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Life in Los Altos and Beyond

A little real estate with a lot of life!

By Michele | Agent in San Pedro, Fort Myers,...
  • Bank of America offering huge Principal Reductions through the mail

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Long Beach, Foreclosure in Long Beach  |  May 17, 2012 7:52 AM  |  370 views  |  No comments

    It an estimated there are currently 2 million mortgage holders that are delinquent on their payments, and of those 2 million, 1 million hold their loans with Bank Of America, and 200,000 of those 1 million, may have won the lottery, of sorts. 

    Letters are being sent to borrows explaining  they could have $150,000 knocked off their principal loan amount if they qualify under a new program. There will be no customer service phone call explaining the program, just a letter in the mail that many people may not open, not read, or think it is a scam.

    It is real and it is part of the $25 billion settlement reached earlier this year between the feds and the nation's five largest mortgage servicers over fraudulent foreclosure document process, also known as robo-signing.

    The letters are being sent to borrowers who are eligible but they still have to prove they qualify. In order to qualify they must be 60 days late on mortgage payments as of Jan 31, 2012, and the mortgage must be "underwater", meaning they owe more than the home is worth. 

    In order to qualify for the modification the borrow must show they will be able to make the new monthly payment, therefore a borrower without a job would not qualify. A borrower's current monthly payment must be more than 25 percent of gross income, and the borrower must show they are unable to afford that.

    If the borrower qualifies, Bank of America will bring down the monthly payment to 25% of the borrower's gross income, which could mean principal reduction of over $100,000 as there is no limit on the amount of the mortgage.

    Get the word out folks! This program is for real!

    Bank of America is also offering higher amounts on their relocation assistance packages on short sales. In order to qualify you must not currently have an offer on your home that is underwater and going through the short sale process. If you know of anyone considering a short sale, now may be the time to act and take advantage of this additional assistance. Also, the programs now in  place forgiving the debt without tax implications expires at the end of this year and only time will tell if they will be renewed by the Federal government. 

    Michele "K", Realtor CDPE

    Coldwell Banker Coastal Alliance

    562-243-2171

    DRE 01884449




  • Will a Wave of Foreclosures Put the Brakes on Improving Home Prices?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Long Beach  |  May 11, 2012 2:52 PM  |  299 views  |  2 comments

    This was the week of  people telling me about the shadow inventory that will be hitting the market soon, wrecking havoc and completing depressing prices. I have been searching for articles to support this position for sometime but I did find an article at the WSJ blog by Robbie Whelan and Alan Zibel that gives some backup to my belief that the worst is behind us.

     

    The reasoning behind the foreclosure tsunami theory is that robo-signing put a freeze on foreclosures and that once the presidential elections are over, the banks are going to dump properties.

     

    I have always argued that this makes no sense. It would be the banks cutting off their nose to spite their face. I think they will find someway to trickle the properties out for sale to maintain the pricing, as they are currently doing successfully.

     

    Also the data on delinquencies and the number of foreclosures show they are down 8.8% and 6.7% respectively. This could be due to February's $25 billion foreclosure-servicing settlement that requires banks to help people who are upside-down on their mortgage with either refinancing or writing down loan balances.

     

    The WSJ article quotes a former believer in the looming foreclosure wave, Rick Sharga executive VP of Carrington Mortgage Holdings as saying, "We may have plateaued at a level of foreclosure activity that we're not likely to exceed."

     

    I don't have a crystal ball of course and a big wave could be on our horizon, but for now the mood on the ground for Realtors is, we are turning a corner on pricing and the number of distressed properties.  

     

    Only time will tell but the rates are almost a full percentage lower than last year and people are out there shopping to take advantage. The problem is low inventory is causing multiply offers within the first week of the property hitting the market.  Maybe this comes only from my high school economics class, but low inventory and high demand, usually equals increased pricing.  

     

    Stay turned for more updates!

