October 25, 2010

What You Need to Know About HUD Homes -AND- Why They Are So Affordable

Showcase Realty has recently acquired the honor of being one of the few brokerages able to list HUD Homes in the Charlotte, NC Metro and surrounding areas. The following is a quick helpful explanation of HUD Homes from the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development:

What is a HUD Home?
A HUD Home may be a single-family house, a townhome, condominium or other type of residence. The properties were deeded to HUD/FHA by mortgage companies who had foreclosed on FHA-insured mortgage loans. Now HUD must sell these homes – as quickly as possible at market value – in order to obtain the maximum financial return on its mortgage insurance funds.

Who can buy a HUD Home?
Anyone who has the money or can qualify for the necessary amount of mortgage financing can purchase a HUD Home. You do not have to be low-incomeor meet any other auch limitations.

Can I get a HUD Home for free, or for one dollar?
No. HUD acquires its properties through the foreclosure of FHA insured mortgages. One of HUD’s many missions is to maximize return to the FHA insurance fund, which it does by selling the properties at fair market value.

How do I buy a HUD Home?
HUD’s policy is to market acquired properties on a competitive basis with offers being submitted through any participating licensed real estate broker. Local brokers will assist you in the transaction. They can show the property to prospective buyers, as well as answer questions and provide information on the location of parks, schools, shopping and employment centers.

Are HUD Homes meant for low income people?
HUD Homes come in a variety of price ranges, though most are affordably priced, making them accessible to low and moderate income Americans.

What are the income requirements?
If you make a cash purchase, there are no income requirements. Otherwise, you must be able to qualify for a particular type of mortgage financing based on established mortgage lending criteria.

How does HUD decide how much to charge for a HUD Home?
THe listing price of a HUD property is a price based on the appraised value.

Can investors purchase HUD Homes?
Yes. However, HUD offers its properties to owner/occupants for a period before making them available to investors.

What happens if I can’t close the sale within the time permitted by HUD?
You’ll probably have to pay fees for an extension of time, usually in increments of 15 days.

Is there any way for me to get advanced notice about homes that will be coming up for sale?
No. HUD Homes are listed for sale in the local multilple listing service (MLS), the Internet at www.hud.gov or ask your broker.

Since the partnership is still very new, Showcase Realty’s HUD Homes have not become available on MLS yet – but will be very soon. Keep checking back to see when they will be listed or keep an eye on our website.

Existing Home Sales Plummet Across the U.S

With the expiration of the tax credit, home sales have been dropping sharply around the nation. Experts reported that “Completed transactions of single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and co-ops dropped 25.5 percent in July from the year-earlier total, falling to the lowest level since 1999.” Smart investors stand to make a killing during this economic downturn. With sellers experiencing pressures to move and increasing number of foreclosures, especially in the Charlotte area, homes are being sold far below tax values. It is the perfect time to explore REO properties and start bidding!

To read more about about this topic  click here

Women in Default Services-Las Vegas Conference

WinDS is  an organization determined to recognize, commend, and open doors for talented, dedicated, creative, and hard-working women who wish to expand and enhance their careers. Their mission is to provide you with very practical opportunities to succeed personally and professionally in default services. Being part of this organization I was able to attend their conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Upon arriving I had the opportunity to speak with founding memebers of WinDS and learn more about the begining of the company and how it took only 9 months to do the near-impossible. After enjoying many presentations and learning more about women and their various business experiences, I had the chance to mingle and network with other members of WinDS from all around the country. Being able to learn from these women and share stories with fellow members and speakers was a great experience. I am fortunate to be recognized by WinDS as a Charter Member and recieved a certification as a Women Owned Business by Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

Perfect Buyers Market

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are beginning to initiate foreclosures at a faster pace.

According to a new study from Lender Processing Services (LPS), GSE foreclosure starts have been accelerating and are currently at all-time highs. From May to June, foreclosures initiated by Fannie and Freddie jumped 21 percent.

The GSEs’ prime borrowers are performing the worst. Foreclosure rates among the agencies’ prime loans have soared nearly 400 percent since January 2008, with a notable hastening tracked over the last two months, LPS reports. That increase is second only to the swell seen in non-agency “jumbo” mortgages, for more than $729,750.

