December Housing Scorecard Shows Continued Home Affordability

RISMEDIA, December 27, 2010—The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the December edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard. The latest housing figures show continued home affordability in the housing market, with interest rates near record lows, but the market remains fragile, as prices are unsettled. Foreclosure starts and completions dropped significantly in November, as lenders review internal servicing procedures. The housing scorecard is a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market.

“The Obama Administration’s broad set of programs have helped promote stability for the housing market, neighborhoods, and the nation’s homeowners, but there is much more work to be done,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic. “Since taking office in 2009, the Administration’s efforts have helped millions of families stay in their homes and helped millions more refinance, but the data clearly show that the market remains extremely fragile. That’s why we’re continuing to focus on successfully implementing the programs we’ve put in place—such as additional refinancing assistance and emergency loans to help unemployed homeowners—and ensuring that help is available to homeowners as early as possible.”

“While much work remains to be done to help families that have been hurt by this crisis, the Administration’s programs have benefitted many homeowners directly while setting standards for the entire industry,” said acting Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. “This is a major reason why there have been more than twice as many modifications and other foreclosure alternatives as foreclosure completions since April 2009.”

The December Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market including:

-Foreclosure starts and completions dropped significantly in November. As lenders review internal procedures related to foreclosure processing, many foreclosure actions have been delayed, leading to a 21% drop in foreclosure activity in November. While this is the biggest month over month decrease since 2005, the decline is likely to be temporary as lenders eventually revise and resubmit foreclosure paperwork in the coming months.

-As expected with the expiration of the Home Buyer Tax Credit, new and existing home sales have remained below levels seen in the first half of 2010. However, this month’s report also shows that home prices and home equity declined moderately, as prices remain unsettled at this fragile stage of the recovery.

-More than 3.9 million mortgage aid offers were initiated between April 2009 and the end of October 2010—more than double the number of foreclosure completions during that time. These actions included over 1.4 million Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) trial modification starts, more than 600,000 Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions, and nearly 1.8 million proprietary modifications under HOPE Now. While some homeowners may have received help from more than one program, the number of agreements offered were more than double the number of foreclosure completions for the same period (1.7 million).

Data in the scorecard also show that the recovery in the housing market continues to remain fragile. While the recovery will take place over time, the Administration remains committed to its efforts to prevent avoidable foreclosures and stabilize the housing market.

Althea Garner
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida and California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

REALTORS(R) Association of Saint Lucie
Vice Chair, Global Business – 2011

Foreclosure Update

For the second month in a row, foreclosure activity was impacted by voluntary foreclosure suspensions, after certain practices commonly used during the foreclosure process were called into question. While initially limited to judicial foreclosure states, the so-called robo-signing controversy began impacting foreclosures in non-judicial states, including those in our coverage area in early October.

Foreclosure starts were down across the board in November, ranging from a 9.3 percent month-over-month decline in California to a staggering 31.7 percent decline in Washington. Despite the fact that robo-signing was not directly tied to foreclosure filings in non-judicial foreclosure states, foreclosure starts in our coverage area have dropped 25.5 percent since the controversy began.

Foreclosure sales continued to be impacted by robo-signing related foreclosure suspensions more directly, as Ally (GMAC), Bank of America and PNC all halted foreclosure sales nationwide, contributing to a 38.7 percent drop in foreclosure sales over the last two months within our coverage are. In November, foreclosure sales dropped the most dramatically in Washington, after having seen little impact in October; while California had the least dramatic decline with a drop of 9.0 percent. After having had the largest impact on foreclosure sales, Bank of America slowly began foreclosing again the week of December 6th. Their return will likely lead back to normal foreclosure levels in the months to come.

“Since September 2008 the foreclosure process has seen significant bottlenecks, first due to government intervention and now lender ineptitude,” says Sean O’Toole, CEO and Founder of ForeclosureRadar.com. “Unfortunately the resulting delays will only serve to extend the time it takes to recover and return to a normal housing market.”

