HAFA Relief

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Some of the pain of short sales may start to wain. The potential salve comes from the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program. It is designed to help homowners who couldn’ keep their home under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)

If the program works as planned, listing, selling and closing will get streamlined and documents will get streamlined for all parties, making short sales less excruciating than they are now for all parties. This new program runs until 12/31/2012.

HAFA eligibility is as follows:

  • Property must be borrower’s principal residence
  • It must be a first lien mortgage originated prior to 1/1/2009
  • The mortgage is delinquent or delinquency is reasonabley foreseable
  • The unpaid principal balance is no more thatn $729,750 for single family residences. Higher limits for duplexes or multi family properties.
  • Borrower’s total monthly mortgage payment exceeds 31 percent of their gross income
  • After notification of potential HAFA eligibility, borrower have 14 days to request HAFA consideration.
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Adventures of a Real Estate Agent

Most people think Realtors don’t do too much for their money and just put a sign in their yard or fill out some paperwork and get paid thousands of dollars. So, I wanted to start an article entitled “Adventures of a Real Estate Agent” I will have some funny and some not so funny stories of the real life things that have happened over the years.  I hope you enjoy them. Well, here we go.

Last week I received a phone call from the buyer’s agent on a rural property that we have listed way out in the country in Sutter County. The buyer’s agent told me that his buyer had called him and told him that there was someone with a truck at my listing “just cleaning out the place” His buyer was very concerned that by the time escrow closed in two weeks all they would be buying would be the shell of a home, with no appliances or anything else.

Well, of course my husband Steve was playing golf all day, and just walked in the door as I am getting off the phone with this agent. I tell my husand all about it and tell him to drive out there and check it out! Now, my studly husband is 66 years old and weighs about 150 lbs. Don’t get me wrong he is my hero, but if he were to come up to a group of young muscular guys I don’t think he would be able to do much physically. So, off he goes as fast as he can to our rural listing. His parting words were “Call the police” .  So, I call the 411 to get the phone number for the Sutter County Sherriffs.  I call the number and it rings and rings. Must be the main office number. So, I call 411 back and tell them I need a different number. They give me that number and I call and the same thing. Ok, now what? I call 911. She says “What’s your emergency” and I give her the 3 second story and tell her I need the number to the Sutter County Sherrif Department. She gives me the number. I call and get someone right away. I tell the lady all about it and tell her my 66 year old husband is on his way out there and she wants to know what kind of car he drives. So I give her all the information. She says she will send someone out there as soon as she can.  No guarantee when. Ok, I say and hang up.

In the meantime I call my husband and tell him the sherriffs are going to check it out and to be careful. My parting words, “I Love you honey, be careful. Call me when you get there” I guess I figure if he is on the phone with me and he walks into a bad situation he will be safer.

Well, he calls me when he pulls into the mile long driveway out in the middle of nowhere of our listing and almost immediately behind him are 3 count em 3 Sutter County Sherrif cars! The Sherrifs went into the properties first and checked them out. No one was there at the moment but they had been there. The property was still in good shape, they hadn’t destroyed anything or removed anything,  just made themselves some lunch and used the bathroom facilities. If you an believe that.

My husband thanked them all for coming out there and helping him check everything out. They said they would do a drive by every once in a while when they could.  The sheriff tells Steve, “Hey you look pretty good for a 66 year old.”

So, thanks to the Sutter County Sheriffs, my studly husband saves the day once again. Gotta love that man!

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Congress passed the $8,000 tax credit extension!

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Congress passed an extension of the closing deadline for the Homebuyer Tax Credit, the Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act (H.R. 5623). The extension applies only to transactions that have signed contracts in place as of April 30, 2010, that have not yet closed. The legislation is designed to create a seamless extension; the new closing deadline for eligible transactions is now September 30, 2010. There will be no gap between June 30 and the date the President signs the bill into law. Extending the tax credit closing deadline will help provide additional stability to real estate markets across the nation.

Great news for those that were not able to make the cut off of June 30th due to the backlog this created.

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7 Things all borrowers should know about FHA loans

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“We have seen home buyer interest in FHA loans go from practically zero three years ago to upwards of 87 percent today,” said Christopher Gardner, founder and president of FHA Pros, LLC. “Despite this rapid rise in popularity, many buyers still do not fully understand the benefits of these loans, and we believe it’s time to change that.”

