Category Archives for "For Buyers"

Information for buyers of short sale properties in North Carolina.

The short sale has gone upscale

The short sale has gone upscale.

As the stress on the economy continues, more homeowners are having difficulty paying their mortgages. The “mortgage crisis” as it is now known, is impacting homeowners across a much broader range of the economic spectrum. Nancy Braun, Owner and Broker-in-Charge of Showcase Realty, is seeing that in addition to low and moderately priced homes, upscale and even luxury homes are experiencing mortgage issues and have become part of the short sale market.

“The choice for a homeowner to sell as a short sale emerges when a homeowner has a mortgage balance that is greater than current fair market value of their home and there is a change in circumstance that makes it difficult for the homeowner to stay current on their mortgage,” Braun says, “Much like applying for a mortgage, the owner must apply with the lender for a short sale and will need to show a hardship of some kind. If this hardship is acknowledged by the lender and the home is then sold with the consent of the lender, the remaining portion of the loan is typically forgiven. Although in some cases lenders reserve the right to seek a deficiency judgment against the individual for the unpaid portion of the loan.”

In 2010, 51% of Mecklenburg county sales involved mortgages in trouble (only 49% were traditional market sales between a willing buyer & seller).

Foreclosures of luxury homes in Mecklenburg, Union and surrounding counties have grown dramatically in the past year and these homeowners need to know they have options before they lose their home to the bank. A foreclosure can have devastating effects on a homeowner; they may be denied a security clearance, incur substantial damage to their credit, and have to disclose to potential employers and are subject to a deficiency judgment. A short sale is an alternative to foreclosure that typically has less of an adverse impact on a homeowner.

“Our firm specializes in distressed property sales, and we expect the volume high-end transactions to continue to increase in the summer months ahead. In fact we have opened a new office in Matthews that will specialize in the luxury distress market, staffed with agents that specialize in the luxury market,” Braun added.

January 2012 Carolina Multiple Listing Service reported 2074 homes listed over $500,000 but only 72 homes sold in that price range (only 3% of the properties listed actually sold). As a result, there is a 29 month supply of luxury homes on the market.

Braun said many lenders have streamlined the short-sale process and are now more receptive to short sales, which has helped make the short sale a dominant force in the housing market. Short sales are averaging between 50 and 60 days. Some are done in less time and others can take longer but this is a shorter time period than it was one year ago. They experience fewer costs in a short sale, and the homeowner often remains in the home until it closes so the home is maintained and shows better while it is on the market.

Luxury Home Short Sales Grow in Importance

The luxury market is facing increasing pressure, aggravated by credit market difficulties in the jumbo mortgage market. Limited loan availability, higher than usual interest rates for jumbo loans and stringent loan qualifying requirements have slowed sales of luxury properties.

The lack of refinancing opportunities, fewer qualified buyers for luxury homes, a growing inventory of unsold luxury homes, and an economy in recession are all creating the “perfect storm” for luxury homeowners who need to sell and can’t.

Looking for a Good Deal in the Luxury Market? Team Up With a Luxury Home Specialist

Buyers can find incredible deals in the luxury market. It is a fantastic time to move up or simply purchase your dream home at a substantial discount. Showcase can assist you with finding a bank-owned home, short sale or otherwise motivated seller in this unique economic housing market. .

Showcase Realty has an expertise in the distressed real estate market. Nancy Braun and her Short Sale team have earned the nationally recognized Certified Distress Property Expert Designation (CDPE). If you are considering selling or purchasing a home you should consult with Showcase’s agents during these economic challenging times.

Contact them today at 704-889-5600 or Visit their websites  &  to learn more about the distress market and view affordable and available homes in the Charlotte Metro and surrounding areas.

**This article was featured in the March 2011 issue of At Home Magazine.

February 17, 2011

Working with a Real Estate Professional is More Important Than Ever

RISMEDIA, February 17, 2011—In a landmark study examining the home buying and selling preferences of consumers in the Mid-Atlantic region, 95% reported that working with a real estate professional is just as important, if not more important, than it was just a few years ago. The survey results were released in a new research paper entitled Keepin’ it Real, by MRIS, the area’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and a leading developer of real estate information technology.

