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Showing posts with label HUD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HUD. Show all posts

February 27, 2012

January 2012 Home Sales - New vs. Existing

Hi Folks,
   Welcome Back !

   In a report this week from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (The "HUD"), sales of new single-family homes from December to January were down almost 1% (3.5% above January 2011), and during the same period of time, Existing Home Sales were up 4.3%, which marked 3 gains in the past 4 months, per the National Association of Realtors (or, "NAR").

   Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, attributed the strong gains in recent contract activity to buyers that are responding to "very favorable market conditions". Yun said that the "uptrend in home sales is in line with all of the underlying fundamentals", and Yun names a few of them, such as "pent-up household formation, record-low mortgage interest rates, bargain home prices, sustained job creation and rising rents.”

   Taking a deeper look at the figures for Existing-home sales, the West jumped 8.8% during the short term, and Distressed homes, which includes "foreclosures and short sales which sell at deep discounts", were at 35% in January, up from 32% in December.

   A conversation on Housing would be incomplete without discussing inventory. According to the NAR, inventories continued to improve, and more specifically, total unsold listed inventory has trended down from a 2007 record, and is down a 20.6% below a year ago. (NRS) The report just released for the New Residential Sales, the HUD listed a supply of 5.6 months at the current sales rate.

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Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #HUD #NAR #singlefamilyhouses #Realtors #householdformation #mortgageinterestrates #homeprices #risingrents #residentialsales #inventories #existinghomesales

September 11, 2011

Feds Finally Keen on Rent to Own Housing

Good Morning Friends,

   I'm glad to have you back another week to examine the Real Estate Market, look at some options that are open to you as a buyer or a seller, and to interpret the moves that the Government is making toward improving the Housing Market and the Economy.

   Today, we are actually going to hit all 3 of the above points in one Blog Post, and some of this information will surprise you!

   For quite some time, Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed has been, "calling on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to rent out their massive, 250,000-strong inventory of foreclosed homes in order to 'shrink the inventory of government-owned homes'", as Carol VanSickle points out in her story ("Federal Rental Program Update: White House Supports Rental Program"). Reed believes that by the Government taking on a landlord role, it would help "diminish the glut of foreclosures".

   According to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, per a recent article by Christina M Johnson ("Rent To Own - Forecast Bright As Home Sales Continue To Be Gloomy"), he believes the U.S. Housing Market is a strong factor that is hurting the broader economy, and believes that the massive amount of foreclosures selling below cost are "one of our country's biggest economic drains".

   Johnson, who was been privately buying and selling homes for 20 years, says that as we have seen, "foreclosures offered at below market pricing forces all housing prices to continue downward", and that this is one never ending cycle. Exacerbating this are the lending restrictions (lowering the bar on potential buyers), along with decreasing home prices. Johnson fears that we could become a nation of renters with only the "rich few as the exclusive property owners", and she cites data from Realty Trac, Inc. and CoreLogic that estimates millions of homes either in foreclosure or very close to going into foreclosure...currently!

   The following question was raised by Johnson; "Could the rent to own home sale market help pull the U.S. out of its economic slump?". Could the Government acting as a landlord help us? As VanSickle writes, "Previously, the idea of a landlord-government has been met with strong resistance."

   The "Winds of Change"...

   "Reed finally has some real support in the form of a call to action from the White House", says VanSickle, and says that the Obama administration has announced that "the government-controlled GSEs should partner with private investors in order to make Reed’s proposed rental program a reality", and the president said that the administration is “soliciting ideas” on how to put Reid’s concept into action. In an article titled, "Feds seek ideas on renting government-owned foreclosed homes" on the Seattle Times Website, Officials from the Obama administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), said they hoped for innovative solutions to the "severe oversupply of single-family homes".

   The Seattle Times story says that Federal officials are "seeking ideas from investors and others about how to rent some of the nearly 250,000 foreclosed homes owned by government-backed entities such as Fannie Mae". VanSickle writes that the end goal is to "“turn the federal government’s inventory of foreclosed houses into rental properties that could be managed by private enterprises or sold in bulk”, and Johnson writes that Government incentives would "generate even more interest from other professionals related to the home sales industry, offering their help and expertise to help facilitate a successful rent to own transaction". This would, in turn, help the related fields and related services that are depending on Housing to get back on it's feet.

   U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently said that they are "Exploring new options for selling these foreclosed properties will help expand access to affordable rental housing, promote private investment in local housing markets and support neighborhood and home-price stability", as Louis Aguilar writes in The Detroit News story, "Feds aim to revive Michigan's foreclosed homes".

