell their homes. According to the National Association of Realtors, demand for single family residences has dropped to a 15-year low. Home purchases fell 12 percent in June. In July, they more than doubled the previous month by plunging 27 percent. It is reported that 1 in 5 homeowners is behind in his or her payment. As if the news weren’t bad enough, foreclosures are expected to rise severely this year and next. With these disheartening statistics, homeowners are not left with many options. Fortunately, however, refinancing current mortgage loans is one option, and a viable one at that. Moreover, various government programs are making refinances possible, even for underwater mortgages, and borrowers do not have to have an FHA-insured loan to qualify. Low mortgage rates are definitely strong factors that fuel the refinancing boom. Conforming rates, as of this writing, are 4.125 percent, which is slightly higher than last week’s record low of 4.00 percent, with 0.7 to 1 point origination. As mortgage loan officer Jason Paul from AmCap Mortgage observed, “[We are] absolutely seeing a significant rise in applications for refinances because mortgage rates are so low.” The Mortgage Banks Association reported that refinance applications increased by 17 percent and caused a surge of 13 percent in overall mortgage applications. Last year, the Obama Administration released a new program, the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP,) to help homeowners refinance their mortgage loans. This program allows homeowners who owe more on their house than its current value to refinance into better loan terms. The program does not reduce principal amount owed. However, it does permit homeowners to take advantage of ultra low mortgage rates. HARP is also beneficial for interest-only borrowers, adjustable rate mortgage borrowers, and balloon payment borrowers because it allows them to reduce the amount of interest they would pay over the life of the loan.

To be eligible, the residence must be owner-occupied and the homeowner must be current on his or her mortgage payments. This means that he or she has not missed any payments, does not have more than one 30-day late in the past 12 months. If the loan was originated in less than 12 months, then the homeowner should have never missed a payment. The amounts owed on the mortgage should not exceed 125 percent of the current market value of the property. For example, if a home appraises for $200,000 but the homeowner owes $275,000, then he would not qualify for HARP. However, if he owes less than $250,000, he does qualify. The loan must be owned or guaranteed by one of the GSEs, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The homeowner must also have the reasonable means to afford the new mortgage payment (i.e. steady income.) The program is set to expire June 10, 2011.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) just announced that it is expanding its refinance program. Starting September 7th, 2010, the Federal Housing Administration, which is regulated by HUD, will offer non-FHA borrowers who are underwater on their loans and current on payments the opportunity to refinance into an FHA Short Refinance option. In order for prospective borrowers to qualify, lenders must agree to write off at least 10 percent of the unpaid principal of the mortgage, which should bring the borrower’s combined loan-to-value ratio less than 115 percent. Borrowers must meet standard FHA underwriting requirements, occupy the property as a primary residence, and their credit score must be equal to or better than 500. This is exciting news especially for homeowners who are denied a loan modification through their banks. Interested borrowers typically foresee financial hardship, primarily due to loss of income, and would greatly benefit from an FHA Short Refinance.

FHA Commissioner, David Stevens, believes the new program is a much needed “lifeline” for American families. Although the success of the FHA Short Refinance has yet to materialize, many have high hopes because it gives borrowers and lenders another weapon to battle negative equity in the current flagging housing market.

Another Home Buyer Tax Credit?, by Diana Olick, CNBC


Just when I thought the housing market was finally being left to correct on its own, I’m starting to hear talk regarding yet another home buyer tax credit. From HUD to the hedge funds, it sounds as if it is gaining steam yet again. This one could involve not just first time/move-up buyers, but a credit for buyers purchasing foreclosed properties or short sales (when the bank allows you to buy a home for less than the value of the outstanding mortgage).

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, appearing on CNN’s State of the Union this weekend, didn’t rule out another tax credit. He did say it’s “too early to say,” but then added that “we’re going to be focused like a laser on where the housing market is moving going forward, and we are going to go everywhere we can to make sure this market stabilizes and recovers.”

After that several Congressional candidates in Florida threw their voices behind the possibility, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist then chimed in on the same show, saying that another tax credit, “would stimulate the economy. It would increase home sales in Florida.” He finished with: “I would absolutely encourage the president to support that because it would certainly help my fellow Floridians.”

So of course then I went the official route and followed up with a HUD spokesperson who responded:  “No news here…there are no discussions underway to revive the credit.”

Is it all political? And is another tax credit the answer?  “I don’t think it’s all political,” says housing consultant Howard Glaser. “I think they are panicked that the economy/housing got away from them.” Glaser doesn’t sound convinced the tax credit is really on the table.  “They can do a lot off budget with the GSE’s and FHA with no Congress.”

I know a lot of you out there would argue that a housing market correction, as painful as it is, is necessary for housing to truly find its footing again and recover for the long term. Another artificial stimulus could just prolong the agony and set us up for the same drop off in sales and prices that we’re seeing right now.  

But it could also move some inventory quickly. With inventories of new and existing homes dangerously high, and the shadow supply of foreclosures pushing that volume even higher, more stimulus could be a necessary evil. I liken it to what I’m doing with my lawn this week. All summer I fought the weeds, pulling them, using the organic sprays and repellents, spreading mulch to deprive them of any air.  And then I gave up.  I called the lawn service and told them to bring every chemical in their arsenal.  Shock the overgrown mess into submission once and for all, so that I can start fresh again and reseed this fall.

Obama Plans Refinancing Aid, Loans for Jobless Homeowners, HUD Chief Says, by Holly Rosenkrantz, Bloomberg


The Obama administration plans to set up an emergency loan program for the unemployed and a government mortgage refinancing effort in the next few weeks to help homeowners after home sales dropped in July, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said.

“The July numbers were worse than we expected, worse than the general market expected, and we are concerned,” Donovan said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program yesterday. “That’s why we are taking additional steps to move forward.”

The administration will begin a Federal Housing Authority refinancing effort to help borrowers who are struggling to pay their mortgages, and will start an emergency homeowners’ loan program for unemployed borrowers so they can stay in their homes, Donovan said.

“We’re going to continue to make sure folks have access to home ownership,” he said.

Sales of U.S. new homes unexpectedly dropped in July to the lowest level on record, signaling that even with cheaper prices and reduced borrowing costs the housing market is retreating. Purchases fell 12 percent from June to an annual pace of 276,000, the weakest since the data began in 1963.

Sales of existing houses plunged by a record 27 percent in July as the effects of a government tax credit waned, showing a lack of jobs threatens to undermine the U.S. economic recovery.

House Sales Plummet

Purchases plummeted to a 3.83 million annual pace, the lowest in a decade of record keeping and worse than the most pessimistic forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed last week. Demand for single-family houses dropped to a 15-year low and the number of homes on the market swelled.

U.S. home prices fell 1.6 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier as record foreclosures added to the inventory of properties for sale. The annual drop followed a 3.2 percent decline in the first quarter, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said last week in a report.

Donovan said on CNN yesterday that it is too soon to say whether the administration’s $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit tax credit, which expired April 30, will be revived.

“All I can tell you is that we are watching very carefully,” Donovan said. “We’re going to be focused like a laser on where the housing market is moving going forward, and we are going to go everywhere we can to make sure this market stabilizes and recovers.”

Reviving the tax credit would “help enormously” in the effort to fight foreclosures and revive the economy, Florida Governor Charlie Crist said on the same CNN program. Florida has the third-highest home foreclosure rate in the country, with one in every 171 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Holly Rosenkrantz in Washington athrosenkrantz@bloomberg.net.