Arizona
Continuing downward, Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped 24.4 percent from October to November, reaching their lowest level since March 2008. The holidays, and issues around the robo-signing controversy, likely contributed to the significant drop. Foreclosure sales were down 14.8 percent from October to November, following a 26.9 percent decline the prior month resulting in the lowest number of sales since September 2009.
View all Arizona stats by state, county, city or ZIP

California
Foreclosure activity slowed across the board in California. Notice of Default filings dipped 9.3 percent month over month, while Notice of Trustee filings declined a mere 1.0 percent from October. Cancellations of foreclosure sales dropped 8.5 percent in November, down 54 percent from their peak in June, likely due in part to the failure of the Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) to help California homeowners. Foreclosure sales are down by 9.0 percent from October, though sales to 3rd parties increased by 7.8 percent.
View all California stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Nevada
Foreclosure activity in Nevada dropped dramatically over the past two months. Foreclosure sales are down 22.1 percent from October to November, and 50.5 percent from September. Notice of default filings are also down for the second month in a row, dropping 12.7 percent from October, and 24.3 percent from September. Clearly, Nevada foreclosure activity was impacted not only by the holidays, but also by the robo-signing controversy.
View all Nevada stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Oregon
Oregon’s Notice of Default filings and Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped for the third consecutive month, reaching their lowest point since Q4 2008. Notice of Default filings declined 25.0 percent from October to November, and Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped 21.2 percent. Foreclosure sales declined 26.7 percent in November, and have dropped 54.3 percent since September. After a four month decline, cancellations of foreclosure sales increased 34.8 percent from October.
View all Oregon stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Washington
While Washington showed little impact from the robo-signing controversy in October, foreclosure activity dropped substantially in November. Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped 31.7 percent from October, but are still up 16.2 percent from a year earlier. Similarly, foreclosure sales dropped 38.1 percent from October but are up 29.3 percent from November 2009.
View all Washington stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Althea Garner
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida and California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

REALTORS(R) Association of Saint Lucie
Vice Chair, Global Business – 2011

Should She Worry?

I received a frantic calls the other day from a lady who came home to find a notice tacked to her front door. Her question was: “Should I be worried?”

Background:
According to the caller, her husband had stopped paying their mortgage in February 2009, but didn’t tell her until documents had to be signed by them both for a loan modification 2 months ago. Needless to say this put great strain on a long standing marriage.

The loan modification was started – or so they were told….. nothing was received in writing .

The document stated that the house was to be sold on the steps of the Courthouse on September 30th – My answer was short and sweet: YES, YOU NEED TO BE WORRIED, but she insisted that her husband had been told just that morning by the loan modifier, not to worry.

In a situation like this, the property owner should have received a running record IN WRITING, of contact that the modifier had had with the lender. After all, what proof do they have that the modifier has done anything at all? Based on the Notice of Trustee Sale, it would be a fair guess that little or nothing had been done and certainly nothing had been achieved. The home owner has the right to know what progress if any, has been made.

Another distraught home owner listed his home with me as a short sale, as he too had not made mortgage payments since February 2009. I was encouraged, due to the shortage of time, to engage the services of a short sale attorney. I was assured that neither I, nor the seller would have to pay for this service, being told that the payment would be “a line item on the Escrow statement”. This led us all to believe that the lender would cover the attorneys costs.

From the outset, this proved to be a debacle! The first person I dealt with didn’t keep me abreast of progress, and requested the same documents of me three times. Three times I sent the documents to him and finally asked my Title rep to contact him.

Having received no information for three weeks, I found that I had been passed to another person, who also relied on me calling HER! Five weeks passed, with only three successful contacts which revealed little or nothing.

Now, two months in, I learned from the attorney in a round table meeting, that if the lender refuses to pay short sale attorney costs, and the seller CAN’T pay short sale attorney costs, these costs would be tacked onto the BUYERS costs! This means that the buyer would be paying an additional 3% for the property! This fact had not been disclosed to myself, my broker, the seller OR the buyer!

At this stage, (as his deadline date was growing closer) the seller fired the attorney and I took over the negotiations at no additional cost to anyone. From my very first call with the adjuster, I discovered that the lender had sent documents of approval to the attorney who had neglected to let me know DESPITE MY CONVERSATIONS WITH HER!

