Archive for the ‘Foreclosure news’ Category

FHFA Announces Expansion of Program for Underwater Homeowners

Monday, October 24th, 2011
by Jann Swanson
FHFA Announces Expansion of Program for Underwater Homeowners
Oct 24 2011, 11:25AM

In advance of a speech in Nevada later today in which President Obama is expected to expand on the initiative, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced major changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).  FHFA unveiled what is essentially a widening of HARP to reach more borrowers in another effort to reverse the continuing flood of delinquent mortgages heading down the pipeline to foreclosure.

HARP is unique among programs designed to assist distressed borrowers in that it is intended to help those who are current on their mortgages but underwater, that is who owe more on their mortgages than the current market value of their homes.  Several studies have identified these borrowers as being likely to strategically default on or walk away from their mortgages.   Although Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) which are under FHFA conservatorship, have assisted about 9 million homeowners to refinance into lower-cost mortgages over the last few years, only about 10 percent of those were aided through HARP.  HARP, like the other major government foreclosure prevention initiative HAMP, the Home Affordable Modification Program, has been impeded by a lack of enthusiasm among lenders and servicers integral to the programs’ success.  In the case of HARP, the lenders objected to the possibility they might have to buy back delinquent loans if they weren’t scrupulously underwritten.  They thus tended to cherry pick the best loans which in turn limited borrowers from refinancing with other than their current lenders.

The current HARP limits the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio for a new loan to 125 percent (the program originally had a limit of 105 percent).  This effectively eliminates the most underwater homeowners and even leaves whole states, such as Nevada where large percentages of homeowners have negative equity above that amount, out of the program.

While regulations and guidance for the plan won’t be finalized for several weeks, relevant changes to HARP that were announced today include:

  • Removing the current 125 percent loan-to-value ceiling on refinanced mortgages;
  • Waiving risk-based fees on borrowers who take shorter term mortgages and reducing those fees for others;
  • Eliminating the need for a new property appraisal where there is a reliable AVM (automated valuation model) estimate provided by the GSEs;
  • Eliminating certain representations and warranties required of lenders to obtain the GSE guarantee. This will protect lenders from many of the buy-back requirements they face under current guidelines.
  • Extending availability of the program through the end of 2013.

FHFA said the changes to HARP were made with input from lenders, mortgage insurers, and other industry participants.  According to The Wall Street Journal, among the concessions made by the industry are agreements from private mortgage insurers to facilitate the transfer of existing mortgage insurance coverage and from most of the major lenders to ease the process of subordinating existing second mortgages to the new loans.

The changes in the program may double the number of borrowers using HARP according to some estimates, but still will serve only those borrowers who are current in their loans and who have loans owned or guaranteed by one of the GSE’s that were delivered to Fannie or Freddie prior to July 2009.  Thus it will impact only a small percentage of distressed borrowers in the country.

“We know that there are many homeowners who are eligible to refinance under HARP and those are the borrowers we want to reach,” said FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco. “Building on the industry’s experience with HARP over the last two years, we have identified several changes that will make the program accessible to more borrowers with mortgages owned or guaranteed by the Enterprises. Our goal in pursuing these changes is to create refinancing opportunities for these borrowers, while reducing risk for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and bringing a measure of stability to housing markets.”

Charles E. “Ed” Haldeman, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Freddie Mac released the following statement on the program.  “This new phase of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) will help reach more borrowers with negative equity so they can refinance into new Freddie Mac mortgages at today’s historically low-rates. These changes mark another step on the road to recovery for the nation’s housing market and underscore Freddie Mac’s vital role in making affordable mortgage financing available to America’s homeowners and future homebuyers.”

Brooklyn Real Estate Investing:Buying a Short Sale Steps 6 through 10

Monday, July 11th, 2011
Brooklyn Real Estate and Short Sales

Brooklyn Real Estate and Short Sales

If you haven’t read “Brooklyn Real Estate Investing:  Buying a Short Sale Steps 1 through 5,” start there.  This blog post provides steps 5 through 9 of the short sale process.