   Aguilar writes that among the strategies on which agencies are "seeking comment" are rent-to-own programs and "ways the properties can be used to support affordable housing". He adds that the program might have a "big impact on Michigan", which, as per the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, or "HUD", ranks fifth in the nation for foreclosed properties (There is a new foreclosure properties website called the "REO PORTAL" located on the Huduser website). Along with Aguilar, both the Seattle Times story, as well as Johnson's story, both mention Rent to Own as an option gaining popularity.

   Johnson says that if the Government encourages private Rent to Own purchases via "tax breaks and financial incentives", this will reduce the amount of homes in foreclosure (and lower inventory), will stabilize prices, and would add a layer of "privatized protection". She said that the risks must also be addressed, such as potential property damage and costly evictions. Two of the most important points, however, are ensuring that the Buyer is working with someone to fix their credit (so they can actually buy the home at the end of the lease period), and on the flip side, making sure the Seller is current and does not have existing liens or a pending foreclosure on the actual home!

   In order to counter the lack of an outright sales commission due to a Real Estate Agent or Broker at the successful completion of an outright sale, Johnson has a suggestion; Real Estate Agents and Brokers could expand their services to property management, collecting the monthly rent, etc. Of course, each one of these would need to be cleared with the local Real Estate Board and also not cross over any fine lines drawn by RESPA or other Federal agencies.

   "Action on the issue might take a while", says the Seattle Times story, and says that the HUD and the FHFA announced a "request for information" that is open to all interested parties (Aguilar points to the FHFA website, where potential investors can click on "Request for Information: REO Asset Disposition"). The deadline for information requests is Sept. 15, so act fast !

   My thoughts? I've been servicing Rent to Own for over 9 years and watching how it helps buyers and sellers...but I pose the following question; "Why did it take the Government so long to open their eyes to this option?" Do you have any ideas to share on this?

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Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #FHFA #foreclosure #renttoown #Obama #Government #rentalprogram #HUD #RealEstate #FannieMae #FreddieMac

July 7, 2011

Mortgage Anyone? To Dream The Impossible Dream?

Hi Everyone,

   Welcome to another Sizzling Summer Friday!

   Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years (or you just don't follow the Real Estate Lending market, but if you didn't, I guess you wouldn't be reading this), you know that mortgages and lending has been tight and more stringent as opposed to the pre-housing bubble days.

   In a recent CNN Money article from Les Christie ("Secrets to getting a mortgage with so-so credit"), Christie concurs and says that, "Getting a mortgage can be tough these days -- even people with near-perfect credit have been rejected for loans". Christie points to a conference in which Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said lending standards for mortgages have tightened so considerably that "the bottom third of people who might have qualified for a prime mortgage in terms of, say, FICO scores a few years ago -- cannot qualify today."

   Is there money to lend? Christie quotes the acting commissioner for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Bob Ryan, who said that mortgage money "is flowing, it's stable, it's tightened from the boom years, but it's there.". "The belief is that you can't get a mortgage at all -- but you can," says Keith Gumbinger, of the mortgage information provider HSH Associates.".

   Christie writes about a loan officer who had a client with a 700 FICO a couple million dollars in assets, and he wanted to refinance. He was rejected! Apparently, his report showed an investment property he could not (housing bust), and had to do a short sale, and that blemish "resulted in an automatic rejection of his refinance application."

   So, are things really that bad?

   "Depends on who you ask", says Brian Willingham, a Loan Officer with FitzGerald Financial Group.

   "Lending has gotten a bad rap lately", adds Christopher A. Potter, a Loan Officer at GuardHill Financial.
   "Basically, these days you actually have to be able to afford what you want to buy (and disclose your true income on your tax returns).", says Willingham. Potter adds that now banks, "want to see that you can actually afford it. This is just common sense and will benefit all in the long run.". He also said that it's, "not that difficult assuming that you qualify.", and that people are so used to easy credit standards ("It used to be that all you needed was a pulse to get a loan.", adds Potter).

   Nicole Tucker, a Licensed Texas Real Estate Consultant, says that even though the requirements are tighter that several years ago, "it is not difficult to get a mortgage if a borrower has verifiable and steady employment and decent credit. You do not have to have stellar credit." Willingham continues this point, and agrees that for people with "sufficient, stable income it's a lot of paperwork but it's not "hard" to get a loan.", but adds that if your credit is "poor" and "you don't have a stable work history and stable income, it could be pretty difficult."

