What options does my mother have??

Asked by Anthony Perez, Northridge, CA Thu Jun 17, 2010

My mother has a home in Arleta, San Fernando Valley she's been in the house about 42 years she owes $120,000.00 and is on a limited income she would like to lower the payment...is there options for someone in her predicament???

She is paying $675.00 a month right now..she has A-1 credit.

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Shel-lee Dav…, Agent, Rolling Hills Estates, CA
Thu Jun 17, 2010

It is difficult to give a specific answer based on the limited information you provided. Hopefully, this will help.

The majority of homes sold in Arleta in the past 90 sold in the $200,000 - $400,000 range, with an average of just over $270,000. I will respond to your inquiry based on this average price, which assumes she lives in a 3 bedroom - 2 bath home of approx size 1150 s.f. If this is the case then your mother has a reasonable amount of equity in her home. I am also assuming that your mother is at least over 55 and hopefully over 62.

Options for staying in the home:
1. Refinance seems to be the majority opinion of the OTHER AGENTS on this blog. Here is why THAT MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE. Even though your mother has equity, lenders are now looking not just to equity but also the the borrower's ability to make the monthly mortgage payments. The payments must be from current income or assets, not from taking cash out of the property to cover a few years of payments. You say your mother is on a "limited income" and so, even with spreading her payments out over a new 30 year loan, she may not be able to show the ability to make the monthly payment.
2. A MORE FEASIBLE OPTION - if she qualifies - is to do a reverse mortgage. This would pay off the existing mortgage balance and leave her with NO payments for the rest of her life. This way her limited income would only have to be used for her daily care and expenses. That might even give her the option of some travel or other leisure activities which might currently be beyond her reach.

Options based on changing her living environment
1. Rent out the house. An average house in Arleta should rent for around $1500. This would cover her mortgage payment and give her about $800 per month to rent a nice, small apartment. She might qualify for senior housing or she might choose to move to a new community with a lower cost of living. No matter what she chooses, this might be an attractive change for her.
2. Sell the house and buy a smaller property for all cash. If she can clear $150,000 on a sale of her home, she could buy a 2/2 condo in Arleta. If she chooses to move to a retirement area like Palm Springs, CA or Arizona or Nevada, she could probably buy more house than she is currently living in for the $150,000 net. Or she could choose to buy less house and have a nice nest egg to pursue other interests.

As it appears your mom has a lot of options. If she wants to explore any of them in detail, please feel free to contact me through my profile or by phone. Dare to Dream.

Shel-lee Davis, CDPE, SFR, QSC
Your Real Estate Consultant for Life
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
2 votes
Bentley Advi…, , San Mateo, CA
Thu Jun 17, 2010
I would advise she speak w/ a local lender to determine her options for refinancing. If she's ineligible for any sort of refi and experiencing financial hardship, she may qualify for a loan modification which she can request by contacting the lender's "Home Retention" or "Loss Mitigation" dept.
0 votes
Richard Schu…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Thu Jun 17, 2010
She should look into refinancing options. Her best bet is to speak to a lender who can advise. If you need a referral for a great lender, please feel free to contact me.

Richard Schulman
Keller Williams Realty
#1 Agent KW Westside Realty
(310) 482-0173
0 votes
Jim Starwalt, Agent, Grayslake, IL
Thu Jun 17, 2010
That would depend on the value of the home. She could refinance the loan and spread the payments out further.
0 votes
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