According to the report, which can be found on, today’s consumers recognize this is not the time to complete a real estate transaction on their own, and are placing a stronger emphasis on the agent’s professional skills. As such, trustworthiness was ranked as the most critical factor in choosing an agent, followed by experience, willingness to look out for a client’s interest, expertise in negotiating contracts, responsiveness, familiarity with contracts and knowledge of the local community. These requirements are evidence that consumers are seeking more than simple guidance, they are looking for an expert they can trust to execute a step-by-step process throughout the entire transaction.

“In today’s housing market especially, this is no time to go it alone,” noted John L. Heithaus, Chief Marketing Officer of MRIS. “With 95% of all buyers and sellers reporting that working with a professional real estate agent or broker is important, it is evident that consumers understand how vital they are to the process. A real estate professional has the industry knowledge, networking ability and expert guidance on home buying and selling to deliver top notch customer service and advice, and provide a successful experience for consumers.”

Additionally, the Keepin’ it Real report reveals that 68% of buyers and sellers rated their agent with a six or seven, on a 7-point satisfaction scale. This high level of consumer confidence reinforces the credibility of the real estate professionals in the Mid-Atlantic area. Nearly half of the consumers surveyed, or 48%, found their agent by way of referral. Moreover, 80% of consumers stated that they would recommend their agent to a friend or family member, especially those that purchased or sold a home in the past twelve months.

Whereas in years past, the agent was the first step in the home buying or selling process, today, Internet-savvy consumers can gather information and educate themselves, long before contacting an agent. The Internet empowers consumers to search for homes and neighborhood information, compare pricing and explore financing options on their own. Yet, despite all of the tools and resources available, when it comes time to actually buy or sell a home, there is nothing more valuable than the industry knowledge, expertise and guidance a real estate professional brings to the table.

The Keepin’ it Real research paper is confirmation that today, more than ever, a real estate professional is an invaluable resource in the home buying and selling process.

For more information, visit

To speak with a real estate agent about finding a home the Charlotte Metro & surrounding areas, contact

February 8, 2011

Bank of America Stops Offering Reverse Mortgages

 According to an article by Christina Rexrode for the Charlotte Observer published this morning, Bank of America will no longer be offering reverse mortgages. This controversial option has been seen as something that was marketed toward the elderly as a way to make quick cash. The only borrowers able to take advantage of a reverse mortgage have to be at least 62 years old. 

It can be profitable and the homeowner won’t have to sell their home they may not be able to afford anymore – but because the bank pays the borrower instead of the other way around they end up losing equity in the end. The following is an excerpt from the Charlotte Observer article.

“The loans are often misunderstood. Borrowers do have to repay the bank, just not in cash: When they move or die, the bank sells the house and keeps the money, leaving out any heirs. The loans also carry high upfront fees, and a borrower can almost always get more money by selling the house instead. In general, reverse mortgages let borrowers access only 45 to 75 percent of the equity in their homes. The older the borrower, the bigger the percentage.

Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, said that Bank of America is trying to minimize its exposure to potential lawsuits.

‘You’re dealing with the elderly, you’re talking about taking away their homes when they die,’ Cecala said. ‘That’s a bad set of variables there.’

Francisco, the bank spokesman, said the decision wasn’t related to any ethical qualms about reverse mortgages. The bank has worked with industry groups to put in safeguards to protect consumers, he said, and is ‘fully aware that it’s a very sensitive population.’

The reverse mortgage unit is profitable, he said. But the industry has been making fewer of the loans in the past year.

Various regulatory agencies have been eyeing reverse mortgages. Among other concerns, they wonder if borrowers are being forced to buy other financial products as a condition of getting the loans.”

To read the entire article, click here.

