When a quality check can ruin a short sale, by Chris Diaz, The Orange County Register


Chris Diaz is the founder of Charis Financial, Inc. He has over 15 years experience in helping homeowners with their mortgages and has closed hundreds of short sales over the last 4 years. His website is http://www.charisfinancialinc.com. Send questions to moneymatters@ocregister.com; reference ³Short Sales² in the subject line. 
I was recently approved for a short sale by (my bank).  The loan was in escrow and ready to close within a few days.  I then got a letter from (the bank) denying my short sale due to “quality review”.  My approval letter wasn’t set to expire for another two weeks and nobody in (the bank) could give me a valid reason as to why I received this denial.  Have you seen this scenario before and do you have any suggestions for me as I really don’t want to lose my home to foreclosure?

Yes, the out of the blue “QA Review” denial.  This one is a difficult one because of the lack of explanation from your bank.  It’s difficult to accept that one can have an approval in hand, with an expiration date that hasn’t yet expired, and still get a denial for a reason that is unexplained.  However, this is a reality and it does happen, albeit somewhat infrequently.

Even though your lender has accepted responsibility for their part in one of the largest instances of mortgage fraud on record with the robo-signing incident, they have a QA team that dedicates a great deal of time and effort in making sure that their company is free from other purveyors of fraud.  As well they should because there are lots of unscrupulous people trying to steal a buck instead of earn one.

One recent incident, in which a bank was victimized, was where short sale negotiators were doctoring up fake approval letters along with a fake bank account to have funds wired to, and stealing money that way.  The FBI said that three California men probably netted $10 million doing that.

Here are two of the main reasons that we’ve been told as to why a QA department would deny your file and what you can do to reverse or overturn the decision:

1. Buyer information is incorrect. Sometimes QA will deny a deal if the buyer’s preapproval has inaccuracies like the wrong NMLS number, broker number, or property address.  This can also happen if the buyer’s “proof of funds” is determined to be fraudulent or doctored in any way.  We have also seen it happen where the buyer is getting a loan but has enough money in the bank to pay for a property in cash.  Even though they could’ve bought the house in cash, because there was no preapproval letter for a loan, QA denied the short sale until we provided that letter.  This has happened even if we weren’t specifically asked for the letter.

2. The Equator account being used to process the short sale has been flagged. Some banks use an automated processing system called Equator to handle their short sales.  Equator centralizes all communication for all files that a real estate licensee is working on with them.  Sometimes, a licensee can involve themselves in schemes like I described above, or can just be guilty of shoddy work and upload documents from files incorrectly.  If the QA team catches either of these two things they may flag that file or all of the files of that particular agent.  Once that happens they would contact the agent for an explanation.  However, if they feel that there are deliberate inaccuracies in the file an agent can be suspended from doing any further deals with that bank.  If that happened your deal could be denied even if there was nothing fraudulent done on yours.

If a QA team has denied your short sale, have your agent address these two situations first as they are the most common.  So long as you’re dealing with someone who is ethical, there is probably just a minor oversight of buyer info that the bank needs to have satisfied.  Have your agent submit the complete buyer info first and then call to have the decision reversed.

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Where are all the Portland area foreclosures?


Portland has a significant “shadow inventory” of foreclosures.  In today’s video, I share details about this and what you can do if you want to buy or sell a home in this market!

Short Sale Myths vs Reality – should you do one?


Many homeowners are still upside-down on their mortgage loans, and not sure what to do.  In today’s video, I explain the pros and cons of completing a short-sale.

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.

 

 

Bank of America Offers $20,000 Short-Sale Incentive to Homeowners, by Kimberly Miller, The Palm Beach Post


Bank of America, the nation’s largest mortgage servicer, is offering Florida homeowners up to $20,000 to short sale their homes rather than letting them linger in foreclosure.

The limited-time offer has received little promotion from the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, which sent emails to select Florida Realtors earlier this week outlining basic details of the plan.

Only homeowners whose short sales are submitted for approval to Bank of America before Nov. 30 will qualify. The homes must have no offers on them already and the closing must occur before Aug. 31, 2012.

A short sale is when a bank agrees to accept a lower sales price on a home than what the borrower owes on the loan.

Realtors said the Bank of America plan, which has a minimum payout amount of $5,000, is a genuine incentive to struggling homeowners who may otherwise fall into Florida’s foreclosure abyss.

The current timeline to foreclosure in Florida is an average of 676 days — nearly two years — according to real estate analysis company RealtyTrac. The national average foreclosure timeline is 318 days.

“I think this is a positive sign that the bank is being creative to try and help homeowners and get things moving,” said Paul Baltrun, who works with real estate and mortgages at the Law Office of Paul A. Krasker in West Palm Beach. “With real estate attorneys handling these cases, you’re talking two, three, four years before there’s going to be a resolution in a foreclosure.”