  1. 6. Visit the Brooklyn real estate on your short list.  You’ve already searched for short sales, researched them and narrowed your list to a few short sales that meet your criteria and have the best chance of making it to closing.  Now it’s time to personally visit the few on your short list.  Your primary purpose in visiting the property is to get an estimate as to how much it’s going to cost you to repair the home.  As a real estate investor, you want a property that needs some work so that the average home buyer won’t want it, and you can get it at a lower-than-average price.   But, you also want a property that is in good enough condition that the cost of the property plus repairs still gives you a good return on your investment.
  2. 7. Get a home inspection. Since short sales are typically sold “as is,” it’s crucial that you have a licensed home inspector evaluate the condition of the short sale that you’ve decided is the one you want to buy.  An inspection will find problems you might not have been able to see in your initial visit to the home.  It will also give you a more precise idea of how much it’s going to cost you to repair and renovate the property.
  3. 8. Make an offer. Now that you’ve found the short sale you want to buy, you’re ready to prepare an offer.  Have your Brooklyn real estate agent prepare all the documentation and submit the offer to the seller’s agent.  The seller’s agent will submit the documentation to the lender.  Hopefully, you’ve chosen a short sale with only one lender, but if there is more than one lender, remember that all lenders have to agree on the terms of the sale.
  4. 9. Make a counter offer or walk away.  After getting your offer, the lender has his real estate agent evaluate the offer.  More than likely the lender will make a counteroffer.  That’s the time for you to do a final evaluation.  Double check your numbers using the higher purchase price and ask yourself, “Is this property really going to give me the profit I want?”  If the answer to this question is no, or if you’ve already reached the maximum you’re willing to pay for the property, it’s time to walk away.

10. Finalize the deal.  After you, the seller and the lender have all reached an agreement, get everything in writing and officially record it.  Go to closing, and the property is now yours.  Congratulations!

If you’re a Brooklyn real estate investor looking for a well-priced property to invest in, I can help you find the true bargains, whether they’re short sales, foreclosures or just well-priced real estate.   Give me a call Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn Realtor® with Fillmore Real Estate at 718/253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected].

Emergency Homeowners Loan Program May Provide Relief For Brooklyn

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
Top stocks

Emergency Homeowners Loan Program for Brooklyn Homeowners

$1 billion in new help to flailing homeowners

Only about 30,000 are expected to get these interest-free loans, which can eventually be forgiven by the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program.

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at MSN Money.

Homeowners have until July 22 to get pre-screened for a new, interest-free government loan intended to help delinquent homeowners stave off foreclosure. In fact, for those who play by the rules, the loan isn’t really a loan — it’s a gift.

No reason is offered for the short deadline, only that the next four weeks are for “pre-screening” applicants. After that, presumably, selected homeowners will be allowed to apply.

The $1 billion in aid — money provided in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (.pdf file) — was announced this week.

“The program, known as the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program, is expected to help up to 30,000 distressed borrowers, according to HUD,” says The Washington Post.

That’s about $34,000 apiece, on average. Sounds great, but of course there are plenty of caveats and qualifications.

Who’s eligible?

Apply if:

  • You’re (involuntarily) unemployed or underemployed after losing a job or because of a serious medical condition.
  • You’re 90 days delinquent on your mortgage payments on your primary home.
  • You’ve received a notice of foreclosure.
  • Your income has dropped by at least 15%.
  • You’re likely to be able to resume home payments within two years.
  • You meet the income eligibility criteria. Roughly, that’s if your household income in 2009 was at or below $75,000 a year or 120% of the area median income for a household size of four.

These loans can become gifts

These “bridge loans” of up to $50,000 are “forgivable,” says HUD. They appear to be carefully constructed to reduce the incentive for underwater homeowners to walk away from their homes.

Here’s how the program works:

  • Lucky approved homeowners will get one-time help to become current on overdue mortgage costs and make monthly (first lien) mortgage payments (including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) for a maximum of two years or $50,000.
  • The loan becomes a junior lien against the borrower’s home. No payments on the loan are due for five years if the borrower stays current on mortgage payments and meets other requirements. After that, the loan balance is reduced by 20% a year until nothing is owed and the junior lien is eliminated.

The loans are available only in 32 states and Puerto Rico. Participating states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Tips:

Watch for fraud

Beware of fraudsters, who are bound to crop up like toadstools after a rain. ConsumerAffairs.com says that legitimate agencies won’t phone you. You’ll have to call them.

