Category Archives for "For Buyers"

Information for buyers of short sale properties in North Carolina.

October 11, 2010

3 Tips for Negotiating Short Sales

Short sale transactions can be complex to negotiate with lenders. Hence, real estate trainer and educator Kathy Mehringer’s definition of short sales: “A transaction where nothing is certain but for the uncertainty.”

Mehringer, director of risk management for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Southern California companies, offered tips to negotiating short sales during her session, “Short Sales, REOs and Foreclosures: Still Hot” on Wednesday during the California Association of REALTORS® Expo in Anaheim, Calif.

Mehringer, who often educates real estate professionals on short sales and foreclosures, offered the following negotiation tips at her session:

1. Don’t give up.
When a lender turns down your short sale offer, do not view that as the final answer. Too many real estate professionals assume that a firm “no” from a lender means they’ll never accept a short sale on that home.

“You can’t see ‘no’ as an answer — see it as an opportunity,” Mehringer said.

Follow up by asking the lender: “What will you accept? What can I do to make this offer better?”

Remember, the lender is supposed to get the highest price for the bank; “no’ is merely the beginning of negotiations.

2. Earn their trust.
Lenders don’t always trust real estate professionals when it comes to short sales negotiations. Mehringer has learned the reason for much of their distrust: They believe listing agents put a home on the market for a significantly lower price than what it is worth and then waste their time by submitting a ridiculously low offer and present it as the best possible offer for the home.

“Lenders think you underprice short sales,” Mehringer said. “We need to show them that we are trustworthy and properly demonstrate the value of the property.”

After all, your job when representing a seller — even in a short sale transaction — is to work to get the highest and best possible terms for your seller, she told attendees.

3. Lose the low-level clerk mentality.
Mehringer said that she often hears from real estate professionals that the lender isn’t cooperating. But how is your behavior toward them? Telling the lender such things as “if I don’t have an answer by 5 p.m. today, the buyer will walk” is not going to work in closing a short sale faster but will serve as a turnoff, Mehringer said.

“You will get more by being nice to people,” Mehringer said. “And being nice doesn’t mean that you have to be a push over either.” Always be professional and courteous in your contact with lenders.

Also, realize that a short sale is optional for a lender. “It’s a business decision,” Mehringer said. “A lender may elect to cooperate to save the expense and time of foreclosure … but it’s purely a business decision — it’s an algorithm.”

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey for REALTOR® Magazine online

Bailout Watchdogs Call Mortgage Program a Bust

 Bailout watchdogs on Wednesday raised a red flag over the Obama administration’s program for helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, saying the multibillion-dollar fund is not working and the Treasury Department refuses to fix it. 

Warning that the inefficiencies could hold the economy back, the officials told a Senate panel that changes should be made and that Treasury needs to come clean. One official called the program “one of the greatest failures in transparency and accountability” in the $700 billion bailout. 

A $50 billion fund was carved out of the Wall Street bailout for the mortgage program. The housing market being a root cause of the 2008 economic crisis, the money was pitched as a way to help millions of homeowners avoid foreclosure and get the economy back on track. 

But a fraction of that money, $248 million, has been spent. 

Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the congressional TARP Oversight Panel, said that for every one family that wins a permanent mortgage modification, “10 more have been moved out through foreclosure.” 

“This is a program that’s just — it’s behind the curve,” she told the panel on Wednesday. 

Special inspector general for the financial bailouts Neil Barofsky said the program has not “put an appreciable dent in foreclosure filings” during the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the $700 billion bank bailout. He also said the Treasury Department has ignored earlier demands that it set clearer goals for the program.  A Treasury official said Wednesday that the bailout program has had “a major effect on the ability of people to stay in their homes.” The official argued that before the program was launched, it was not designed to prevent all foreclosures and not designed to help investors or speculators — or those with vacation homes or million-dollar homes.

More foreclosures could force down home prices and further hurt the ailing housing industry. 

Part of the problem with the Home Affordable Modification Program has been that plenty of homeowners are being accepted into a trial period, but relatively few are having their loan changes made permanent. Warren said just 165,000 have moved into permanent modifications with help from the TARP program, though more than that have advanced through a similar program administered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

Barofsky said Treasury is giving mortgage companies too much leeway to decide which homeowners will qualify for a program to reduce the principal balance of their mortgages

The program relies on voluntary cooperation from mortgage companies, Warren said. She said many of the mortgage debt collectors make more money when they foreclose than they do when helping homeowners. 

