Katerina Gasset

Author Archives: Katerina Gasset

Wall Street Journal: What Happened to the Government’s Short Sales Program?

The following article was written by Nick Timiraos for The Wall Street Journal, published November 29, 2010:

In April, the Obama administration formally rolled out a new program, called Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives, that was designed to spur more short sales, where banks allow homeowners to sell their homes for less than the mortgage debt outstanding.

Like other foreclosure-prevention initiatives, this one appears to be off to a slow start — just 342 sales have been completed through September.

HAFA was designed as a cousin to the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, HAMP, whose woes have been well documented. HAFA works like this: Servicers are supposed to consider short sales for borrowers who aren’t able to receive a HAMP modification. Because some 700,000 HAMP applicants have been ejected from that program, there’s a potentially large pool of borrowers who might be evaluated for HAFA.

Initially announced in May 2009, HAFA was also designed to help reduce wait times by streamlining the short sale process through standardized documents and approaches for short sales. Under the program, the government offers incentive payments to mortgage-servicing companies, investors and even the borrowers that accept a short sale under prescribed guidelines.

For example, second-lien mortgages receive 6% of the unpaid loan balance in a short sale, up to a maximum of $6,000, but they must agree to relinquish all claims against a borrower. (Our story on Saturday illustrated why seconds pose problems in short sales.) The program also provides $3,000 in “move-out assistance” to borrowers.

Many real-estate agents say banks have largely ignored the program and that they are applying it unevenly. “Banks are initiating the HAFA transaction and then after three weeks they say, ‘Naw, sorry, you didn’t qualify,’” says Greg Markov, a Phoenix real-estate agent. “That three weeks is a huge pain. You wasted all this time.”

Industry officials, meanwhile, say that HAFA has been hindered by extensive documentation requirements and restrictive qualification guidelines. A homeowner that’s already relocated isn’t HAFA eligible, for example, and neither are borrowers that apply within 60 days of a foreclosure date.

The program is also voluntary, which may limit participation from second-lien holders and mortgage insurance companies that see a financial reason to avoid a short sale that requires them to forgo the opportunity to seek deficiencies against borrowers.

“It looks good on paper, but you can’t make anyone participate,” says Kevin Kauffman, a Phoenix real-estate agent who says he’s closed 150 short sales but has yet to complete one through HAFA.

Still, the Treasury and other supporters say they’re optimistic that results will pick up. Because short sales take several months to close, it’s perhaps unrealistic to expect huge numbers of deals that would close within five months. Moreover, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac didn’t issue their own participation rules until August.

“It does take a little bit of time to see results on these,” says Dave Sunlin, Bank of America’s senior vice president for short sales and bank-owned property sales. “The concept on paper is there.”

For this article, click here.

To speak with a Short Sales Specialist, click here.

Charlotte, NC Real Estate Brokerage Uses Foreclosures to ‘Pay It Forward’


Nancy Braun, Owner & Broker-In-Charge

Local Real Estate Brokerage Uses Foreclosures to ‘Pay It Forward’
Showcase Realty partners with the national REO4Kids effort to raise money for children’s charities through the sale of REO properties.

CHARLOTTE, NC (October 18, 2010) – Nancy Braun, Owner and Broker of Showcase Realty, LLC, has recently teamed up with REO4Kids to become one of the few brokerages across the US donating $100 to children’s charities per REO Asset she sells. In 2009 Nancy’s group donated over $200,000 and expects to donate more than $250,000 in 2010. Because foreclosures affect inner city kids more than anyone else, the group has elected to help the Boys and Girls Club of America as well as Make-a-Wish. Showcase also donates to No Paws Left Behind to help the animal victims of this foreclosure crisis.
The recent partnership of Showcase Realty with REO4Kids is not only raising money for deserving charities but also shining a positive light onto the unfortunate situation that is home foreclosure.
“This is a huge opportunity for Showcase Realty to ‘Pay it Forward’. We want to hold the torch and lead the way for other agents and brokerages to use real estate as a way to give back to their local communities as well as the larger national community in this time of economic need,” says Braun.
Braun, who has been a successful real estate agent for14 years, opened Showcase Realty in 2008. In addition to General Brokerage, the firm launched foreclosure and short sale divisions to address the surge of foreclosures, short sales and distressed properties in the real estate market.
Visit CharlotteREOBroker.com or REO4Kids.com for more information. To find out more about current REO homes Showcase Realty has to offer send an email to info@charlottereobroker.com


Charlotte, NC Real Estate Broker Answers Tough Questions About the Foreclosure Freeze


Nancy Braun, Owner & Broker-In-Charge
315 Main Street
Pineville, NC 28134

Local Real Estate Broker Answers Tough Questions about the Foreclosure Freeze
Nancy Braun of Showcase Realty, LLC gives relevant information for local homeowners about the recent foreclosure news.

CHARLOTTE, NC October 28, 2010 – Nancy Braun, owner and broker-in-charge of Showcase Realty, LLC, has set out to answer your questions regarding the very intimidating “Foreclosure Moratorium”. This issue has flooded the news headlines recently, but it is not a new problem. There have been foreclosure freezes before and they seem to be becoming a trend for the fourth quarter of each year since 2006. Being that Nancy has worked in real estate for 14 years specializing in foreclosures and distressed properties she has a well-rounded understanding of the issues at hand. She has also recently attended and spoke at the REOMAC Fall Summit where it was addressed in detail. The following are a few “Frequently Asked Questions” that Nancy feels could make the issue easier to understand and helpful to homeowners who have an unclear view of what the future could hold for their home and their families.

