Categories


Subscribe in a reader
qrcode


Terrylynn Fisher
and
Sherry Hutchens
Dudum Real Estate's
Short Sale Team


info@
howtosavemyhouse.net


925.876.0966

Sherry
CalBRE#01320608

Terrylynn
CalBRE#00615420

HAFA Certified

Certified Distressed Property Experts

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

In 1981, English punk rock band The Clash wrote “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” about the rocky personal relationships between members of the band when facing the dilemma of sticking together or breaking up. The lyrics could not be more appropriate for homeowners buried in a mountain of negative equity and wondering what to do. After all “if I go there will be trouble and if I stay it would be double.”

The first step in answering this question is to find out if you qualify for a modification or if you can refinance using the HARP program to take advantage of today’s low interest rates. The process of getting a modification can be very frustrating. It’s “always tease, tease, tease, you’re happy when I am on my knees.” It not only takes a while to get approved, you must keep in mind that the lender does not have a legal obligation to offer or approve a loan modification. It is important to note that they may dual track your file, which means that while they are considering the modification they are moving forward with the foreclosure. Sometimes they “set you free” and foreclose in the middle of your modification application.

Let’s say you get a modification. I have a friend who was approved for what at first appeared to me to be an unbelievable loan modification. The modification did not lower the principle but did lower the interest rate to just 2 percent and locked that in for 30 years! This reduced their payment to the same amount that they would pay to rent a similar property. As such, it certainly seemed reasonable to stay – they get to keep their credit intact and remain owners, while paying no more than they would in rent anyway. Plus the payment remains fixed for 30 years, while rents would increase. But that analysis is incomplete. The question that remains is their status when they might want or need to sell, and when do they break even given the substantial negative equity that would remain?

Life events like divorce, death, job loss, job transfer, and others happen. Also sometimes folks just want to relocate. Based on our analysis, and assuming long-term home price appreciation rates, these folks would need to stay until 2026 to simply BREAK EVEN vs. paying rent. Worse, unless they use the rent savings to pay down principal, they’ll be stuck upside down in the property, and unable to sell without bank approval of a short sale until 2033. So whether or not it is a good deal for them depends a lot on how long they plan to stay.

For my friends, the best financial decision appears to be to try to short sell their current home, or if necessary let the bank foreclose. If they then rent for 3-5 years they should be able to qualify again to buy. Assuming interest rates don’t skyrocket, or some other major change doesn’t occur, this will save them over $100,000, and give them the flexibility to move if needed without being stuck in their current prison of debt until 2033.

Unfortunately, few homeowners facing this decision have the financial skills to really analyze the various scenarios, and few will consult a qualified accountant or other professional to do it for them.

This analysis is different for every homeowner facing this question. How far under water they are, and the terms of the loan modification are clearly important. It also requires some assumptions about price appreciation, rent inflation, and future interest rates. And importantly, it requires some serious thought as to how long they plan to stay, and perhaps some soul searching on the moral implications of walking away.

Bottom line, this question can be answered only by the homeowner based on their current situation and what is best for them. Would you stay or would you go now?

Borrowered generously from the wonderful Michelle Lenahan at Foreclosure Radar.

It’s A Sign of the Times!

Most of us grew up thinking that if we planned well and played by the rules, we’d never have to stand by as our financial lives unraveled.

But upheaval on Wall Street, unacceptable rates of unemployment and plummeting real estate values have taken their toll.  Since 2007, 7.9 million homeowners have lost their homes to foreclosure. Current estimates are that one in four homeowners owe more on their mortgages than they could get from the sale of their home. Millions more homes will be lost to foreclosure before this real estate crisis runs its course.

The sad fact is that foreclosure is not an isolated event. For months leading up to the loss of a home, financially strapped homeowners live under a cloud of uncertainty.  And then for many years afterwards, the blow to credit gets in the way of buying another home or buying anything on credit. Foreclosure even complicates employment prospects.

The impact of foreclosure is huge and the sad fact is that it’s often avoidable.

As real estate professionals who have earned the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation, our mission is to provide financially strapped homeowners with options to foreclosure, ensure that they steer clear of scams, and help navigate them through the solution that best meets their needs.

Among the most important facts to keep in mind: the sooner help is sought, the better the options.

These are tough times, but more help is available than ever before. If you or someone you care about is ready to navigate away from the dark cloud of an unmanageable mortgage and realize that hope and blue skies are within reach, contact us today and let’s get started.

Terrylynn Fisher 925-876-0966 or Sherry Hutchens  925-212-7617

Solving Your Mortgage Crisis Just Got Easier

5 Steps for a Successful Short Sale

Lenders and the federal government, prompted by the sheer volume of loan modification and short sale requests, have overhauled their systems and programs, making the foreclosure avoidance process much easier than in the past.