    Michele K

    Blogging at FollowMeToHome.com/blog

     

  • Market Report - Los Altos - Michele K - Long Beach - April 2012

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Long Beach, Home Selling in Long Beach  |  May 1, 2012 8:17 PM  |  290 views  |  No comments
    The average sold price of the 10 properties sold last month in Los Altos is $466,200. There were 10 new properties listed in the month of April. 

    Watch the video for a clear explanation of the Market Report we can provide to your inbox each month.

  • Everyone Likes Help - Even Your Appraiser!

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Long Beach, Financing in Long Beach  |  January 24, 2012 8:33 AM  |  426 views  |  1 comment

    Realtors are finding that low appraisals are putting the brakes on deals more often than they like to recount.  The problem may lie with the fact that Federal rules encourage banks to use in-house or affiliated appraisal management companies even though they may not have a person on staff that is familiar with the properties location.

    How can we help the appraiser determine the true market value? 

    Actually it is quite easy if you are working with a Realtor that is familiar with the area, as Federal rules allow you, or your agent, to provide the appraiser with your own comps and actually appraisers are usually thankful for the help. A good realtor will put together a report with clear explanations for comps selling low, such as short sale, bank-owned or a divorce situations. They will will be sure to point out the features on your home that will cause it to appraiser higher.

    If the appraisal still comes in low after taking all these precautions be sure to ask for a copy of the appraisal and appeal directly to the lender. If you feel the appraiser was incompetent you may ask for a second valuation, although this may cost you some money.

    Waiting for an appraisal to return can be nerve-wracking but as long as you have done your homework, and made the effort to show your findings to the appraiser, you should sail through that portion of the lending process with ease.

    Michele "K"
    @LifeinLosAltos

    "Helping You Make All the Right Moves"

  • Recent Job Loss? Your Lender May Offer Temporary Help

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Long Beach, Financing in Long Beach, Foreclosure in Long Beach  |  January 23, 2012 7:16 AM  |  503 views  |  No comments

    New bank policies on forbearance may help some homeowners.  Forbearance means either a suspension of your monthly payment or a reduced amount of payment for a specific time period.  This is not a forgiveness or reduction in principal balance and must be repaid within a determined time period.

    The new rules allow the servicers of the loans to grant half a year of reduced payments without getting permission in advance and an additional six months with Fannie or Freddie approval.

    Of course there are guidelines that must be met, such as documented hardship and lack of funds to cover the mortgage payment but unfortunately there are many people who will qualify for this program.

    Click here for full story in LA Times by Kenneth R. Harney

    Michele "K"
    @LifeinLosAltos


    "Helping You Make All the Right Moves"

  • A One-of-a-kind Penthouse Loft on a One-of-a-kind Day!

    Posted Under: General Area in Long Beach, Market Conditions in Long Beach, Home Buying in Long Beach  |  January 5, 2012 5:52 PM  |  448 views  |  No comments

    A definite perk of my job is having the opportunity to preview properties such as this one-of-a-kind loft penthouse in the historic Kress Building. First an elevator key is needed to even reach the 9th floor since it lets you off right into the loft. How cool is that! The best way to describe it would be like entering an atrium with soaring ceilings and windows all around. Talk about an overwhelming feeling of freedom and lightness.   

    There was a top deck with a panoramic view and on such a beautiful day it was difficult to descend and get back to the job of preview homes in the lower stratosphere.  

    This loft has been used numerous times in films, commercials and print ads. Quoting you the mundane facts such as size and number of bedrooms seems just rather silly, although you should know it comes with THREE parking places and plenty of lower ground storage. 

    Price? A mere $914,500.

    Watch Listing agent Dominic Tucci in this video for some extra fun facts.  

    Michele "K"
    FollowMeToHome.com




  • Market Report - Los Altos - Highest & Lowest

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Long Beach, Home Buying in Long Beach, Home Selling in Long Beach  |  January 3, 2012 9:48 PM  |  398 views  |  No comments
    Click Here for Los Altos Market Report!



    Michele "K"
    @LifeinLosAltos

    www.FollowMeToHome.com
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