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By Angel Calzadilla | Agent in Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • The four tallest condominium buildings on Biscayne Boulevard, Miami

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami-dade County, Home Insurance in Miami-dade County, Investment Properties in Miami-dade County  |  July 22, 2014 11:50 AM  |  10 views  |  No comments
  • Fannie and Freddie to make short sales faster

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami, Home Selling in Miami, Investment Properties in Miami  |  May 3, 2012 12:03 PM  |  961 views  |  No comments

    Government-backed housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are adopting new guidelines to streamline the process for short sales, which most real estate observers expect will outpace foreclosures in the coming year.

    The guidelines, required by the Federal Housing Finance Agency and effective June 15, would require servicers of mortgages backed by Freddie and Fannie to review and respond to requests for short sales within 30 calendar days of receipt of a buyer’s offer.

    A short sale is a transaction in which a lender agrees to accept less than the amount owed on the mortgage. It is a “strategic default,” designed to get a borrower out of financial trouble without having to go through the drawn-out legal tangle of the foreclosure process.

    A short sale does affect the seller’s credit score, reducing it as much as a foreclosure would, according to Fair Isaac Corp., which developed the system.

    On average, according to recent data from foreclosure search engine RealtyTrac, short sales are taking 306 days from start to finish, compared with 113 days in 2006 as the housing market started to unravel.

    Area real estate agents who handle such transactions have acknowledged that they do take a long time to complete, and that delays often result in loss of the sale.

    But lenders are becoming more accommodating, though they have issues with short sales because unscrupulous investors and others have abused them, perhaps to the tune of $375 million in annual losses nationwide.

    In January, there were more than 35,000 short sales nationwide, on pace for more than 105,000 pre-foreclosure sales for the first quarter. That would be the highest quarterly total since the first three months of 2009.

    This is not the first time the government has acted to accelerate the short-sale process. In late 2009, the Treasury Department proposed financial incentives and simplified the procedures for completing them. That included a $1,000 payment to servicers and a maximum of $1,000 to go to investors who signed off on payments to subordinate lienholders, the Treasury said. Borrowers were to receive $1,500 in relocation expenses.

    The rules, which took effect in April 2010, were supposed to reduce the short-sale process to 10 days, but didn’t.

    The pending Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac guidelines will mandate weekly status updates to the borrower if the short sale remains under review after 30 calendar days.

    Servicers also will be required to make and then inform borrowers of final decisions within 60 calendar days of receipt of an offer.

    By the end of the year, Fannie and Freddie will announce other “enhancements” to the short-sale process, including borrower-eligibility evaluation, simplified documents, and payments to subordinate lienholders.
  • South Point , Miami Beach

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami Beach  |  May 2, 2012 7:33 AM  |  933 views  |  No comments
  • Waverly at South Beach condo

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami Beach  |  May 2, 2012 7:24 AM  |  936 views  |  No comments



     Waverly South Beach is a bay-front luxury building located at 1330 West Avenue, Miami Beach Fl 33139.  This high rise South Beach building is a 35-story property with views of Biscayne Bay, Star Island, Downtown Miami and Fisher Island.

     The building was finished in 2001 with 399 units ranging in sizes 800-1384 sq ft.

     The Waverly South Beach is in my opinion and from my experience a really well managed property and has a really strong condo association.  Their staff is very organized and they provide excellent services for the residents.

     The amenities feature a bay front resort style pool located on Biscayne Bay, tennis courts, valet parking in a gated indoor parking garage, 24 hour security,  business center, sand volleyball court, party room, fitness room and a Feng Shui garden.

     The Waverly South Beach‘s location is excellent as it is located in the heart of the residential area in South Beach.  You can walk to Starbucks, Gold’s Gym and Lincoln Road.  The property has quick and easy access to Downtown Miami, the airport and MacArthur Causeway. The building is located in the same general area as Capri South Beach, Floridian and Bentley Bay.

    The Waverly South Beach is a very popular building for local South Beach residents and if you are interested in purchasing a property to rent, the rental rates in this building have held pretty well over the last few years. 
    Please check with the link below to access to all the properties descrption and photos available for sale as per March 2013: 

    Contact me for any aditional information, unit interior view and offer. Thanks,

    Angel Calzadilla

    Charles Rutenberg Realty LLC

    (954) 632-3593


  • What in the World is MERS?

    Posted Under: Financing in Miami  |  May 2, 2012 7:13 AM  |  992 views  |  No comments

    With nearly three out of every four mortgages registered and tracked within its system, when problems and controversy arise, the discourse is grand. With borrowers using every tactic to keep their properties, holes in MERS’ business incorporation and legal status as “owner of record” will be challenged vigorously in a court of law.

