Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Aurora Loan Services Offer- Too Good To Be True?



A homeowner recently emailed me quite concerned about a letter she received from Aurora Loan Services. She had a second mortgage with them for $29,700 at 12% interest. She had never been late with her payments and was not selling as a short sale. The Aurora letter stated she could pay her loan off now at about one-third what was owed, and would have no further obligation on the note! Dear Customer:
Aurora Loan Services, as a servicer of your loan, has been authorized by the owner of your second mortgage to offer an opportunity to pay off your loan at a reduced amount.
Upon receipt of the reduced payoff funds in the amount of $10,400, your loan will be considered paid in full. Aurora Loan Services will report your account paid in full to the applicable credit reporting agencies and send the necessary documentation to release the second lien from the public records.
If you elect tp participate in this special payoff offer, Aurora Loan Services will file an IRS 1099-C Form for the amount of debt forgiveness.
Please be advised that certified funds (in the form of a cashier's check or money order) must be received by Aurora Loan Services no later than the close of business on January 29, 2010. If the funds are not received by this date, the offer made in this letter will be rescinded and considered null and void.
Certified payoff proceeds must be made payable to and remitted directly to Aurora Loan Services. If you have any questions, please contact one of our representatives by calling 866-459-3059Is this offer for real? Apparently so, as the borrower called Aurora Loan Services and confirmed it. They said they were doing it "to help people" and their phones were "ringing off the hook". And what a deal - even with tax consequences, it seems to make sense to pay $10,400 and save almost $20,000 in cancelled debt and interest payments! I advised the borrower to consult with an attorney, as she questioned sending in a cashiers check with only the letter to prove her mortgage would be paid in full.
Why is Aurora really doing this? Perhaps the investor on this loan is looking for some quick capital to cover losses? If you have any similar experiences with Auorora Loan Services, report it here.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Palms Unit 1307, Destin Short Sale Condo



Own this fabulous central Destin short sale condo at The Palms! You can pick your choice of on-site fun or pop over to Henderson Beach and the Gulf of Mexico right across Emerald Coast Parkway! The contemporary Palms project includes huge lagoon pool, children's pool, waterfall, tennis, basketball.
Love coffee? "The Beach Trader" is on-site for your cup of Starbucks. Finally, Traders Vics is the place to go for cocktails. Your unit is sleek and stylish, has granite counters, 9' ceilings. Association dues covers wireless internet and utilities.

This Destin short sale is offered at $149,700.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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The Palms Unit 11003, Destin Florida Short Sale Condo


The Palms of Destin is what everyone raves about!
You can own this almost-new Destin short sale condo and be in the middle of all the excitement! Pool, tennis? Beach, drinks? You can have it all! Unit is close to Henderson Beach and the Gulf of Mexico for swimming and sunning! The contemporary Palms project includes huge lagoon pool, children's pool, waterfall, tennis, basketball. Love coffee? “The Beach Trader" is on-site for your cup of Starbucks. Finally, Traders Vics is the place to go for cocktails. Your unit is sleek and stylish, has granite counters, 9' ceilings. Association dues covers wireless internet and utilities.

This Destin short sale is offered at $173,900.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Feds Shut Down Peoples First Bank - Was Denying All Short Sales Part of Its Demise?


About a year ago I wrote about People's First Community Bank in "Short Sale Denied - Despite Cancer Diagnosis". My seller's husband had kidney cancer, and her financial situation had become tenuous. She could no longer afford the payments on her lot near Destin Florida.

