Not all REO listing agents are equal

pulling my hair out
Image by Heliotrop3 via Flickr

Having just completed two sales involving bank-owned property sales in the last week, from the buyer’s agent side the two transactions could not have been more different.

The first sale involved 2X the paperwork, threats by the listing agent such as “perform on time or else”, also reminders on each page do not ask for an extension they will not be granted,  if you are late it will cost you $100 per diem (per the original documentation), however, when we got the final addendum it read you will be charged the per diem rate by the week or $700!

Our problem was the gas was shut off at the property due to the listing office missing this point. It slowed up our inspections and ultimately slowed up the closing as the appraiser had to come out AGAIN to check the gas was on. Add to that the new borrower disclosure timelines are slowing down loan approval times. You’d think since the seller is a bank they would take that into consideration. I realize I am ranting at this point but has common sense gone out the window?

Somewhere along the line I recognized it was not necessarily the seller but the listing agent “team” pushing the militant ways. “Do it by this time or else no deal – We don’t care what your buyer has spent on inspections and appraisal.” This point became crystal clear when I asked for an few more days for PMI (private mortgage insurance) approval and the “team” person said NO way and then cut and pasted something from a week before that the seller/bank had sent. I could not believe the seller/bank would throw away our contract 2 days before we got formal loan approval and 10 days before close just to go back on the market in this crappy sales environment.

I doubted they presented my formal request (with full details for the reasons for the delay and why it was in their interest to stick with us) to the seller/bank. The listing agent “team” said “send over the cancellation”. I decided to add a sentence to my cancellation form stating – buyer is 2 days away from PMI approval and the seller refused to extend the contingency. What do you know the next day the seller/bank was willing to remain in contract and let us close. My suspicions were correct – the listing agent team was the militant stopper of the transaction.

The other bank-owned transaction was just about the same as a regular sale. We needed an extension and it was granted. Of course, I was always on the ball, quick to supply any requested documents and I kept in close communication with the listing agent. No problems here!

But I ask you WHY all the stress? Getting a sale complete is a team effort. We all want the same outcome.  I will consider long and hard before I forward any future offer to this listing agent “team”.

If you want good client representation give me a call.

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Short sale completions a drop in the bucket!

Freddie Mac
Image via Wikipedia

Hot off the press from Mortgage Servicing News * (7/10 issue),  Fannie Mae closed 17,000 short sales in the 1st quarter of 2010 and Freddie Mac closed 9,600.  With approximately 1/3 of a MILLION homes in some stage of foreclosure that means only 8% were closed by these two entities.   Some areas the amount of short sales is well over 30% which is a huge disparity from the 8% stated as closing successfully and the 30% that are attempting to close.

One change that might improve things is the two entities are expected to have the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) program up and running by August 1. 

I, for one, will be happy if the short sale process actually speeds up.  The battles that ensue with short sales have left a lot of bloody people on the playing field (sellers, buyers, agents, etc.).

*article titled – With Tweaks to Programs, Short Sales Could Boom Now

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Bravo to cash buyers

Cash Money

Last week we were taking offers on a short sale of a triplex in Richmond.  The amazing point was not really that there were 19 offers after 1 week or that it sold for way above what it listed for but that almost 2/3 of all the listings were coming from CASH buyers. 

Needless to say we accepted the cash offer.

I really want to commend those buyers with cash!  It is not an easy feat to amasse cash to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  That saving style is a successful action.


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Waiting Period Shorter For New Mortgage

Fannie Mae headquarters

Recently FannieMae announced it would cut the waiting period for a new mortgage after a Deed-in-lieu of Foreclosure to just 2 years!  One of the guidelines states the borrower must put 20% down.  The new change will go into effect June 30, 2010.

This is great news for those people sucked into the economic slide that affected so many.  Sometimes an isolated event can be devastating and if borrowers rebuild their credit, have sufficient down payment and wait the 2 years they can then look to get a mortgage once again.


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Florida & Arizona Beat California – what’s the score?

Seal of California
Image via Wikipedia

After seeing headlines – Ten states account for more than 70% of nation’s first quarter total

Highest was California which accounted for 23% of the foreclosure filings at 216,263 properties and 2nd was Florida at 153,540.  Arizona came in 3rd with 55,686.

This got me thinking about what percentage of each state’s population was hit with new foreclosure filings for the 1st quarter of this year.  See the table – each was surprisingly under 1% of its population – wouldn’t you have thought it was WAY more?  Secondly, by population, California has considerably fewer filings. 

state population foreclosure % of pop.
CA 36,961,664 216,623 0.0059
FL 18,328,340 153,540                   0.0084
AZ 6,595,778 55,686                   0.0084

It just goes to show you there is a need to check behind the figures that are forwarded.

For more information go to-

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I heard short sales make up 75% of the market. Is that TRUE?

MIAMI - DECEMBER 22:  Real estate agents Izzy ...

That depends. If you read my last blog you will see it is correct in the single family homes under $300K for Santa Clara County.  However, the percentage changes dramatically as the price of the home increases.

Type of Sale under 300K 300k-500K   500-750K  
Regular Sale 10% 189 34% 411 70%
REO 15% 81 15% 48 8%
Short Sale 75% 279 50% 115 20%
Misc       11 2%
total   549   585  


So if you are a buyer not wanting to hassle the long wait for the short sale process you will probably need to get in the $500K+ range.

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Short sales abound

short sale

Working with a couple of buyers in the lower price range, I decided to see how many ACTIVE homes were short sale properties, bank owned (REO) and regular homes in homes listed under $300K.   I decided not to check the condo/townhome group – this group has significantly higher overall numbers of available properties, however, there are more restricted loan products to this group which will affect the ability to sell.

In Santa Clara County, the number of homes less than $300K was very few compared to the number of buyers out there.  There are 78 short sales (“for sale” hopefuls), 21 bank owned properties and 13 regular sales.  So less than 10% are regular sales and 15% are bank owned.  The whopping majority are short sales.  I call them “for sale” hopefuls.  The lender has not yet approved the sales price and the owners hope they will.  While a percentage might close some never will.  I have seen properties in escrow since last summer!  Some of those have closed recently though.  So a buyer in this market might get a decent home at the decent price through the short sale process – You just need patience. 

We will see if things change next month when a proposed program to speed up the short sale process comes into being.  I will be back with you when I see how this is really affecting homes in our area.

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No stripping allowed!

275: The empty room
Image by practicalowl via Flickr


Prosecutors are now going after individuals who decide to strip their soon-to-be former homes during the foreclosure process.

Per the note that is signed by the borrower (the agreement with the bank) the fixtures are part of the property and not removable.   There is now a movement and well there should be to stop such actions as home stripping.

One of the most recent – Man Convicted Of Stripping Foreclosed Ho Continue reading

Foreclosure properties are not all the same

Sign Of The Times - Foreclosure

I have heard that Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) took a different approach to bank-owned properties.  They would fix them up for sale.

I have now experienced them.  There were two properties in the same complex – one was owned by Wachovia and the other another bank.  Continue reading

Can you refinance your existing mortgage if you are under water?

Borrowers hoping to refinance who do not have at least 20 percent equity in their homes may qualify for the Obama administration’s “Making Home Affordable” program.  Through June 2010, borrowers whose loans are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac may be able to refinance for up to 105 percent of a home’s value.

Homeowners must be current on their mortgage payments and may qualify with credit scores as low as 620.  Borrowers who do not meet the criteria for the refinance program may be eligible for another Obama administration plan that focuses on loan modifications.  See