Refinance while Underwater? HARP Expanded to Reach More Borrowers

A ray of hope has just been offered to some homeowners with properties that are seriously upside down, according to the California Association of Realtors.

In order to help a broader range of distressed homeowners and offer relief to the housing market, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on Oct. 24 that the mortgage relief program HARP — the Home Affordable Refinance Program — has just been expanded.

Per FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have helped approximately 9 million families refinance into a lower cost or more sustainable mortgage product, approximately 10 percent of those via HARP. HARP is unique in that it is the only refinance program that enables borrowers who owe more than their home is worth to take advantage of lower interest rates and other refinancing benefits.

One of the biggest hurdles for borrowers who are current on their home loans and are considering refinance is the fact that the equity on their house is too low to qualify for a refinance. Until now, Fannie Me and Freddie Mac would only allow fixed-rate mortgages if the borrower’s property stays under 125 percent loan-to-value.  This requirement prevented many upside-down borrowers from refinancing to take advantage of the current low interest rates that they desperately need.  The enhanced HARP guideline lifted that restriction.

Other HARP program enhancements effectively reduced certain fees associated with the refinance as well as eliminated the need for a new property appraisal if the FHFA has a reliable automated valuation model estimate.  Both allowed cash strapped borrowers the ability to refinance without the steep fees a refinance might require.  The HARP program, schedule to expire at the end of 2011 has now been extended until the end of 2013.  New federal guidelines for the HARP changes should be released to mortgage lenders and servicers by Nov. 15.

According to the California Association of Realtors, the basic eligibility requirements for an enhanced HARP loan are as follows:

  • Existing mortgage loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  Borrowers can check whether they have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan by going to http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/get-assistance/loan-look-up/Pages/default.aspx.
  • Existing mortgage loan must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before June 1, 2009.
  • Existing mortgage loan cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously (except for Fannie Mae loans refinanced between March and May 2009).
  • Current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be more than 80%.
  • Existing mortgage loan must be current, with no late payments in the past six months, and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.

Words of Caution:  Remember my previous blog about SCAMs – Too Good To be True, Then Beware? There are a lot of scammers out there to take advantage of distressed homeowners at their most vulunable stage.  Before engaging services that promise to modify your loans or save your home from being foreclosed on, make sure you check out the FTC Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule that outlaws advanced fees and false claims and requires clear disclosures from the servicers.

More Information About HARP:

More information about HARP is available from FHFA.

Other Resources for Distressed Homeowners:

Fannie Mae Offers New Buyer Incentives on Homepath Homes

Featured

New Buyer Incentive on Fannie Mae HomePath® Homes

Fannie Mae is offering buyers up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance on HomePath properties through December 31, 2010.

Buyers must meet the following qualifications to be eligible for the incentive:

  • HomePath property sale must close on or before December 31, 2010 and close within 60 days of offer acceptance
  • Only owner occupants purchasing a HomePath property as their primary residence will receive up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance
  • the initial offer must be submitted on or after September 23, close within 60 days of offer acceptance and close on or before December 31, 2010. No bonus will be given for investor purchases.
  • Buyers must request incentive upon submission of initial offer in order to be eligible.

Note: Offers submitted after November 15, 2010 may be difficult to close by incentive deadline of December 31, 2010.

Terms & Conditions:

  • The 3.5% seller contribution is to be used towards closing costs, including a home warranty, if desired and available.
  • Retail and public entities are eligible for the incentive however pool and auction sales, and sales to investors are not eligible.
  • Fannie Mae reserves the right to remove any property from promotion or end the promotion at any time. Any dispute over the payment of a bonus shall be resolved by Fannie Mae in its sole discretion.
  • Buyers should consult their lenders for guidance on financing. Lenders and mortgage products may impose their own limitations on the use of the 3.5% incentive. For example, the lender may consider the incentive a Seller Contribution and limit the amount to 3.0%. In those instances, the remaining 0.5% will no longer be available to the buyer.

See link to search for Fannie Mae Homepath Homes

Marin County Bank Owned / REO / Foreclosed Homes as of 07/16/09

MARIN COUNTY BANK OWNED / REO / FORECLOSED HOMES

UPDATED 07/16/09 (last updated 06/06/09)

By Popular Demand … Thanks for emailing… Here is the updated report as requested!