The rules require that you personally apply for the loan. In other words, if someone calls you, asks for advance payment and promises to apply on your behalf, you’ve hooked a con artist and you’d be a dope to participate.

On the other hand, ConsumerAffairs says, the actual, legitimate government program itself can sound a little fishy:

It may sound like a classic foreclosure rescue scam: a limited-time offer for a free government loan to save your home. But this time the offer is legitimate.

The rest of the states

You may be wondering: Why only some states?

The answer: Homeowners in the other states already are getting billions of dollars in help from the Hardest Hit FundPost continues after this video about Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund.

Brooklyn Real Estate: Answers to Your Short Sale Questions

Friday, May 20th, 2011


There’s a lot of confusion surrounding short sales, so I thought I’d answer some of the questions I’ve received from clients, owners of Brooklyn real estate and blog readers.

Q:  What is a short sale?

A:  A short sale is when a lender agrees to accept less than what is owed on a home.  For example, you owe $300,000 on your home loan, but your lender will allow you to sell your home for $250,000.

Q:  Who makes up the difference between the short sale price and the amount owed?

A:  In the past, the owner of the Brooklyn real estate would receive a 1099 income statement at tax time.  The “forgiven amount” would then be counted as income subject to income tax.  This left homeowners in debt to the federal government for the tax owed on that amount.  Now, with the passing of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation, the short fall on a primary residence is not counted as income.  This eases the financial hardship of those who are already struggling.

Q:  Does a short sale impact your credit the same way as a foreclosure?

A:  No, the impact of a short sale is milder on your credit than a foreclosure.  Short Sales usually reduce your score by about 80 to 250 points and only stay on your record for around 5 years.  Compare that to foreclosures which reduce your score approximately 250 to 400 points and remains on your record for 10 years.

Q: How do I qualify for a short sale on my Brooklyn real estate?

A:  Contact your lender as soon as you know you are in financial trouble.  Government programs, particularly the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA), are designed to make short sales more attractive to lenders by giving them incentives for allowing a short sale over a foreclosure.  However, if you allow your loan to become delinquent (more than 60 days), lenders are less likely to grant a short sale.

Q:  Can I sell my home as a FSBO and still qualify for a short sale?

A:  No.  Lenders rely on “broker opinion” as to what the home is worth at this time.  You need to hire a real estate professional that has experience with short sales.  Short sales take longer to close and properly handling the sale can make a difference in getting an offer accepted by your lender.

If you are facing the possibility of foreclosure and  looking for an experienced, energetic, resourceful  Brooklyn real estate agent , let me help you discover the options that are available to you. Give me Charles D’Alessandro your Brooklyn Realtor® with Fillmore Real Estate a call at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected]

3 Tips for Buying Brooklyn New York Foreclosures

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011


Despite all the stories you hear on the news, buying Brooklyn home foreclosures doesn’t have to be a negative experience.  Here are 3 tips to make the process smoother and more profitable for you:

Tip #1:  Allow plenty of time for the whole process.

Brooklyn foreclosures take longer to get to closing than traditional homes.  What takes so long?  As you probably know, there are a lot of foreclosures happening now.  That means there is a large backlog of foreclosures lenders have to process before they get to yours.

Another common problem that extends the buying time for foreclosures is title issues. Before closing, the new mortgage lender needs to prove that you have a clean title so they feel safe lending the money.  Each step of a foreclosure increases the amount of time before you can close.

If you can’t be patient, don’t drive yourself crazy by purchasing a foreclosure.  But if you can be patient, the wait can be well worth the savings.

Tip #2:  Flash your cash.

Because bad loans weaken the banks’ bottom line, they will usually accept a lower sales price with a cash offer over a higher sales price that requires financing.  So, the more cash you can flash, the better your chance of getting a great deal.

Pay close attention to the condition of Brooklyn New York foreclosures.

Foreclosures are offered “as-is.”  Do a walk-through of the property before making an offer to ensure it’s worth the price.  Include a final walk-through in the real estate contract to assure the home is in the same condition as it was when the offer was made.  By including an escape clause, if the current residents trash the place, you have the option to walk away.