If you are considering short selling your home to avoid the financial and emotional fallout of foreclosure, you should be aware of the five steps you should take to increase your chances of a successful transaction.

First, do you qualify?

You must:

  1. Have a verifiable hardship, like unemployment, medical bills, or relocation
  2. Must have a monthly income shortfall

If you meet these qualifications, follow these five steps to a successful short sale:

  1. Contact us so we can identify your servicer, fill out a short sale packet for the lender, and assemble all the required information needed to list your home for sale
  2. Gather financial information (i.e., bank statements, pay stubs) from at least the last three months
  3. Keep your house in showcase condition for showings, and make as many repairs as necessary and that you can afford
  4. Expect the lender, junior lien holders, and private insurance companies to request more paperwork, and try to gather requested information quickly to ensure transaction efficiency
  5. Set realistic expectations and work with us, the lender, and the buyer to the satisfaction and benefit of all parties involved

For more information about how the short sale process works, or about any other foreclosure alternatives you may qualify for, call us today. We can help you alleviate the burden that the threat of foreclosure brings, and we can develop a strategy to help you breathe a little easier.

Terrylynn Fisher 925-876-0966 or Sherry Hutchens  925-212-7617

Take Action Now to Turn It Around in 2012

Recent economic upheaval has taken a hefty toll. Looking forward to 2012, it’s impossible to know what’s next and the kind of an impact that an upturn or a downturn at the national level stands to have on your family’s finances.

Regardless of what happens in Washington or on Wall Street, two things are very clear: you are not alone and now is the time to prepare for a new normal.

With a national epidemic of unemployment or underemployment, and 25 percent of the homeowners in the country owing more on their home than they could net for it in today’s market, homeownership for many has become a financial liability. Not being able to make payments on a home that you can’t afford to sell feels like an awful trap, but the fact is, there are solutions—and foreclosing on your mortgage is not one of them.

Loan modification is an option for many and banks are increasingly willing to negotiate short sales. In many cases, they’re offering sizable financial incentives to help financially strapped homeowners to get a fresh start on their lives.

As real estate professionals who have achieved the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation, it is our mission to give homeowners the gift of a fresh start.

Contact us TODAY and let’s get started.  Terrylynn Fisher 925-876-0966 or Sherry Hutchens  925-212-7617

Handling the Stress of an Unaffordable Mortgage Payment

Whenever we research the latest foreclosure and distressed property statistics, the sheer number of Americans facing the stress of losing their homes amazes us.  It is our goal to help as many homeowners as we can either stay in their homes or relieve the burden of their mortgages. Knowing that there are so many that need our help is a driving force for us to continue doing what we do.

In fact, we just released another report that is available on our website today. It explains the CDPE designation and lists 10 options that homeowners can take advantage of to relieve the stress that comes with owing their mortgage lenders more money than they can afford to pay.

The report also draws a contrast between short sales and foreclosures. Unfortunately, there’s a growing trend of “strategic defaulters” who think it’s smart to let their home go into foreclosure. As anyone who follows this blog knows, there is nothing strategic about foreclosure; it’s one of the most long-lasting, negative financial challenges you can go through.

We are excited about acting as a resource for more homeowners who have questions about what they should do. As always, if you know homeowners who may need our help, have them contact us immediately! Together, we can put them back on the path to financial stability.

Terrylynn Fisher 925-876-0966 or Sherry Hutchens  925-212-7617

Mortgage Relief Fraud

Mortgage Relief Fraud: Will You Be the Next Victim?

Not if we have anything to say about it!

The FBI reported a jump of 71% in mortgage relief fraud investigations from 2008-2009, and expects this number to have grown in 2010.

That’s why it’s our duty to educate homeowners in our community on the cautions they need to take, and what the government has recently done to protect you from unscrupulous individuals and companies who want to take advantage of their desperate situations.

What you need to watch out for if you are looking for mortgage relief assistance:

  1. Upfront fees—just don’t pay them! In fact, they are now illegal!
  2. A request to sign over your deed (this only spells trouble)
  3. Lots of paperwork without the opportunity for review
  4. The claim of government-affiliation

These are just a few red flags you need to be wary of.

If you are struggling with an unaffordable mortgage and are looking for help, educate yourself. These scammers can be very shrewd and will say almost anything to steal your money.

The Federal Trade Commission has required disclosures of anyone offering mortgage relief services. If you’d like to see an example, check out any of the pages of our website. If a company you are dealing with has not provided these disclosures, please ask why they are not compliant, and proceed with caution!

As a CDPE, you can trust that we have the tools to be in full compliance of FTC regulations, and will always work with your best interests at heart.

If you want viable alternatives to foreclosure, give us a call today. We are always here to help!

Terrylynn Fisher 925-876-0966 or Sherry Hutchens  925-212-7617