Short Sales from the Bank’s Point-of-View

I recently attended a short sale round table where a loss mitigation manager from a local bank discussed his views on short sales. It was interesting to hear from the bank's point of view. What I found very interesting was the LM manager's attitude. Although he is empathetic to those who have a true hardship, his primary focus is on protecting the bank's assets. If he can help the customers in the process, he is happy to do it. But in the end, they chose to borrow that money and they agreed to pay it back. And he wants as much of it back as he can get. For those who are trying to use the current economic conditions for their own … [Read more...]

The Myth of Loan Pre-Qualification

Remember when you could call up a lender, tell them how much you make and how much you owe in car and credit card payments and they would tell you how much you qualify for? Well, those days are over... Today, I have the unpleasant task of cancelling a contract for one of my buyer clients because their loan fell through. This is happening way too often as the mortgage industry continues to tighten up on their lending practices. My clients were pre-qualified and the lender assured us that they were in good shape. But when we presented the contract and it was time to put the deal together, my clients were told that they are out of luck. At … [Read more...]

Want the $8,000 Tax Credit? Better Move Quick!

The deadline for the $8,000 Tax Credit for First Time Home buyers is December 1, 2009, but you really only have a month left to find a home if you want to qualify. To meet the Dec 1 deadline, your COE must be on or before November 30, 2009 which is the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday. Since Wednesday, Nov 25 will most likely be a half day for Title companies and banks, the last day you can realistically close is November 24, 2009. A word of warning: You DO NOT want to close on Tuesday, Novemebr 24!! That day will be insane. If you really want to qualify for the tax credit plan your close of escrow during (or before!) the week of … [Read more...]

Attention: This is NOT a Buyer’s Market!

Last year, here in Phoenix, it was a Buyer's market.  This year it is a Seller's market. Plain and simple.  But that message seems to get lost in all the media hype about foreclosures and short sales, and desperation and reports that the sky is falling.  So, without any hype, without any fanfare, here are the facts: Months of Inventory:  The magic number is 6 months - that's a balanced market.  Right now, there are 4.2 months worth of inventory in Metro Phoenix.  Last month, there was 5 mths worth of inventory and last year there was 9.2 months worth of inventory.  Conclusion:  there are not enough houses to go around. Pending Sales vs … [Read more...]

Home Shopping with Kids – A New Perspective on Real Estate

I happen to have four boys - very energetic ones, I might add - so I always enjoy it when my clients bring their kids along when we are shopping for homes.  I probably enjoy it more than my clients do because house shopping with the kids in tow can make the experience a little more stressful, and who needs more stress when you are shopping for a new home!  Over the years, I have learned that kids add their own perspective to real estate and their input can be helpful when trying to make a decision. Here are few things I have observed: Teenagers are all about location, location, location. And this is sage advice that any real estate expert … [Read more...]

What As-Is Really Means – REO Buyers Beware

I recently worked with a Buyer on an REO (bank-owned) transaction.  Her budget was tight so we had been slugging it out with all the other bargain hunters here in Gilbert to find a great home at a great price.  Because we hoped to close the deal sometime in 2009, we decided to forego short sales and that left mostly REO's.  It was tough to find a home within my Buyer's budget that met all of her criteria.  We were outbid several times, when we finally thought we hit pay dirt with a great little home in Neely Farms. Here's how the property was described in the listing: BANK OWNED PROPERTY. THIS IS A GREAT PROPERTY FOR A FIRST TIME HOME BUYER … [Read more...]

Bank-Owned Homes – Selling like Hotcakes!

I recently posted about the zombies of real estate - the short sales.  At the opposite side of the spectrum are the foreclosed homes, commonly known as REO's (Real Estate Owned) or homes owned by the bank.  REO's are being listed at very competitive prices and often sell in a matter of days. In many areas, the majority of homes sold are REO's. Here are some interesting statistics from February: In Gilbert, 51% of homes sold in February were REO's. Only 16% of homes listed were REO's.  Months of inventory of REO's: 2.5 In the City of Phoenix,  81% of homes sold in February were REO's. Only 36% of homes listed were REO's.  Months of inventory … [Read more...]

First Time Homebuyer’s Tax Credit – Update

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 authorized a $7,500 tax credit for qualified first-time home buyers - those buyers who have not owned a home in the last three years. The homes had to be purchased on or after April 9, 2008 and before January 1, 2009. Although the $7500 would be fully refunded when you filed your tax return - either as a credit to your tax bill or as a refund - the tax credit that had to be paid back over a period of 15 years or when the house was sold, whichever occurred first. For more details on the Bill, check out the National Association of Homebuilder's Summary at … [Read more...]