If you’re in the market to buy a foreclosure, I can help.  Give me Charles The Realtor® of Fillmore Real Estate a call today at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected]

Avoid the Biggest Brooklyn Real Estate Flipping Mistakes

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

House flipping is still a profitable way to invest in Brooklyn Real Estate , if you know what you’re doing. I’m going to share one of the biggest mistakes prospective home flippers make and how to avoid it.

Choosing the Wrong Brooklyn Real Estate to Flip

Nothing will make your venture into the world of house flipping a bigger nightmare than a finished product that will not sell. To avoid this, learn all you can about what’s currently selling the fastest and for the most money in your Brooklyn real estate market.

It doesn’t mean you have to pick expensive homes in up-scale neighborhoods.  In fact, those may be the worst Brooklyn properties to try to flip, depending on your market.  Typically, there are houses you can flip for profit in every price range.

Choosing the Right Brooklyn Property to Flip

The things you need to avoid when buying a Brooklyn home you’re planning to flip are basically the same things you would avoid if you were purchasing that same home as your primary residence.  Here are three things to avoid when choosing a home to flip:

1)      Distractions that would make living in the home undesirable such as busey avenues, comercial streets or manufactuing plants.

2)      Crazy floor plans that cannot be easily fixed in a quick and inexpensive remodel.

3)      Homes with major structural damage. Getting a home inspection is the best way to avoid this.  However, if for some reason you cannot get a home inspection, always make provisions in your operating expenses for unexpected major repairs.

If you would like more information on how to turn a profit by flipping Brooklyn real estate, give me Charles D’Alessandro of Fillmore Real Estate a call today at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected]

Economy Bringing Families Closer Together in Brooklyn Homes

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Economy Bringing Brooklyn Families Together

Although the economy has been a catalyst for many issues, some of the trickle-down effects have had positive effects on Brooklyn New York homes. One of the most notable is that families are drawing closer together.

Over the past thirty to forty years, the “steps” to take for growing up were always one, grow up and two, move out. Few parents ever considered that their now adult children might be moving back in to their quiet, empty Brooklyn homes. However, with the economic problems hitting millions of Americans, the number of multi-generational households is growing.

During the Great Recession and more specifically in 1940, approximately 25% of households were multi-generational. Homes often held children, grandchildren, and sometimes even great grandchildren – four familial generations. However, as the U.S. economy began to prosper and the baby boomer generation grew into adults, more homes became single family households. By 1980, only 12.1% of homes held more than one generation.

Now, the percentages are once again beginning to climb. Loss of jobs, foreclosed homes and lack of security has contributed to approximately 49 million Americans, or 16.1%, living in multi-generational homes. While this is far from ideal for those in a hurry to leave the nest, the benefits are many.

I once asked a single mother what it was like moving back in with her parents.  She said, “It was hard at first, redefining the boundaries, but having my parents around has been a blessing in disguise. My kids have a stabilizing influence and extra attention, while I get occasional breaks that I normally wouldn’t get. We eat dinner together too, which helps build the family atmosphere for my kids. It’s not all smiles and roses, there’s a lot of compromise, but it works.”

For those who have been thinking about letting your family move in to your Brooklyn home, try to consider more than just the negatives. Look at the positives as well.  And what could be more positive than closer family ties?

Whether you need to upgrade your Brooklyn New York home to a bigger family home or downgrade to a smaller one, I can help. Charles D’Alessandro your Brooklyn Realtor® with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected] for more information.


Charles D’Alessandro
[email protected]
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fax 718 253-9573
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Rising Trend Points a Way to Keep Your Brooklyn Home

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

According to RealtyTrac, 1 in 70 homes have received foreclosures notices since January, 2010 – a total of 1.7 million houses in the U.S. Was your Brooklyn home one of them? In previous blogs, we’ve covered several ways to avoid foreclosure, but a rising trend has brought another possibility to the forefront.

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, many individuals are surviving the economic blues by expanding their households. By the end of 2008, more than 16%, or 49 million, of Americans lived in a household with more than one generation. Although the statistics aren’t back yet for 2009 -2010, experts expect the numbers to be even higher.

These Americans aren’t all young college graduates moving back in with mom and dad, either. Parents have moved in with children, children with parents – somehow, even siblings have managed to live together in relative harmony. This trend spans across the board from single parents to elderly grandparents. According to the report, approximately one in five adults ages 25 to 34 and 65 + live in a multi-generational home.