I worked to help her do a short sale to avoid foreclosure. When we sent in the contract, People's First told me they "do NOT do short sales, period". I called them and reiterated the diagnosis of kidney cancer, wondering how this woman could keep up with her payments. I also asked, "Why would your company not consider a short sale in this economy?" I was told they had "not given any subprime loans, they were well-capitalized, and when they lent money, they expected to get it paid back". I said, "So you'd rather foreclose?" They said "Yes". When I told them I would write about the story in my blog, they warned me not to.
Today it was announced that the federal Office of Thrift Supervision has closed People's First. A few weeks ago the bank was notified by OTS for Prompt Corrective Action because they were deemed "significantly undercapitalized". Basically, a bank's capitalization rating has to do with its percentage of capital, like cash, as compared to its risk-based assets, such as mortgage loans. According to the FDIC:" Well Capitalized" means a total risk-based capital equal to or greater than 10 percent, "Adequately Capitalized" is a risk-based capitalo ratio equal to or greater than 8 percent. People's First capital ratio has been reported at 2.55.
My question is, could Peoples First's policy of refusing any short sale been part of its downfall? If the bank insisted on foreclosing and repossessing properties, wouldn't that have added to its risk-based assets? If they had allowed short sales, wouldn't their percentage of risk-based assets have been decreased?Finally, wouldn't allowing short sales have helped them live up to their motto, “The Best Bank in the Neighborhood"?


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Does Your MLS Allow Short Sale Games?


Bravo to the Florida Emerald Coast Association of Realtors for recognizing the risks of multiple offers on short sales. Our MLS requires all short sale contracts to be placed in "Contingent" or "Pending" status. What some agents do to skirt around this rule is submit unsigned "offers" to the short sale lender. That way, they could keep the properties listed in Active status while working multiple short sale offers, since an "offer" is not a "contract".

Here is the new rule from the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors:
"Further clarifying what a short sale listing in Active status represents, the Emerald Coast Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors tightened the MLS rules require a status change whenever an offer has been sent for lender approval or while additional offers are being collected. Listing agents are now required to pull a short sale listing while waiting for a response from a lender whether the seller has agreed to the potential buyer’s offer or not. The following wording was added to the Short Sale paragraph in Section 1.2, Note 3 on November 19, 2009:
When an offer is received on a Short Sale listing and that offer is not rejected by the seller within three business days of receipt by the listing brokerage or is sent to one or more lien holders for consideration, that listing may not be left in Active Status.If the seller has accepted the offer – whether or not it is subject to bank approval – the listing must be placed in Contingent or Pending Status. Otherwise, the listing must be Temporarily Withdrawn until all outstanding offers are rejected, the lien holder(s) agrees to the terms of the offer, or until the seller chooses to accept an offer.
The change will prevent several “loop holes” from keeping a listing on the market when offers are being collected by the seller or considered by a lender. Contrary to the belief of some MLS subscribers, most MLS Rules, this one included, may not be superseded by the desires of the seller or by agreement of the buyer and seller. The new rule goes into effect immediately."
I think this is a good move, what say you?


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Lot 6 Country Club Dr., Santa Rosa Beach Florida - Off 30-A


This quarter-acre lot is in Country Club Estates, off 30-A in Santa Rosa Beach Florida. Mostly wooded, it would be the ideal location for your new South Walton home. This Santa Rosa Beach lot is short distance to public beach access, Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Place shopping on 30-A. Lot size approximately 76 x 142. Buy and build your retirement or vacation home in South Walton!
Offered at $59,900


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Friday, December 18, 2009

St. Martin Beachwalk Villas #221, Destin Florida Condo for Sale


This Destin condo in St. Martin Beachwalk Villas is centrally located on the beach side of highway 98, you can walk to Big Kahuna's Water Park, Mellow Mushroom Pizza, the grocery or convenience store if needed. A short board walk takes you to Sugar Sand Beaches and Emerald Waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This Destin condo will make a great vacation rental or a place to call home with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a split floor plan. The living area and master bedroom open to the balcony overlooking the community pool and a peek of Gulf Views from the Balcony and south windows of the unit. St Martin Beachwalk is a quaint Beach Community for a vacation or your home. It is also located 10 minutes from Destin Commons, Henderson Beach, and golf galore!
Offered at $199,900.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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1227 Quail Ridge, Quiet Wood Subdivision, Destin FL - Short Sale Home with Inground Pool