    In the years gone by, I had always thought that this obscure acronym was an entity owned by Countrywide, as the term was always used in their Deeds of Trust. However, as I started to work with a more diverse set of financial institutions, the more I found myself running across this four-letter word. I never really paid it much attention until one day out of curiosity I stopped and peeled back the layers on this entity. Later, I learned that MERS is in the middle of the current malaise, which permeates our dysfunctional mortgage market in a big way. Let me explain.

     MERS stands for Mortgage Electronic Registry System. It sounds big and official, and by volume it is very big. It is perceived by many to be a government-managed repository of every mortgage ever brought into existence. Well, it is and it isn’t.  MERS is a repository of mortgages; however, the government has nothing to do with it, or in the past had nothing legally to do with it--until now. It is privately owned and managed by its parent holding company, MERSCORP, and was originally created to track the assignment and transfer of ownership and servicing rights of real estate loans originated throughout the United States. The reason for this is two-fold. As with the practice of law, licensing for real estate is handled at the state level. Conversely, the recordation of the ownership of real estate is handled at the county level. Every time a property or its underlying mortgage “changes hands,” most counties want a record of the transaction and its corresponding fees. Therefore, MERS seeks to circumvent this requirement by vowing to keep track of every transaction involving a mortgage or mortgage-backed securities registered in its system. By and large, the mortgage industry has bought in. As it stands, over 70% of all home loans are registered with MERS.

     Technically, MERS is the “owner of record” for the interest stake that comes from mortgages originated by banks, private lenders, master servicers and pooled investors. Since the start of MERS in 1995, mortgage liens and securities were assigned, traded and sold freely with information on the ultimate owners readily available for those who subscribed to the system. With a Servicer ID, a borrower could easily track down their servicer, which would then be able to identify the ultimate holder of the note to simplify negotiations in event of a imminent default, thereby staving off foreclosure. Fannie and Freddie have bought into MERS as they require registration of eNotes on the MERS e-registry prior to either entity purchasing the loans.  For years, MERS worked well, and then with the advent of the subprime crisis--things changed.   The mortgage implosion has created a new operating paradigm for the organization, along with lawsuits and lots of finger pointing.

     From Kansas to California, New York to Nevada, Florida to Washington, and all of the states of the Union in between, MERS has become a controversial entity as the question arose as to whether MERS had ownership and/or decision making authority over the underlying loans in its registry. In some cases, MERS couldn’t prove its interest and foreclosures were suspended. In other cases, litigants argued that MERS lacked the authority to commence foreclosure proceedings and that their deeds of trust or mortgages were unlawful (some states utilize the mortgage instrument, other states, such as California, use a deed of trust).

     By and large, when most plaintiffs take this entity to court, they lose as the basis for their suit is founded on MERS’ legal status as the owner of record. Most courts affirm the company’s ownership status based on the simple fact that the borrower’s signature is on the deed of trust, which outlines and affirms MERS’ ownership position from day one. However, as stated above, recent examples of case law have invalidated MERS’ position and many courts have rejected MERS’ ability to foreclose. Other courts have disavowed their ability to transfer ownership rights, while some have chose to split the difference by stating that while MERS is the owner of an interest in the mortgage, it does not equate to an interest in the underlying note (which in itself is confusing). Courts at all levels have chimed in on this decision (e.g. Federal District Courts, Federal Courts of Appeals, US Bankruptcy Courts, State Superior Courts, State Courts of Appeals, and State Supreme Courts). Ultimately, I believe that given the severity of the issue, the various decisions for and against the registry system, and the extensiveness of MERS’ reach, the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in with a final decision on its true authority. Once that is done, a formal road map will be drawn for all to follow concerning ownership, transfer rights and assignments for mortgages registered in the MERS system and the confusion should stop.

  • How to challenge that low property appraisal

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami Beach, Home Selling in Miami Beach, Investment Properties in Miami Beach  |  April 28, 2012 6:58 AM  |  972 views  |  No comments

    A low appraisal can prevent you from buying or selling a home at the price you have negotiated. Here's what you can do about it. 
    In the volatile real-estate market of the past several years, prospective homebuyers and refinancers have encountered the same frustrating obstacle: a low appraisal.

    Appraisal complaints have risen in recent years, particularly since home values began plummeting in 2007 and the Home Valuation Code of Conduct took effect in May 2009. But the experts say this isn't the first real-estate cycle in which contract prices don't often match an appraised value.

