Category Archives: Foreclosure Deals

Fort Lauderdale Market Poised for Strong Recovery

The Sun is Shining on the Fort Lauderdale housing market.

Two Florida cities made the top eight nationwide. Jacksonville came in at No. 4, and South Florida (Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach) ranked No. 5,  according to an analysis by Builder Magazine.

To find the cities with the greatest potential for growth, Builder Magazine asked Hanley Wood Market Intelligence to consider local factors, such as major universities, military bases, and the strength of businesses in the private sector. The study also considered’s housing projections, expected price appreciation, and estimated employment and income growth.

Ready to find your place in paradise? Ken Can Help! Visit my website at or contact me directly at

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.

Short Sales: Right for You?

What is a “short sale”?

A short sale is a property being offered for sale at a price that it lower than the amount of the outstanding mortgage on the home. Since the sale price of the property will not satisfy the seller’s obligations to their lender, the seller cannot make the sole decision to accept your offer. That means the seller’s mortgage lender must also approve your offer in order for you to be able to purchase property. This process can be a lengthy and is not always successful. Some short sale lenders move directly to foreclosure instead of approving a qualified offer from a buyer. Its a tricky process and maddening  process.

When I first speak to a buyer, we talk about what is involved in successfully negotiating a short sale transaction. The primary question I ask is if they have the time and patience to wait an unpredictable amount of time for an approval of their offer? If the do not have both, the I encourage them not to consider any short sale properties. Period.

We continue to hear that lenders are shortening  the approval time  on these transactions, but I’ve done a lot of them and they continue to take months to close. IF they close at all.

Some of my buyers have gotten very good deals by patiently waiting for months for approval to buy a home.  But it’s no fun for anybody and many loose their patience and ask to begin looking for an alternative to buy.

Think about your personal situation. If you have the time and patience, and the home of your dreams is offered as a short sale – take your shot. But if you need to be in your new home on a date-certain, or if you are going to be brokenhearted if you loose that home, then don’t put yourself in short sale purgatory.  Go for the regular sale where you can negotiate directly with a seller and close in 30 days.

A title company I often use, Roberto and Associates, are experts at short sale negotiations and many of the successful transactions I’ve been involved in have been negotiated by them. In a recent newsletter, they published some FAQ’s about short sale transactions. I post them here to help you get a better handle on these tricky transactions.

Ready to buy  a short sale, or regular sale home in Fort Lauderdale/Wilton Manors? Ken Can Help!

  • ·         Do lenders of short sales prohibit “flips” and/or define a flip?

o    We have heard that lenders need to inform their investors of an intent to “flip/re-sell” for consideration to approve a short sale.  We have seen GMAC require an Affidavit to be signed at or before closing stating that the buyer has no intentions to “re-sell” the property within 90 days.  We have also seen on approval letters language stating the same.  One may want to be cautious and ask for their acknowledgement of an intent to re-sell when the file is submitted and long before a surprise with the approval letter.

  • ·         How often do we contact a lender for updates on short sales?

o    Minimally, every 3-5 days and communicate updates to all parties of the transaction (agents, seller, mortgage professionals, etc.).

  • ·         How much time after a short sale is approved are buyers given to close?

o     Short sale lenders assume that since buyers are anxiously awaiting a decision they will be ready to close soon after they issue an approval letter.   We have seen requests to have files closed in a week.  This is obviously possible for cash buyers but for those with mortgages, this can be a problem.  You would think the same lenders would know the delays with buyers getting mortgages these days but apparently they do not.  We strongly suggest that buyers getting a mortgage, submit all documents requested by their mortgage professional/lender and be as close to ready as possible.  But we also understand and expect to have to get extensions to short sale approvals.  Usually we can get an extra 1-2 weeks.  We work closely with the buyer, agents and mortgage professionals to determine a requested closing date that will yield success for all parties.  What is really important is that sellers be ready to close as short sale lenders do not like to hear that a seller can not be ready.

  • ·         What is the BPO value and can we get a copy?

o    After many years and closing thousands of short sales, we have yet to “see” a BPO.  Lenders do not provide a BPO report, unlike a conventional transaction where one can get a copy of an appraisal.  Many times lenders will not share the actual BPO value they have and will solely respond generically like “based on the BPO the offer.. or the net.. needs to be___.” 

  • ·         Why do lenders ask for the same information, like bank statements, when they got it before?

o    Sometimes by the time a loss mitigator is assigned to a file, and/or the investor is about to review and hopefully approve the short sale, the lender/servicer will ask for a more recent copy of documents.  We have even been told that it is to see if the same documents, including the ones that would not change (like tax returns) come over as previously submitted.  Our suggestion – the seller needs to promptly provide the documents their lender is requesting in order for the file to continue to move through the process


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!

Forget Stocks and Gold. It’s Time to Buy Real Estate – Fortune Magazine.

The March 28th Fortune cover story boldly proclaims “Forget stocks. Don’t bet on gold. After four years of plunging home prices, the most attractive asset class in America is housing.

The steep fall in housing prices in the South Florida market is making owning more affordable than renting again. Buyers with very good credit and investors disappointed with returns on safe investments are snapping up available inventory at a remarkable pace. Multiple bids over asking price are back. Investors are finding they can buy properties at prices so low that they can rent them profitably while they wait for them to appreciate and harvest additional profits.

The desirability of markets like Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors make it even more attractive to investors. Despite the predictions of foreclosures and short sale inventory continuing to flow into the market over the next year or two, the eventual upturn is in sight and is predicted by most observers.

Ready to buy a great deal on a Fort Lauderdale or Wilton Manors home? Ken Can Help!

To read the complete Fortune article, follow this link.

Fannie Mae Will Pay Your Closing Costs?

Fannie May Closing Cost Credit is a Great Deal.

Buyers purchasing a Fannie Mae-owned home may receive up to 3.5 percent of the final sales price for closing cost assistance if they close before June 30, 2011. Offers previously submitted (before April 11) do not qualify, and the offer is not extended to investors – buyers must use the home as their primary residence.

All Fannie Mae-owned HomePath properties are listed on and most include detailed property descriptions, photographs, community and school information, and more. In addition, many Fannie Mae-owned properties are eligible for special HomePath Mortgage and HomePath Renovation Mortgage financing, which offers homebuyers an opportunity to purchase with as little as 3 percent down.

Investors can also purchase Fannie May foreclosure properties, but higher down payments are required.

Ready to pick up a great deal on a Fannie Mae foreclosure? Call me today to learn how to evaluate distressed properties and how to prepare a successful offer.  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!