   So, on that note - less-than-stellar credit - is FHA still an option?

   In the article from Christie, he quotes Gumbinger as saying that "The FHA is just about as free and easy as it was in the go-go days,". Christie says that the standards are, "flexible and aimed at making mortgage borrowing easier, especially for working-class Americans.". Potter agrees, and says that the "FHA is extremely flexible with credit issues and there are plenty of lenders with "common sense underwriting". Melanie Roussell, a spokeswoman for the FHA, explained that "the agency is willing to overlook a blemish on a credit report -- even a big one -- if other factors are favorable", as written by Christie.

   Tips? Pointers?

   Paul McFadden of The Legacy Group, tells us that the most important thing is "to have all your documentation in order (income and asset information) along with a flexible attitude if letters of explanation need to be written." He summarizes the process as follows; "A borrower needs to work with a great team that would include a loan officer and possibly a realtor to make sure they are approved and their loan closes."

   Have you tried applying for a mortgage? Before or After the Housing Bubble? How was your experience?

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Have a Great Weekend, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #mortgage #loan #credit #refinance #FHA #FICO #HUD #LoanOfficer #RealEstate

February 23, 2011

Guidelines For Earnest Money and Down Payments, Part 2 of 2

Hi Folks,

   Welcome back here on this last day of the week.

   In part 1 of this 2-part series, we defined and discussed "Earnest Money", and today, we will do the same thing with "Down Payments".

   A Down Payment, as most of you know, is an amount that is "put down" towards the total purchase price of a home. This amount can vary by state, type of loan program, and the type of deal. We'll look at some real-word examples of this today.

   Joetta Talford, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Fort Mill, South Carolina, suggests that you, "Make sure you figure out how much your closing costs will be and if you either have enough for your closing costs or the down payment.", and that, "If you don't have enough for both (i.e. Other house on the market, ask for help with closing costs), Be honest with your agent and they can really try to get it worked out on your behalf." Adam Cowgill, A Sales Associate/Realtor, says that any down payment today, "should be a minimum of 20%; sellers are aware of the present lending crunch and the likelihood that you will get a higher LTV than 80% is gone like the boom of yesterday."

   Jeff Tufford, a Mortgage Consultant, says that down payment amounts will be, "program driven". Most folks put the least amount down allowed, whether that is $0 or 20% for an investment property."

   Down-payments depend on, "whether the deal is lender-financed, or seller-financed", says Patrick E. Hudson, a Commercial Real Estate Attorney in Texas.

   Hudson says that in a lender-financed deal, "the buyer needs just enough of a down payment to persuade the lender to make the kind of loan the buyer desires. My advice is for a buyer is to determine what kind of loan they want, and will be able to get, before they shop for homes, and let that determine the down payment amount. The seller should not care about the down payment amount, as they get paid the same regardless of the source of funds." In a seller-financed deal, "it is essential to get enough money up front to (a) weed out deadbeats; (b) cover the costs of foreclosure; and (c) cover damages that may be caused by a defaulting buyer. This defensive position ensures that if everything goes wrong, the seller has enough money to get the house back and restore it to a good condition."

   In terms of down payment amounts in regards to home home builders, Talford says, "There are certain national residential builders that ask for 3.5% down or more before they begin the process of construction.", and that, "A custom home builder will ask for 10% down before they build. But everything in real estate is negotiable, especially if you have a home to sell or need to pay more for closing costs."

Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

February 21, 2011

Guidelines For Earnest Money and Down Payments, Part 1 of 2

Hi Folks,

   Happy Monday to you, and a Happy President's Day, as well !

   We are starting a 2-part series covering some basic guidelines on both Earnest Money for Real Estate Deals, as well as Down Payment Money for purchasing a home. For today's installment, we will be examining Earnest Money, what it is, and what the right amount should be based upon.

   As Earnest Money is described on About.com, "It's a good faith deposit but not to be confused with a down payment. When buyers execute a purchase contract, the contract specifies how much money the buyer is initially putting up to secure the contract, to show "good faith," and how much money all together will be deposited as a down payment. The balance is generally financed as a mortgage or a combination of mortgages. An earnest money deposit says to the seller: "Yes, I am serious enough about buying your house that I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is."