Spacious Destin short sale home,1227 Quail Ridge, on cul-de-sac in Quiet Wood subdivision with half-acre lot! Improvements include tile in main living areas, granite counters in kitchen, roof new in 2004 with dimensional shingles. Inground pool with new paper filter, gazebo. Gazebo with red and white grapes, orange, lemon and fig trees. This Destin short sale property needs some work, but with a pool, large lot and great location, this home has unbeatable features!
Offered at $199,900


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Monday, December 14, 2009

36 Highland Dr., Fort Walton Beach Florida- Short Sale - Bring Your Toolbox!


This Fort Walton Beach short sale home needs your TLC, but it has a large yard and is on a quiet side street. Some plumbing newer, two outbuildings, A/C new with some warranty left and transferable, dishwasher broken (seller to repair), garbage disposal loud, newer roof with dimensional shingles, sprinkler system (2 broken heads), lawn pump. One broken window, one ceiling fan does not work. This Fort Walton Beach Florida short sale home is a quick jaunt to Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, Okaloosa Island beach, the Santa Rosa Mall, restaurants or the parks!
Roll up your sleeves, bring your toolbox, and make this Fort Walton Beach short sale house your home!
Offered at $89,900.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

HAFA and Short Sales- How Will It Affect You?

As you may have heard on the news, the U.S. Treasury is trying to make short sales, well, shorter! Many homeowners and buyers in the Destin and Fort Walton Beach areas have been plagued for waiting months for short sale approvals. Realtors are at their wits end. Lenders are overloaded with requests. Waiting five months for a short sale approval is becoming the norm. The new program that is supposed to help is called "Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program" or "HAFA".
What Treasury is trying to do is help streamline the short sale process by suggesting guidelines to the participating lenders. That's "suggestions" and "guidelines". That does not equal "requirements" in the way I read it.

Here is a summary of the proposed short sale changes, who is eligible, and what you might expect to change if you do qualify for the HAFA program. Remember, I am condensing here and pointing out what might be important to you, the homeowner, as it relates to short sales. There are many details, requirements and forms that make up this new program.
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE?
You might be eligible for HAFA if your lender participates in the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), and your mortgage is not underwritten by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. HAMP offers you the opportunity for assistance by lowering your payments or delaying payments to keep you in your home. You must meet the HAMP requirements as follows, to be part of HAFA, whether or not you choose a modification.
These qualifications are:
1) You have missed payments or are about to default
2) The home is your primary residence
3) You got your primary mortgage before Jan. 1, 2009 and your balance is less than $729,750
4) Your monthly mortgage payment is greater than 31% of your gross income
The HAFA Supplemental Directive states that the servicers (your lenders) have the "option to determine the extent to which short sales or deeds-in-lieu will be offered". So this does not look like a slam dunk, guys!
Expanding on that, HAFA states that a participating lender must follow its investor guidelines to create their own policy, with criteria for your eligibility to include: how cooperative and "motivated" you are, the amount of the loss on your mortgage, and local market conditions, among other things. In addition, HAFA states that it is up to the servicer and investor to decide if allowing you to be in this special short sale program is in their best interest. That tells me they have a lot of leeway in deciding if you will benefit from HAFA at all.

THE GOOD NEWS if you get a short sale through this program, there can be no deficiency judgment later! That will help many leery Bank of America short sale sellers, whose approval letters reference the right to seek a deficiency in the future. More good news- your lender may not ask you for a promissory note or a cash contribution if they participate in HAFA and you do a short sale. More "positives"…
POSITIVE: If you are eligible for this program, and your lender participates, you must be given the chance to do a short sale or deed-in-lieu prior to the lender foreclosing.
POSITIVE: The program says you do not have to resubmit your financial paperwork for the short sale (a big pain for many short sale sellers) after you have already provided it for HAMP.
POSITIVE: Your lender will determine the acceptable net from your anticipated short sale prior to you participating in the program. This should save time versus a typical short sale, where the lender determines if a contract is acceptable after it is submitted for consideration. The minimum proceeds will be stated in terms of actual dollar amount, percentage of market value or percentage of your list price.
POSITIVE: Your lender will state what closing costs they will pay for the sale in advance. This will save contracts where the buyer asks for too much in closing costs- no wasted negotiating.
POSITIVE: You will receive $1500 relocation incentive upon closing your short sale.