Due to strong demand from my past and current clients and the interest from the prospective clients, I am providing you with list of current Bank Owned (REO – Real Estate Owned, and Foreclosed) homes.  The list will be updated freqeuently depending on relevant activities.  

(Word of Wisdom from your Realtor –  In addition to REO (Bank Owned) properties, there are GREAT Deals out there if you look hard enough.  I will be able to help you to find the best property for you in Marin and Sonoma county, Bank Owned or Not!  (O.K. I still have to work on the new Blog ‘Tale of a Short Sale’, but there are other priorities)  

The towns included in this list are Marin County towns South Marin, Central Marin, North Marin and West Marin (yes, we even have a few in South, Central and West Marin).  Specifically: Belvedere, Bolinas, Corte Madera, Dillon Beach, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Lagunitas, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Nicasio, Novato, Marin County, Olema, Point Reyes Station, Ross, San Anselmo, San Geronimo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Stinson Beach, Tiburon, Tomales

Single Family Homes, Farms and Ranches are in one link; and Condos/Townhomes are in another link.  Note that the link expires in 30 days (Per MLS rule).

Marin County Bank Owned Single Family Homes   Marin County Bank Owned Single Family Homes (Updated 07/16/09)

It has been 1 and 1/2 months since I last (06/06/09) posted Marin REO proeprties – taking care of my clients tends to get in the way of posting online.  However, never hestiate to email me if you need current info.

The Marin housing market is heating up again, as evident in the new ‘sellers’ market.  Lack of supply and increasing demand play a big role in that – Economics 101, I am sure.  This can be attributed to a few reasons:  Continuing interest in first time homebuyers taking advantage of the up to $8,000 tax credit from the government, interest rates stay historicacl low, including the new friendly Jumbo ($729,000 in Marin county), consumer believing the market has hit the bottom (as evident by many multiple offers), the lenders are required to hold of for an additional 90 days before starting the foreclosure process – allowing distressed homeowners the opportunity to work out their loans with the lenders – we have heard quite a few successful loan modifications), short sales are getting easier to approve, less stress for buyers, and much more.  

And 1 and 1/2 months later, the famous, but accurate remark of: “The Bottom of the Market is Hindsight”   Don’t be the one who missed out on the opportunity.

Changes between 06/06/09 and 07/16/09!  for Single Family Homes

66 Totals!

  • 19 Active – Rumor had it and now Luxury REOs are finally on market.  Vacation at home with Bay and Mt. Tam views in Sausalito – speaking of breathtaking views!  check out that 178 Santa Rosa Avenue.  Belvedere REO? with stunning water view, small but sure

        ~ Continue watching for outstsanding properties on REO list! ~

  • 29 Pending (Contingent, Pending) a gorgeous home in Larkspur – 5 Wittshire Avenue, inescorw just after 3 days; 1190 Cambridge (short sale at $470K, now REO at $372,900) in escrow after 2 days, probably multiple offers too!  On the other hand, a major fixer (or tear down) in San Anselmo, first priced at $1,350,000 went into escrow when it was reduced to $1M in May. 
  • 18 Sold since 06/06/09 – Remember that super hot deal on Sun Lane? Sold for  $710K (12.72% over asking) ALL Cash. One of those, no offers, but then suddenly many offers came in.  A Shea Home in Pointe Marin closed in 21 days for $855K (last sale in 06 for $1,150,000)

Changes between 06/06/09 and 07/16/09 for  Marin County Bank Owned Townhomes / Condos  

54 Total Listings – 

Questions about the current market? a specific property? The Incentive?  Ready to Buy? Ready to Learn?  Call your trusted Realtor to give you personalized updates...

_________________________________________________________

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

 MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. Chinese Realtor.

 

Marin County Bank Owned (REO, Foreclosure) Homes, Farms, Ranches. Update 02/20/09

Single Family Homes (Note – There is a Separate List for Townhome / Condo)

Due to strong demand from my past and current clients and the interest from the prospective clients, I am providing you with list of current Bank Owned (REO – Real Estate Owned, and Foreclosed) homes.  The list will be updated freqeuently depending on relevant activities.  

(Word of Advise from your Realtor –  In addition to REO (Bank Owned) properties, there are GREAT Deals out there if you look hard enough.  I will be able to help you to find the best deal and best house in Marin and Sonoma county for you, Bank Owned or Not!) 