    Why appraisals can come in low
    A low appraisal is not necessarily wrong, but it does create a situation in which a lender may not approve the loan. Simply stated, appraisers compare the value of a home with the comparable properties, or "comps," in the surrounding area.

    Buyers and refinancers often run into trouble when lenders use an appraisal management company to hire an appraiser who doesn't know the local nuances that could affect home values. In markets plagued by foreclosures or short sales, the surrounding comps can weigh down the price of a home in good standing. Or, if there have been few home sales in a given neighborhood, appraisers may be forced to look for comps in surrounding areas where market conditions and the homes may be different.
    Appraisals are a moving target and are based on closed sales, which can be a problem when there are few closed sales to use for comparable properties.

    While homebuyers and homeowners cannot control a property appraisal, they can influence and challenge it if need be. I recommend that [real-estate agents] and homeowners prepare written materials for an appraiser that include information about home improvements and anything else they know about the property that can improve its value. This can improve the chances for a higher appraisal.
    While lenders are held at arm's length and cannot directly.
    communicate with an appraiser, real-estate agents, buyers and sellers are allowed to talk to the appraiser. Agents can present the appraiser with information on comparable sales and how they came up with their sale price.

    How to challenge a low appraisal
    An appraisal dictates how much money lenders are willing to lend to a borrower. If a home's value is determined to be less than the preapproved loan amount, the lender cannot approve the loan. Buyers have the following five options when challenging a low appraisal:

    1. Cancel the contract.  Almost all sale contracts today are written with an appraisal contingency that allows buyers and sellers to cancel the contract if the appraisal comes in too low.

    2. Negotiate a new deal. Buyers are allowed to challenge a low appraisal, but usually they prefer to renegotiate the contract. A lot of buyers are actually excited if an appraisal comes in for $20,000 less than they offered because they assume they can negotiate to buy the house they want for less money. But that's only if sellers are willing to accept the lower price, which many times they're not. 

    3. Pay extra. Every negotiation is specific to the individual circumstances of the contract, how much the buyers want the house and whether the sellers are willing to drop the price or assist with the financing.  

    Not all sellers are willing to negotiate, however. So sometimes after an appraisal comes in low, buyers must pay additional cash in order to meet the agreed-upon sale price. Tierce says negotiations should be as creative as possible, includ

    4. Challenge the paperwork. The individual who pays for the appraisal, typically the buyer, can request a copy of the appraisal and review it. Real-estate agents and buyers would need to provide additional facts about comps or point out mistakes regarding such items as the number of square feet or the number of bedrooms.

    You should check the comps to be sure they have geographic relevance and the same interior and exterior features.You can also hire another appraiser to do a review of the appraisal for an additional cost. 

    5. Request a second appraisal. If a challenge or a review doesn't change the appraisal, then a buyer can ask their lender to hire another appraiser. Be sure to request someone with geographical knowledge and someone competent and explain why you are asking for a second appraisal.

     Either the buyer or the seller can challenge an appraisal or even request a second appraisal.  A challenge should be based on specific errors rather than opinions.




  • Short Sales: Treasury Department Releases Details on Making Home Affordable Program Updates

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami Beach  |  March 22, 2012 3:42 PM  |  1,061 views  |  No comments

    On March 9, 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued Supplemental Directive 12-02 that extends the Making Home Affordable (MHA) program to the end of 2013, and makes several changes to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) to increase the number of eligible participants. The directive also makes eligibility changes to the HAFA program that should increase the number of short sale transactions eligible under the program.

    Specifically, Supplemental Directive 12-02 implements the following key changes:

    • Establishes a second level HAMP evaluation protocol (HAMP Tier 2) to expand borrower eligibility for HAMP modifications to borrowers who were previously ineligible for, or did not successfully complete, a HAMP modification. The Treasury Department estimates servicers to begin evaluating borrowers for HAMP Tier 2 trial periods in June 2012.
    • Rental properties may now be eligible under HAMP Tier 2 if they are used by borrowers for rental purposes only (not principal residence, second or vacation home). Borrowers must be behind two or mortgage payments and are not eligible for imminent default consideration.
    • Removes all occupancy requirements for HAFA eligibility (effective immediately).
    • Amends payment guidelines to allow servicers to accept full monthly mortgage payments, if the borrower requests to make full contractual payment in order to stay current (effective immediately).
    • Increases maximum incentive to subordinate mortgage holder(s) to $8500 in exchange for a lien release and full release of borrower liability.

    Beginning in March, the Treasury Department will provide detailed training webinars on these new program enhancements which will be accessible by real estate professionals and other trusted advisors.

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