Category Archives: Forclosure Deals

Faster Approvals Make Short Sales A Great Option for Buyers

The uncertainty of waiting for short sale approvals has made many buyers and Realtors avoid them as a viable option. But beginning June 15th that is all changing for the better.

New guidelines issued under the Federal Housing Finance Agency will require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to give homebuyers of short sales notice of their final decision within 60 days. The new guidelines also will require the mortgage giants to respond to initial short-sale requests within 30 days of receiving an offer.

That’s great news for buyers. Since short sales can generally be purchased at as much as 20% below fair market value, with approvals in a timely fashion, they become a great option for home buyers.

With many banks choosing to streamline the short sale process in lieu of foreclosure, the best deals are actually short sales.

Ready to sell your home as a short sale, or find a great deal on a short sale home?  Ken Can Help! Shoot me an email at KenCanHelp@gmail.com or visit my website at www.KenHelps.com and start searching for your new home.

For more information on the new streamlined short sale process follow this link:

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=3&id=276506

How to Buy a Bank Owned Foreclosure

Considering picking up a deal on a bank owned foreclosure?  It’s a competitive market so you’re not alone.  Here are a few tips on how to make a winning offer.

SERIOUS BUYERS: Banks will only review offers from buyers who have been pre-qualified by a lender, and included a written pre-approval letter from their lender with the offer.  The stronger the pre-approval, the more negotiating power you have.
REPUTABLE LENDER: Many banks will require that you finance the property through them.  If not required, they will still insist that you work with a well known reputable lender…ask your agent for a list of lenders to choose from.

BELOW MARKET VALUE: Remember, Bank Repos are already priced well below market value, so it’s okay to offer more than the asking price to secure the property.  In most cases, it’s still a great bargain.

MULTIPLE BUYERS: Understand all Bank Repo’s have multiple buyers bidding on the property.  All offers are reviewed by the bank’s asset manager and loss mitigation departments which can delay the bank’s response to your offer.  However, immediate response to any bank counteroffer is of highest priority.  Failure to do so can result in loss of the property.

BIGGER IS BETTER: To insure another buyer does not get your home, consider offering a large deposit…the bigger the better.  Banks often choose an offer based on the size of the deposit.

KEEP IT SIMPLE: Banks love clean and simple offers, so eliminate contingencies and buy “as-is” if possible.  The fewer requests, the more likely they will be to accept your offer over the other 15 to 20 bidders.

NUMBERS GAME: You may want to submit offers on more than one property at a time to increase your chances of securing a property.  Decide in advance what is the most you are willing to offer on each property.

EXPERIENCE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE: Choose an agent that has experience negotiating with banks…not all agents are alike.

TOP PRIORITY: Create a win-win relationship with your agent by insisting on a Buyer Broker Agreement for at least 30 days to insure you have their full attention as a Top Priority Client.


Why You Need to Attend Your Home Inspection

Whether buying a condo or home, I always to advise getting a home inspection. I call it the Owner’s Manual for your home, as it details important defects and suggests future maintenance  tasks. However, many of my buyers ask “Do I really need to be there for the inspection?” I say – YES! Here is a great article I found on Trulia that details why you should be at your home inspection, and how to get to most out of your time. It’s a must-read for all home buyers.

5 Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector.

Ready to look for a home in Fort Lauderdale? Ken Can Help!

Broward April Home Sales Up, Inventory Down. Again.

Sales up and inventories down. On a high note, reports this week are encouraging for Broward County. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtor Association released data that condo sales increased 8 percent from  April 2010 to April of this year, while single-family home sales increased by two percent. As is the trend for today’s buyer, cash transactions represented 67 percent of April’s residential sales. 60 percent of sales were to  overseas buyers, many of whom also paid in cash. The Association also reported inventory levels continue to fall, decreasing 20 percent since May 2010 and 5.1 percent from last month. This contradicts national trends: total housing inventory rose 9.9 percent last month.  Condo Vultures adds that the Fort Lauderdale condo market is improving almost at the rate of Miami’s, which until recently was considered an anomaly in today’s market.

If you’re even considering moving to Fort Lauderdale, you need a Realtor who knows this market inside and out, and can help you find and negotiate a great deal in this changing market. Ken Can Help!

You Can Still Get a Mortgage at Historic Low Rates.

Mortgage Rates are at Historic Lows Right Now.

Not everybody who can fog a mirror can get a mortgage in today’s tighter credit market.  Those days are over. But lenders are still writing mortgages to employed buyers with good credit. You’ll just need to do a lot more preparation and documentation to get your loan approved.  Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting a mortgage courtesy of  The Washington Post:

1. Start by requesting your free credit report.

You won’t receive a copy of your credit score, but it’s important to review a report from the three credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Make sure the information on each is correct.

If you have any late payments or recent inquiries on your report, prepare to explain the circumstances to a lender in writing. You’ll have to settle any open collections, tax liens or judgments before you close the mortgage.

“There is such a thing as not enough credit,” says John Stearns, a broker at American Fidelity Mortgage in Wisconsin. He says some borrowers only have one credit card and no other credit accounts such as car loans, cell phone bills or student loans. Ideally, lenders like to see borrowers manage at least three accounts to show they can handle credit responsibly.

2. Organize all your financial documents.

Lenders will ask for at least two months’ worth of pay stubs and bank statements. Pull out 2009 and 2010 federal tax returns, W-2’s and 401(k) statements.