“We can’t have a program in which, in effect, we put incentives on the table paid for by the taxpayers to say, ‘Please do the right thing here,'” she said. “We have a crisis, and the consequences of not having cooperation from the servicers … (is) felt by this entire economy . We need a program with far more urgency and some real teeth in it.” 

Article contributed by Fox News


30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages Hit New Record Low

Because of current economic conditions, mortgage rates have been on the decline, however did you know that the 30-year fixed-rate mortagages have hit an all time low? Continue reading the article below to find out more information about this situation:

“The weekly mortgage rate reports released Thursday by Freddie Mac and Bankrate were mixed. But one thing was certain: the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages hit a new record low.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.57 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending July 8, 2010, inching down from last week’s average of 4.58 percent. Freddie Mac said this rate marked yet another all-time low in its 39-year survey.

Continue reading

Housing and Economic Update for the Charlotte, NC Metro Market

As a listing broker, I thought it would be helpful to provide an update on the local housing trends and economics. Here is an update for May/June 2010 to assist with evaluating our inventory for the Charlotte Metro Area:

Articles/Press Releases:

New Home Sales Plunge 33% Nationally in May

The sales of new homes fell in May to their lowest level ever, decreasing 33 percent from the previous month.  Additionally, a report provided earlier in the week stated that the sales of existing homes dropped as well.  Because of this situation, the Federal Reserve has repeated their pledge to hold interest rates at record lows to help stimulate economic growth.  Besides the issues with homebuyer tax credits, high unemployment and slow job growth also add to the housing market’s condition.  On Wednesday, June 23rd, the Commerce Department stated that new-home sales for May came in at a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 300,000, which was the slowest in the 47 years recorded.  Also, this was the largest monthly drop on record and sales have decreased 78 percent from their peak five years ago.

Publication Date: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Publication Title: Charlotte Observer
Author: Alan Zibel
Article Link:
Please feel free to click on the link above to read the complete article!

Mecklenburg County Home Losses Surge

The foreclosure situation in Mecklenburg has doubled so far this year.  By June, Mecklenburg citizens had lost 2,185 homes to foreclosure and this increase can be accredited to the high unemployment rates and extensive federal efforts to stem foreclosures by modifying home loans. These foreclosures do not just affect the home owners, but the homes lost also drag down nearby property values, which makes it hard for neighbors to sell their homes as well. In order to help stop this vicious cycle, North Carolina created new laws including one that allows county courts to extend foreclosure sale dates to give homeowners more time to work with their lenders.  Additionally, in February of last year, President Obama made a foreclosure prevention effort with Home Affordable Modification Program.  Lastly, there are nationwide efforts to provide bridge loans and other stopgap measures for the unemployed.

Publication Date: Sunday, July 4, 2010
Publication Title: Charlotte Observer
Author: Stella M. Hopkins
Article Link:
Please feel free to click on the link above to read the complete article!

Delinquencies Inch Up in May, Foreclosure Inventories Remain Flat: LPS

Lender Processing Services has reported that the seasonal improvement period for delinquencies and foreclosure inventories has come to a halt.  According to the article, the total U.S. delinquency rate jumped to 9.2 percent in May, which is 7.9 percent higher than May of 2009.  The foreclosure inventory rate has remained stable from the month prior at 3.18 percent, but it was 13.5 percent higher than May of 2010.  Also, the national noncurrent loan rate came in at 12.38 percent and if including REO properties, the number of noncurrent loans in May increases to almost 7.4 million.

Publication Date: Friday, July 2, 2010
Publication Title:
Author: Brittany Dunn
Article Link:
Please feel free to click on the link above to read the complete article!

Charlotte Area Statistics for May 2010:

Average List Price of Sold Properties $238,736
Average Sales Price $212,454
Average Days on Market 116
Average Residential Closing Price $212,454
Total Number of New Listings 4,744
Total Residential Closings Reported 2,537
Total CMLS Listings on Market 26,008
Mortgage Rates 4.79 %
Charlotte/Gastonia/Rock Hill Unemployment Rate 10.9 %
National Unemployment Rate 9.5 %
Sold price vs. List Price 88.99%