The towns included in this list are Marin County towns South Marin, Central Marin, North Marin and West Marin.  Specifically: Belvedere, Bolinas, Corte Madera, Dillon Beach, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Lagunitas, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Nicasio, Novato, Marin County, Olema, Point Reyes Station, Ross, San Anselmo, San Geronimo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Stinson Beach, Tiburon, Tomales

Marin County Bank Owned Single Family Homes   Marin County Bank Owned Single Family Homes

Updates since 02/08/09 –  4 SOLD – A couple all cash sales, a couple over asking prices.

38 Total Listings – 30 Active, 4 Pending, 4 Sold

  • New –  1611 Center Road, Novato, 
  • Pending – 24 Elmwood Court, Novato
  • Pending – 1212 Lynwood Drive, Novato
  • Pending – 52 Austin Avenue, San Anselmo
  • Pending – 26 Stasia, Novato
  • Sold – 1 Plaza Loma, 3/2, 1092 sf $410,000
  • Sold – 8 Wilson Hill Court, Novato, 3/2.5, 2388sf, $530,000
  • Sold – 25 Durham Road, San Anselmo, 4/2, 1533sf $573,500
  • Sold – 931 Butterfield San Anselmo, 3/2, 2115sf $875,000

contact a real estate agent

_________________________________________________

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

 MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. Chinese Realtor.

Marin County Bank Owned (REO, Foreclosures) Homes – Townhomes, Condos – updated 02/20/09

TOWNHOME / CONDOS – 02/20/09 (Note there is separate post for Single Family Residence)

Due to strong demand from my past and current clients and the interest from the prospective clients, I am providing you with list of current Bank Owned (REO – Real Estate Owned, and Foreclosed) homes.  The list will be updated freqeuently depending on relevant activities.  

(Word of Advise from your Realtor –  In addition to REO (Bank Owned) properties, there are GREAT Deals out there if you look hard enough.  I will be able to help you to find the best deal and best house in Marin and Sonoma county for you, Bank Owned or Not!) 

The towns included in this list are Marin County towns South Marin, Central Marin, North Marin and West Marin.  Specifically: Belvedere, Bolinas, Corte Madera, Dillon Beach, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Lagunitas, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Nicasio, Novato, Marin County, Olema, Point Reyes Station, Ross, San Anselmo, San Geronimo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Stinson Beach, Tiburon, Tomales

Marin County Bank Owned Townhomes / Condos Marin County Bank Owned Townhomes / Condos

Updates since 02/08/09 –  28 Total Listings – 22 Active, 4 Pending, 2 Sold

  • New – 7 Oak Crest Court, Novato – 3/2, 1460 sf – Western Oaks, Best Deal!
  • New – 2 Park Crest Court #C, Novato – 3/2.5 1460 sf. – Western Oaks, closer to Redwood Blvd
  • New – 47 Sequoia Glen, Novato – 3/2.5, 1529sf.  South side of Redwood Blvd.
  • New 35 Fairfax St #27 – San Rafael – Bahia, 2/1, 864 sf, Grerat Investment
  • New 241 Playa Del Rey, San Rafael – Bahia, 3/1.4, 1116 sf
  • Pending – 110 Oliva Court, C, Novato
  • Pending – 17 Oliva Drive, E, Novato
  • Pending – 12 Oliva Drive, D, Novato
  • Pending – 1289 Maple Court, C, Noavto
  • Sold – 50 Sonoma St #7, San Rafael $100,000
  • Sold – 25 Andrew Drive, Tiburon, $151,000 (Unbelievable low price for Tiburon, but NOTE – This property’s current tenant has a recorded legal 75 year lease at $1,285/month rent controlled.  There is 48 years remaining on lease.

 contact a real estate agent

__________________________________________________

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

 MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. Chinese Realtor.

Marin County Bank Owned / REO / Foreclosures

Due to strong demand from my past and current clients and the interest from the prospective clients who might not have been able to purchase a home during the past sellers market, I will be providing you with list of current Bank Owned (REO – Real Estate Owned, and Foreclosed) homes. The list will be updated on a daily basis.

(Word of Advise from your Realtor – One thing I would like to stress is not to get hung up on ‘Bank Owned’ – They may or may not be the best deal in town. There are GREAT Deals out there from motivated sellers who understand the market and who need/want to sell. I will be able to help you to find the best deal and best house for you, Bank Owned or Not!)