If you receive alimony or child support, request up-to-date records from the court, which can take up to 90 days.

Make sure your name, address and account numbers are correct on all statements. If you recently changed your name because of marriage or divorce, make sure the update is reflected on all financial documents and that they match your identification cards. The same guidelines apply for your address if you recently moved.

3. Keep your finances simple for at least two months.

“Don’t do anything funny with your money, or it could cost you,’ “ says Pava Leyrer, president of Heritage National Mortgage in Michigan.

That means don’t make any out-of-the-ordinary deposits into your checking account, whether it’s gift money, cash from selling a car or payments from giving piano lessons. If you do, make sure to have receipts and copies of checks to give to the lender to show the source of the funds.

One of Leyrer’s recent borrowers had to write a letter to a lender explaining that a $55 bank deposit was birthday money from grandma. Another had to prove that paintings she sold at a yard sale would sell for a similar amount on eBay or Craigslist.

Another pitfall: paying off a large debt ahead of applying for a mortgage. A lender will want to know where that big sum of money came from.

Lastly, don’t overdraw your checking account for at least two months. Even if you have overdraft protection, the lender will think you have cash flow problems.

4. Document your downpayment.

That means if you received a large amount from an inheritance, request the documents from the estate trustee to prove you rightfully were given the money. A downpayment that taps money from a money market fund or other account requires a statement showing the transfer into your checking account. A 401(k) loan also must be documented.

If you receive all or part of the downpayment as a gift from a relative, you’ll be asked to produce a letter that outlines your relationship to the gift giver, the address of the property, the amount of the gift, where the giver got the funds, and a statement that the gift is not a loan.

A good rule of thumb: Any money going toward the downpayment should be in your account at least two weeks before closing, including paychecks and bonuses.

5. Show a stable work history for the past two years.

Coming out of a recession, many borrowers might need to explain any employment gaps in writing. Also, those who took temp jobs or switched careers to deal with the hard times may have to field questions from the lender and may want to wait an additional year to apply. Another red flag for lenders: a wage cut or a change in compensation from, say a salaried position to one where you earn commissions.

SOURCE:  www.washingtonpost.com, Janna Herron

Underwater Homeowners Can Shed Second Mortgages Through Bankruptcy.

Use Bankruptcy to Shed Your Second Mortgage

There is a new tool to help struggling homeowners keep their homes, while helping to correct their underwater mortgages. As many home values have fallen below the value of the first mortgage, bankruptcy is increasingly being used to discharge the second mortgage as and unsecured debt. Pretty slick. With lenders slow-walking short sales and reluctant to modify the principal value of mortgages, this may be your best way to “right-size” your mortgage obligations and save your home.

For more details on, follow the link below. If you would like to discuss your options with your underwater home, Ken Can Help!

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=5&id=259890

Broward Home Sales and Prices Up in March

Ready to Move to Paradise? Better not wait too long.

The pace of home and condo sales in Broward County feels like 2005 again.  Multiple offers and closed sales over asking price.

That’s because the prices are more like the year 2000. But they are going up again!

  • Broward County condo sales jumped 25 percent – a five year high.
  • Single family home sales were up 8%.
  • Prices of home and condos increased over one year ago.

That’s great news for Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors homeowners. And a strong signal to buyers considering buying or relocating here.

If you’re ready to start looking for your piece of paradise, visit my website at www.KenHelps.com.  Use the exclusive new Map Search Feature to see the exact location of every available home in your price range.

Or contact me directly, and put me to work searching for you. Ken Can Help!

Four Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Foreclosure

Great Deal? Do Your Homework!

Distressed properties are hot in every market, including Fort Lauderdale. They can be great deals if you do your homework. Here are four tips to consider that can save you a bundle when evaluating any distressed property:

1. Don’t judge a house by looks alone. A $2 million mansion may look fabulous but have mold hiding beneath the walls or need numerous, costly repairs. A fixer upper, on the other hand, may look rundown but have excellent bones and be repaired at a reasonable cost. A home inspection prior to purchasing a property can help buyers determine if they might be getting in over their head, Steward says. He cautions buyers to not just rely on previous inspections, however, since vacant homes can deteriorate rapidly.


2. Don’t focus on price alone.
Buyers may focus on the ultra-low price so much that they forget to factor in other qualities, such as the home’s school district, view, location and local crime rate. Steward cautions buyers not to assume that a previous owner’s financial problems cause all foreclosures.

3. Don’t be tempted to “flip.”
Purchasing a home at bargain price, updating it and trying to sell it for a lot more may seem tempting, but Steward warns buyers to be cautious. Unless the buyers are pros at house flipping, they’ll likely run into several novice mistakes in trying to make fast money on flipping a foreclosure. Steward recommends buyers consult a real estate professional, home inspector and contractors before considering a flip.

4. Don’t go over budget.
Foreclosures often require some fixes so buyers need to make sure they have the money to afford needed repairs. Steward recommends that buyers have at least half of the money in cash for needed repairs. He says that buyers will want to avoid taking more loans than needed, particularly private loans, because the interest on them will slowly chip away at their initial foreclosure bargain.

Source: “What to Watch Out for When Buying a Foreclosure: Know Which to Buy … and Which to Walk By,” RISMedia (April 7, 2011)

Ready to look for a great deal in Fort Lauderdale or Wilton Manors? Ken Can Help!