*** OTHER THINGS you need to know:
You cannot remain in the home as a tenant after closing.
You must not be related to the buyer (arms length).
You cannot earn a real estate commission if you are a licensee and sell the home yourself.
You may be required to make payments deemed "affordable" by HAFA until your property is sold. This is based on a calculation of your income and expenses.
You must maintain the property and pay association dues until it is sold.
The servicer will pay your junior lienholder up to $3000 (or 3% of the junior balance) to complete the short sale, but YOU must take care of other impediments to selling, for example, an IRS tax lien or a judgment which might affect your sale. Your senior lienholder gets a monetary incentive when your junior lienholder waives the right to a future deficiency. This part of the program "may" inspire better terms from your second mortgage holder. NOTE: HAFA does not state this as a requirement, though, so you may still have a responsibility to pay your junior lienholder cash or a promissory note if they agree to the short sale!
If you have mortgage insurance (MI) on your note, the MI company must agree to waive its right to a cash contribution from you or note or you won't qualify for HAFA.
MORE PROCEDURES: When you receive an offer on your property, you will have three business days, with your Realtor’s assistance, to get a copy of the contract, buyer pre-approval, and junior lien documentation to your lender. If you are using the standard HAFA program with a pre-approved net price (SSA), you should receive an approval or rejection with 10 business days, or about three weeks of receipt. However, if you have not gone through the HAMP modification program and standard SSA (sorry I am throwing in acronyms again), then your approval time will be lengthened. In this situation (alternate RASS), the program requires 14 more days to allow you to decide if you want a modification (well, of course at this point you don't or you would have already done so, right), and for you to provide all the financial documentation necessary.
Finally, don't expect to get off the hook with credit reporting or tax obligations from your short sale. Even with HAFA, your short sale will be reported "account paid in full for less than full balance" and you should consult with an accountant to determine any tax liabilities from your cancelled debt.
There is a lot to this new HAFA program, which officially starts on April 5, 2010 (although your lender may participate sooner). How many people it will actually help is questionable. If it does work, it will speed up your short sale. If it does not, there are still many options available to you.

It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Isle, Destin Short Sale - Approved by Chase/Washington Mutual


This townhouse on Durango Road, Holiday Isle in Destin Florida has been approved as a short sale. It is on a canal on Destin Harbor with a dock. It needed significant work due to an active water leak.

Lender: Washington Mutual, now Chase

Mortgage Balance: $359,000 appr

Sale Price: $195,000 appr

Approval Time: 5.5 Months

If you need to sell your home as a short sale in Destin or Sandestin, Florida, it is best to hire an experienced short sale agent.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Crestview Short Sale Approved By GMAC as HUD / FHA Short Sale


This beautiful home at 610 Adams Drive, Crestview Florida was just approved for short sale by GMAC.


Mortgage Type: FHA /HUD

Approved Price: $115,000

Approval Time: 108 Days

Sales notes: Since this was an FHA/HUD short sale, special procedures had to be followed. The seller was required to write a letter explaining why the home was vacant. FHA short sales typically require the owners to occupy the property. In addition, because of the HUD short sale guidelines, the approval stated the sellers would receive $1000 upon closing.


Do you need to sell your FHA-insured home as a short sale? Here is the updated summary of requirements for HUD Short Sales, also called "Pre-Foreclosure" Sales:


You must be delinquent 31 days or more at the time of sale.
You must list the property with an un-related Licensed Real Estate Broker
You must actively market the property for four months (up to six).