1. FHA Loans Are Not Only For Lower-Income Borrowers. FHA loans are available to everyone. In fact, even Bill Gates can get one. There is no maximum income restriction associated with FHA loans. Borrowers do need to substantiate income and assets by submitting proper documentation. This requirement ensures that borrowers are well-vetted and truly able to afford their future homes.

2. FHA Loans Are Not Only For First-Time Buyers. Many people believe FHA loans are available only to first-time homebuyers. This is not the case. Whether borrowers are making their first home purchase or their fifth, they can look to FHA loans as a home financing option.

3. FHA Loans Are Not Just Small Loans; In Fact, Loan Amounts Can Be As High As Almost $800,000. The government recently raised the maximum loan amount from its original cap of $362,790 to $793,750 as a way to help stabilize the housing market. The amount a buyer can borrow varies from county to county. Later this summer, condo buyers interested in FHA loans can visit www.checkfhaapproval.com to instantly identify FHA-approved condo associations and review maximum loan amounts for a given location.

4. FHA Loans Are Not Affiliated With The Section 8 Housing Program. While both programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), FHA loans have nothing to do with low-income subsidized housing. FHA loans are simply mortgages insured by FHA. This insurance provided by the federal government allows lenders to lend more freely by assuring them that they will be repaid in the event of default. Most traditional lenders, including Wells Fargo & Co., JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup are able to provide FHA loans to their customers.

5. FHA Loans Are Often More Affordable Than Conventional Loans. While FHA loans typically offer the same interest rates as other loans, borrowers benefit from a much lower down payment of as low as 3.5 percent.

6. FHA-Approved Condo Developments Are More Desirable To Buyers. With 87 percent of home buyers indicating that they plan to use FHA loans, condo associations that are not FHA approved are missing out on a significant pool of prospective buyers. Under rules in place since February 2010, an entire condominium development must now apply to HUD and be granted FHA approval before a buyer can purchase a unit in an association with an FHA loan or before an existing unit owner can refinance into an FHA loan.

Due to the general unwillingness of today’s lenders to extend credit with respect to conventional loans, many borrowers find that FHA is their best bet. Lenders don’t mind lending when the federal government (FHA) assures them of repayment.

Homeowners associations (HOAs) should note that although FHA-insured mortgages might be easier to obtain, they are not “risky” loans, due in large part to the strict “full documentation” requirements placed on borrowers.

Individual buyers or sellers can initiate the approval process or current owners can encourage their HOA to apply. More information about the FHA- approval process is available at www.getfhaapproval.com.

7. FHA Loans Are Assumable. In addition to lower down-payment and credit-qualifying requirements as compared to conventional loans, FHA loans are assumable. This means that when a seller with an FHA loan sells his or her property, the loan and its financing terms (interest rate) can be transferred to the new buyer. This unique feature will certainly make a property more valuable in times of rising interest rates.

(reprinted with permission)

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MPower Loans in Placer County, CA on HOLD

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If you remember I was writing about a wonderful energy efficient loan program where you could purchase solar, heating and air conditioning units and other energy efficient items for your home and pay for them in your property tax bill. This is the MPower Loans in Placer County, CA. It’s a great program as the energy efficient loan is amortized out the life of the item you are purchasing. Say a heating and air conditioning unit will be amortized out over 20 years. So you have 20 years to pay if off and you are billed with your property taxes. Great idea right?

Well, there is a problem. Since the property taxes take precedence over any voluntary loans, aka your existing lender, you have to get your existing lender to approve the MPower loan to be in first position, instead of your existing lender. So, what do you think the chances of that happening are? Slim and none. The banks are not allowing MPower loans to be first so everything is on hold until there is some kind of solution to this issue.

It is a shame because it is a great program. MPower has written letters to several Congressmen and the Vice President of the United States to see if they can get some kind of an approval from these existing lenders that are insured with Fannie Mae. I will keep you posted as to any new developments.

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Fannie Mae extends seller assistance program

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Fannie Mae recently announced that is it extending it’s seller assistance incentive on all Fannie Mae Homepath properties. Buyers will received 3.5% of the final sales price as a credit towards closing costs or their choice of selected appliances. This offer is available to any owner occupant who closes on the purchase of a property listed on www.HomePath.com by June 30th.

Properties listed on www.HomePath.com are owned by Fannie Mae and include single family homes, condos and townhomes. Hompath properties also may be eligible for HomePath Renovation Mortgage financing, which gives the buyers an opportunity to purchase a home that needs repairs with as little as 3 percent down. 

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