Guy Cecala, chief executive officer and publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, called the short sale payout a “bribe.”

“You can call it a relocation fee, but it’s basically a bribe to make sure the borrower leaves the house in good condition and in an orderly fashion,” Cecala said. “It makes good business sense considering you may have to put $20,000 into a foreclosed home to fix it up.”

Homeowners, especially ones who feel cheated by the bank, have been known to steal appliances and other fixtures, or damage the home.

“This might be the banks finally waking up that they can have someone in there with an incentive not to damage the property,” said Realtor Shannon Brink, with Re/Max Prestige Realty in West Palm Beach. “Isn’t it better to have someone taking care of the pool and keeping the air conditioner on?”

A spokesman for Bank of America said the program is being tested in Florida, and if successful, could be expanded to other states.

Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase have similar short-sale programs, sometimes called “cash for keys.”

Wells Fargo spokesman Jason Menke said his company offers up to $20,000 on eligible short sales that are left in “broom swept” condition. Although the program is not advertised, deals are mostly made on homes in states with lengthy foreclosure timelines, he said.

And caveats exist. The Wells Fargo short-sale incentive is only good on first-lien loans that it owns, which is about 20 percent of its total portfolio.

Bank of America’s plan excludes Ginnie Mae, Federal Housing Administration and VA loans.

Similar to the federal Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, or HAFA, which offers $3,000 in relocation assistance, the Bank of America program may also waive a homeowner’s deficiency judgment at closing.

A deficiency judgment in a short sale is basically the difference between what the house sells for and what is still owed on the loan.

HAFA, which began in April 2010, has seen limited success with just 15,531 short sales completed nationwide through August.

But Realtors said cash for keys programs can work.

Joe Kendall, a broker associate at Sandals Realty in Fort Myers, said he recently closed on a short sale where the seller got $25,000 from Chase.

“They realize people are struggling and this is another way to get the homes off the books,” he said.

Oregon’s Shadow Inventory – The “New Normal”?, by Phil Querin, Q-Law.com


The sad reality is that negative equity, short sales, and foreclosures, will likely be around for quite a while.  “Negative equity”, which is the excess by which total debt encumbering the home exceeds its present fair market value, is almost becoming a fact of life. We know from theRMLS™ Market Action report that average and median prices this summer have continued to fall over the same time last year.  The main reason is due to the volume of  “shadow inventory”. This term refers to the amorphous number of homes – some of which we can count, such as listings and pendings–and much of which we can only estimate, such as families on the cusp of default, but current for the moment.  Add to this “shadow” number, homes already 60 – 90 days delinquent, those already in some stage of foreclosure, and those post-foreclosure properties held as bank REOs, but not yet on the market, and it starts to look like a pretty big number.  By some estimates, it may take nearly four years to burn through all of the shadow inventory. Digging deeper into the unknowable, we cannot forget the mobility factor, i.e. people needing or wanting to sell due to potential job relocation, changes in lifestyle, family size or retirement – many of these people, with and without equity, are still on the sidelines and difficult to estimate.

As long as we have shadow inventory, prices will remain depressed.[1] Why? Because many of the homes coming onto the market will be ones that have either been short sold due to negative equity, or those that have been recently foreclosed.  In both cases, when these homes close they become a new “comp”, i.e. the reference point for pricing the next home that goes up for sale.  [A good example of this was the first batch of South Waterfront condos that went to auction in 2009.  The day after the auction, those sale prices became the new comps, not only for the unsold units in the building holding the auction, but also for many of the neighboring buildings. – PCQ]

All of these factors combine to destroy market equilibrium.  That is, short sellers’ motivation is distorted.  Homeowners with negative equity have little or no bargaining power.  Pricing is driven by the “need” to sell, coupled with the lender’s decision to “bite the bullet” and let it sell.  Similarly, for REO property, pricing is motivated by the banks’ need to deplete inventory to make room for more foreclosures.  A primary factor limiting sales of bank REO property is the desire not to flood the market and further depress pricing. Only when market equilibrium is restored, i.e. a balance is achieved where both sellers and buyers have roughly comparable bargaining power, will we see prices start to rise. Today, that is not the case – even for sellers with equity in their homes.  While equity sales are faster than short sales, pricing is dictated by buyers’ perception of value, and value is based upon the most recent short sale or REO sale.

So, the vicious circle persists.  In today’s world of residential real estate, it is a fact of life.  The silver lining, however, is that most Realtors® are becoming much more adept – and less intimidated – by the process.  They understand these new market dynamics and are learning to deal with the nuances of short sales and REOs.  This is a very good thing, since it does, indeed, appear as if this will be the “new normal” for quite a while.

