Archives For Foreclosures

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Home for sale via Househappy

Homeowners have been enjoying the price growth that happened in 2013. New construction home sales are also up and previously underwater properties are returning to positive equity. Economists expect home prices to rise another 4 percent to 5 percent in 2014.

With all that in mind, here are 10 tips for homebuyers and sellers from MSN Real Estate:

1. Sellers: Jump-start the process. If you want to sell your house this year, it is best to start planning as soon as possible. Since the process always takes longer than expected, start cleaning and de-cluttering now, and get your home inspected in case there are any repairs you need to fix.

2. Buyers: Be credit-ready. Since there is a lot of competition out there, it is best to get ready ahead of time. Get your credit report and make sure there are no errors. Then start with the pre-approval process on a loan so you can be ready to go when you start looking at houses.

3. Sellers: Search for an agent, and then follow the agent’s advice.  Make sure to hire the right real estate broker to help you sell your house. You’ll most likely want one that is web savvy and uses mobile technology, since most homes are viewed online. Once you find the right agent, accept their advice on pricing, marketing, and negotiation.

4. Buyers: Adjust your negotiating expectations. This year is not the time for lowball offers as they will likely eliminate you from consideration. Try to respond to counteroffers quickly to keep other buyers away and prevent a bidding war. Also, have a few other homes in mind just in case it becomes competitive.

5. Sellers: It’s your market, so make the most of it. Don’t jump at the first seemingly generous offer––especially if you have received more than one. Lastly, never let the buyer’s agent know what you’re willing to do if you planning on giving something extra. Make them ask.

6. Buyers: Find life after foreclosure. If you have had a foreclosure in recently, don’t fret. The Federal Housing Administration requires just a three-year waiting period and there are many nonconforming lenders out there (often called “shadow bankers”) to help you out.

7. Sellers: Hesitate to renovate. There is no need to completely remodel your kitchen if you plan on selling soon. According to remodeling surveys, the average renovation project only returns about two-thirds on investment. In most cases it would be cheaper to drop your price or issue credits to buyers. Smaller jobs such as installing new doors, painting or fixing up the exterior are more practical and will likely have a greater return.

8. Buyers: Ask and you won’t receive. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the selling party in writing before signing a contract. Ask anything, from questions about the neighborhood, to sex offenders nearby, to commercial zoning, to on-premise felonies, noise pollution and more. If the selling party refuses to answer any of them, that might be a red flag.

9. Sellers: Tailor your local game. Remember that real estate is local and that all markets are different, therefore prices tend to vary. Find out local area trends and statistics as well as recent comparable sales.

10. Sellers and buyers: Heed changing trends. Make sure to pay attention to trends and react to them accordingly.

This article can be found in its original form on MSN Real Estate.

Foreclosures in the U.S. have decreased by 30 percent in the last year, AGBeat reported this week:

According to CoreLogic’s October National Foreclosure Report, completed foreclosures fell 30 percent since last year. There were 48,000 completed foreclosures in October 2013, down from 68,000 in October 2012, dropping 25.6 percent from September.

As of October 2013, approximately 879,000 homes in the U.S. were in some stage of foreclosure, compared to 1.3 million in October 2012, a year-over-year decrease of 31 percent. The foreclosure inventory as of October 2013 represented 2.2 percent of all homes with a mortgage compared to 3.1 percent in October 2012.

“Year over year, the foreclosure inventory, as a percentage of all homes with a mortgage, has declined almost a full percentage point to 2.2 percent,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “This is good news for the housing and mortgage finance markets, but the rate remains elevated relative to the pre-crisis level of about 0.6 percent. There are almost 900,000 properties still in foreclosure, but a normal level would be only a quarter of the current stock.”

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The five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were Florida (7.1 percent), New Jersey (6.7 percent), New York (4.9 percent), Maine (3.8 percent) and Connecticut (3.7 percent). The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were Wyoming (0.4 percent), Alaska (0.6 percent), Nebraska (0.6 percent), North Dakota (0.7 percent) and Colorado (0.7 percent).

This article can be found in its original form on AGBeat.

Photo: Jeffery Turner via Flickr

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The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced a new Streamlined Modification Initiative under which mortgage servicers must now offer borrowers who are 3 to 24 months delinquent a plan to help avoid foreclosure. This new initiative differs from previous government plans like the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) in that borrowers may be approved without providing proof or documentation of financial hardship.

According to Diane Cipollone, director of the Fair Lending Training Program for the National Fair Housing Alliance, the formula used to calculate the new payment is the same as for standard modifications under Frannie and Freddie.

Though the elimination of paperwork may benefit some, the formula is not based on income and affordability and will not necessarily make a significant financial difference to all borrowers. One category of borrowers likely to benefit from the streamlined program includes anyone who fell behind because of “a big interruption in income or some unexpected expense, and but for the arrears, they’re back on track,” Cipollone said.

This article can be found in its original form on NYTimes.com

In housing markets where distressed properties and lingering foreclosures are more common, all-cash deals are growing increasingly prevalent. Metropolitan areas like Atlanta––which boasts one of the highest foreclosure rates––have become attractive to private equity firms and investors looking to make a purchase before home prices begin to rise.

“The U.S. housing market is slowly but surely moving toward a more normalized and sustainable pattern after a flurry of institutional and cash buyers flocked to residential real estate last year, pushing up prices and picking clean the best inventory available in many areas,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “To compete in a market like New York, cash is king.”

According to Realty Trac, the top 10 cities where cash rules are:

all cash deals screenshot

This article can be found in its original form on CNNMoney.