Monday, June 13, 2011

Is Now A Good Time To Invest In Real Estate? -

Is Now A Good Time To Invest In Real Estate? -

Monday, May 2, 2011

Athens Real Estate: Short Sale FAQ

Athens Real Estate: Short Sale FAQ: "What is a Short Sale? A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the sale proceeds fall short of the balance owed on the property's loa..."

Your Home: How to sell in tough times

Your Home: How to sell in tough times

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where's The Beef? That About Sums It Up!

We have all heard how the mortgage lenders have dealt the American homeowner a bad hand, and how the people, thanks to the U.S. government, has dealt the banks an even better "return" with the various stimulus plans and the so-called "Troubled Asset Relief Program(s)." However, has anyone studied what's happened, or been the least bit weary of the ongoing shenanigans of these financial institutions and their chieftains? For that matter, is anyone up at arms at the way these institutions were doled out billions of dollars as a form of rescue, only to later discover that large portions of these tax-payer funds wound up paying the culprits million dollar bonuses, and in other cases, used as interest-free money to gobble up many of the smaller failing banks -- does a "blue bank" (hint, CHASE), come to mind? Where Is The Beef?

What is most disheartening in the bigger scheme of things is that the average homeowner who bought or refinanced a house within the last six years or so is still struggling to make ends meet, or to keep their finances in some sensible semblance. It is a challenge for the administration to "fix" this bigger mess, but the mess will continue while the people on the front-line, e.g., the homeowners, are given their own "TARP," and this ought not be something to benefit the investors (again), as we saw what that did with the mortgage lenders -- nothing that benefited the homeowners, as demonstrated by the ever increasing numbers of notices of default and the looming "shadow inventory" of foreclosed houses stock-piled by the lenders who have foreclosed on hundreds of thousands of delinquent homeowners.

There have been attempts by the administration with programs such as HOPE; HAMP and HAFA, but these are not all that they purport to be. The average homeowner who bought or refinanced their homes in the "troubled" times, did so under questionably liberal conditions, e.g., "stated income loans," "NINJA programs," "NINA options," and other such creative financing products many lenders were conjuring up to get dubiously eligible prospective buyers to "qualify" for the loan, (the guidelines of these types of programs allowed a borrower to pick a number as their income, and little was done by the lenders to confirm these statements.

With that as the under current of any effort to "fix" this bigger problem, any legitimate process to help such creatively processed loan applications is bound to result in a dismal failure. And so it is. The efforts behind the well-meaning “rescue” programs have been lackluster at best. Many homeowners, who are now facing the final stages of the foreclosure process, didn't get there without struggling to keep their house -- they called their lenders and received very little help or orientation. Worse, some where even told, "unless you're behind on your payments, we cannot help you with a "modification" attempt." they called agencies and got similar results -- "you don't qualify,” or were forced to seek "private" help through some of the many agencies that popped up out of nowhere, it seems, advertising plans to help stop foreclosure and modify their existing home loan, in some cases offering "forensic audits" promising to bring the 'bad' lender to their knees, resulting in a favorable modification by force, only to discover that these efforts resulted in the same outcome, only in this case, with the added cost of the thousands of dollars to get there.

Nothing about this newly contrived process of rescues or foreclosure alternatives has resulted in happy homeowners, or for that matter, happy investors (those who bought the loans on the secondary market), all because it is a lose-lose proposition. The Investor has to give up the profit incentives they expected, the homeowner has to commit to another version of their already bad loan, i.e., a longer term, 40 years, on a house that probably isn't going to appreciate enough to make sense (as an investment, that is).

All that aside, without much hope in the horizon for a true fix, this roller coaster still begs the questions, where is the beef, if for nothing else than to clarify why the lenders are still getting incentives and a velvet-glove treatment while refusing to help the earnest homeowners who are just trying to get some help in keeping their homes with an affordable payment. And you have to wonder about the logic of having the lender "forgive" debt under a plan to sell a house "short" or worse, foreclose the house and then sell it for less than the original loan balance.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Study: No Reason to Pay Realtor Commissions When Selling a House

This is an interesting argument. However, I don't think that Realtors only offset their fees by adding value to the pricing of a house. As a matter of fact, it flies contrary to the reality of the market at any given time, and now more than ever it is clearly a misconception that such is the case. A trained and experience real estate professional functions more like your counselor, your advocate, your eyes and ears, and someone who will do all within his/her power to make you the most money, and avoid the biggest challenges and do it all in record time. As for what that may be worth, THIS IS ENTIRELY NEGOTIABLE (by law).

Study: No Reason to Pay Realtor Commissions When Selling a House

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing"

"You betrayed me by not being the kind of Messiah I wanted. So I will betray you." If this statement and belief attributed to the one known in the Bible, as Judas Iscariot is accurate, it demonstrates a misguided belief of a quid pro quo that would result in a chain of events leading to a death. However, a betrayal, particularly one perpetrated on someone we care about, can never be justified for any reason. This passage says that "...his selfish heart..." lead him to a presumption that unmet expectations justified his act of betrayal. Shame on him!

A betrayal by those near and dear to us causes more hurt than the perpetrator might have imagined prior to entertaining it, and if that person were to reflect on the consequences, the hurt, and the disappointment, or imagined how it might feel if instead of committing it s/he were its victim, perhaps there would be a different outcome -- perhaps. Ignoring the pain caused by such transgressions, a person bent on satisfying their selfish heart will do what they’ll do and ignore any consequences on anyone, until they face the reality of their actions – the loss of the loved one’s respect, the loss of a friendship, or a host of other unimagined consequences, including the death of a loved one!

