Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
"Green" is a term you hear a lot these days, pertaining to everything from cleaning products to transportation and lots of things in between. The term can also be applied to housing. In this context, green usually refers to two things: 1) energy efficiency, and 2) construction materials. Both can save you money and, some say, help save the planet.
I am now a certified Earth Advantage Broker, having attended a course sponsored by the City of Seattle and Earth Advantage Institute. The course was designed to help me understand and explain the attributes and benefits of "green" housing to my clients.
In late September I will be completing another course to earn my Green designation from the National Association of Realtors.
Why am I doing this? Is it just a way to cash in on a current trend?
I have always believed that waste is an (almost) unforgivable sin, and I consider green efforts to be another way to avoid and eliminate waste. Now that the concept is being applied to real estate, it seems a natural and logical step for me to make it part of my business practices.
So if you want to know how to make your current home more energy efficient or if you want to make sure that the next home you buy is as green as possible, let's talk.
When a homeowner defaults on a mortgage, the lender begins to consider options for recovering the money owed. They may negotiate with the borrower, adjusting payments or interest rates to keep him in the home. But in many cases, either a foreclosure or a short sale takes place.
What Is Foreclosure?
If a homeowner in default does not attempt to negotiate with his mortgage lender, or if negotiations fail, the home will usually go into foreclosure. This involves the lender obtaining a court order of repossession. The bank then puts the property up for sale.
When the home is sold, the lender receives the proceeds up to the amount owed plus repossession and selling costs. If there is any money left over, it is distributed to other lienholders. Once all leinholders are paid in full, if there is still money left, it goes to the former homeowner.
In general, foreclosure is a long, drawn out process. It usually begins when the homeowner is three months or more behind on mortgage payments. The lender issues a Notice of Default, and may demand repayment of the loan in full. If the homeowner does not meet the requirements of the Notice of Default, the lender can begin court proceedings.
What Is a Short Sale?
In a short sale, a home is sold for less than the outstanding balance of the mortgage. This is often used as a means of preventing foreclosure. But in rare instances, a short sale may take place even if the borrower is up to date on his payments.
The idea behind a short sale is to recover as much of the money owed as possible and avoid the expense and hassle of foreclosure. It is up to the lender whether or not a short sale is allowed. If they believe that the proceeds from a foreclosure minus the costs will be less than the proceeds of a short sale, they will usually allow it. Otherwise, they will go forward with foreclosure.
Which Is Better?
Neither a foreclosure nor a short sale is desirable. Both result in the homeowner losing his home, and both can have similar effects on one’s credit score. But in some instances, one or the other may be considered the lesser of two evils.
When undergoing foreclosure, a homeowner may have the opportunity to stay in his home for several months before he is forced to vacate. The time frame varies according to state laws, but it is almost always longer than that of a short sale. Short sales are set up to be completed quickly, so the homeowner will need to leave quickly.
But if you play your cards right with a short sale, you could potentially escape with less damage to your credit. If the lender strongly prefers a short sale, they may be willing to agree not to report the short sale to the credit bureau if you consent to it. Your chances of achieving this will be better if you hire an attorney to help negotiate.
A foreclosure is something we all hope to never experience. A short sale isn’t any better. If you find yourself facing the possibility of either of these, talking honestly with your lender may win you some other options. It’s certainly worth a try.
Alice says: Want to know more? Give me a call. 206-708-9800
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
"How and Where to Get Help With Your Downpayment" is the title of a workshop presentation by David Todd, Vice President of Northwest Mortgage Alliance, on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 6:30P-8P at High Point Branch of Seattle Public Library, sponsored by Savvy Seattle Women (this event is not sponsored by The Seattle Public Library).
Learn about State bonds and other programs designed to help low- and moderate-income individuals get downpayment assistance so they can buy a home.
This workshop is provided as a community service and is open to everyone. This is NOT a sales presentation; the presenter is strictly prohibited from selling products and/or services to those who attend.
Pre-registration is NOT required. Just grab a buddy and come!
For more information, call Alice at 206-708-9800 or e-mail SavvySeattleWomen@comcast.net. You can also visit the Savvy Seattle Women website: http://www.savvyseattlewomen.com/.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
With housing recovering slowly, most economists predicted in a recent survey that it will take at least five years for average home prices to climb back to the levels they commanded in 2006.
This year, some hard-hit areas may see another dip, but properties values will most likely rise.
"Softness in the summer months will be followed by firming conditions and momentum as the year unfolds and the economy strengthens," says Robert Denk, an economist for the National Association of Home Builders.
Source: Reuters News (08/12/2010)