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Archive for December, 2009

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Check out the steal at Colony Square!

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Considering these statistics are for the week before Christmas, this is really good activity.  I guessed a few months ago that December might actually be busier than expected because there are a lot of pent-up Buyers out there…and I think I predicted right.

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A little over a year ago, you might not have even heard the term short sale.  Now, it’s become a buzzword.  Ideally, a homeowner who cannot sell their home for what the loan balance equals would attempt a “short sale” in which the homeowner and the bank agree on a sales price less than what is owed on the property.  This helps the homeowner because a short sale affects credit much less than a foreclosure.  The bank benefits as well because they save the time and money it takes to market and sell a foreclosed property.  Also, the Buyer for the property can usually get a good price on the home.  In reality, this is a long process that can easily take 9 months only to have the bank pull out of the deal at the last minute leaving everyone stranded.  This hold-up is largely due to the fact that the investors that hold the liens on second mortgages or home equity credit lines are fighting for more of the proceeds from the sale.

 There is hope for 2010 though.  The Treasury Department has set-up guidelines that would provide structure for this chaotic process along with incentives for the second-lien holders.  Some critics, however, say that these new procedures will do little to help the process.  I have to agree with them.  After representing both Buyers and Sellers in short sales and hearing the horror stories of my colleagues, I think it’s going to take a total restructuring of banks’ communication within departments, with customers, and with other banks before we see this process streamlined.  Instead, the banks are putting more of their focus on their home retention programs (aka loan modifications).  Loan modifications allow more homeowners to avoid foreclosure by changing the loan terms thereby making monthly payments more affordable.

 To read more on Short Sales and the changes coming into effect in April 2010, click the link below:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/realestate/13mort.html?scp=2&sq=short%20sales&st=cse

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Note that prices with asterisks beside them mean they’ve been reduced from the original asking price.  Some of the homes under contract here are really good houses that were sitting on the market for a while, so it’s a good sign to see them moving.

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The most popular price range right now in condo sales is under $200K.  This could be due to the $8,000 first-time home buyer incentive that has been extended through the Spring.  Buildings with FHA financing available make it even easier requiring only 3.5% down.

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