LPS says the recent momentum in GSE foreclosure starts coincides with Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) cancellations, with most of the volume concentrated in the very late stages of delinquency (six-plus months).

The latest HAMP statistics from the Treasury showed an extremely elevated number of cancellations from trial plans, as many borrowers who received temporary modifications have not been able to verify their income or have missed trial payments.

As of the end of June, 520,814 HAMP trials had been cancelled – more than have been converted to permanent status. In addition, 8,823 permanent modifications have been cancelled under the federal program.

In contrast, LPS says foreclosure starts have remained relatively stable over the last several months for the rest of the industry. The company puts the overall foreclosure rate as of the end of June at 3.65 percent, but notes that foreclosure inventories are still elevated.

According to LPS’ market data, total foreclosure starts for 2010 are at 1,456,000. That stat is lower than 1,682,000 for the same period in 2009, but up from 1,245,000 in the first half of 2008.

Mortgage Rates Remain Virtually Unchanged, Linger at Historical Lows

Rates are at a historic low, check out the article that DSNews.com recently published about it!

“After weeks of continuous declines, mortgage rates remained nearly flat for the week ending June 3, 2010, Freddie Mac and Bankrate reported Thursday.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.79 percent with an average 0.8 point this week, barely inching up from last week’s average of 4.78 percent. However, this week’s average was significantly lower than last year at this time when 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.29 percent.Continue reading

Top 10 Myths About Buying a Foreclosure

Trulia.com and RealtyTrac recently surveyed US adults to get some insight into what people think is involved with buying a foreclosure. Here are the Top 10 Myths that were recently posted on Trulia.com and the facts to set the record straight:

1. Foreclosures need a huge amount of work. 92 percent of consumers expressed that if they bought a foreclosure, they would be willing to make home improvements after they closed the deal, with 65 percent being willing to invest 20 percent or less of the purchase price. Although stories of foreclosures missing plumbing and every electrical fixture are very memorable, many foreclosed homes need only the (relatively inexpensive) cosmetics that many new homeowners want to customize no matter what kind of home they’re buying: paint, carpet, etc.

2. Foreclosures sell at massive discounts, compared to other homes. Almost every member – 95 percent – of the surveyed group expected to pay less for a foreclosed home than for a similar, non-foreclosed home; 18 percent had realistic expectations of less than a 25 percent discount. However, 36 percent expected to receive a bargain basement discount of 50 percent or more off the value of a similar non-foreclosure. Reality check: while foreclosures might be discounted massively from what the former owner paid or owed, their discounts are much more modest when compared to their value on today’s market and the prices of similar homes.

3. Buying a foreclosure is risky. 49% of respondents said they perceived buying a foreclosure as risky. And yes – buying a foreclosure at the auction on the county courthouse steps can have risks, including the risk the new owner will take on the former’s owner’s liens and other loans. But most buyers looking for foreclosures are looking at bank-owned properties, which are listed on the open market with other, ‘regular’ homes. Buying these homes is really no more risky than buying a non-foreclosed home

4. You can’t get inspections on the property when you buy a foreclosed home. County auction foreclosures don’t often offer the ability for buyers to have the homes inspected. But virtually all bank-owned properties for sale on the open market not only allow, but encourage buyers to obtain every inspection they deem necessary. This is because almost every bank sells their foreclosed homes as-is, and they want to avoid later liability. It’s in everyone’s best interests to make sure that the buyer has full information about the property’s condition before they close the deal.

5. There are hidden costs to watch out for when buying a foreclosed home. Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents who felt there is a negative stigma to buying a foreclosure expressed the concern that buying a foreclosure poses the danger of hidden costs. At some foreclosure auctions, there are buyer’s premiums and other hefty fees that can really add up and take a chunk out of the effective savings the buyer stood to realize. However, when you buy a bank-owned property that is listed for sale with a real estate agent, the closing costs are the same as they would be if you bought a non-foreclosed home. Overdue property taxes, HOA dues and other bills left behind by the defaulting homeowner are cleared by the bank that owns a foreclosed home before it is sold on the market, though these items should be watched out for if you buy a home at the county foreclosure auction.