FHA Loan Requirements: Can FHA’s New Loan Requirements Be The US Housing Market’s Lifesaver?, by Stockmarketsreview.com


With the new, recently announced changes to FHA Loan Requirements, homeowners are expected to overwhelm FHA Lenders, in the new year, hoping to see if they qualify for the new program. As a government home loans program designed specifically to give renewed hope to those residing in “underwater” properties, homeowners are rallying to see if they qualify. Both the Making Home Affordable program and the FHA’s refinancing programs will be nuanced to allow FHA lenders to provide FHA mortgage loans that will potentially forgive at least 10% of the existing mortgage’s principal balance. These newly generated FHA Loan Requirements are creating quite a buzz amongst homeowners worried they could lose their homes down the road. It’s critical to understand that these mortgages are for property owners currently paying down a subprime or conventional mortgage loan. The property must have a current valuation that’s lower than the property owners current loan(s). Approved applicants must owe a minimum of 15% more on the residence than its current market value. You may wish to get out your loan calculator and see where you stand. These new FHA mortgage programs provide aid to those who qualify with a potential 10% reduction on their home loan(s). But, these programs are only available to those who are still current on their home payments. Given the thousands of homeowners who were advised to become delinquent so that they would be considered for a loan modification by their lender, the pool of candidates who might make the cut is the big question. In addition to these stringent qualification requirements, the borrower must currently show a credit score of at least 500 and the property must be the homeowner’s primary residence. Yet, another potential obstacle is that these FHA Mortgages featuring these FHA Loan Requirements are to be offered to those not already holding an FHA loan. Again, only those with non FHA subprime or conventional mortgages will be seriously considered as applicants. The program is being offered for a limited time only and ends December 31st, 2012. How Homeowners with FHA Loans Must Be Proactive If They Believe They Might Default. Preventing Foreclosure or Short Sale Requires Immediate Interaction With FHA Counselors. Know that once you acquire an FHA mortgage, that the rules regarding homeowners who have defaulted are much stricter than a non-FHA home loan. Once you’ve missed a payment on an FHA mortgage, given the FHA’s Loan Requirements, it’s critical to initiate contact with your lender immediately. Once certain deadlines are missed, there is nothing either your lender or the FHA can do to stop you losing your home to foreclosure. The rules regarding loan forbearance are completely different for FHA mortgage holders. As soon you become even one day late on your mortgage, this time line kicks in. The FHA has laid out very specific steps that are important for the homeowner, to initiate, to successfully stop foreclosure. As mentioned, you should immediately contact your lender. It’s also a critical to contact the nearest FHA/HUD counselor. Negotiating your situation within the FHA’s default regulations could help give you a better shot at keeping your home, in spite of the late of missed mortgage payments. Taking action is the most important thing a homeowner who has fallen behind, can do. Thousands of homeowners have thrown up their hands and resorted to wishing. But, problems will simply not resolve themselves on their own. This can result in a disastrous result. The minute you know you’ve got a problem, contact your FHA counselor and your lender. Being aggressive has never meant more. An FHA mortgage holder who has missed the first payment wait. Contacting an FHA housing counselor can definitely help prevent the situation from worsening. FHA/HUD housing counselors can be sourced using the HUD Government Website. Once an FHA home mortgage loan holder has missed four or more payments, the clock may have run out regarding their ability to work out a foreclosure avoidance strategy with their lender, regardless of having an FHA/HUD counselor’s assistance. If nothing has been negotiated by the time the 4th mortgage payment is late or unpaid (Or, if the homeowner has been sent a Demand Letter, that deadline has already passed,) the property is assigned to the lender’s legal department and the foreclosure process is initiated. Many homeowners are fairly confused about the rules regarding repossession laws and repo houses, given the rapid changes in the laws over the last few years. Furthermore, the homeowner is responsible for all the fees related to the delinquency and foreclosure process and may find bankruptcy to be their only remaining source of debt relief. As many property owners have found, the process, regardless of foreclosure moratoriums or investigations by government officials, often ends up with their home sold at auction. Some are fortunate to receive a cash for homes or “Cash For Keys” offer from their lenders. (Another incentivized government program.) Others merely find themselves escorted from their homes by U.S. Marshalls, willing to use deadly force to insure their removal. Norma J. Wheeler is a realty, foreclosure and short sale specialist who writes about programs designed to help struggling homeowners. She is a contributing editor at http://savemyhousenow.net/ as well as an avid blogger. Check out her recent article regarding FHA Loan Requirements for struggling homeowners at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/456534/Fha-Loan-Requirements-New-Loan-Requirements-Fha