For the first 30 days of marketing, the short sale lender (mortgagee) may only approve offers that will result in a minimum net sale proceeds of 88% of the "as-is" appraised Fair Market Value (FMV). During the next 30 days of marketing, the lender may only approve offers that will result in minimum net sale proceeds of 86% of the "as-is" appraised FMV. For the rest of the marketing time (60 days), the lender may only approve offers that will result in minimum net sale proceeds of 84% of the "as-is" appraised FMV.

The property must be an owner-occupied, except for cases of job transfer, death, divorce, job loss
There should be written proof of your decrease in income showing inability to pay the mortgage, job loss, etc.
HUD will pay up to 1% of buyer's mortgage as part of closing costs if the new mortgage is also FHA, plus reasonable "seller" costs
HUD allows 6% Realtor commission
HUD will not pay for Home Warranties, points or lender's title insurance
You must get approval to participate in the HUD Pre-Foreclosure Sale Program in advance
Upon acceptance into the program, you will be given Approval To Participate Form which will outline program restrictions
Here are details of the HUD Short Sale (Pre-Foreclosure) Sale Program. Remember, these guidelines apply to FHA-insured loans only, and there may be some latitude in those requirements. These guidelines are subject to change.

HUD Frequently Asked Short Sale Questions

For more information contact the HUD National Servicing Center. Contact me to help you with your short sale.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Are You A Robot, Or Do You Shut Off Your Cell Phone Off at Night?


It was around 5:00 and I was talking on the phone to another real estate agent. She had some questions about one of my listings. She said she might call me back later if she thought of anything else. I said "I will talk to you in the morning. I turn my cell phone off at 5:30."

"What!?" she replied, "How can you do that? I leave my phone on all night! I've had buyers call me at 11:30 p.m. I wish I could turn my phone off!"

I told her, "You teach others how to treat you. If you jump at 9:00 p.m., your customer will always expect you will be available then. If you return the call in the morning, then they will understand you work during business hours."

Lately, there has been quite a fuss about always answering phone calls no matter what time. Forget about your privacy. Forget that you have a life and are a human being. You are supposed to be an automaton if you sell real estate. Definition of automaton:



automaton


1. a mechanical device operating under its own hidden power; robot

2. a person who acts mechanically or leads a routine monotonous life

[from Latin, from Greek, from automatos spontaneous, self-moving]


You know what? I am not an automaton. I am not a robot. I went on to tell this agent, "I would not be effective if I worked 24 hours a day." You see, I have peak hours of operation, being a living human being. My personal peak email hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. My peak talking hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. My peak meeting hours are 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. You might be different. If I represented my seller or buyer off-peak, I would be doing them a disservice.

In twenty years of selling real estate, I have not once had a seller or buyer complain that I did not take their call at 8:30 p.m. Bottom line, I think people respect you more if you respect yourself and your own time. They won't even question it.

Give it a try. It won't hurt. Maybe you will become more effective. Maybe you will even gain part of your life back.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This Is The Short Sale Department, How May I Help You?


Ring ring ring ring. Thank you for calling Short Sale. For priority service, please enter your 10-digit account number followed by the pound sign.

88302720572#

Please enter the last four digits of your social security number followed by the pound sign.

4306#

That number is not found. One moment please.

"Hello. This is Loss Mitigation, what is your account number?"

88302720572

"Thank you, and your name?"

Wendy Rulnick, listing broker - authorized.

"Let me find your authorization... OK, I have it. The borrower's name?"

Joe Miles III

"Mailing address?"

12 Kemp Court, Onedon, IL 34003

"Thank you. We have on file a home telephone of 307-368-7110."

I don't have that number.

"We also have 307-993-0204. Do you have that?"

No, the only number I have that I know you have is 833-293-6624.

"The homeowner needs to call in and update his records."

He has already done that, yet every time I call I am given the wrong phone numbers.

"Thank you. The property address?"

20 Holmes St., Destin Florida 32541

"What are the last four of the social?"

4306

"The buyer's name?"

Cecil Bedwell

"Thank you. How may I help you?"

I am calling for the status of the short sale.

"We have no further information on the file. Is there anything else I may help you with?"

No, thank you, have a great day!


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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