   "After 12 years in the Real Estate industry my advice in this economy is this", says Adam Cowgill, A Sales Associate/Realtor; "you should still offer a deposit that is the maximum amount of money you are able to offer in exchange for asking the seller to remove their home from the market while you satisfy your contingencies". Marc Bulandr of Foreclosure and Short Sale Experts Reoassets, Inc., says that, if a buyer wishes to purchase a property, "the more the earnest money, the more favorable the offer will be viewed by the seller."

   Jeff Tufford, a Mortgage Consultant, says that Earnest Money should be, "market driven", and that in his market in Mid-Michigan, "the going amount is typically $500-1000", and the average home price, he says, is $75,000 to $100,000. Joetta Talford, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Fort Mill, South Carolina, agrees that the amount of Earnest Money, depends on the market and the demand for the property". Talford says that typically, "most buyers purchasing a property for $100k or less can offer $500 in earnest monies", and "anything over $100-150k, the buyer should probably offer at least $1,000". Further, Talford says that, "If it is over $200k, the buyer can expect the seller to ask for 1% of the purchase price during negotiations on a resale. If it is a bank owned, HUD or VA property, expect to pay $1000 to 1% in earnest monies no matter what the price." The maximum amount, Talford says, "depends on the bank or government program and what their specific guidelines are.", and says, "HUD and VA have the guidelines for each of their programs on line. Banks do not and each bank is different."

   Kelsey Lane of The Look Team Realtors in Silicon Valley, says that in their area, "the standard earnest money or good faith deposit is 3%. Almost all contracts we write has this amount.", however, Lanes says that, "the exception to this" was as little as $1000 earnest money., and says that, "It was in 2006. On properties that have been on the market for awhile, or in lower income areas, we see a lower percentage. However, in the in-demand areas, we still have multiple offers and if a buyer doesn't have 3% for their deposit, they aren't considered to be competitive or serious."

   Patrick E. Hudson, a Commercial Real Estate Attorney in Texas, says that, "The guideline on earnest money that I constantly see is 1% of the total purchase price. I see 1% in so many contracts that it must be the norm in our residential market." Interestingly, Hudson also mentions, "option periods" or "free look periods", where he says that the buyer, "can walk the deal and be refunded their full earnest money are typically $10 a day (usually, a 10 day option period for $100)." That sounds like a great option for anyone truly looking for the try-then-buy factor. "I've been a broker focused solely on the sale of foreclosure and short sale properties", says Bulandr, who says that the Earnest Money guidelines are, "fairly rigid on cash offers for foreclosure properties. It's generally 10% (or higher) of the purchase price."

   As for the Earnest Money physical funds, Bulandr says that, "If a contract is being properly represented by the buyer's attorney, earnest money will be protected.", and that, "In most states, earnest money is held in a trust account that can only be released after agreement is reached by both parties. Thus, if in a non-financing situation, I would suggest as much earnest money as down payment, with a minimum of 10%." He says that, "Again, depending on the state, you can stipulate that Earnest Money can be held in an interest bearing account if its a significant amount. As for financed situations, he suggests, "less than $1,000, but frankly, depositing Earnest Money up to the amount of the down payment is suggested."

   As you can see, there are many determining factors for Earnest Money. In part 2, we will be discussing some basic guidelines and rules for down payments. Thoughts? Questions?

Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

TAGS: #earnestmoney #realestate #foreclosure #shortsales

November 26, 2010

UPDATED: Post-Foreclosure REO Property Maintenance

Hi All,

   I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving dinner, and we are glad to have you back here with us today, from wherever you may be reading this.

   We have had a tremendous amount of requests to cover the topic of REO properties and the manner in which they are kept from becoming eyesores and danger zones. In order to garner the best information, we spoke with a few people who deal with REO properties on a daily basis, and we have received some valuable information from them that we would like to share with you today.

   How are Foreclosure/REO Properties being Maintained in while they are Unoccupied?

   Edward Harris, Owner of REO Clean Up, tells us that the REO maintenance process for his company starts once the, "HUD/Bank receives a foreclosed property into their inventory and that property is turned over to their integration contractor/Broker.". Once they receive the property they send his company a "work order to go out and perform an, 'initial inspection'." Harris say that this report provides detailed information of anything left behind by the previous owners and also any visual problems with the home. The next step after this report is sent back to the IC/Broker is that a, "a work order is generated from the 'initial inspection report' regarding any issues. This work order is referred to as. 'Initial Services'."