Three weeks after releasing the attorney, I received an abusive and threatening call from the attorney. When I tried to speak, he simply shouted over me – I hung up! My seller received a similar call, threatening him with a lawsuit.

What right do attorneys have to bully people, when they are guilty of lack of communication, lack of performance and with holding information? Sadly, this tactic usually works with the home owners because they are scared and confused, however it is at this time when they deserve understanding and assistance.

Home owners are falling victim to this sort of dealing, on a daily basis. It is ‘easy money’ for attorneys and fly-by-night loan modifiers – many of whom are attorneys. I don’t know what the loan modifier charged, but the short sale attorney would have charged 3% of the sale price, for making a few phone calls!

Although I couldn’t help the lady whose home was to be sold on the Courthouse steps, I did put her in touch with a colleague who arranged for FHA to take over. Once FHA steps in, there is a good chance that the auction process will be arrested, while they apply for a loan modification on behalf of the home owner. This is a free service.

Althea Garner

REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty
Your House Of Homes Online
(714) 264-3458

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

http://www.BuyCheapHomesToday.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Education Chairperson – 2009 (South County)
VP of Membership – 2010 (South County)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

Selling Your Home Yourself

The following appeared in a Blog by a Texas company:

“Posted on August 17th, 2009 by Kimberly Edwards

If you’re into Los angeles California Real Estate, and if you’re selling your home, be sure to get it seen by the masses for  a quick sale.

 

MomsHouse

 

Sometimes that means you’ll want to list it with a realtor, but be sure you’re still trying to sell it privately yourselves – that means you’ll want an exclusionary clause in your contract with your seller’s agent. This will allow you to “buy out” your realtor for whatever agreed upon price if you actually sell your home yourself.

Are you dealing with Santa Monica Real Estate? No problem, LAHomeSearch.com can help you sell your home quickly and they provide you with Seller’s and Buyer’s Resources.

* Tip: Nowadays, you can pay to list your house on the MLS and not use a realtor! How cool is that?

Also, if you’re selling your home, that likely means you’re also looking for a new home to live in.

LA Home Search still has all of your bases covered because you can search their Los Angeles Homes for Sale too!

Now, you know we advocate selling your house on your own, but there are lucrative ways that could help you in the sale of your home, especially if you simply don’t have any time to put into it.

However, still try to sell your property on your own, even if you do list it…again, just make sure it’s in your realtor contract that you can and have a pre-determined amount you can give your realtor if you do sell it yourself!”

Whether this clause is in your contract or not,  your REALTOR(R) is under no obligation to assist you with the documentation or the Escrow,  which leaves you doing all the work and taking all the risks,  while still paying your REALTOR(R)!

In addition,  during the contract period,  the seller is not permitted to advertise the property as a ‘For Sale By Owner’ because he is legally contracted with a brokerage.

The best scenario, would be to include a clause that permits the seller to inytoduce buyers to the REALTOR(R) and that the REALTOR(R) take the buyer to fruition. 

Remember,  the REALTOR(R):

  • is covered by E&O insurance – the seller is not!
  • pays for and does all the marketing/advertising, Open Houses, signage etc
  • keeps abreast of new law changes and scams
  • is qualified at negotiations
  • is knowledgable about the Escrow process, what has to be done and when
  • knows what CAN go wrong and how to avoid it

Remember also, that the REALTOR(R) does this day in and day out.  For the seller,  this is a ‘sometime’ thing!

There’s a reason that selling property requires a license!

 

Althea Garner

REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty
Your House Of Homes Online
(714) 264-3458

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

http://www,BuyCheapHomesToday.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Chairperson – 2009 (South County)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

Buyers: Beware Unlicensed Agents!

When an agent receives a call requesting to show buyers their listing, the rules are simple:

1)  Get the buyers agent name

2)  Get the buyers agent Brokerage name

3)  Get the buyers agent license number

With this information,  we are able to grant permission for a buyers agent and his/her buyers to enter the property.

Such was the case with my listing last week and as expected,  I released the combination code to the ‘agent’, granting permission for the buyers agent to take his buyers to view the property.