6. Foreclosures are more likely to lose their value than “regular” homes. Thirty-five percent of U.S. adults who believed there are downsides to buying foreclosed properties believed this myth. In fact, because foreclosures often offer a discount from the home’s current market value, they may offer some degree of insulation from further depreciation. Whether a home loses its value or not has to do with the dynamics of the local market, including the area’s supply of homes, demand for homes, interest rates and the health of the employment market – not with whether the home was or was not a foreclosure at the time it was purchased.

7. Most foreclosures happen when homeowners just walk away. Out of homeowners with a mortgage, only 1 percent said walking away from their home would be their first choice if they were unable to pay their mortgage. And a whopping 59 percent of mortgage-holders said they wouldn’t walk away from their home – no matter how upside down they were on their mortgage. Most foreclosures happen when the owners lose their jobs or their mortgage adjusts to the point where they absolutely cannot pay the mortgage, no matter how hard they try. Voluntary ‘walk-away’s are simply not as popular as many people think.

8. When you buy a foreclosure, you should lowball the bank – they are desperate to get these homes off their books. Stories about in the press abound about the large numbers of foreclosed homes the banks have on their books. We’ve all heard the adage that banks have no interest in owning these properties. But the real deal is that they’re simply not desperate enough to give these places away. Also, the banks mostly service the defaulted loans – they don’t own them. Various groups of investors do, and they hold the banks accountable to selling the bank-owned property at as high a price as possible, helping them cut their losses. Many banks won’t even consider lowball offers, and many bank-owned properties actually sell for above the asking price. Before a bank will take a lowball offer, they will almost always reduce the list price first, and see if that attracts a higher offer than the lowball one they have in hand.

9. You need to be able to pay in cash in order to buy a foreclosure. Again, if you buy a foreclosed home on the county courthouse steps, you might need to bring a cashier’s check and be ready to pay for the place on the spot. By contrast, bank-owned homes are bought through a more normal real estate transaction, which means buyers can obtain a mortgage to finance the home just like they would if the home weren’t a foreclosure. It is true, though, that in some markets, banks prefer offers from cash buyers, but this tends to be in situations where the property’s condition is pretty dire, and the bank knows this may make it hard for a buyer to obtain financing.

10. It’s easier to buy a foreclosure with bad credit if you get a mortgage with the same bank that owns the property. Think about it: why would the bank want to end up with the same property as a foreclosure, again? Well, that’s what would happen if they allowed buyers with low credit scores to buy their foreclosures just to earn the interest on the mortgage. In reality, many banks do offer incentives like lower fees or closing cost credits for buyers who use their bank for their mortgage. But the buyers must meet the same credit, income and other qualification standards as anyone else would to seal the deal.

How to Save Money by Researching your Mortgage Loan?

Charlotte homes for sale - saving money on charlotte homesMortgage rates continue to decline, and now could be an optimal time to consider buying Charlotte homes, or a Charlotte real estate investment property. The latest data from Zillow Mortgage Rate Ticker indicates that mortgage rates remain steady at 4.84% for a 30 year fixed loan.

Yet, even though rates are low, it is critical to do your mortgage research. We were particularly surprised by a recent Zillow study that indicates mortgage borrowers spend the same amount of time researching and shopping around for a mortgage as they did researching the purchase of a computer or a vacation. Even more surprising was a finding that borrowers spend 50% less time researching a mortgage than they do researching a car purchase. But the average Charlotte home loan costs 5 times as much as the average car, and 80 times as much as the average vacation.

Its critical to do your mortgage research before buying Charlotte homes. By not fully understanding a home loan, you leave yourself open to significant risk and price differentiation. Small differences in the interest rates can result in savings or losses of several thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in the purchase of a home.

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How the Greek Debt Crisis may benefit homeowners

Charlotte home for sale and greek debt crisisThe recent debt crisis in Greece has wreaked havoc on the markets, and many are concerned that the problems in Greece could spread to other European countries including Spain and Portugal.  This has resulted in a flight to safety, as investors look to reduce risk by finding more stable investments.

One of the few positives of this crisis has been a reduction in mortgage rates (which will make it cheaper to buy Charlotte homes for sale).  Nervous investors are moving to less risky investments such as securities issued by the US government.  Because mortgage rates are closely correlated to government bonds, mortgage rates have declined.
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