Q: What is a “Foreclosure Moratorium” (a.k.a. Foreclosure Freeze)
A: When a bank stops processing foreclosures and starts investigating previous filings. Currently, four of the largest banks in the US: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Ally Financial’s GMAC Mortgage unit and PNC Financial have foreclosure moratoriums placed in multiple states. Bank of America placed their moratorium on all fifty states, but has since lifted it to only include 23 currently. Foreclosure moratoriums are placed on a state-by-state basis, the federal government currently cannot place a blanket moratorium over all fifty states for all banks.

Q: Why is this happening?
A: With the rise in foreclosure filings, suspicions have risen regarding the amount of paperwork being signed in such a short amount of time. It is alleged that mistakes were made and some homes were foreclosed on that should not have been. In turn, there have been questions about the banks having one or more employees signing documents without reviewing them or “robo-signers”. The banks are stopping their current processing to go back and investigate previous paperwork.

Q: What does this mean for the future of my home?
A: If you have any doubts about your mortgage payment status and you are in a state which has activated foreclosure moratoriums, this means you have some time to catch up. Start helping yourself by saving, saving, saving. There is no telling when the moratorium will be lifted, though most of the time it lasts until the end of the first quarter of the following year, but you want to make sure you are ready when it does. Make payments and catch up – or proceed with the option of a Short Sale which can help you sell your home without being foreclosed on.

Q: What does this mean for the economy? Will it help or hurt?
A: There are mixed reviews on this. Some experts say it will only lengthen the recovery process by two years, others say it will lengthen it by five or more years. From past experiences with foreclosure moratoriums, it seems to only stall them then they shoot back up after it is lifted.

Q: Is there a way to get help before my home is foreclosed on?
A: Always – A short sale may be one option that could help. Also, speaking with an agent who specializes in foreclosures and distressed properties could help take some of the burden off of your shoulders and clarify many questions you may still have. Visit www.shortsaleadvisors.us to view market updates as well as tips when dealing with short sales.

23 States within Foreclosure Moratorium:
• Connecticut
• Florida
• Hawaii
• Illinois
• Indiana
• Iowa
• Kansas
• Kentucky
• Louisiana
• Maine
• Nebraska
• New Jersey
• New Mexico
• New York
• North Carolina
• North Dakota
• Ohio
• Oklahoma
• Pennsylvania
• South Carolina
• South Dakota
• Vermont
• Wisconsin

If you need more information or assistance regarding this issue, please visit Showcase Realty’s website www.CharlotteREOBroker.com. Feel free to contact Nancy Braun at 704-889-5600 or by email at info@charlottereobroker.com.

July 26, 2010

Nancy Braun Attends WinDS and AREAA Leadership, Education and Networking Seminar in Las Vegas

For IMMEDIATE Publication
July 26, 2010

For Information Contact:
Showcase Realty
Office: 704-889-5600

Nancy Braun Attends WinDS and AREAA Leadership, Education and Networking Seminar in Las Vegas

Charlotte, NC – Nancy Braun, Owner-Broker of Charlotte-based Showcase Realty, recently attended the successful Women in Default Services (WinDS) and Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) – Las Vegas Chapter, Leadership, Education and Networking Seminar held at the Westin Causarina Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

According to Ms. Braun, the special seminar brought together over 300 members from these two leading real estate and default servicing industry trade associations from across the country.

“Featured during the two-day event were sessions on the SBA’s 8(a) Program, and how to do business with the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development,” said Braun. “There were also lender roundtables featured during the seminar and we also were so pleased to have Lynn Effinger, Senior Vice President of Olympus Asset Management and a long-time veteran of the mortgage default servicing industry, as our luncheon keynote speaker on Thursday. He was very inspiring.”

According to Shelley Kaye, Executive Director of WinDS, in addition to the educational sessions the seminar offered a number of networking opportunities to the attendees including a charity poker tournament that benefit a local women’s shelter in Las Vegas.

“Real estate professionals are among the most generous business people in the country and the officials at AREAA, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable homeownership opportunities in Asian American communities by creating a powerful national voice for hosing and real estate professionals that serve this dynamic market, readily agreed to hold this chartable poker tournament,” added Kaye.

The default services business comprises a multitude of disciplines and a wide variety of activities that are essential to the goal of handling the glut of defaulted loans and foreclosed properties negatively impacting the entire U.S. economy. According to Kaye, the members of WinDS, are involved at all levels within this niche of real estate and many of these successful members own their companies, while others are engaged as independent contractors or employees at firms of all sizes in every state.

“Among the many shared goals of WinDS and AREAA is to provide ongoing, meaningful educational, leadership and networking opportunities to our members,” said Kaye. “This special seminar was just one example of our commitment to our members in that regard.”

According to Kaye, numerous positive comments were made by attendees to directors of both trade associations regarding the quality of the seminar leaders and panelists

For more information about this seminar, please visit the WinDS web site at www.WomeninDS.com. For more information about Showcase Realty, please visit www.showcaserealty.net or www.charlottereobroker.com .