The towns included in this list are Marin County towns South Marin, Central Marin, North Marin and West Marin (yes, we even have a few in South, Central and West Marin).

Specifically: Belvedere, Bolinas, Corte Madera, Dillon Beach, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Lagunitas, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Nicasio, Novato, Marin County, Olema, Point Reyes Station, Ross, San Anselmo, San Geronimo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Stinson Beach, Tiburon, Tomales

I will include Single Family Homes, Farms and Ranches in one link; and Condos/Townhomes in another link:

* Marin County Bank Owned Single Family Homes

* Marin County Bank Owned Condos / Towhomes

 

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. Chinese Realtor.

Make Dreams Real – Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise Youth Services

How does Marin REO, Bank Owned, Short Sale Affect Marin Housing Prices?

14defaults_mdHow do Foreclosures, REOs (Bank Owned), Short Sales affect the Marin Housing Market? A question often discussed on the national, regional and local newspaper, but none can be better answered by your local Realtor.

Being a Marin Realtor active on many major online forums, I have been chatting online on and off with a future Marin (I think, or at least I hope, she is finally favoring Marin county after a year’s research) buyer for the past year.

marincountyreoShe has been on the fence to buy properties in Marin for just as long; mostly because she misses SoCal with warmer beaches, for personal reasons and, I think, having difficulty adjusting to the higher housing price in the Bay Area; especially Marin – Wanting an excellent location, great house, wonderful schools, but the higher price makes her think twice, …., and changes are always hard!

So, a year later, she posted a question about Marin Housing Market… she wonders if the future of foreclosures and REOs (Bank Owned Homes) in Marin will have an impact on the overall pricing.

Here is my answer to her question on how the foreclosures and Bank Owned properties are affecting Marin Real Estate Market:
———————————————————————-
“First, as I have always said, and I stand by that statement – Marin county, due to it’s unique qualities, does hold its value compare to other areas. Marin Real Estate value, although dropped some, will go back up sooner – but you have heard my preaching on that before, so I won’t go there.

As it’s in any market, the fundamental is if there are foreclosures and REOs, the price will go down; both due to the nature of foreclosures and REOs but also due to the fact that sellers that do HAVE to sell are realizing that fact, though, very reluctantly.

Novato, the north most part of Marin county has seen the blunt of it; especially the condo/townhome market, and entry level homes, but the trend also trickles down to the higher end market – really good for home buyers like yourself.

Southern Marin has largely been unaffected, but we are seeing a slow trend to go towards that way. Since those houses were mostly purchased with more equity in the homes, most are safe, but you do have very few that are not. Those will be the ones who suffer and bring down the values.

Some effect is also due to the general economy, which, for the first time in many years, affected the high tech and financial sectors; which in turn, affect the affordability of the higher end market here and in other desirable places of the Bay Area. You will see some of those houses, not nearly the magnitude of the lower end housing, but few will also go on the distressed list and prices in those dropping slightly.

On the flip side, Marin is Marin, and people do love Marin – make sure you go to http://www.SylviaSellsMarin.com to read about Marin County!

moneysign1The buyers who could not afford before, the bargain hunters, the ones who sold their homes before the market drop and are renting now, the investors, ..,etc are taking full advantage of this market and the declin(ed,ing) interest rate.

I know, because we have weekly office meetings discussing the traffic (and Frank Howard Allen is the #1 company in Marin county) and I personally hold open houses almost weekly for my sellers (always nice to get that one more buyer in for my sellers) and in doing so, I get a pulse of the market and customers, I see them out there.

A great deal is a great deal and they jump in there. Multiple offers and even flipping on homes are back again, and people with large down payments as well as cash buyers are moving in.

My clients and I looked at many areas, tons of houses, spend lots of months, and at times, write several offers before they get the best deals on the houses they want and need. But that’s what it takes in Real Estate, before, now and in the future, to get the right house

If you have a Realtor – and you should get one who will look out for your best interest – he/she should do the same for you. .

As always, I would love to actually talk to you about this and provide you with details. So, drop me an email or give me a call, if you will.

Best wishes in 2009!
Sylvia

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange.

Make Dreams Real – Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise Youth Services