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But I Want to Keep my House

A conversation with the nice lady who was referred to me this morning was a reminder of why so many properties go to foreclosure auction unnecessarily. I feel bad for her. Her common law husband passed away around this time last year and with him what little income they were surviving on. She has been trying to get on disability income since that time. Meanwhile the house payments are far enough behind that the bank began sending back the payments she was able to scrape together.

At this point she is five weeks away from the foreclosure sale date. There is about $50,000 equity in the property. She doesn’t even need a short sale. We could sell her home and she would walk away with thousands of dollars which she and her 9 year old son desperately need. Instead she is going to attempt to find someone to help her get the bank to work with her even though they have refused for the past year. It’s bad enough to see a struggling homeowner have an unnecessary foreclosure when they could have avoided it with a short sale on their property, but this is much worse.

I know there are many reasons why a distressed homeowner wants to hold on to the home they are losing but it’s hard to watch. It’s hard to watch because I know the inevitable outcome; despite the time, energy, and emotion I’m sure she will put into trying to save her home, and it is devastating. It is a hard reality to accept but sometimes things just don’t end up the way we had envisioned. However, trying to force something that is not realistic can often times result in a worse outcome than just leaving the home you love. In many cases that outcome may haunt a person much longer than necessary. This is usually the case with a distressed homeowner who refuses to let go of their house and be proactive in avoiding foreclosure.

I have found that people who are struggling with an unmanageable mortgage do one of two things. Either they become proactive and are able to avoid foreclosure, resulting in a better scenario with less recovery time down the road. Or they bury their head in the sand and find themselves in a worse situation down the road than when they first realized they were headed for foreclosure. It is up to each individual homeowner which way they want to go. Unfortunately many times doing the right thing includes the difficult decision of letting go.

“Grant me the courage to change the things I can, serenity to accept the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

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Citibank Short Sale Process

One of the largest lenders with a high volume of short sales to process is Citibank. Like many of the large banks Citibank has made efforts to improve their short sale processes for more efficient timeframes and quicker short sale approvals. Also like most lenders, Citibank has a few steps in their process that are different from other lenders. It is important to be aware of these steps that differentiate one lender from another in order for the transaction to go as smoothly as possible in the shortest amount of time, creating the best experience possible for all parties involved.

Citibank requires their customer (the borrower on the loan) to contact them directly to initiate the short sale process. The borrower can call Citibank at 1-866-272-4749 Monday through Friday 8 AM to Midnight ET; Saturday and Sunday 8 AM to 8 PM ET, to notify the counselor they are listing the property for a possible short sale.

Citibank will request the following documentation to get started:

  • Loan information (balances of 2nd mortgages, automobile loan, or student loans, etc.)
  • Pay Stubs – Copies of 2 most recent pay stubs including year-to-date earnings
  • Bank Statements – Most recent personal checking, savings, money market, mutual fund, stock and bond statements.
  • Property Info – Current property tax and insurance statements
  • Homeowner’s Insurance – Policy Declarations page
  • *Self Employed? – If self employed provide a quarterly or year-to-date Profit & Loss Statement.

Citibank will require the borrower/homeowner to create an online profile on the Citibank website for submitting required docs and communication with Citimortgage.

Here are a few ways the Short Sale Specialist Realtor can be Proactive:

  • Evaluate whether the loan is Freddie or Fannie by going to the Fannie Freddie lookup sites.
    • For Freddie: https://ww3.freddiemac.com/corporate/
    • For Fannie: https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup
    • If the loan is Freddie or Fannie, have the borrower request consideration for the Standard Short Sale Program (which is the HAFA II program)
    • If the loan is not Fannie or Freddie have the borrower ask for the HAFA program. It is a good idea to educate the borrower about the HAFA program and the benefits available.
    • Assist the borrower in completing the short sale package so it is ready to go when the initiation call is made. The HUD-1 from the purchase of the property should be included in the short sale package for Citibank

Once Citibank receives the short sale package with the third party authorization letter they will begin communicating with the short sale specialist realtor. The short sale specialist realtor can then proceed through the short sale process to:

  • Secure a Purchase Contract
  • Obtain contract approval
  • Close the property and complete the short sale transaction

 

Click here for Citimortgage Resources including:

  • Citimortgage Process Step-by-Step form
  • Citimortgage Contact and Escalation Info
  • Important Website Links
 
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Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Mortgage Relief Fraud: Will You Be the Next Victim?

Not if I have anything to say about it!

The FBI reported a jump of 71% in mortgage relief fraud investigations from 2008-2009, and expects this number to have grown in 2010.

That’s why it’s my duty to educate homeowners in my community on the cautions they need to take, and what the government has recently done to protect you from unscrupulous individuals and companies who want to take advantage of their desperate situations.