For affordable homes available in the Charlotte Metro and surrounding areas, click here.

VA Authorizes Relocation Help for Short Sales and Deeds-in-Lieu (DSNews)

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The following article was written by Heather Hill Cernoch for DSNews:

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has instructed mortgage servicers to pay relocation assistance to borrowers completing short sales or deeds-in-lieu (DIL) of foreclosure on VA loans.

“VA has a longstanding policy of encouraging servicers to work with veteran borrowers to explore all reasonable options to help them retain their homes or, when that is not feasible, to mitigate losses by pursuing alternatives to foreclosure,” according to the circular released by the federal agency.

VA is authorizing servicers to advance $1,500 in relocation assistance to borrower occupants who complete a short sale with a VA compromise claim or who execute a DIL.

The transfer of ownership via DIL or short sale is typically shorter than a foreclosure time period, the VA explained, and the property is left in better condition via DIL. These options can also provide a better outcome than a foreclosure sale for borrowers, investors, and communities.

The amount of the indebtedness reimbursable on a claim after crediting it with the net value of the property (or the short sale proceeds, if larger) is limited to the maximum guaranty on the loan plus the cost of liquidation appraisals. The servicer must waive any amount on the loan not covered by the sum of the VA guaranty claim amount and the greater of the net value or sale proceeds.

VA expects servicers to notify eligible borrowers of the availability of foreclosure alternatives and encourage completion of a short sale or DIL by providing the homeowner with a written agreement describing the requirements for receipt of a relocation incentive. With a DIL, the agreement must specify that the property will be unencumbered by other liens or restrictions on title, it will be kept in good and safe condition, and it will be left ready for sale in “broom clean” condition upon homeowner departure.

For this article, click here.

To see Charlotte-area short sale properties that are available or to speak with a Certified Distressed Property Expert, click here.

The New Real Estate Process – Effective NOW!

Starting January 1st, a new real estate process was enacted in the state of North Carolina. This process deals with a new contract that will now be used to buy and sell homes.

Originally, a potential buyer would make an offer on a property that is for sale and once the buyer and seller reach an agreement, the contract will then be signed by both parties. The buyer will provide earnest money and the house will be changed to “conditional” status, which will make the property essentially off the market unless the sale falls through. The buyer has the responsibility of meeting several different deadlines and if they fail to meet any of these, the seller has the option to cancel the contract and keep the earnest money. The buyer is then able to cancel the contract, as well, and receive a refund of the earnest money at the buyer’s discretion.

However, with the current housing market, this previous contract created some bad situations. Sellers were under the impression that they had their house sold, only to have the buyer cancel the contract after inspections. Buyers were legally entitled to receive the earnest money back, but the Realtors® cannot return it without the seller’s written authorization. If the seller and buyer cannot agree on who receives the earnest money within 90 days, the Realtors® are required to turn it over to the court to decide.

This new contract process’ goal is to alleviate this situation by creating a due diligence period. The new process was summarized by Ballantyne Scoop website below:

“The Potential buyer will make an offer on a house and the buyer and seller begin to negotiate the contract. After both parties agree on the terms, the buyer will provide the seller with a due diligence period, and the Realtors® with an earnest money deposit. During the due diligence period, the buyer needs to complete any work that needs to be done in order to decide whether he/she is willing to able to move forward with this purchase. This includes applying for the mortgage and conducting inspections. During the due diligence period, the buyer can cancel the transaction for any reason. The buyer would receive the earnest money deposit back, but the seller keep the due diligence fee. If the buyer has not canceled the contract by the end of the due diligence period, he/she will be in default if he/she doesn’t go through with the contract. This means that the seller will automatically receive the earnest money deposit if the buyer did not cancel the contract before the end of the due diligence period and then does not close on the house.”

This new contract helps keep equality in these sales, for both the buyer and the seller, but it also makes it easier for buyers and Realtors® to track deadlines and make sure they are completed in a timely manner. Now there is just one deadline to keep track of instead of several.

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