Are you suggesting I let family members move in?

Actually, yes I am. Now, depending on your family dynamics, I realize this might be the equivalent of inviting World War III to your doorstep. However, if you face losing your Brooklyn home to foreclosure, you might at least stop to consider the possibilities. For instance:

  • More working people in the household means more ability to pay the mortgage and stop the foreclosure.
  • With more family members, you have a stronger family influence on children living in the home.
  • With more people, responsibility is shared more.  You won’t need to do everything on your own.

No, it’s not an ideal situation. However, if you’ve said, “I’d do anything to keep my home,” did you mean it? Does the definition of “anything” include family World War III? Could you sit down with your family members, work out a set of compromises and live in harmony? If you’ve tried everything else, this may be your best bet for avoiding foreclosure on your Brooklyn home.

You never know; you may even come to like it.

If you’re looking for a home to support a multi-generational household, I can help. Call me at (718)253-9600 ext.206 or email me at charles[email protected] for more information.


Charles D’Alessandro

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tel 718 253-9600
fax 718 253-9573
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Short Sales: A Viable Option for Distressed Brooklyn Real Estate

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I know the words “short sale” may scare you.  But please take just a minute to learn why short sales have become a viable option for your Brooklyn real estate if you’re considering foreclosure.

Once deemed difficult to get, hard to close and rough on the credit score, corrective measures have been taken to improve the valued short sale.  And, the winners are those who understand how short sales work in Brooklyn real estate.

If you are faced with a house underwater or considering foreclosure or a short sale option, please understand the game has changed.

Short Sales Before versus Now

In early 2009, the typical short sale had less than a 50% chance of success.  Banks were skeptical, unprepared and unwilling to accept losses.  No longer!

Thanks to aggressive changes made by the Federal Government, the short sale has become the preferred option for distressed buyers, sellers and lenders.

  • The administration has thrown incentives to first mortgage holders, second mortgage holders and new lenders.
  • Primary lien holders in who agree to a short sale can receive as much as $3,000 from the government.
  • Secondary lien holders, who previously were often asked to step away empty handed, now can receive up to $6,000 for formal releases.

Additionally, there used to be more serious credit devastation for the short sale seller.  In some cases, outright releases were not provided.  The administration has stepped in to protect these distressed sellers.  Today’s short sale has less credit impact on the seller as would the credit impact of a foreclosure.

Now that short sales are a viable option, the market has exploded.  Short sales increased by 4% between November, 2009, and February, 2010.  Activity will only continue to increase.

If you would like to find out whether a short sale could benefit your distressed Brooklyn real estate, give me a call now at (718)253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected]m


Charles D’Alessandro

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fax 718 253-9573
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Should You Consider a Short Sale on Your Brooklyn Home?

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010


A short sale happens when a lender agrees to accept less than the balance remaining on a home. It is a way for sellers to avoid foreclosure and sell their Brooklyn homes.

It seems like a good idea for people who owe more on their home than it’s worth, but that doesn’t mean it is right for everyone. Should you consider a short sale on your Brooklyn home?

Pros to doing a short sale:

  • You will be able to sell your property, get out from under a mortgage you cannot afford and lower your debt.
  • You can still sell your property in a declining real estate market, even if you owe more than the home is worth.
  • Buyers sometimes get good deals on the property or may be able to buy a home at market value in a popular area they couldn’t previously afford.
  • While a short sale isn’t ideal, it is typically better than a foreclosure which stays on your credit report for 10 years.
  • If your home goes into foreclosure and is sold at auction for less than the mortgage, you can still be held responsible for making up the difference.

Cons to doing a short sale:

  • The lender may refuse to do the short sale, or they may still hold you responsible for the remaining debt.
  • The bank’s loss is considered taxable income for you, and you may have to pay taxes on the amount.
  • Short sales do stay on your credit report and may make it difficult for you to a get loan in the future.
  • You may have to find a real estate agent willing to work for a smaller commission.
  • Short sales take longer to close than traditional home sales.

I can help you decide if a short sale on your Brooklyn home is right for you. Call me today at (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email me at [email protected] for more information about your selling options.


Charles D’Alessandro

[email protected]
tel 718 253-9600
fax 718 253-9573
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