My seller called me about an hour later to say that the key, together with the front of the lockbox was laying on the floor in front of the front door,  and HUGE RED FLAGS went off in my mind!

I immediately called the agent (Joe Chaides) asking if he was WITH the buyers at the time and his answer was “No,  I’m in Bakersfield” – the house is in Long Beach!  When I questioned him,  he just hung up!  A second call obtained the same result.

When I called the Brokerage,  the Broker was unavailable (and the e-mail address I was given, bounced – I was also told that this Broker was away and did not have a cell phone!).  I was told by a man at the Brokerage,  that the agent in question did not work there anymore, so I ran a check on his license and sure enough, his license had lapsed!

What does all this mean?

1)  That there is an unlicensed agent in Bakersfield, posing as a REALTOR(R).

2)  The buyer/s that he represents, have no qualified advisor and therefore no legal recourse.

3)  The Brokerage name that the agent used is ultimately responsible – Castita Realty, Inc 

4)  Good agents who work according to the rules and regulations of the DRE (Department of Real Estate) are likely to be judged according to this unlicensed agents unlawful behavior!

5)  Both the Buyers and the agent are guilty of unlawful entry into a private residence – breaking and entering!

As a result of the above,  I immediately had the sellers home re-keyed and a new lock box applied to the property.

It was abundantly clear to me that the man at the Brokerage had contacted the unlicensed agent because I got a message on my cell phone (a message that will be retained for legal proceedings) that clearly stated “I just received a call from the office…..” .  Had this man not still been working for this Brokerage,  his message would likely have said: ” a call from my previous office” or “a call from Casita Realty, Inc”,  but to call that Brokergae ‘the office’,  indicated posession and therefore,  this unlicensed agent is STILL conducting business as a REALTOR(R) AND under the umbrella of Casita Realty, Inc!

I also still have the unlicensed agents phone message from the day before which states: “My buyers would like to see your listing at [address in Long Beach]” in which he admits that the buyer is HIS client!  This message will also be retained for legal purposes.

During the ensuing conversation with Joe Chiades the following day,  he freely admitted that he did not have a valid real estate license and that he knew that he was doing wrong!  I daresay that he did not inform the unsuspecting buyers of this fact and I wonder how many other home seekers and sellers are falling prey to this type of indiscriminate ripoff?

I have reported this man to the DRE and feel very strongly that this is a person who should NOT be allowed to hold a real estate license, because when one is an agent,  we are placed in a position of trust.  How can anyone (buyer, seller, Broker, REALTOR(R)) trust a man who has so blatantly and knowingly, broken the law?

So,  here’s the crunch:

Joe Chaides,  told me that he felt that it was OK to grant access to his ‘buyers’, because he assumed that the house was vacant.  If he had been a member of his local MLS board (Bakersfield Association of REALTORS(R)) ,  he would have seen that the house is indeed, occupied by the owner,  so now he is also not paying Board fees!  A simple search of this Board, reveals that neither the agent, nor the Broker of note, nor the Brokerage, come up in the search! Why should some agents feel the need to do business honestly, by adhering to the rules and regulations of the Department of Real Estate, by maintaining a valid license and by paying Board fees,  while others do not?  For those who do not,  is it right that they continue to conduct business in real estate?

If his buyers wanted to put in an Offer on this (or any other property),  how was he going to complete the Offer documents,  which REQUIRE the agents name, license number and Brokerage name and number?  Very simple…….  this unlicensed agent would have put the buyer in touch with someone at Casita Realty, Inc, to process the documents,  which means that Casita Realty, Inc is ALSO at fault for circumventing the system.

Brokers are required to ensure that agents working under them are in fact holders of a valid DRE license. Buyers and sellers are strongly advised to perform their own due diligence in checking that the real estate individual that represents them, is in fact licensed,  by going to the DRE website and searching for the name of the licensee or broker.

 

Althea Garner

REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty
Your House Of Homes Online
(714) 264-3458

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

http://www,BuyCheapHomesToday.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Chairperson – 2009 (South County)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009