As in this act of betrayal by Judas against his Messiah, a person whom he, and eleven other close disciples loved, shows, deception is most often unbearable, and in this instance, lead to a death. However, betrayal is far more common than we imagine, there is the marital infidelity type, the abusive elder type, the envious brother/sister type, and regardless of the acts, the results usually leave, if not broken relationships, wrecked lives or lamentable and out of control situations.

Like any person who has loved and been loved, there have been times when the relationship suffered from unmet expectations. However, if a relationship is true, regardless of the type, e.g., parent/child; husband/wife; brother/sister; boyfriend/girlfriend; employer/employee, one attempts to work on and overcome the occasional conflicts caused by unmet expectations, and does not look to avenge a perceived transgression with another transgression. Unfortunately a discovery of such a callous act usually overwhelms the senses with all the emotions that are closely tied to a sensible belief of a person’s righteousness and their evident breach of that belief – it is true shock and awe! To overcome the emotional hurt and see thing dispassionately may require distancing yourself from the issue and the culprit, but in the heat of the moment, that is difficult; one goes head-on into tackling the “why?” or the “how could you?” and we lose track of what may be necessary for us to do to overcome the problem.

It is when the "selfish heart" is in command of our faculties that we forget to put ourselves in the recipient's place to fully grasp the impact of our actions. And no one can be a judge of the other's acts (or transgressions) for this too is written: "let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." The implication here is that no one is above reproach. But certainly one thing does not justify the other. We're discussing betrayal and its collateral damage. Only the person who has been betrayed can truly appreciate all that this event signifies in their life, but I can say and you might imagine if you have not yet lived this experience, that the hurt is more than physical, it is spiritual, the emotions that careen out of control -- sorrow, disbelief, pain, sadness, anguish, despair, disappointment, disillusionment, and a bevy of others, magnifies the significance of the incident on our psyche. It is at these times when the victim must be as static and restrained as Jesus demonstrated even before Judas was to betray him.

In simpler terms, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It is in this eleven-word phrase that one can take correct action, which, if we follow in good conscience, will result in a harmonious outcome.

Once the damage is done, the victim can either waddle in their sorrow and continuously ask why, or why me, and potentially create more emotional damage to themselves, or, can decide to take matters into their own proverbial hands and move forward from the incident -- either forgiving the betrayer or coming to terms with a reality that perhaps the betrayer didn't do anything other than demonstrate that the love that may have been, was truly not. After all, if you love someone, you will consider him or her in all your actions, and hopefully take the best course of action for the benefit of everyone concerned.

Moving past the transgression requires a deep analysis of all that preceded the failing and what remains to be resolved. This can only happen if and when the persons involved own up to their respective roles in the matter.

If one is to rebuild beyond the incident, one must not resort to blame. If one is true to their part in the situation that forged the failing one may be able to correct the matter and accept that in our human experience we can and will make mistakes, but only by acknowledging the foible will we be able to truly be one for the other, and, painful as all that came before may be, if we are the one to continue to trust and love, we must chose to live by our principles, and hope and pray for the better tomorrow. The opposite will result in our praying for forgiveness, as Jesus did when nothing he said or did changed the actions of the many who condemned him unjustly… “...forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

All I want to do is buy a house!

There was a time not long ago when it seemed as simple as a desire to buy a house. Sure you still had to apply for a loan, but that seemed to be a breeze, even it the person didn't have "it" all together, e.g., many lenders "bent" the rules a little here and a lot there -- remember? Well, now with all that has happened with all this mortgage mess, the foreclosures, the "underwater" homes, essential, the bursting of the proverbial housing bubble, this has done a 180 degree turn, and to buy a house nowadays you have to be ready to show the lender "the money," literally.

I have had to explain the procedures time and again to buyers who keep reminding me that this isn't the way they did it just a few years ago. The odd thing about these constant reminders is that people who bought a few years back seem to have grown used to just having the paperwork to sign, and are a bit miffed by the simple suggestion that they need to provide proof of just about everything. "Why do I have to do that?" came back a question from a reluctant buyer not long ago. Well, the rules to buy a house have gone back to the "normal" way it once was. In other words, you have to show the bank all that you say, and then, you have to be able to prove as much, e.g., where is your money for the down payment, why you have so many inquiries on your otherwise perfect (780 fico) credit report, or why your salary checks (stubs) have any discrepancy -- oh, and let's not forget that your w-2's and 1040's have to be "audited" too!

These requirements are nothing new. As a matter of fact many of these same requirements were in place before, albeit relaxed because everyone wanted to make a deal, and the deal-makers (the lenders), wanted the loans to pass certain audits to be able to package them into mortgage-backed securities that someone else (investors) would be buying/investing in. Well, that pool of investors virtually dried up, and now the only game in town is a pseudo-governmental secondary market, and this one is checking all the paperwork, and making sure the "i's" are dotted and the "t's" crossed -- literally.

So, you want to buy a house? The best thing you could do, as a buyer, is to be ready, willing and ABLE. And this means having the money in the bank -- you ought to have at a minimum a 3.5% of the purchase price for the down payment (for FHA program), plus another 3% of the same purchase price for the expected closing costs. Sure you will be able to negotiate many things, and in some cases "Homepath" sales, you might even get your closing costs paid (credited), and some bonuses if you close during some of their promotional periods. But, don't be too surprised if you have to have everything "squeaky clean" in regards to how you provide your details and the paperwork to support it.

Buying a house isn't any more complicated than it once was, it is now more rigidly reviewed, so, be prepared to give as much as the lender wants, wait as long as the lender takes, and work with all that is put on you to do. You want their money to buy; you now have to play by their new rules. The flip side is that you'll get fantastic values and the best interest rates available for mortgages. So, don't fret, just grin and bear it, oh, and put it in perspective – you’ll buy the house you can afford and enjoy for years to come!