   Another professional we spoke with, Mia Melle, President of West Coast Property Specialists, says that, "How these properties are managed during times of vacancy differs from company to company and also depends on what the owner intends to do with the home - rent or sell or sometimes nothing at all.". Melle provides an example of Fannie Mae, which, "uses the agents who are going to list the home as interim property managers and usually they are unpaid!", so basically it is the listing agent's responsibility to, "coordinate lock changes, landscaping, board ups, etc.", and surmises that the fact that they are unpaid for this service, "speaks to the fact that so many homes go uncared for and turn into neighborhood eyesores."

   Adam Roberts, a Community Development Loan Specialist in the St. Louis/Midwest Region, concurs, and says that, "many of the REO properties are not being maintained to a "neighborhood friendly" level. Lenders are neglecting to manage these properties because there is an overwhelming(ly) large number."

   Melle says, however, that she has seen other types of financial institutions use property management companies to handle their vacant inventories but she reiterates that, "the companies are often doing this for the opportunity to either list or manage the property in the future and are offered next to nothing (in) compensation to oversee the homes."

   Who is Keeping these Properties from Becoming Overgrown?

   Harris says that once his company receives an "Initial Services work order", they perform the following; "trash out services, Janitorial, grass cut and any safety issues are given immediate attention. Once we receive a work order the property is in our inventory for routine services until the property is sold." He says that "Routine Services includes bi-weekly visual inspections, grass cuts, picking up any trash, re-fresh janitorial cleaning, re-fresh of winterization during the winter seasons, snow removal", and, "If a roof problem for example, is found during a routine inspection I would have someone rectify the problem ASAP."

   Roberts says that "fortunately" through local law enforcement and code enforcement the properties have some maintenance such as, "occasional lawn mowing and boarding up windows and doors." Still, however, Melle says that, "Landscaping is one of the issues that lack thereof is the most noticeable to the neighborhood and it's one of the harder services to obtain for anyone whether you are a bank, property manager, or listing agent.", and says that, "The reason for this is that gardeners are a very local type businesses and you cannot find them on the Internet, the yellow pages or elsewhere. Normally, if you live in the neighborhood they will drop a flyer off at your door periodically but other than that.they are extremely hard to locate and hire from off site. So, as a result the landscaping may or may not get done regularly or at all.", and says that, "It's definitely an issue that we've had in our company with these types of portfolios."

   Who is Protecting these Properties from being Burglarized (for Copper Tubing, etc)?

   Harris says that during the "initial inspection", the property is secured, locks changed, hasp/pad locks if needed.", but he says that, "Obviously we can’t have someone at the properties 24/7, the visits of the routine inspectors and neighbors aware of the home can be/hopefully a deterrent for any theft. But if there is a burglary we notify the authorities, find out how the burglar got into the home and re-secure the property."

   Roberts concurs and says that Local law and code enforcement, "report the break-ins and then requires the lender to board up windows and doors.", and that, "Unfortunately after this happens the home becomes unmarketable to "real people" and the best chance of the home moving on the market is now in the hands of an investor, which means another short sale."

   Who is Keeping Squatters from Living in the Property?

   "There have been cases of squatters but not many with our company.", says Harris, who continues to say that, "If our routine inspector doesn’t find evidence of a squatter then we are called by a neighbor. Keeping the squatters out can sometimes be a task." Harris says that, "At one property, the squatter broke the door three different times. The first two we re-hung the door and put two padlocks and hasp on the door. The third time our inspector arrived for his routine inspections and found the person in the house and was able to call the police. They were able to apprehend the squatters." On a positive and hopeful note, Harris says that, "Our continuous presence at the properties we hope prevents illegal activity."

   Roberts says that, "Unfortunately these homes are sitting unoccupied for extended periods of time which makes them highly susceptible to burglary and squatters." He says that, "After initial vacancy the home has windows and doors, (and) in a few months, squatters and burglars target the home. They begin by stealing the air conditioner. Then when they realize neighbors are too scared to come out and confront them, they break in doors and windows and start cutting out the copper and other valuable items in the home." he says that in the end, at best, "local law and code enforcement are mandating maintenance to the best of their ability", but, "unfortunately these dismal efforts are only making the public aware that these properties are foreclosed, unsafe and jeopardizing the stability of the neighborhood."

   How many vacant or unoccupied properties have you been seeing popping up lately? Have they been maintained fairly well or do they have the "REO 5'O'clock shadow". Let us know so we can all share some information and new ideas and strategies to help our neighbors.

Have a Great Weekend, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

TAGS: #foreclosure #shortsales #reo #realestateinvestors #realestate #propertymanagement #hud #property

UPDATED: Top 5 Blog post for 2010 (For more information, CLICK HERE)