What you need to watch out for if you are looking for mortgage relief assistance:

  1.  Upfront fees—just don’t pay them! In fact, they are now illegal!
  2. A request to sign over your deed (this only spells trouble)
  3. Lots of paperwork without the opportunity for review
  4. The claim of government-affiliation

These are just a few red flags you need to be wary of. I’ve created a free report on the homepage of my website that details more of what you need to watch for.

If you are struggling with an unaffordable mortgage and are looking for help, educate yourself. These scammers can be very shrewd and will say almost anything to steal your money.

The Federal Trade Commission has required disclosures of anyone offering mortgage relief services. If you’d like to see an example, check out any of the pages of my website. If a company you are dealing with has not provided these disclosures, please ask why they are not compliant, and proceed with caution!

As a CDPE, you can trust that I have the tools to be in full compliance of FTC regulations, and will always work with your best interests at heart.

If you want viable alternatives to foreclosure, give me a call today. I’m always here to help!

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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It’s a Good Time to Sell!

I found an article at Foleypub.com that I had to share with everyone:

Here’s a riddle: how can it be both a buyer’s market and a seller’s market at the same time? It sounds like a paradox but in fact it perfectly describes our current Denver Metro real estate market. To read more, click here.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Be Prepared: Crucial Updates to Bank of America’s Short Sale Process Coming April 13

On April 2, Bank of America announced the latest round of changes to their short sale process. The changes, aimed at streamlining and expediting the process, include new requirements for initiating a short sale and changes to Equator.

Beginning April 13, 2012, Bank of America will require the following five forms to be submitted to initiate a short sale:

  1. Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form
  2. IRS Form 4506-T – Request for Transcript of Tax Return
  3. 60-day Estimated HUD-1 (or HUD-1 with closing date if shorter than 60 days)
  4. Signed Purchase Contract including Buyers Acknowledgement and Disclosure
  5. Bank of America Short Sale Purchase Contract Addendum

If you currently have a short sale file with Bank of America, you will need to complete any outstanding tasks in Equator before April 13. Look for the tasks titled “Submit Short Sale Offer,” “Upload Offer Documents,” and/or “Upload Supporting Documents.”

If these tasks are not complete by April 13, you may be required to re-upload all documents to match the new system (that means five new documents, even if you were only missing one). Your file may also be declined, depending on your open tasks time compared to average timelines.

In addition to these new requirements, Equator will change to allow tasks (after short sale is initiated) to happen simultaneously, rather than sequentially.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Major Changes Announced for HAFA

Major news in the short sale and housing industry! On Friday, March 9, the Obama Administration announced updates to the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) program. Created in 2009, HAFA is a government-sponsored initiative assisting all Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) eligible homeowners in avoiding foreclosure through short sales and deed-in-lieus.

The HAFA updates will go into effect on June 1, 2012, and will allow more distressed homeowners to seek assistance. Most importantly, the deadline for submitting for HAFA eligibility will be extended a full year, from December 31, 2012, to December 31, 2013.

Other major changes from March’s updates to the HAFA program include:

  • The removal of occupancy requirements. Previously, HAFA required homeowners to have lived in the property within the last 12 months.
  • $3,000 relocation incentives will be limited to properties occupied by an owner or tenant at the time of the short sale.
  • Mortgage payments will be allowed to exceed 31% of the homeowner’s gross monthly income. This update will allow a homeowner to stay current on her mortgage and still qualify, minimizing the overall impact to her credit.
  • Secondary lienholders may receive up to a maximum of $8,500, up from $6,000 previously.
  • And one of the most dramatic changes: The Credit Bureau Reporting will be Account Status Code 13 (paid or closed account/zero balance) or 65 (account paid in full/a foreclosure was started), as applicable.

With these updates, a homeowner can be current on their mortgage, qualify for HAFA, continue to make their payments, and execute a short sale with minimum impact on their credit!

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Lenders Providing Large Cash Incentives to Homeowners for Short Sales

In recent news, major publications including USA TODAY and CNNMoney have spotlighted the incentives provided by banks. These incentive programs, which offer anywhere from around $2,000 to upwards of $35,000, are intended to provide homeowners with the resources and motivation to pursue a short sale.

As banks look to ramp up short sales, such incentives are becoming more frequent. JPMorgan Chase began their incentive program last year, for example, and Bank of America (which plans a 60-70% increase in short sales this year) piloted a program in Florida this past December. Wells Fargo offers incentives as well, though primarily in states where the foreclosure process is particularly lengthy.

For banks, short sales can be a cheaper alternative to foreclosure. The foreclosure process is lengthy and costly, so much so that providing up to a $20,000 alternative for a short sale is still a cheaper option.

In USA TODAY’s article “Lenders paying borrowers to do short sales,” Jim Gillespie, chief executive of Coldwell Banker, is quoted as saying “It’s a lot cheaper to shell out $10,000 or $20,000 to someone than it is to go through a long foreclosure.”

In addition to the cost of the foreclosure process itself, foreclosed properties sell for less than short sales on average. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, foreclosed properties sold for 22% less than conventional sales, while short sales sold for around 14% less.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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